Looking for a birthday cake for my smart and pretty, but lactose intolerant stepdaughter, I leafed through my German and Austrian pastry baking books. Nearly every one of those gorgeous torte recipes listed cream as main ingredient, especially the Austrian ones, requiring lots of "Obers" (= whipping cream). But I had promised Cat a German "Geburtstagstorte" with all pomp and circumstances - and finally I found one.
Here it comes: chocolate lover's dream and almost lactose free - Nougat Torte for a lactose challenged, chocolate loving, (no teetotaler) birthday girl!
Warning: This cake is highly addictive - consume at your own risk!!!
NOUGATTORTE (12 - 16 servings)
60 g/2.1 oz all-purpose flour
60 g/2.1 oz hazelnuts, ground
50 g/1.8 oz bread crumbs
1 heaping tsp. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
60 g/2.1 oz butter, softened
20 g/0.7 oz sugar
70 g/2.5 oz almond paste, chopped or coarsely grated
7 egg yolks
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7 egg whites
70 g/2.5 oz sugar
250 g/8.8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
130 g/4.6 oz whipping cream (whipping cream contains much less lactose than milk, but can be substituted with pureed silken tofu)
250 g/8.8 oz Nutella
200 g/7 oz butter
60 g/2.1 oz water (1/4 cup)
3/4 tsp. brown sugar
45 g/1.6 oz rum
ADD-IN AND GARNISH
1 nougat bar (or 1/2 bar semisweet chocolate) ca. 75 g
50 g/1.8 oz almond slices, toasted
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Line bottom of 28 cm/11" springform pan with parchment paper, and grease.
Add flour, hazelnuts, bread crumbs, cocoa and cinnamon to bowl of food processor (or mini chopper), and pulse until nuts are sufficiently ground.
In a large bowl, mix together butter, 20 g sugar, almond paste, egg yolks and vanilla extract until creamy. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with 75 g sugar until stiff.
Fold first egg whites into butter mixture. Then fold in flour mixture. Transfer to prepared springform pan, smooth top with rubber spatula. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Let completely cool on wire rack.
To make the nougat cream:
In a saucepan, cook cream until hot, remove from heat, and stir in chopped chocolate, until melted. Then stir in Nutella, until smooth (place back on switched-off, but still warm stove, if necessary). (If using silken tofu instead of cream, melt chocolate first, then mix with purreed tofu and Nutella).
Let mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer to mixer bowl, add butter, and beat until creamy.
Remove cooled cake from pan and peel off parchment paper. Cut horizontally in three layers. In a small bowl, mix ingredients for rum mixture. With potato peeler, shave nougat or chocolate bar into thin stripes.
Place bottom layer of cake on platter, and brush with rum mixture. Generously spread nougat cream over cake bottom (the amount of nougat cream is enough for covering every cake layer generously. But don't forget to save some of it for the pastry bag!). Sprinkle with 2/3 of nougat or chocolate shavings.
Place second cake layer on top, brush with rum mixture, and cover with nougat cream. Place third layer on top. Brush with rum mixture, then spread nougat cream evenly over top and sides of cake. Fill rest of cream in pastry bag with large star tip, and garnish torte with nougat cream rosettes. Sprinkle top with rest of nougat or chocolate shavings. Then sprinkle toasted almond slices over top and sides.
Keep torte in a cool place. It keeps fresh at least for 3 days.
(Adapted from Karl Neef: "Sonntagskuchen & Festtagstorten")