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Jan 2, 2009 06:11 AM

what is this sweet bread/cake?

I had a New Year's day open house and people brought all kinds of gifts -- regifted jam, wine that had turned, a plant, eggs, and one person brought this very, very delicious cake.

It's light/white flour kind of like an irish soda bread with almonds (no caraway/fennel). They sliced it, toasted and sprinkled sugar, and reasembled it. It is very delicious. I'm wondering if this is a traditional holiday cake. I don't know who gave it to me so I'm turning to my fellow 'hounds to ask.

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  1. If it had some raisins and/or red and green bits in it, I'd say it was a fancied up yulekage. It sounds delicious as is, tho.
    Did you tell your guests that re-gifting was okay? I'm all for finding a home for jellies and jams if you know someone that would like them better than you would. I have recieved red pepper jellies mixed with various fruit that were wonderful. I tend to re-gift anything with mango, since I am seriously allergic but who would bring wine that had turned?? yuk!

    1. That sounds like some variation of Mandelbrot to me, NY. Like a biscotti, but of German and then Jewish tradition. Almond bread that is sliced, toasted and sometimes reassembled.

      I can't vouch for the recipe I'm linking. Just wanted to show it to you to see if it sounds similar to your goodies.

      (Btw, although the recipe I linked does not contain baking soda, I *know* I've seen recipes Mandelbrot through the years that do contain it...hence, your reference to Irish Soda Bread.)

      1. No, it's not mandelbrot, since mandelbrot is a twice-baked hard cookie, like an almond biscotti. It sounds like German Christmas stollen, which is a light, sweet yeast bread usually with raisins and almonds in it, sometimes other candied fruit.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dixieday2

          I know that west indians do a sweetbread which is delicious. It's like a quick bread and has coconut in it. Similar texture to a banana bread but no bananas. And the sugar on top is a must. Does this sound possible?

          1. re: dixieday2

            Mandelbrot is one of those elusive things for which there are many variations on recipes, but before it is toasted or re-baked, it can be quite soft, like biscotti. Some of the biscotti recipes I've used can also be quite soft and downright bready (not risen high, but bready) until the second baking.

            I think the name Mandelbrot means, "almond bread" in German, and the breadiness after the first baking but before the second is attributable in some recipes to multiple eggs, as with some biscotti recipes. It didn't sound like Stollen to me, dixie, but probably only because NY didn't specifically mention the citron and candied fruit or raisins I've always seen in it. OTOH, Stollen was one of my family's Christmas traditions, and sometimes we had it with slivered almonds in it, and sometimes filled with a little marzipan. One of the things that throws me off is that I've never seen Stollen presented in that manner--sliced, toasted, re-assembled, but Mandelbrot sometimes is. (Which doesn't mean much beyond the fact that I've never seen Stollen done that way, and I don't know about any regional differences.) So that's a good question you've raised, and if it has those inclusions of the candied fruit, etc., that you've mentioned, that might help to identify it. Whatever it is, though, it sounds pretty good, huh? I wouldn't mind a little piece of it right now with a cuppa. ;-)

          2. Every ethnicity has its own version of an almond cake. Italians traditionally celebrate Easter with a cake similar to the one you described, called La Colomba. Maybe the cake you received was regifted, or received a bit prematurely, but either way, no loss, as long as it tasted really good.

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