Out East End Recipe: Chef Rob Miketa’s Potica Cake

Chef Rob Miketa and his husband Charlie Means make Potica cake
Chef Rob Miketa and his husband Charlie Means make Potica cake
Courtesy Rob Miketa

Try this Potica cake recipe from Cordon Bleu-trained, Hamptons private chef Rob Miketa for an easy way to experience the Croatian nut roll tradition, if you don’t have time to make a full batch of Potica, aka Povitica.

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup softened butter (you can also use 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening)
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks, room temperature, beaten
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110–115°F)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling Ingredients:

2 cups finely ground walnuts
1 cup chopped dates (or raisins)
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tbsp rum (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Powdered sugar for garnish or a simple powdered sugar glaze for garnish.

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the milk; cool. Whisk in the egg yolks until blended. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with a pinch of flour and sugar to bloom.

3. In a larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt; add the butter mixture and yeast mixture. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes (this dough will be sticky). Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours. This time helps mature the dough and also makes it easier to handle.

4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the nuts, dates (or raisins), milk, honey, cinnamon and rum (if using). Cook and stir until mixture forms a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool a bit.

5. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the cup of sugar, and continue whipping on high until stiff peaks form. Add the extracts and then fold this into the nut mixture.

6. Onto a floured surface place the dough and cut it in half. Roll out each portion into approximately 20”x10” rectangles. Place half the filling evenly atop each rectangle and roll them up somewhat tightly like a “jelly-roll.” Place one into a well-greased bundt pan, seam-side-up, and then place the second roll seam-side-down onto the first. I like to place the end connections (pinch them together) on opposite sides of the pan; the rolls will bake into one cake.

7. Bake at 350°F until deep golden brown, 60–75 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan onto a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar or make a simple powdered sugar glaze and drizzle across the cake as desired.

Enjoy!

Rob Miketa has cooked for celebrities, such as Caroline Kennedy, Julian Schnabel, Calvin Klein, Jan Wenner and Yoko Ono, worked in kitchens at two Michelin star restaurants and opened five Manhattan restaurants as executive chef, including Tribeca Grand Hotel, Mare Mare and Washington Place among others. His food has been regaled by the likes of Gael Greene, Florence Fabricant and New York magazine.

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