Venison backstrap (flourless chocolate cake) | Srneći Hrbat

I am not a sweet tooth. And honestly most of the desserts I make get eaten by family, next-door neighbours or shared amongst work colleagues. Not so with Srneći Hrbat. Each time I walk past it on the dining table I cut myself a slice, or when I open the fridge (I leave the knife on the platter for easy slicing and less washing)

So I love this cake – a) the name is so hilarious and b) it is a simply delicious flourless chocolate cake with the best chocolate glaze in the world. It was my dad’s favourite homemade cake as well, and after he brought the mould in Croatia, he would get my mum to make it for him, as it reminded him of his childhood in Slavonija and his own mother’s (culinary genius) cooking.

Yes, it’s named after a venison backstrap (I like to think of it as possibly a reindeer backstrap, but that would have a different name). Only in Croatia would you be invited to someone’s house thinking you’d be getting a hunk of game and be served a cake. But Croatia has a few of these dessert recipes named after meat – think chocolate salami and quince cake served in a fish mould. Hence, it really is all about the mould. If you don’t have the Srneći Hrbat mould, you’re kinda stuffed, but hey, it’s the perfect reason to go on a trip to Croatia! Or shop online.

Now my grandmother would serve this cake with tiny little fresh cranberries at the top of each rib, but I couldn’t find any fresh ones in Sydney a few days ago and so I had to settle for strawberries and raspberries. But it does need some fruit and being of the season, red-coloured fruits are particularly festive.

You may also get some chocolate glaze left over and if that’s the case, it is super used as a dipping sauce for said red fruits, or for those who want extra glaze poured over their slice (or slices!) of cake. But the most important thing (I think) about this cake is that it’s flourless! Amazing for those gluten-free people and folks watching their weight, just don’t tell them about the chocolate!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 70 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 150 grams ground walnuts
  • Six (6) eggs
  • 100 grams dark cooking chocolate, melted
  • Three (3) tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  • 50mls rum

For the glaze:

  • Three (3) tablespoons of water
  • Two (2) tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 100 grams dark cooking chocolate
  • 80 grams unsalted butter

Serving:

  • Cranberries, or any red fruits you like
  • Whipped cream, if desired

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Method:

  1. Grease and flour your Srneći hrbat mould and tap to get rid of any excess flour. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine melted butter, sugar and separated eggs yolks.
  3. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs into the rum and let soak.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until you have soft peaks and add the egg whites, breadcrumb mix and ground walnuts to the butter mixture. Gently fold all the ingredients. Lastly add the melted chocolate and again, fold through the mixture.
  5. Before you pour the cake mixture into the mould, put the hrbat mould into a larger rectangular baking dish with four sides, this helps a lot! The hrbat mould is very shaky, so best to keep it safe and in another baking dish. Pour the mixture into the hrbat mould and place in the over for around 40 minutes or until ready.
  6. For the glaze, melt the chocolate, with water and icing sugar over a steam bath on the stove. Once the chocolate has almost melted add the butter and stir until all has melted. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  7. When the hrbat is done, let it completely cool and on a tray over a piece of baking paper, pour the glaze over the top and using a cooking brush, get all those ribs covered in glaze.
  8. I put mine in the fridge for around 30 minutes and if you have cranberries, add one to the top of each rib, if not, decorate as you like with red fruits and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Let me know if you tried this flourless cake named after a piece of meat and what you thought?

Dobar Tek! Zivjeli! (Bon Appetit! Cheers and let’s live!)

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