Tortes are cakes made with ground nuts or bread crumbs and little or no flour, and they are usually only about 2 inches high. But there are many exceptions to this definition, and tortes look very different from one another. Unlike the Mocha Walnut Torte, which is very light and delicate, this torte has a delightful and distinct nutty texture, and is filled with a layer of raspberry preserves, then covered with whipped cream. Serve it with a demitasse of piping hot espresso for a spectacular combination.
SERVES 6 TO 8
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup bread crumbs, preferably white bread
2 cups (9 ounces) ground almonds*
в…› teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy or whipping cream, well chilled
2 tablespoons sugar
Вј teaspoon almond extract
в…” cup raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chocolate curls for decoration (I use a bar of Bakers German’s sweet chocolate)
*Grind the almondsвЂ”a handful at a timeвЂ”in a blender or food processor, and spoon into a measuring cup. Do not pack.
- Preheat the oven to 325В°F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with wax paper, then butter the wax paper.
- With an electric beater beat together the egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl until very pale and thick.
- Mix the baking powder with the bread crumbs and add to the egg mixture along with the almonds. Beat until blended; it will be very thick and crumbly. After beating use a knife to break up the clumps into small pieces.
- Clean the beaters thoroughly. In a separate large bowl beat the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add the salt, then beat until they are stiff but not dry. (They will beat better if they are warm or at room temperature.)
- Stir one-third of the egg whites into the almond mixture to lighten the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. The batter will look somewhat clumpy.
- Scrape into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and springy to the touch. The cakes should also have begun to shrink from the sides of the pans. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert and peel away the wax paper. Cool thoroughly, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, whip the cream with the sugar and almond extract until very stiff. To assemble the torte place one layer top side down on a plate. Mix the raspberry preserves with the lemon juice and spread on evenly to within ВЅ inch of the edge. Top with the other layer top side down. Spread all over with the whipped cream and smooth it on evenly. Garnish with the chocolate curls.
NOTE: To make chocolate curls place a semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar over a flame or hot electric burner for a few seconds, or just long enough to slightly warm the surface. Do not let the flame get near it. With a vegetable peeler shave off curls onto the top of the torte until the cake is nicely decorated.