A traditional Hungarian torte comprised of 6 layers of sponge filled with chocolate buttercream topped with a caramelized cake layer and caramel-dipped hazelnuts
- 10 large egg yolks
- 7 large egg whites
- 1 pound 3 1/2 cups or 453 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup 94 grams or 3 1/3 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 4 oz egg whites
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 12 oz unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- oz dark chocolate melted and cooled slightly but still pourable
- 5 oz granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 12 pcs peeled hazelnuts
- Trace a 9" circle on eight pieces of parchment paper (you can use the bottom of a cake pan or a cake board for this). Spray each piece liberally with your choice of cake pan spray and dust with confectioner's sugar. Lay out the pieces on your counter. Also, have ready several cooling racks lightly sprayed with cake pan spray.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and place a rack in the center of your oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the 10 egg yolks for a few minutes at high speed, until pale and thickened. Reduce speed and gradually add sugar, then increase the speed and beat the yolks and sugar until thick and glossy. Scrape bowl occasionally with rubber spatula. Reduce speed again and gradually add flour and salt. Increase speed and beat for 3 minutes more, then stir in lemon juice. Scrape bowl again with a rubber spatula.
- In a separate bowl with a clean whisk, beat 7 of the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Stir a few heaping spoonfuls of the whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it. Then gently fold in the rest of the whites in three additions.
- Spread about 1/2-3/4 cup of batter onto each piece of parchment paper and spread it to the edges of circles with an offset spatula. Spread batter to about 1/4-inch thickness in each circle. Be careful not to leave any holes in the batter. You will slide each parchment piece onto the cookie sheet right before baking.
- Bake each layer for 8-9 minutes, or until just golden with some dark brown spots. When layer is baked, remove it from the oven and immediately cut out an 8" circle using a parchment circle sprayed with baking spray and a pizza cutter or a tart ring (or a cake pan but make sure you spray it).
- Turn out the cake layers onto prepared cooling racks and peel back parchment paper.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until the egg-sugar mixture is very warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved (or a candy thermometer reads 140°F). Place the egg-sugar syrup into mixer and whip on high with the whisk attachment until the bowl has cooled to almost room temp (approx. 15 minutes).
- Meanwhile cut up butter into two-inch pieces. Turn mixer down to “stir” or the low setting and begin adding the butter pieces a few at a time over a minute or two until all the butter is added.
- Turn mixer up to medium-low speed and incorporate all the butter for a few minutes. Take off whisk attachment, scrape bowl, and put on paddle attachment. Continue to mix at medium high speed for another five minutes or until mixture emulsifies into a soft buttercream. Add vanilla extract and cooled chocolate and mix for another few minutes until incorporated.
- Place first cake layer on a serving tray (or cake board about 8.25") and spread about 1/4 cup chocolate buttercream with an offset spatula. The filling must be spread fairly thinly to have enough for all layers and the outsides of the cake. Repeat for 6 more layers (reserving the 7th cake layer for the caramel).
- Then frost the entire cake, reserving about 1/4 cup buttercream for the hazelnut rosettes. Chill for about 2 hours or until firm.
- Score the top of the cake into 16 slices. Use a flower tip to pipe 12 rosettes in the middle of each slice. These will later be topped with caramelized hazelnuts if desired.
- LIghtly spray a piece of parchment paper with baking paper. Place last cake layer on this sheet. Lightly grease a large chef’s knife and a pizza cutter and set aside. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan and gently swirl it until the sugar melts and begins to turn amber colored. Do not stir. Quickly and carefully, pour this over the prepared cake layer and spread it evenly with an offset spatula right over the outer edges. Wait about a minute then use your pizza wheel to trim the outside edge. Put these hardened pieces back into the pan to reheat later for the hazelnuts.
- Using the prepared knife, quickly cut into 16 pieces by first cutting into half then quarters, then eighths, then sixteenths (again think of a clock). Leave in place, then cool completely. Once fully cooled, cut edges of shapes again, to ensure that you can remove them cleanly. Arrange caramel pieces or wedges over cake, propping them up decoratively with the hazelnuts.
- Chill cake until 2 hours before serving. Cake can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Caramelized Hazelnuts (optional)
- Gently insert toothpicks into the hazelnuts.
- Set a cutting board on the edge of a counter and place a piece of parchment paper on the floor beneath to catch excess caramel.
- Reheat the leftover caramel over low heat until it just liquid. Remove from the heat. Dip the hazelnuts into the caramel, then lift up and allow excess to drip back into the pan (see video). When the caramel starts turning stringy insert the toothpick between the cutting board and a counter and allow it to fully set. Remove the toothpicks to decorate the cake.