Walnut or Hazelnut Torte
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12 oz. ground walnuts or skinned toasted hazelnuts, lightly packed, divided
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1 dash salt
Icing and Filling
2 tsp. unflavoured gelatin
2 tbsp. cold water
2 cups whipping cream (heavy cream) 35%
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar (powdered / confectioners)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup cherry jam
Grease three 8 inch (20 cm) layer cake pans and line bottom with waxed or parchment paper. Heat oven to 350 F. (180 C).
Measure out 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of the ground nuts for the CAKE batter.
Set aside 3/4 cup nuts (175 mL) for the FILLING, and 3/4 cup (175 mL) for the OUTSIDE of the cake.
Separate eggs, putting the whites in a large mixer bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. (I always have the eggs at room temperature and make sure no egg yolk gets into the whites).
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then beat in 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the sugar gradually. Beat until stiff.
Beat egg yolks, beating in remaining sugar gradually and continue beating at high speed until thick and light coloured.
Stir in the 1 1/2 cups nuts, bread crumbs, baking powder, lemon rind and salt and about 1/4 of the egg white mixture.
FOLD this mixture gently but quickly back into the remaining egg whites.
Turn into prepared pans and bake about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched lightly in the middle. Cool slightly in pans, then turn out on racks and strip off waxed paper while still WARM.
FOR THE FILLING: Combine gelatin and cold water in a small dish and let stand 5 minutes. Set in a pan of simmering water and heat until gelatin dissolves. Cool slightly.
Whip cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Beat in almond extract and vanilla and drizzle in the gelatin, beating until stiff. Put about half of the whipped cream into another bowl and fold in 3/4 cup (175 mL) ground nuts. Spread this mixture between the cake layers.
Ice the sides and 1 inch rim on top with remaining plain whipped cream.
Spread the cherry jam in the centre of the top of the torte and decorate the whipped cream border with nut halves. Press the remaining 3/4 cup ground nuts lightly into the cream on the sides of the cake. Chill several hours. 12 Servings.
Lavish, sinfully rich cakes can be made at home more cheaply. Each will be a production but since they can be made in stages and chilled, or even frozen before serving, they can be wonderful make ahead desserts to please the busiest party giver and delight the guests.
Ground nuts replace flour in the batter and more are added to the filling and the outside.
I love nut tortes and made many for birthdays and special occasions. I use a nut grinder. I find the nuts to be light and airy. If you use a food processor the nuts will be a little coarser and oilier. Either way the cake comes out yummy! The cake will settle after it bakes a bit.
Have you made it? What'd you think?
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