I usually write about myself, my family and friends here. I share info about my favorite food, music and movies with you, my dear readers. But today I am going to tell you a story that happened to someone else – Neusa, a coworker of mine.
She was once at her mother-in-law’s and was served a beautiful, delicious cake for tea. The cake was on Neusa’s mind for a while – that was, for sure, a fantastic dessert. She finally asked her MIL for the recipe. The answer came as a surprise, though: “You must be confused; I have never served such thing. Sorry, but I don’t know what you are talking about.”
Neusa knew she wasn’t confused and she hadn’t dreamed the cake either. But some mothers-in-law are not very good at dialogues, and she soon learned that hers fit that bill, even though the woman was an extremely refined person.
We know great things come for those who wait and one day Neusa felt like she had been hit by something – while flipping through one of her cousin’s cookbooks, she found a photo of the cake. THAT cake. The “I-have-never-served-you-this-you-must-be-confused” cake. I don’t even have to tell you that she got a copy of the recipe and made the cake herself, do I??
She did and the cake was wonderful. Guess what she served her MIL the next time she visited? Oh, vendetta can be such a sweet thing sometimes. :)
Neusa has given me the mission of making the cake, too - a Zuger Kirschtorte. She wants me to spread the word – by posting the recipe here, many people will have access to it, which is something her MIL never intended to happen. Neusa told me that her MIL was born in 1914 and, for many people from her generation, family recipes are precious things that are not supposed to be shared. They are supposed to be prepared and served to guests who will be in awe with the food without ever knowing how to make it.
The recipe on Neusa’s book was not as accurate as I expected it to be and it kicked my a** a bit. But I finally got around and made it and I post the recipe as full as details as I possibly can.
She was also kind enough to lend me this absolutely gorgeous plate – a German piece – so I could photograph the cake on a family treasure. See how posh she is – an extremely refined person herself.
4 egg whites
120g confectioners’ sugar
20g corn starch
100g almond meal/ground almonds
3 eggs, egg whites and yolks separated
3 tablespoons hot water
80g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
10g caster sugar
50g all purpose flour
50g corn starch
pinch of baking powder
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
150g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk
50g currant jam – I used blackberry jam
4 tablespoons water
20g caster sugar
100g almonds, toasted and chopped – I kept the skin to add some color to the cake
70g confectioners’ sugar
Start by making the meringue discs: preheat the oven to 160ºC/320ºF. Draw two 25cm (10in) circles in a large piece of parchment/baking paper, on a baking sheet. Generously butter the insides of each circle.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl, add the corn starch and almond meal; set aside.
Beat the egg whites until stiff; remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, delicately fold the reserved ingredients into the egg whites. Spread the mixture inside the circles, leaving 0.5cm of the edges free of meringue – it will spread. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the meringue is golden. Turn off the oven and allow meringue to cool inside, for at least 4 hours (can be made overnight).
Biscuit: preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF; butter a 25cm (10in) springform round cake pan (I used one with a removable bottom), line the bottom with baking paper and butter the paper as well.
Using a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the water until thick and light. Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually and beat well. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites until stiff; add the caster sugar and beat well. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the yolk cream to the egg whites. Sift the flour, corn starch and baking powder over the mixture and fold in carefully with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through – the cake will pull apart from the sides of the pan when baked.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Buttercream: using a mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually, beating well. Add the egg yolk and jam, beat well until smooth.
Syrup: in a small saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium-high heat until it starts boiling. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Add the kirsch and mix well. Set aside.
Assembling the cake: very carefully, peel the meringue discs off the baking paper and place one of them on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the buttercream over the meringue. Place the biscuit cake on top of it and brush it generously with the syrup. Carefully spread 1/3 of the buttercream over the biscuit cake. Cover with the other meringue disc.
Spread the remaining buttercream on the sides of the cake and “stick” the chopped almonds on the cream. Using a sieve, sprinkle the top of the cake with the confectioners’ sugar. Draw a criss-cross pattern on the sugar using the back of a knife.
Keep it refrigerated, but serve it at room temperature – the cake gets hard in the fridge.
Recipe from a book by Roland Gööck + a little help from here.