For the past six months, I have been doing the King Arthur Flour "Bakealong." Each month they present with a new recipe to try, with complete directions and an "800" line if you have questions. This month the recipe was for a Berry Blitz Torte, which just looking at the photo on line, I knew I would be making this elegant-looking dessert. After reading through the ingredients and directions, I knew it would be easy to replicate a dessert that looks like it came from the most expensive bakery!
A torte is a multi-layer cake that is filled with whipped cream, buttercream, mousse, pastry cream, jam or fruit. This cake incorporates pastry cream and berries; raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or blackberries. Although a torte is usually baked in a springform pan, two 8-inch cakes pans created the unusual layers with this light, airy meringue/almond topping.
Berry Blitz Torte (courtesy of King Arthur Flour)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries or blackberries
In a medium saucepan, stir together 2 cups of the milk, the sugar and the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Whisk the cornstarch, egg yolks and whole egg with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Whisk some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks/cornstarch mixture to temper the egg yolks. This keeps them from becoming "scrambled" eggs. Pour the egg/cornstarch mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly; the mixture will thicken significantly. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Transfer the filling to a heatproof glass bowl and top with a piece of buttered plastic wrap--making sure it touches the top of the filling.
Refrigerate until cool, or up to several days. Before adding the pastry cream to the torte, lighten it up with the whipped cream just before you are going to fill the torte.
*For a quick pastry cream
1 small box Instant Vanilla pudding
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup heavy or light cream
Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Place plastic wrap on top and refrigerate until ready to use. Add the 1/2 cup of whipped heavy cream to the quick version also.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large egg yolks (you'll use the egg whites for the topping!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 T milk
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour (plain flour)
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter completely. While the mixer is running on low, add the sugar gradually. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and cream until fluffy. Add the salt.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, incorporating them completely into the batter. Add the vanilla extract. Whisk the flour and baking powder together and add half, all of the milk, and then the remaining flour mixture to the batter. Beat just until combine. Divide this batter between the two round pans and smooth the top.
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup Baker's Special Sugar or granulated sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 T granulated sugar + 1tsp. cinnamon
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the 3/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and somewhat stiff (but not stiff enough to form rigid stand-up points).
Spread the meringue on the cake batter. Sprinkle with almonds over the meringue, then sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until almonds are lightly browned. The cakes will puff up significantly; don't worry, they'll settle as they cool. Remove cakes from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Carefully and thoroughly loosen the edge of each cake and gently turn it onto a rack lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Then flip it over with the meringue right side up onto another and one onto a serving tray.
If some of the almonds fall off, just sprinkle them back on top. When the cake is cooled, fill the bottom layer with the pastry cream/whipped cream mixture. Add the fresh berries. top with the second cake layer, meringue-side up.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.
This cake was heavenly! I think I could literally have eaten the whole thing! Enjoy!
On a sad note...my heart goes out to the people in Manchester, mostly young adults who were enjoying a concert when their lives were taken by terrorists. I leave for London on Saturday and it is frightening that this is the world we live in now.
May God comfort the families and hold the victims in his loving arms.