This Hazelnut Torte Recipe was one of my Mutti's favorite. Special, yet very easy to make. We all loved it, especially when it had marzipan frosting. Then "special" became "extra special." That's the one that's shown below. Above, it's just the "plain" cake that's served with whipped cream on the side. Absolutely delicious! Or, ice it with a chocolate glaze. Or, fill it with whipped cream. So many possibilities. It's a Haselnusstorte that will become your special cake recipe as well because it's so easy.
This cake has no butter, no oil, and very little flour. The resulting cake is very light, yet very delicious. The main ingredient? Hazelnuts. (Check out my Hazelnut Macaroons to learn how to skin and grind your whole hazelnuts.)
Mutti's Hazelnut Torte Recipe
5 eggs, separated
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup ground hazelnuts
3 Tbsp flour, all-purpose
¼ tsp almond extract
Custard Filling (optional)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
⅔ cup milk
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
Marzipan Topping (optional)
7 oz almond paste
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 - 5 Tbsp lemon juice
nuts and/or whipped cream to decorate
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Grease and flour an 8-inch springform pan. See hints below.
Beat egg yolks and sugar in large mixer bowl until pale and creamy.
Fold in hazelnuts, flour, and almond extract.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into egg yolk mixture.
Spread batter gently in prepared pan.
Bake about 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool thoroughly, if filling. If not, cake can be served warm.
Blend cornstarch, sugar, a little milk and egg yolks. Bring remaining milk to boil. Stir hot milk and vanilla into cornstarch mixture.
Return to heat and bring back to boil. Cook a few seconds, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Cool, stirring frequently.
To Assemble Torte:
Cut cake into 2 layers.
Spread 1 layer with filling.
Top with second layer.
Knead almond paste to soften. On a surface sprinkled with icing sugar, roll out almond paste to a round large enough to cover top and sides of cake (about 14-inch diameter)
Press onto cake.
Blend powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to give a coating consistency.
Spread over cake and decorate as shown.
To decorate torte with whipped cream rosettes as shown below, ½ cup whipping cream plus 2 tsp powdered sugar were whipped and piped onto cake.
Use roasted almonds or walnuts to decorate.
If filling cake, then using an 8-inch springform pan is best. That will give a nice thick layer to divide. If serving as a plain cake, you can use a 9-inch springform pan, as shown above.
More tips ...
To make it extra special for Christmas or birthdays, fill with the "custard" filling and cover with marzipan as shown in the photos. "Heavenly!"
If you do plan to fill it, let it cool thoroughly - even overnight. This could just become your best cake recipe. Why? Because it's really quite easy to make and so delicious.
This Hazelnut Cake recipe was one Mutti often made for guests. Easy German recipes were among her specially noted recipes in her own handwritten cookbook. She was a busy lady, but took extra care to have everything extra special when company came.
Because nuts were expensive, Mutti would often buy them in the shell in bulk.
Then, my sisters and I would sit there for what seemed like hours and shell them.
Mutti would grind them in her coffee grinder. This German hazelnut cake was the stunning result.
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‘Oma says’ are full of hints, and ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’ are rewarding suggestions.
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This comprehensive cookbook brings back so many treasured food memories from my childhood. My German “Mutti” and her mom, my Oma, both long gone, were such great cooks, but their recipes were never written down.
Gerhild Fulson’s expansive recipe collection will help people of my generation with their “lost” recipes and it will introduce new generations to German specialties that are both delicious and a part of Germany’s rich culinary culture.
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