Esterházy Torte

The Esterházy Torte is a classic Hungarian cake with a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It is named after the Esterházy family, one of the most prominent Hungarian noble families.

The cake was created by Franz Sacher, the same Austrian pastry chef who invented the famous Sachertorte. The Esterházy Torte, however, was not created for the Esterházy family specifically but rather in honor of Prince Paul III Anton Esterházy de Galántha.

The exact origins of the cake are somewhat debated, but it is generally believed to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th century. The Esterházy Torte is known for its distinctive layers of almond or hazelnut meringue, filled with a rich buttercream flavored with vanilla and rum, and topped with a characteristic decorative pattern made from chocolate or icing.

Over the years, the recipe for the Esterházy Torte has been adapted and modified by different bakers, leading to variations in ingredients and presentation. However, it remains a beloved dessert in Hungary and is often served on special occasions and holidays, showcasing both its delicious flavors and its rich cultural heritage.

Ingredients

For the cake layers:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (100g) ground almonds or hazelnuts
  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the buttercream:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons rum or rum extract
  • 1 cup (100g) finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts

For the decoration:

  • 4 ounces (110g) dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 cup (30g) powdered sugar

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch (23cm) round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar until pale and creamy. Stir in the ground almonds or hazelnuts, flour, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  4. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. While the cake layers are cooling, prepare the buttercream. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook until the syrup reaches 240°F (115°C) on a candy thermometer.
  7. In a heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale and thick. Gradually pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg yolks, beating continuously, until thick and fluffy. Let cool to room temperature.
  8. In another bowl, beat the softened butter until creamy. Gradually add the cooled egg mixture, vanilla extract, and rum, beating until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chopped almonds or hazelnuts.
  9. To assemble the torte, place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a layer of buttercream over the top. Repeat with the remaining cake layers and buttercream, finishing with a layer of buttercream on top.
  10. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, pipe a decorative pattern of melted chocolate over the top of the torte. Alternatively, you can drizzle the chocolate over the top with a spoon.
  11. Refrigerate the torte for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld and the buttercream to set. Just before serving, dust the top of the torte with powdered sugar.
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