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Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte

By Recipe from Carolin Messierpastry chef of Cafe Flora / December 2, 1993



SPONGE CAKE

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5 oz. butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

5 egg whites

1 cup cake flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cream the butter with half the sugar until fluffy and light in color. Continue beating, adding yolks one at a time, then add vanilla.

In another bowl, whip the egg whites until they form peaks, and continue whipping while slowly adding the remaining sugar.

Sift together cake flour and cocoa powder.

Alternately, fold the egg whites and dry ingredients into the batter. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking pan, 16-by-12 inches. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch (it should be about 1/4-inch thick). Allow to cool.

HAZELNUT BUTTER CREAM

3 pears, peeled, halved,

and cored

5 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 lb. unsalted butter, chopped

into pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup ground hazelnuts

Poach the pears in water until tender. Drain and refrigerate. In a double boiler over low heat, whip the egg whites and sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is syrupy. Remove from heat, and whip at high speed until the mixture forms a stiff meringue. Continue beating while slowly adding the butter until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and ground hazelnuts.

ASSEMBLY

Remove sponge from parchment paper, and cut into four strips, each about four inches wide.

Spread one strip with 1/4-inch layer of the hazelnut butter cream. Layer this with another sponge strip and another layer of butter cream. Cover this with the halved-pears, cut-side up. Layer with more butter cream on top, another sponge layer, butter cream layer, and a final sponge layer.

Use the remaining butter cream to thinly frost the outside. Freeze for about 1/2 hour.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING

12 oz. semisweet chocolate,

chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

1-1/2 cups of heavy cream

While cake is freezing, bring cream to a boil and pour immediately over the chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and there are no lumps.

Take off heat and set aside to cool. Pour over top of cake, allowing it to cover sides. Let it set for a few minutes, then serve (or refrigerate for later). Serve in one-inch slices.

Serves 12.