MAKES 1 9" TORTE
This German dessert got it right by combining two of our favorite ingredients—chocolate and cherries! This recipe is based on one in Jean Anderson and Hedy Würz's The New German Cookbook (HarperCollins, 1993).
FOR THE CAKE:
13 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3⁄4 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄3 tsp. almond extract
9 eggs, separated
9 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely grated
3 tsp. baking powder
3⁄4 cup finely ground almonds
FOR THE FILLING:
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream, chilled
9 tbsp. kirschwasser
2 cups whole cherry preserves
FOR THE FROSTING:
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2–4 oz. semisweet chocolate, at room temperature,
shaved into curls with a swivel-bladed vegetable
8 pitted Brandied Cherries
1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Use 1⁄2 tbsp. of the butter to grease three 9" round cake pans, line pans with parchment paper, and grease paper with another 1⁄2 tbsp. butter. Dust each pan with 1 tbsp. of the flour, tapping out excess, and set pans aside.
2. Put remaining 12 tbsp. of the butter, 3⁄4 cup of the granulated sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add egg yolks, and beat for 1 minute. Fold in chocolate and set aside.
3. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until frothy. Add remaining 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar, increase speed to high, and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, 4–5 minutes. Fold one-third of the whites into the butter mixture, then fold in remaining whites. Sift remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt together. Sift one-quarter of the flour mixture at a time into butter–egg mixture, folding in mixture after each addition. Fold in almonds. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow cakes to cool briefly, then invert onto a wire rack, peel off parchment, and set aside to let cool completely.
4. For the filling: Whip cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, then set aside.
5. Put 1 of the cake layers on a cake plate. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp. of the kirschwasser. Spread 1 cup of the preserves, then half the whipped cream, over cake and set another cake layer on top. Repeat layering with another 3 tbsp. kirschwasser and remaining 1 cup preserves, whipped cream, and cake layer, pressing down slightly on top layer and sprinkling it with remaining 3 tbsp. kirschwasser.
6. Whip cream and confectioners' sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, then frost top and sides of torte. Sprinkle chocolate curls on top and sides of torte, then decorate top with cherries. Let torte rest for 2–3 hours (in the refrigerator, if your kitchen is hot) before serving.