A new recipe I’d like to share with you is a Hazelnut Torte. A lot of people in America don’t know what a torte is since they never grew up with them. They’re much more familiar with cakes.
Back home in America, most people can easily recognize a cake. They’re pretty basic, usually double-layered with some sort of frosting, such as a buttercream frosting. In fact, most Americans see a torte and automatically call it a cake. Though similar, they’re pretty different.
A torte is usually just a slightly more complicated cake when I think about it, though. Originating in Europe, it consists of several layers of some kind of cake-like sponge, a filing in between each layer (usually a jam), and a frosting of some sort. So basically, a torte is just a cake with more layers and a filling.
Most tortes that I make have varying toppings, also. In this case, it has a cashew florentine cookie. Florentine are thin, nougat-like cookies that are really easy to make and stunning on various desserts.
This dessert can get quite stressful if you aren’t organized so make sure you get everything measured out, ready, and set in place before you start so you don’t mess anything up. Also, you can do the sponge and curd a day or two ahead, the florentine cookie a day before, and the buttercream the day-of. This helps break it into smaller parts for you but make sure not to put the torte sponge in the fridge. This dries it out.
Also, I’ve included the metric measurements as measuring by the metric system is much more precise. If it has a g. it’s grams. mL. means milliliter.
Now, onto the recipe!
Hazelnut Torte with Lime Curd, Citrus Buttercream, and Cashew Florentine Cookies
Hazelnut Torte: Makes 6 8’’ circular cakes (or 2 fully-made tortes)
***High Altitude Notes: I’m at 11,000 feet with pressure inside the station at the South Pole. Here are my notes for success. Increase the bread flour to 6 oz, increase egg yolks to 2 pounds, and increase salt to 3/4 oz. Whip the egg whites slightly past medium peaks in step 4.***
Cake Flour- 11 oz. (312 g.)
Bread Flour- 4 oz. (113 g.)
Ground Cinnamon- 1 tsp. (2 g.)
Hazelnuts (toasted/finely ground)– 11 oz. (312 g.)
Egg Yolks- 1 lbs. 14 oz. (851 g.)
Confectioners’ Sugar, sifted- 9 oz. (255 g.)
Vanilla Extract- 2 tsp. (10 mL.)
Lemon Zest, grated- 1 Tbsp. (9 g.)
Salt- 1/2 oz. (14 g.)
Egg Whites- 1 lbs. 14 oz. (851 g.)
Granulated Sugar- 9 oz. (255 g.)
1. Cut out 6 8’’ parchment circles. Grease each 8’’ cake pan with butter or cooking spray and line with the parchment circles.
2. Sift the cake flour, bread flour, and cinnamon together. Combine the hazelnuts with the dry ingredients.
3. Whip together the egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt on high with the whip attachment until thick and light in color, about 5 minutes.
4. Whip the egg whites on medium speed with a spotless whip attachment until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar while still whipping until medium peaks.
5. Gently fold one-third of the beaten egg whites in the egg yolk mixture to tighten it to a similar consistency of the egg whites. Fold in the rest of the egg whites gently.
6. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients.
7. Scale 1 lbs. (454 g.) batter into each pan. Bake at 350 F(177 C) until the center of a cake is firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and unfold onto racks to cool down.
For Lime Curd:
Butter, Cubed- 1 lbs. 5 oz. (595 g.) Split Uses
Sugar- 1 lb. 2 oz. (510 g.) Split Uses
Lime Juice- 18 fl oz (540 mL)
Lime Zest, grated- 1 1/4 oz. (35 g.)
Egg Yolks- 1 lb. 2 oz. (510 g.)
1. Combine 10 1/2 oz. butter, 9 oz. sugar, the lime juice, and the lime zest in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Meanwhile, blend the egg yolks with the remaining 9 oz. sugar. Temper by gradually adding about one-third of the lime juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan. Continue cooking, stirring constantly with the whisk until it comes to a boil.
3. Stir in the remaining butter. Strain the curd into a large shallow center or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the curd. Cool over an ice water bath or place in the coldest part of your fridge.
For Citrus Buttercream:
Butter, softened- 1 lbs. (454 g.)
Confectioners’ Sugar- 1 lbs. 5 oz. (595 g.)
Oranges, juiced and zested- 2
Vanilla Extract- 1 1/2 Tbsp. (22 mL.)
1. Soften the butter in the microwave for 45 seconds. Add to your mixer and blend with whip attachment until light and smooth.
2. Add in the sugar and mix by hand with a spatula until slightly mixed. This is to avoid the dreaded puff of powdered sugar all over your kitchen. Blend with the whip attachment on medium for 2 minutes.
3. Add the juice and zest from your two oranges and the vanilla extract. Mix until light and fluffy, around 6 minutes, on high. Set at room temperatures if you’re using it that day or cover and refrigerate. The day you’re using it, put it back on your mixer and blend until light and fluffy again.
For Cashew Florentine: Makes 6 Circles (60 Florentine Cookies)
***High-Altitude Notes: I had to make my own heavy cream by blending cream cheese with milk. I also had to let the cream mixture boil a few seconds longer in step 1. I baked the florentine in step 3 for 10-12 minutes.***
Heavy Cream- 7 fl oz. (210 mL.)
Sugar- 8 oz. (227 g.)
Butter 2 oz. (57 g.)
Cashews, finely ground 12 oz. (340 g.)
Cake Flour 1/2 oz. (14 g.)
1. Trace six 8’’ circles out of parchment paper. Line sheet pans with the parchment paper. Combine the cream, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Blend in the cashews and flour. Remove the pan from the heat. Divide the mixture among the 6 parchment circles, spreading thinly and evenly.
3. Bake at 300 F until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Allow the Florentines to rest on the sheet pans until they are set and no longer sticky, but are still warm.
4. Trim the edges using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter and immediately cut each round into 10 even wedges while it’s still warm. Separate the florentines onto a pan and cool completely before applying to the cake.
***You can dip the bigger end into melted chocolate or powdered sugar for a great contrast in color.***
To Assemble the Hazelnut Torte:
1. Cut each hazelnut torte sponge in half. Place a small dollop of buttercream frosting onto your cake stand to keep the torte in place.
2. Position one sponge cake layer onto your cake stand. Put a layer of your lime curd on top and place another layer of sponge cake on top of that. Repeat until you have 5 layers of lime curd and 6 layers of sponge cake, leaving the very top of your cake clean.
3. Place a good amount of frosting on top of the Hazelnut Torte. Spread out your frosting on the top of your cake so it makes a smooth, level top. If it’s not level, add more frosting to make it even.
4. Add large globs of frosting all along the top edges of the Hazelnut Torte. Smooth those globs down onto the sides of the cake. Put enough frosting along the edges to make a rounded, smooth surface. If it’s not flat, add more frosting!
5. With a pastry bag or a ziplock bag, pipe 8 spirals dollops of frosting all along the top edges of your cake. Place one florentine cookie diagonally straight into each mound of frosting with the large end of the cookie facing out and the pointy end towards the inside. I like to turn my cookies slightly sideways for a more dramatic effect.
6. Put your finished torte in the fridge for 30 minutes to solidify the buttercream and so the cookies don’t fall over. Pull the torte out an hour before you’re going to serve it to soften the frosting.
7. Serve and enjoy!
It should look something like this!
This recipe is quite a lengthy one but with stringent planning ahead of time, this cake will come together the day-of within minutes.
My time line I use for the Hazelnut Torte goes like this:
2 days before serving: Make the sponge cake and lime curd.
1 day before serving: Make the florentine cookies
The day of: Make the buttercream and assemble!
The day with the most work is the first day. Making the sponge cake and lime curd isn’t hard but each one is time sensitive. If you’re not prepared and don’t have everything prepped out, you’ll fail miserably.
Otherwise, each day should really only take you about 30 minutes of actual work. The rest is cook-times and cooling-times so don’t be too scared to try such an ambitious recipe.
Another great topping for the Hazelnut Torte cake is small and decadent truffles on top of the little pillows of buttercream instead of the florentine cookies. Here’s a recipe for that:
Dark Chocolate Truffles
Other recipes from my site that you should look at are!…:
If you need any pointers or help with a particularly daunting step, feel free to comment on here and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for following!