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by Heather Harris Brady

While researching this series of posts I came to the conclusion that the world needs a lot more detailed information on Viennese tortes. We’re awash in sticky updates on Sacher tortes, but everything else is pretty much a gray area. This is my version of a Bavarian torte, and I’ve named it after my grandmother’s side of the family. It has two layers of rich yet light and moist chocolate cake, filled with a whipped bavarian creme. We’ll be making the components separately (cake, creme filling, ganache) and then assembling.

Chocolate Almond Chiffon Cake, Makes two 9″ x 2.5″ cake layers and one 9″ x 1/2″ cake layer

We’ll only be using one layer for this torte so if cut the recipe in half if you don’t want the extra layers. I’m freezing the extra ones.

8 eggs, separated

2/3 c. olive oil

1 c. room temperature water

2 t. vanilla

2 t. almond extract

10 oz. unbleached all purpose flour

3 oz. dark cocoa powder

3 oz. almond flour

4 t. baking powder

14 oz. sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 and line the bottoms of 9″ springform pans with waxed paper. That’s it, don’t grease them. Beat the eggs with the oil, and then beat in the water and vanilla. Stir together the next four ingredients, and 1/3 of the sugar. Stir it into the egg yolks briskly for one minute. You’ll have a thick, brownie-like batter.

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Beat the egg whites until foamy, and gradually add the remaining sugar. Beat to stiff peaks.

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Fold the chocolate batter in gently.

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Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about 25 minutes, until the center springs back.

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Remove the sides of the pan and let the layers cool. Wrap the extras to freeze if you made the entire recipe. Make the bavarian cream.

Bavarian Cream Filling, Makes enough for one 9″ torte

2 c. milk

1/3 c. sugar

4 t. cornstarch

2 eggs

2 t. vanilla

1 T. butter

1 pint heavy whipping cream

2 T. sugar

1/3 c. cold water

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

[Since we’ve gone through this process before, I’m skipping some of the photos steps to keep the post shorter.] Heat the milk in a saucepan. Combine the sugar and cornstarch, whisk into the milk. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. As the milk thickens, beat some into the eggs and then add them into the pan.  When thick remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and cool completely. For faster cooling spread it in a shallow metal pan and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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While the pastry cream is cooling, make a ganache using 4 oz. dark chocolate, 1/2 c. whipping cream and 1 T. butter. Set aside to cool until it is the consistency of softened butter.

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Finish the bavarian cream:

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it soften. Whip the whipping cream with the sugar until light and fluffy. Turn off the mixer. Heat the gelatin in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until it’s dissolved. Turn the mixer on high and beat the gelatin into the whipped cream. Now beat the pastry cream in by spoonfuls.

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We’re ready to assemble! Level off any rounded top on your cake layer.

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Split it in half horizontally and sprinkle both halves with a little sherry. (This is optional but it rounds out the flavor nicely.) Wash and reassemble a springform pan. Put one cake layer in the pan and cover it with half of the cream filling.

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Now add the second layer and, using 1/3 of the cream that’s left, give it a crumb coat.

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You could just swirl the rest on the top if you want, but tortes are fancy so I’m going to do a ruffled top because I couldn’t find my big star tip for some reason.

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Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to make sure the cream filling is set. Remove the sides of the pan.

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At this point it’s a good idea to elevate the cake on something so you can finish the sides without making a mess. The really large tomato sauce cans work great. However, I was offering advice on my daughter’s book report to my left and cooking advice to my son on my right. . .and I forgot.

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Cover the sides with a nice thick coating of ganache and press in handfuls of sliced almonds if you like. Mound them up over the sides a little bit to finish the edge.

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Refrigerate until ready to serve. While the ingredients sound really rich, this torte is light and delicate. I would recommend finishing the outside edge with something because it’s nice little surprise at the finish of each piece. You could use dried chocolate cake crumbs if you don’t like nuts.

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Store leftovers in the refrigerator. This torte will keep three-four days if it lasts that long! It could easily be made a day or two in advance of a party, and kept lightly covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

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One year ago: Weeknight Lasagne

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