Mom’s Rhubarb-Apricot Platz


Mom's Apricot Platz - trust in kim


This is a recipe I grew up eating: my Mennonite Mom’s platz.  It is a thin coffee cake with fruit and streusel on top.  Sometimes on the second day the cake layer would get  a bit dried out, but I didn’t mind too much because the fruit and streusel were so yummy.  For this recipe I used a combination of rhubarb and apricots, but plums are another favourite.

Even though the photos show a thick round cake, I grew up with it baked thinly in rectangular form, which was cut into squares.

What you need for the cake:

1/2 cup butter (the original recipe called for crisco or margarine)

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

about 1/2 cup milk

2-3 cups chopped fruit of your choice

What you need for the streusel:

1/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

pinch salt

splash of vanilla

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 35oF.

2. To make the cake, cream the  1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar well.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Crack the egg into a measuring cup and mix it up a little with a fork.  Add enough milk to the measuring cup so it reaches the 2/3 cup mark.

5. Mix in some of the liquid and alternate with the dry ingredients. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a buttered 9 x 13 inch pan.

6. Spread the fruit on top of the batter.

7. To make the streusel topping just combine all the ingredients; my mom says to do it with a whisk, but I just used a fork and then mixed it with my hands, and then sprinkled it on the cake with my hands.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

apricot platz - trust in kim

rhubarb platz - trust in kim

Bienenstich or Bee Sting Cake


When I was growing up I attended a lot of Mennonite weddings and funerals, and this cake was always present, and always my favourite food.  There are three parts to this cake – light vanilla cake, a coconutty-buttery-almondy-sugary baked topping, and a whipped cream filling . . . decadent!  It’s a bit of work, but so worth it.  I made it for a party recently (not just for weddings and funerals!) and everyone raved about it.  I sure hope there’s Bienenstich at my funeral!

I found this version on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog.

What you need for the cake:

1/2 cup milk, scalded

1 tablespoon butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

What you need for the topping:

1/4 cup melted chocolate

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cream

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup slivered almonds

What you need for the cream filling:

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix, like Oetkers’s

What you do for the cake and topping:

1. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Beat the eggs and gradually add the sugar, beating until it is thick and light in colour.  Mix in the vanilla.

3. Mix in the dry ingredients only until they are incorporated.

4. To scald the milk, first rinse your pot with a little cold water.  This should help avoid scorching the milk.  Then put the milk in, place on medium heat, and stir until the milk has almost boiled.  Add the butter to the scalded milk and stir until it melts.

5.  Slowly add the milk to the cake batter, and mix until incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, inserting a toothpick when you think it’s done to see if the toothpick comes out clean.

7.  Just before the cake comes out of the oven, melt the butter and mix together all of the topping ingredients.  Spread the topping over the cake, all the way to the edges.  Broil, watching very very carefully so it doesn’t burn! until the topping is bubbling.

8.  Let the cake cool, then remove it from the pan and put it in the freezer for an hour or so.  This will make it much easier to cut the top off to make room for the cream filling.

What to do for the filling:

1.  Add the sugar, vanilla and vanilla pudding mix to the whipping cream.  Beat it until it forms firm peaks

2.  Remove the cake from the freezer, then cut it horizontally.

3.  Spread the whipping cream onto the bottom layer, then place the top on the cream.

4.  Freeze the cake until you are going to serve it.  If you slice it while it is frozen it won’t squish all the cream out.  Then just let it sit for about half an hour before serving.  Of course, lots of people love eating it while it’s still frozen – they can’t wait for it to thaw, so yummy!