Twice a year my boyfriends’ parents come to visit for a long weekend. It’s become tradition that on Friday night they cook a huge Italian meal (complete with antipasto, bread and baked ziti) and I bring dessert. Well, I made the “mistake” of making this last year. It went over so well that I have not been able to top it. Cheesecake, chocolate peanut butter cake, cookies, lemon pie. Nothing has been as good.
Until now…nearly. I’ve learned that there are certain criteria that really push a dessert over the top for this crowd. Anything too heavy and rich doesn’t do it. Anything with fruit gets bonus points. Also, I like to challenge myself by coming up with something a little unusual and something different from what I’ve made before.
After MUCH searching, I found this. Blitz Torte. It means lightning cake in German. I have no idea how that’s relevant, but this cake was freaking good so who am I to question the name? I have never seen anything like this cake. Two thin layers of yellow cake topped with meringue and baked all at once then filled with cream and berries. You can use any berries that look good. Luckily we’re starting to get beautiful strawberries down here, so I took full advantage of that. It was a hit. A big hit. My only problem now is finding something that will top this.
Blitz Torte with Strawberries
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
For the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
- 1 ¾ cups of cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 1 ½ cups strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8″ round or 9″ round cake pans.
For the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks. Beat in the vanilla, milk, baking powder, and flour. Divide the mixture in the prepared pans and spread to the edges (the batter will barely cover the bottom of the pans; that’s ok).
Beat the egg whites till frothy. Gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat till the meringue is smooth, glossy and somewhat stiff (not quite to the peak stage, you want it to be sort of marshmallow cream consistency). Spread the meringue on the cake batter, not quite to the edges, and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until lightly browned. (NOTE: do not put the cakes on the top rack. The meringue will rise a lot on the oven but settle as it cools.) While the cakes bake, chop up the strawberries and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Remove cakes from the oven, allow them to cool for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges and gently turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.
When cakes are cool, whisk the pudding mix with vanilla and cream for about 2 minutes then allow to set up for an additional 5 minutes. Whisk again to make sure the cream is smooth.
To assemble: Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the pudding mixture then add the berries. Top with the second cake layer, meringue-side up. Devour.
Yields 8 to 10 servings