Triple layered, light as a feather, aromatic spring torte. An essence of spring with its light colour palette, crystallised primroses and fresh taste. A celebration of longer days and new beginnings and an anticipation of warmth and sunshine after months of dreary, wet weather. I enjoyed making it as much as I enjoyed eating it.
You might think the torte is complicated to make but I assure you it is not. I am not a professional cake baker – and I hope this shows. I’m not striving here for perfect finish. This is a home made, genuine cake. I have no special baking equipment, no turntable, not even a palette knife. In fact this cake was decorated using an everyday knife, sandwich bag and a cake stand – which has a lip and is a pain in the backside when trying to get the icing right to the bottom of the cake. But you work with what you have, right?
I am a baker who enjoys good flavours and textures. And this cake delivers on both fronts. Plus it’s pretty in appearance. The sponge is light and moist, lightly soaked with Limoncello syrup. Top and bottom layers are sandwiched with mascarpone and Limoncello cream whilst the middle has my passion fruit curd running through it. The torte is covered in lemon Swiss meringue buttercream, light yet beautifully firm once chilled. Crystalised primroses complete it. And that is it, beautifully understated.
I’m using here my Mum’s recipe for the sponge. It doesn’t contain any rising agent and the volume is achieved by creaming eggs with the sugar and an addition of melted butter to the dough alongside the flour. It’s important that eggs are at room temperature but since I never store my eggs in the fridge, this is never a problem for me. Be sure to gently fold the flour and butter in as this will preserve the volume of air that has been incorporated into the dough. Here is the recipe:
For the sponge:
- 6 eggs at room temperature
- 200 grams of caster sugar
- 30 grams of butter, melted and cooled down
- 200 grams of plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 100ml of hot water mixed with 2 tbs of Limoncello
For the filling:
- 250 grams of mascarpone cheese
- 300 grams of double cream
- 2 tbsp of Limoncello
- 450ml of passion fruit curd (you can find the recipe here)
For the lemon Swiss meringue buttercream:
- 3 large egg whites
- 240 grams of caster sugar
- 360 butter at room temperature
- 2 tbs of fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a springform tin with a baking paper, bottom only.
In a large bowl whisk the whole eggs with the sugar for 10 minutes on high speed. Do this until the mixture is light, pale in colour and fluffy. It should leave a ribbon on the surface when the whisk is removed. Mix the flour with the salt to combine. Using a wooden spoon gently fold in the flour and melted butter into the egg and sugar mixture.
Place the dough in the prepared tin, level it and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes and test using a skewer – insert the skewer into the cake and remove it. It needs to come out clean. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and leave the cake in for 5 to 10 minutes.
After the initial resting time, remove the cake from the oven completely and turn it out upside down onto a board covered in baking paper. This will ensure the cake doesn’t stick as it cools down but also that it remains flat and level. Do not use a cooling rack. Trust me.
Once the cake is completely cool, cut it into half and then cut each piece into half again so that you end up with four layers.
To make the mascarpone and Limoncello cream, start by whisking the cream until soft peaks. Now add the mascarpone and Limoncello and gently fold it in. Do not whisk.
To assemble the cake, start by placing the first layer onto your chosen board or stand. Drizzle it with 25 ml of the Limoncello water before covering with half of the mascarpone and Limoncello cream. Place another cake layer on top, feed it with more Limoncello water before spreading it with all of the passion fruit curd. Repeat with another cake layer, Limoncello water and the remainder of the mascarpone and Limoncello cream. Place the last cake layer on top, feed it with the Limoncello water and move the assembled torte to the fridge to chill whilst you work on the buttercream.
To make the swiss meringue buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the hot liquid. Whisk the egg whites and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. You can check it by feeling the mixture between two fingers – you should not be able to feel any grains. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl off the pan.
Whisk the meringue on high speed for 10 minutes until it turns white and fluffy and comes back to room temperature. Still continuing to mix, add the butter, spoonful by spoonful until it’s all incorporated before mixing in the lemon juice. At this stage the buttercream should be cool enough to be spread on the cake.
Remove the cake from the fridge. Cover the sides first before covering the top. Smooth the surfaces using a knife and decorate the top by piping balls of buttercream around the edge of the cake. Decorate with crystallised primroses or let your imagination run wild. Just enjoy the process and go with the flow.
Place the torte back in the fridge for at least 4 hours to allow the buttercream to set. Remove it 10 minutes before serving. Lemon Earl Grey is the perfect partner. Enjoy x
Linked up with Jibber Jabber as part of their Love Cake April 2016 challenge