This german buttercream spelt torte took a bit of a journey to turn out the way it is in the photos. Back in March I asked my Oma if she had any requests for her birthday cake. After convincing her that I was going to make something even if she said kept saying I didn’t need to, she suggested I make something new.
I scoured my Mom’s old cookbooks, stopping at each recipe that she hand wrote remarks next to about how good it was. I settled on an old buttercream torte recipe that baffled me a little as I didn’t even know buttercream could be made with pudding (or pastry cream as it is known in the baking world). The cake part turned out well, but the buttercream, yikes. It was essentially vanilla pudding with butter mixed in. Bleck. It tasted ok and I covered the cake with sliced almonds and strawberries so in the end it was edible, but I was quite disappointed as I was hoping for an extraordinary cake to celebrate my Oma’s 92nd birthday.
Fortunately for me I would soon get another opportunity to make this german buttercream spelt torte. I scratched out all the notes I had made the first time around and took to the internet to find out exactly how to make pastry cream. I realized that those old cookbooks skip A LOT of details for the average person.
The next special birthday to come around was for a dear friend and woman I consider to be my second Mom. The only reason she entered my life was because of my Mom anyways! Ten years ago my Mom signed her and I up for the very first Yoga Teacher Training held here on the Sunshine Coast where I met Marney aka Marneyji aka Mimi (as my daughter calls her). Marney has been a part of my life since the moment it was completely turned upside down. She supported me when I started by own business, held me up when my Mom’s life was slipping away, joined my husband’s and my life together (yes, she married him and I!) and has kept me afloat through the internal chaos of new motherhood.
This cake, this… dare I say it… extraordinary cake is to celebrate her.
In the end I cut up a few slices and shared them with my Oma over tea too. An extraordinary cake to celebrate two extraordinary women.
If you liked this recipe you are going to love these ones!
German Buttercream Spelt Torte
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 grams organic all purpose, unbleached spelt flour
- 100 grams corn starch
- 6 grams baking powder
- 500 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30 grams cornstarch
- 133 grams granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 454 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam or other fruit jam
- 10 strawberries or other berries
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 26cm spring form pan with butter and set aside. In a small bowl, sieve together the spelt flour, corn starch and baking powder. Set aside.
Separate the egg yolks and whites, putting the egg yolks into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and the egg whites into a small bowl. Using a hand held beater or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whisk the egg yolks with the warm water until frothy, then add 2/3 of the sugar and the vanilla extract and whisk on high until the mixture is thick, creamy and the sugar is dissolved. If using a stand mixer, transfer this egg yolk mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
Clean and dry the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment, then place the egg whites into it. Whisk the egg whites and the remaining sugar on high until stiff peaks form and the mark of a small paring knife sliced into the egg whites is retained. Gently empty the egg whites on top of the egg yolk mixture, then pour the flour mixture on top. Gently fold together using a large spatula until combined. Pour into the greased spring form pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before removing the spring form pan and allowing to cool completely.
Make the Buttercream
While waiting for the cake to cool, place a sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. Pour 375ml of the milk and the vanilla extract into a large saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring often until it comes to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining milk, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together until combined. While whisking quickly, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until it has come to a boil and thickened.
Pour the finished pastry cream into the sieve and using the whisk, stir until it has all been passed through (this step eliminates having little pieces of cooked egg white and/or yolk in your buttercream and should not be skipped). Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream and allow to cool at room temperature for an hour then place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to set.
Remove the pastry cream and allow to come to room temperature. It is very important for this next step that both the butter and the pastry cream are at the same temperature.
In a large bowl with a hand held mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until pale and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and on medium speed add the pastry cream 1 tbsp at a time, incorporating well between each addition.
Assemble the Cake
Using a large, serrated bread knife cut the cake into three equal layers. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate or platter and gently spread the jam on top. Spread 1/4 of the buttercream on top of the jam. Place the second layer on top and spread with just over 1/4 of the remaining buttercream. Place the third layer on top. Reserve 3/4 – 1 cup of the buttercream for decoration, then spread the rest of the buttercream on the sides and top of the cake.
Place some almonds on a dough scraper, then lift and press them onto the sides of the cake. Pipe 12 swirls on top of the cake with the reserved buttercream. Slice 6 strawberries in half and place on the swirls with the inside of each strawberry facing up. Slice additional strawberries in thin slices lengthwise and arrange in concentric circles in the middle of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining sliced almonds in the gaps between the buttercream swirls and the strawberries in the middle. Chill for at least one hour before serving.