Malakoff Torte


by Heather Harris Brady

Legend has it this torte came about during the days of the Crimean War, when someone wanted to celebrate a victory but didn’t have time or means to bake anything. Even if you’re battling nothing more than a busy schedule this torte makes a beautiful and impressive dessert.

As it is sort of an Austrian trifle, I put it together in the hour between picking my daughter from dance and getting my son off to driver’s ed. This version is based on the recipe from Rick Rodger’s Kaffeehaus cookbook. Rum is the traditional flavoring but I used mainly sherry because I had it on hand. While it’s not difficult you should read the entire post before you get started, so you know how to time everything.

You do need a ready supply of ladyfingers, either homemade or store-bought like these:


Malakoff Torte, Makes one 9″ torte

  • One large package of ladyfingers/savoiardi biscuits
  • Light bavarian cream filling (recipe follows)
  • 6 c. stabilized whipping cream for frosting (just 4 c. if you’re not decorating it)

Bavarian cream filling:

2 c. milk

2 egg yolks

1/3 c. sugar

2 pkgs. unflavored gelatin

1 pt. whipping cream

2 T. sherry or rum

Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat and beat the egg yolks together with the sugar.



Whisk some of the hot milk into the egg yolks and whisk it all into the pan on the stove. Put the sherry in a bowl and add the gelatin to let it soften. Microwave it for a few seconds until it dissolves. Then whisk it into the cream.


Pour the cream into a shallow metal pan and cool it until just barely set. Whip the cream to stiff peaks, and fold in the gelatin cream. Return it to the refrigerator while you get the pan ready.

Heat 1/3 c. of water and 1/3 c. sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 T. sherry or rum. Open the package of biscuits and quickly dip each one in the sugar syrup then lay it into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.


Repeat until you’ve covered the bottom of the pan. Add a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips if you like.


Then cover the biscuits with half of the bavarian cream.


Heat 1/3 c. of water and 1/3 c. sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 t. almond extract. Do another layer of biscuits, then spread the rest of the cream on top.


Heat 1/3 c. of water and 1/3 c. sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 T. sherry or rum and one final layer of biscuits on top. Chill the cake for at least four hours (preferably overnight). Then run a knife around the pan and remove the outside ring. You should have a cake that looks something like this:


Cover the entire cake with the stabilized whipped cream. I just did a crumb layer here because I’m decorating for company! Note – this time I remembered to elevate the cake first!


I used one of my largest star tips and starting in the middle of each one, I just did loose swirls all over the top and around the sides.


Keep the cake and any leftovers cold. The flavors blend nicely over a day or two. My son said the cake tastes the way vanilla smells, which is pretty accurate considering all the sherry and almond flavoring.



One year ago: Apple crisp


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