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For the month of January, Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake also known as the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream? This Torte is not to be rushed in preparation and she recommends making the torte layers one day and the rest of the cake the following day, or to assemble it but leave the decoration for another day.

In the 19th century, a confectioner from Budapest baked and named the Esterhazy Torte after the wealthy Prince Paul III Anton Esterhazy de Galantha, a member of the Esterhazy dynasty and diplomat of the Austrian Empire. This recipe traditionally uses toasted hazelnuts. I had to scale down by half because it would have taken me hours to get the skin off so many hazelnuts before I got started with the torte. Kudos to Jelena for sharing this spectacular cake with us!

ESTERHAZY TORTE

Ingredients:

For the Hazelnut Sponge Layers

12 large egg whites

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (9 oz) (250 gm) caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons (2/3 oz) (20 gm) vanilla sugar

2½ cups (9 oz) (250 gm) ground hazelnuts

2/3 cup (2¾ oz) (80 gm) plain (all purpose) flour

For the Hazelnut Cream

12 large egg yolks

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (9 oz) (250 gm) caster (superfine) sugar

2 tablespoons (2/3 oz) (20 gm) vanilla sugar

1 -1/3 cups (10½ oz) (300 gm) butter at room temperature

1½ cups (5-1/3 oz)(150 gm) toasted ground hazelnuts

For the Apricot Jam Glaze

Around 3 tablespoons (45 ml) (1-2/3 oz) (45 gm) apricot jam

1 teaspoon (5 ml) water

For the White Icing

2½ to 3¼ cups (10-2/3 to 14 oz) (300-400 gm) icing sugar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) sunflower oil

3-4 teaspoons (15-20 ml) lemon juice

Around 4 tablespoons (60 ml) hot water

For the Chocolate Decoration

1/4 cup (1¾ oz) (50 gm) dark chocolate

1 teaspoon (5 ml) oil

3/4 cup (3½ oz) (100 gm) roughly chopped hazelnuts

Method:

  • Place hazelnuts in a cold oven and increase temperature to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  • Bake them until a nice aroma starts to come out of the oven and the nuts have become darker.
  • Continue till their skins almost turn black or dark brown and the nuts becomes caramel colored.

  • Watch the oven carefully since the nuts can easily burn. It should take about 15 to 25 minutes.
  • This baking process brings out the aroma of the hazelnuts needed for the cake. Let them cool.
  • Set aside ¾ cup toasted nuts and roughly chop them. These will go around the cake at the end.

  • The rest need to be ground. A grinding machine is best else the nuts will turn into creamy mush.
  • If you are using a processor do it in short pulses so they do have the consistency of fine powder.
  • Divide ground nuts into 2 batches of 2½ and 1½ cups for the sponge and the filling respectively.

Hazelnut [Dacquoise] Layers

  • Beat egg whites while gradually adding sugar and vanilla sugar for 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  • Turn the mixer to the lowest speed. Add hazelnuts mixed with the flour and beat until just combined.
  • Cut baking paper into five squares large enough to draw a circle of 25cm in diameter on the squares.

  • Turn the baking paper over and place one piece of paper with the circle onto an up-side down tray.
  • Delicately spoon one-fifth of the beaten egg white mixture inside the circle drawn on the baking paper.
  • Place the tray into an preheated moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3 oven and bake for 14 minutes.

  • It will look soft but that is how we want them. Your finger should not stick to the layer when touched.
  • Take the layer out together with the paper and place on an even surface. Cool oven tray completely.
  • Repeat with the next 4 layers. It is important that the tray is cool when you start to bake the layers.

Hazelnut Filling

  • The filling is cooked in a double boiler. If you do not have double boiler take a small and a large pot.
  • The smaller one should fit perfectly in the larger one and there should be no gap between the pots.
  • Fill the larger pot with about 1-inch (2 cm) water place on the stove and bring the water to a slow boil.

  • Water should not touch the small pot. Beat egg yolks and sugar with in the small pot for 30 seconds.
  • Place the smaller pot into the larger one and cook the filling for 14-15 minutes. Stir every 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir it with a wooden spoon always scraping the sides and the bottom. Stir constantly, near the end.

  • Let the filling cool to room temperature. Beat the cooked yolks for 30 seconds with an electric mixer.
  • Beat the room temperature butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy then beat into the cooked yolks.
  • Add in the ground hazelnuts and beat again until combined. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the filling.

  • Divide the rest of the filling into 4 cups. Line a large tray with some baking paper trimming to fit it.
  • Remove baking paper and place it onto the tray, spread one quantity of filing evenly over dacquoise.
  • Then place another layer on the top. Repeat, making sure that the last layer is placed bottom-side-up.

  • Place some baking paper over the torte. Press with hands to even it out, put another tray over the torte.
  • Place something heavy on the top to allow the torte to level up. A pan half-filled with water will be fine.
  • Place the whole torte with the pot in the fridge for one hour. Prepare the apricot jam glaze meanwhile.

Apricot Jam Glaze

  • Heat the apricot jam along with the water on the stove. Remove the top baking paper from the torte.
  • Spread the jam thinly on top of it. Place the torte back in the fridge for 30 minutes for the jam to cool.
  • When the 30 minutes is up, spread the 2 tablespoons of reserved hazelnut filling around the cake.

White Icing

  • By hand mix the powdered sugar, oil, lemon juice while adding teaspoon by teaspoon of hot water.
  • Continue until the mixture is creamy but it should not runny. Mix vigorously for a couple of minutes.
  • The sugar should be lemony. With a hot wet large knife quickly spread the icing over the apricot layer.

  • You will need around 2½ to 3¼ cups of powdered sugar but it is better to have more than less icing
  • Once you start spreading the white icing on the torte you cannot go back. You may have some left over.
  • If the icing is a bit uneven just turn on the hair dryer and heat the icing so it will smooth out a bit.

Chocolate Decoration and Assembly

  • Before starting with the icing have the chocolate ready. It needs to go on the soft icing immediately.
  • Melt the chocolate with a teaspoon of oil, place in a piping bag with a cut in the corner for the tip.
  • Draw four concentric circles onto the cake. Use a knife or a skewer run six lines at 30 degree angle.

  • Each line should be in a different direction. One running away and the next one running towards you.
  • Press the remaining crushed hazelnuts around the sides of the iced cake to complete the decoration.
  • Let rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours before tasting. It keeps for up to 1 week. Servings: 10-12.

Esterhazy Torte from Hungary

Bake your favorite cookie into this dense and buttery pound cake from Baker Street for a gourmand tea time treat. You may either save the extra Oreos for decorating the cake or blitz them along with milk and vanilla ice cream in a tall blender to make thick and creamy Oreo Milkshake (recipe coming soon!)

OREO POUND CAKE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup white caster sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 cup unsweetened yoghurt

1 cup Oreo cookies, chopped

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350oF. Lightly grease a 6-inch cake pan with butter and flour its base and sides.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Coarsely chop the Oreo cookies.

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer till it turns light and fluffy.

  • Beat in eggs one at a time, and add vanilla extract along with the last egg until mixture is creamy.

  • With mixer on low speed, mix in flour and yogurt alternating them starting and ending with flour.

  • In the end ensure no streaks of flour remain. Gently fold in crushed Oreo cookies with a spatula.

  • Spoon it into prepared pan and level top with a spatula. Bake the cake for about 45 to 50 minutes.

  • Loosen cake and turn out on wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Oreos in a Cake!

With everyone going back to school on Monday, I turned to this classic British school treat for inspiration. This simple Chocolate Sponge/Chocolate Custard duo seems to be a favorite of every school going child in British public schools. Adapted from Delicious, the soft, springy chocolate sponge coated in thick chocolate custard is the kind of dessert I would have wished for in my school lunch box as a kid. I can almost picture myself eating this, making a mess with the gooey custard cream on my school uniform but wearing a big, happy smile on my face. How I miss those carefree school days!

CHOCOLATE SPONGE & CUSTARD

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Sponge

125g unsalted butter, room temperature

100g golden caster sugar

25g soft dark brown sugar

2 medium free-range eggs, beaten

125g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder

25g dark chocolate, grated

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

60ml whole milk, warm

For the Chocolate Custard

250ml whole milk

1 large free-range egg

1 tablespoons golden caster sugar

1 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons corn flour

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease and line a square 20cm cake or brownie tin.

  • Beat butter until soft then add in the sugars. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.

  • Sift over flour, baking powder and cocoa, then carefully fold through along with grated chocolate.

  • Add vanilla extract and enough warm milk to create a smooth mixture with dropping consistency.

  • Pour into the tin and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. For the custard, heat the milk until almost boiling.

  • Whisk egg with sugar, cocoa and corn flour in a separate bowl and then pour hot milk over the top.

  • Whisk well, then return to a clean pan. Cook mixture over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly.

  • Cook until it forms a custard that thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Set this aside to cool.

  • Turn out the chocolate sponge on a cutting board. Cut into 8 equal squares with a serrated knife.

  • Pour a generous amount of the chocolate custard over each square of chocolate sponge. Serves 8.

Bonne rentrée à tous!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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