Torta de Ochenta Golpes
Yields two 9” cakes
1 oz. fresh yeast [also called compressed or cake yeast]
3 tablespoons warm water [100ºF to 110ºF]
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup flour
7 tablespoons [just under 1 stick] butter, softened
scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup warm milk
4 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter [reserve remaining butter to prepare cake pan]
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, toasted
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 generous pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, toasted
2 – 9” springform pans or round cake pans
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, and then add the sugar and flour to create a thick paste. Leave the mixture to rise and bubble for 10 to 15 minutes.
Whisk together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the milk and continue to beat the mixture briefly. [Note: Do not be concerned about the chunks of butter floating in the milk. They will disappear as you continue to work with the dough.] Add the yeast sponge and the egg, and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Slowly incorporate the flour, stirring until the dough comes together into a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface, and work in any stray bits of dough or flour with your hands. Pick up and slam the dough against the work surface 80 times or until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel, for about 45 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle to a thickness of about 1/4″. Brush the dough with melted butter, and then sprinkle it with the sugar, nuts, spices, and raisins. Roll up the dough into a log, starting from the long side, and cut it with a serrated knife into 3/4″-thick pieces.
Brush the bottom of the cake pan with the remainder of the melted butter. Place the rolls in the cake pan, leaving a bit of space between them for expansion as they rise. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about an hour or until doubled in volume. Sprinkle the top with a few pinches of sugar and the remaining nuts.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for approximately 40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. Cover with aluminum foil if the top is browning too quickly. Remove the cake from the pan while still hot, and allow it to cool before serving.