What are your dreams made of? According to Sleeping Beauty, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes When You're Fast Asleep! And now I can't get that song out of my head.
Anyway, sometimes I do dream about food. Maybe that sounds weird to you, but I love food. I love eating it. I love making it. I love dreaming up recipes. I love all types of food, but I do have a special place in my for desserts.
I try to limit how many desserts I make throughout the month and I try not to make them all at the same time. So, needless to say I have an ever growing list of desserts that I'm dying to make. Thankfully, I had an excuse to make one this time!
I love the looks of cakes with several thin layers, with filling between each and some elaborate decoration on top. Those are the desserts that make me stop and take a double take. What about you?
Well, this torte was one of those desserts. Five layers of sponge cake with a deliciously fluffy filling between each. It's then topped with a thin layer of apricot jam, and it's all frosted, covered with toasted hazelnuts and a fun chocolate embellishment. And this tort tasted every bit as good as it looked. I had a blast in this month's Daring Bakers' challenge, so if you're looking for a challenge, a delicious dessert or a show stopper for your next dinner party look no further.
Hazelnut sponge layers-
12 Large egg whites
1 Cup +1 Tbsp superfine caster sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
2 1/2 Cups ground hazelnuts
2/3 Cup plain flour
12 Large egg yolks
1 Cup + 1 Tbsp superfine caster sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
1 1/3 Cups butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups toasted ground hazelnuts
Apricot jam glaze-
3 Tbsp apricot jam
1 Tsp water
2 1/2 - 3 1/4 Cups powdered sugar
2 Tsp sunflower oil
3-4 Tsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp hot water
1/4 Cup dark chocolate
1 Tsp oil
3/4 Cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Place in a cold oven and then turn on to 350. Bake until the nuts are toasted and fragrant. Continue until the skins are very dark brown or almost black in color. Watch carefully since the nuts can go from perfectly toasted to burned very quickly.
Remove the toasted nuts from the oven and allow to cool.
Remove 3/4 cup of the toasted nuts and roughly chop them. Set aside.
Grind the remaining nuts until creamy. If using a food processor, use short pulses so they don't have the consistency of peanut butter, but powder.
Divide the ground hazelnuts into 2 batches of 2 1/2 cups and 1 1/2 cups for the sponge layers and the filling.
Beat the egg whites on high while gradually adding the sugar and vanilla sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Mix the hazelnuts and flour, then add to the egg white mixture while the mixer is on the lowest setting. Mixing until just combined.
Cut parchment paper into 5 squares large squares, cut 10 inch circles in each piece of paper. Turn the paper over and place one piece onto an upside down oven tray and delicately spoon inside the circle, about 1/5 of the egg white mixture. Place the tray into a 325 preheated oven and bake for 14 minutes. It will look soft, and that's exactly what you want. They should not feel sticky to the touch.
Take the layer out of the oven and place on an even, flat surface and allow to cool. Repeat with the remaining 4 layers, using a cool oven tray/baking sheet each time.
Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water and place on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and place a heat proof bowl over the water to create a double boiler.
Beat the egg yolks with sugar and cream for about 30 seconds. Pour into the double boiler and cook for 14-15 minutes. Stir the eggs every 2-3 minutes using a wooden spoon, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides. At the 12 minute mark begin stirring constantly until times up.
Allow the filling to cool. Beat the cooked, cooled egg yolks for about 30 seconds on medium speed. Beat the room temperature butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk mixture and beat to incorporate.
Add the ground hazelnuts and beat until just incorporated. Remove 2 tablespoons of filling and set aside. Divide the rest of the filling into 4 cups. Line a large tray with some parchment paper. Remove the parchment paper from one of the hazelnut cake layers and place the cake on the tray, spread one of the cups of filling evenly over the hazelnut cake then place another layer on top of the filling. Repeat with the remaining layers and filling. Place some parchment paper over the torte, press gently, but firmly with hands to even it out. Put another tray over the top of the torte, place something heavy on top of the pan to allow the torte to become level. Place the whole torte, with pan and weight in the fridge for an hour.
Apricot jam glaze-
Place jam and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. One the mixture is heated through, stir to combine and remove from the stove.
Remove the torte from the fridge, remove paper and weight and spread the jam over the top of the torte. Return torte to the fridge for 30 minutes until the jam is cooled. Remove the torte from the fridge and spread the reserved 2 tablespoons of filling around the cake.
Using a whisk, mix the sugar, oil, and lemon juice to combine. Once combine, continue whisking and add the hot water one teaspoon at a time until the mixture is creamy, but not runny. Mix vigorously for about 2 minutes.
Using a large, wet, hot knife quickly spread the icing over the apricot layer, then down the sides of the cake.
Before starting with the icing have the chocolate ready since it needs to go onto the soft icing in order to get the web.
Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl along with a teaspoon of oil. Place in microwave and heat in 20 second intervals until melted, stirring after each. Place in a pipping bag, or a plastic bag with a cut in the corner that will act as the tip.
Draw four (4) concentric circles onto the cake, then with a knife (not the sharp side) or a wooden skewer run six (6) lines at 30 degree angle to the cake to get the decoration (see pictures for more details). Each line should be in a different direction. One running away from you and the next one running to you.
Press the remaining crushed hazelnuts around the cake to complete the decoration.
Recipe source: Food for Thought