Pronounced “paw TEET-zha” according to Gourmet magazine, this cake is lightly sweet with a topping and layers of brown sugar and chopped almonds. One note about sugars. There are a bewildering variety of sugars at the supermarket. The most familiar is granulated sugar, which you can use in baking, but I recommend using superfine or caster sugar because it blends easier into the butter without leaving behind a gritty feel between your finger tips. Then there’s confectioner’s sugar. Also called icing sugar or powdered sugar, it’s great for dusting on cake tops as a quick and elegant finish. And finally, there are the so-called natural sugars: turbinado and demerara are examples. They make a great crunchy topping for quick breads and coffee cakes, like this potica cake. In fact, this cake is perfect either as a dessert or breakfast cake.
Slovenian Potica Cake
Prep time: 50 minutes (includes wait time for butter, eggs, and yogurt to come to room temperature, 30 minutes)
Baking time: 45 minutes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sour cream or low fat yogurt, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds (walnuts in original recipe)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Prepare to bake. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease one 10-inch tube cake pan with one tablespoon melted butter brushed on the inside and center tube of the pan.
Mix the batter. In a large bowl, combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, whisk and set aside. Mix together the sour cream or yogurt and vanilla. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in thirds alternately with half sour cream/yogurt and vanilla, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Bake. In the prepared tube pan, spread 1/3 of the batter in the bottom. Top with 1/3 filling. Drop 1/3 of remaining batter on top in spoonfuls. Spread it with an offset spatula. Top with half of the remaining filling. Finish with remaining batter. Tap pan on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Sprinkle the rest of the filling on top of the cake. Bake for approximately 35 minutes to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool and serve. Cool cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking pan, 20 minutes. Gently go around the outsides of the cake in the pan with a long thin blade. Since I have a two-piece tube pan, I grasped the center tube with a hot pad and pulled up, removing the sides. Otherwise, invert and tap the cake out out onto a wire rack. The baking pan will catch the bits of sugar and nuts that fall off the top. These, incidentally, make a great snack! I then removed the center tube by using a skewer to loosen it and a thin spatula to loosen the bottom. Re-invert the cake top-side up. Cool cake completely. Cut cooled cake into slices and serve with ice cream, fresh sliced strawberries, or crème fraîche. Or serve with coffee and tea as a breakfast cake.