The Europeans are very fond of their stacked tortes. I've seen the layered delicacies all over France, Germany, and Austria (where the most famous tortes are the Sacher Torte, the Linzer Torte and the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte--or Black Forest Cake). Since it's such a common dessert, you can find the cakes already made and cut for you in almost any grocery store in Germany. I was intrigued by these pre-made cakes and wondered if I could come up with some fillings for a cake to serve to students. I had some leftover frozen mixed berries from the Chocolate Valentino and learned how to make a yummy whipped cream for the same recipe, so I thought that I'd make a variation of those toppings to fill the cake.
The result? A tasty, light, and impressive looking cake! Now I'll have to find a good recipe to make the actual cake itself for when I return the the States!
Chocolate Berry Torte
3 (or more) thin yellow cake layers (about 1/2 inch thick each)
2 cups mixed frozen or fresh berries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl orange juice
1 1/2-2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp powdered sugar
1/8 cup granulated sugar (or more if you like a sweeter whipped cream)
1 1/2-2 Tbl cocoa powder
A square or two of dark chocolate for garnish
Fresh berries for garnish
Make your cakes if you are making them from scratch, and once they're cooled, cut them to create 1/2 inch disks. I used a pre-made 10-inch cake, but if you're making your own, use a recipe that will make a dryer cake as the fillings will soak in.
While the cakes are baking, make the berry filling. Heat the berries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and orange juice in a pan over medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and smash the berries roughly with a fork. Let cool.
When the cakes and the berry filling have cooled, make the whipped cream. Beat the cream and the powdered sugar in a cold bowl until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and the cocoa and beat a little more. Taste to for sweetness and add more sugar and/or cocoa to taste. The whipped cream will feel a little gritty now because of the granulated sugar, but the sugar will dissolve once on the cake.
Place the first cake layer on a large platter. Spread half of the berry mixture on the cake with a large spoon or spatula. It will be a very thin layer, but should cover the entire layer. Then layer on about 1/3 of the chocolate whipped cream. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat with the rest of the berry mixture and 1/3 of the chocolate whipped cream. Place the last layer on top and spread the rest of the whipped cream on top. Grate some dark chocolate over the top and place some berries on top as garnish. (If using very juicy berries, wait until you serve the cake to garnish.) Refrigerate for at least a few hours up to overnight and serve. (I served this cake after only a couple of hours of refrigeration and it was fine, but really tasted great the next day.)
My husband's verdict: "This would be impressive to take to a potluck. It's better than I've had in some bakeries and cafes." High praise from someone who has lived entire years in Vienna and France.