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Sweet Mystery: CakeSpy Needs Your Help!

Pastry from Hess Bakery, Tacoma
There's no delicate way to put it: this pastry, purchased at Hess Bakery in Tacoma, kind of looks like a mound of poop. A delicately swirled mound of poop, mind you.

But it's got a secret inside:
Pastry from Hess Bakery, Tacoma

What makes up this mountain of yum? Well, what you've got is a bottom layer of yellow cake, topped with a mound of cake crumbs mixed with buttercream, which is then topped by a cascade of rich chocolate which is firm but yielding (not crunchy) when you bite into it. 

It is completely decadent and delicious--and officially the newest CakeSpy obsession.


However, what is unclear is the confection's story and name. It being that it was purchased from a German bakery, it likely has Teutonic roots; the bakery employee I spoke to called it a "granachebitter" -- but I am spelling this phonetically as she was not sure how it was spelled and the baker was not around to field questions. It's possible that I mis-heard and the first part was "ganache" (which seems like it would make sense), but I am not sure!

And so I appeal to you, dear readers: does anyone know what this baked good is, or where a recipe might be found? 

UPDATE! Per a tip from German CakeSpy reader Iris, I've learned that the pastry in question is actually called Granatsplitter, which translates to "Shrapnel" or "Shell Splinters". Well, it certainly is an explosively delicious treat! This recipe suggests Granatsplitter as a good way to use leftover cake.

Also, we've gotten a recipe! Savvy CakeSpy reader Teresa enlisted the help of a German acquaintance to translate this recipe for the Granatsplitter! 

Granatsplitter Recipe

  • 150 gm flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 gm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons "vanilla sugar"
  • 1 tablespoon Rum
  • 2 tablespoons millk or water
  • 50 gm butter

To be put on the dough:
  • 125 gm coconut-fat
  • 65g powdered sugar
  • 1,5 teaspoons vanilla-sugar
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 75gm chopped almonds (have to be chopped as a pencil, long shaped)

  • 75g powdered sugar
  • 25g cocoa
  • 2,5 tablespoons hot water
  • 25g melted butter
  1. Mix flour and baking powder and put through a sief on a baking board.
  2. Make a hole in the middle and put sugar, spices and liquids in and part of the flour.
  3. Put the cold fat, cut in pieces, on top of it, cover with flour and form dough.
  4. If it is sticky, refrigerate for a while. Then make a thin dough from a round mold (like for round cookies) and bake 10 minutes at 175-195 degree C.
  5. Let the coconut fat melt and refrigerate. Put powdered sugar through a sief, add vanilla sugar, cocoa (sief) and rum in a bowl and stir bit by bit with egg and handwarm coco-fat. Break half of the cookies in pieces and mix with the almonds in the cocoa-dough. Put this dough hill-shaped on the rest of the cookies.
  6. Topping: put cocoa and powdered sugar through a sief and add water and liquid butter until like liqued chocolate. Put on top of the cookies and refrigerate.

If you're in the Tacoma area, you can get one for yourself (and don't forget to pick up a Pretzel Roll too!) at Hess Bakery, Hess Bakery & Deli • 6108 Mt. Tacoma Drive SW • Lakewood, WA (253)577-5888; online at hessbakery.com.


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Reader Comments (25)

A pile of chocolate goodness!! That is what that is. YUM!

Whatever it is it looks awesome! :P

My two favorite subjects-mystery and chocolate. Wish I knew the answer--and wish I lived in Tacoma to try this beautiful creation.

I have no idea what that is, but from your description and the picture, it wouldn't be hard to recreate.

I am drooling! It looks way too good!

I've seen similar things in Italian bakeries! No idea what it's called though.

May 6 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

This is a Chanteclair (might be spelling slightly wrong), a French pastry very popular in Russia. Try googling a couple of different spellings for this to get a recipe.

Oh, yum. Now I'm looking for the next birthday party to reverse engineer that - God knows I don't need a whole batch of those in my kitchen.

That looks like a short version of a high hat. Elinor Klivans has a delicious recipe in her Cupcakes! book, but it isn't buttercream and cake crumbs she uses to top it - it's more of a 7-minute frosting. But still, they are the same basic thing!

May 6 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

I came to say what Lauren said but didn't want to leave without adding a comment. : P

I'm so happy you mentioned Hess! I lived in Tacoma about 15 years ago. My dad used every excuse and event plausible to get a Black Forest cake from them. Yummy!

May 6 | Unregistered CommenterAJ

Wait! That looks just like a tasty treat I got at a Danish pastry shop - it was called a flodeboller. It was a mountain of gooey marshmallow balanced on top of a crispy-buttery wafer cookie and then coated in chocolate. Different components but same construction.

Oh dear god I have no idea! But I want one of those piles of poop pronto!

May 6 | Unregistered CommenterEB

Hello CakeSpy,

in Germany this is called "Granatsplitter" (literally shell splinters). I don't know where this name comes from, but those things are really addictive and as a child I always begged to have one (they are so filling - you cannot eat more) at our local bakery. Sometimes the cakecrumbs are bigger and more like broken pieces of cake - maybe they are made of leftovers from the fancy cakes.
Greetings from Germany, Iris

May 6 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Your description of the middle sounds a lot like Bakerella's "http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2007/12/red-velvet-cake-balls.html" REL="nofollow">Cake Balls".
I'd play with the proportions (more cream than cake), perhaps use a chocolate cake, and make sure not to overmix.

Then I'd just make a thin yellow sheet cake (on a cookie sheet). Cut out circles, mound or pipe with the filling and then make a simple ganache (melted chocolate/heavy cream?) and just pour it over. Should get you close. Or: when the cake and filling are assembled, put in the freezer until hard and then dip into a tall but deep ganache vessel to make sure you get a nice thin layer. If your cake/filling is cold enough it should keep pretty well (think softserve ice cream dipped into chocolate).

May 6 | Unregistered Commenteryse

That is one good looking pile of poop.
I have no idea what its called, but I'd say its made as yse says above. If that's not right, I'd love to know the actual way, and the name. Can't wait to make this.

Laughing @ Janet Rudolph! I thought that first line was going to read: My two favorite subjects-mystery and poop!

Cakespy! Only YOU could so charmingly and appetizingly incorporate poop into a post about chocolate delicacies! LOLOL

Oh, and I forgot to ask: how tall was the Granatsplitter?

Hmm, I was going to suggest a visit to the new chocolate and pastry place approached from the parking lot to the east of Cafe Flora - it has definite Swiss or German leanings and there was some mounded thing covered in chocolate in the case last Sunday.
Did not taste or buy anything, but thought you needed to know they are open.

May 6 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

It's a Krembo (a popular treat in Israel)!!!


May 6 | Unregistered CommenterMerav

Hey! I know you're recovering from your art show but you seriously need to shake yourself off and come to the Cupcake Classic tonight in Sammamish...you'll have a great time, I promise! Email me and I'll give you the details! Sorry for the short notice - but spies are used to that, right? xo, Nan

There is also a version of this that has a little more cake, like a cupcake with the mound on top and its called a Hi-Hat. The cupcake versions are in a lot of bake shops. "My Little Cupcake" in Los Angeles is one place that has them.

It reminds me of the Hi-hat Cupcakes in that Elinor Klivans Cupcakes book. I think she uses some extra cooked/whipped seven minute frosting...

May 7 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Hey, my mom lives a few blocks away from Hess Bakery! The preeeeeetzel rolllllllllllllls!

May 9 | Unregistered Commenter808jgirl

Hahahahaha! Leftover cake! Hahahahaha!

Those look so good. I'm glad someone had a recipe..I was starting to lose sleep over it lol. Wonder where coconut fat can be found.

May 11 | Unregistered Commenterdefientchef
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