Friday, June 13, 2008

Zuger Kirschtorte

Zuger Kirschtorte

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.

Zuger Kirschtorte

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.

Zuger Kirschtorte

Zuger Kirschtorte

Almond meringue:
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
120ml kirsch

For sprinkling:
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.

Zuger Kirschtorte


LyB said...

I loved that story Patricia! I think recipes, family or not, should be cherished and shared with as many people as possible. You know, make the world a better place! And I'm so glad you shared that cake recipe, it looks ridiculously good and oh, so beautiful, very refined indeed!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Maybe we should rename it "revenge mother in law cake"! LOL It sounds like a scene out of a Brazilian novella. Great cake by the way, Patricia...there's certainly a bit of work there!

Jen Yu said...

That is an absolutely gorgeous cake and I LOVE the story behind it :) Thank you for posting and I will be sure to save the recipe to try - it looks delicious.

Patty O. said...

Wow, this looks like my dream cake. It has all the elements of a delicious cake: different textures, yummy creamy buttercream and almonds, etc. And it makes it that much sweeter when you learn the story behind the recipe. I know people like that who refuse to share their recipes and it always bugs me. Why not spread the love?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Patricia. This is stunning and it looks to deliciously moist. WISH I could have a piece. Just one piece!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

oooh I like Neusa already my kinda gal. You I LOVE for spreading this cake over to this side. Yum!

Peter M said...

THUMP! That was the sound of my jaw dropping on my desk...gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

both the plate and the cake are beautiful. i can't get over how the insides of the cake look perfectly fluffy and the top of the cake is just like a cloud. how divine!

Manggy said...

Goodness, what we have here is a good old-fashioned spite cake! Hahaha. It looks fantastic and very elegant. I can certainly appreciate the fact that she wouldn't want to share the recipe, but for goodness' sake, she didn't even create it! :D

Cakebrain said...

You know what? That's so totally karma: people who don't share recipes when requested (especially by family and friends!)get their just desserts in time. My philosophy is that sharing recipes and food can only make the world a happier place.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh we humans can be so odd! A very wonderful story. Gives one pause for thought. Trite but what goes around, comes around.
The cake looks fantastic!

Dita said...

ooohhhh dear....I bet it is heavenly melting in your mouth.

Cassandra said...

This looks wonderful :-) And such an interesting story... I'm originally from Greece, and there too many old-fashioned cooks prefer to keep recipes secret. I suppose this is the complete opposite attitude from us food-bloggers!

Anonymous said...

What a cute story. That looks amazing and that plate is absolutely gorgeous!

Sarah said...

What a great story! I love that your friend served her mother in law the cake--awesome.
The cake looks so good. I don't know what a couple of the ingrediets are, though, so I'd have to hunt them down before trying this out.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing better than when a story goes along with the food and then a plate to go with the food as's a jackpot!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

What's the point of recipes if not to share them and pass them down through the generations of the family? I have a friend whose MIL won't share the family's favorite chicken cacciatore recipe. I just do not understand that. So, of course, my friend has learned to make an even better version!

wheresmymind said...

Beautiful looking something I'd buy at the store :)

test it comm said...

That cake look amazing!

Anonymous said...

I loved your story:)) Glad your friend finally found the recipe:)) It looks so delicious! No wonder why MIL didn't want to share the recipe:))

Stella said...

Lucky the MIL, to have a DIL like Neusa!
And this cake looks stunning...

Dharm said...

Great post and even better looking cake!! I love your photography Patricia and thanks for sharing this recipe!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous story! And the recipe reminds me of a cake I used to get in a little bakery in Washington, DC. I must try this!

Peabody said...

Oh how I hate the non-sharing recipe people. I understand if you make it for a business and what not but if you are just serving it to others after dinner...cough it up people!
I am bookmarking this cake to try.

KJ said...

I'm with Peabody.

Eva said...

Whenever I get asked for a recipe, I'm as pleased as punch - there's no better compliment for me! I'll never understand people who feel like they've got to guard their treasure with their life...

Patricia Scarpin said...

LyB, I agree with you - what's the fun in keeping it all to yourself?? :S
Thank you, darling!

Pete, I think that name will suit it perfectly. :)

Jen, thank you for commenting, darling!

Patty, tks for stopping by! And I agree with you. Good things should be shared!

Syrie, there was nothing left, darling! :)

Meeta, she's a bold woman, I'll say. :)

Pete, you are far too kind, my dear friend.

Diva, thank you! I'm glad you like it!

Mark, you are soooo right. :)

Cakebrain, I couldn't agree with you more!

Tanna, odd and selfish!

Dita, it is! :)

Cassandra, you are right - food bloggers are generous and an example to be followed!

Sweetie, I love the plate, too. :)

Sarah, I'd love to see your version for it.

Cathy, I agree! :)

Lydia, I know! There's no fun in keeping it all a secret.
And your friend is like Neusa - a very bold girl!

Jeff, thank you!

Kevin, tks!

Farida, she did and that was an interesting twist. :)

Stella, Neusa is pretty persistent. :)

Dharm, thank you - you are so kind!

Ann, really? That is amazing!

Pea, I know. You are such a generous person when it comes to your recipes. Neusa's MIL could learn a thing or two from food bloggers!

KJ, I am with her, too. :)

Eva, indeed - if someone wants to recreate something you made, it's because they liked it a lot.

Elle said...

That is a great story! Especially the part about serving to her mother in law. Love it! The cake looks spectacular, and I'm so glad she found it and shared it with you, and you, in turn, with us!

Dita said...

I'm tagging you to show up your top 10 foodie pics. Please visit my blog :

Anonymous said...

Haha love that story! Revenge is a dish best served sweet :) Actually mum own mother is reluctant to pass on recipes to me. She hoards them and she and her friends never share recipes amongst each other either. Very strange. And of course she can't believe that food blogs like ours just give the recipes away although she has certainly plundered mine for some lol

Lisa said...

Fun story, Patricia! I love family secrets, especially when they are as sweet as this!

This cake looks like the perfect thing to do with that bottle of kirsch I bought while visiting my son in Switzerland!

Anonymous said...

Strange MIL...good thing she found the recipe and served it to her MIL.
It looks and sounds delicious! Especially love the picture of the slice of cake!

Nic said...

Some people can be a bit peculiar about sharing recipes that's for sure! The cake looks fabulous and I am so glad your friend found the recipe!

Helene said...

Loved the story! My grandmother made a similar cake she learned while they were stationed in Germany. Can you believe that I am the only one out of 1o grand-daughters to have inherited her recipes?!!
The cake sounds wonderful!!

Ms. Munchie said...

Looks very similar to the Sans Rival I made last month. I will try this version with the cake layer in the middle.

Jaime said...

what a beautiful dessert

Anonymous said...

The recipe is on Zug Tourismus' official site... The Swiss are giving up on all their secrets...

Anonymous said...

I had this cake (Zuger Kirschtort) for a recent birthday, made by a Swiss pastry chef on board the Prince Albert II, and it was heavenly. I don't like most cakes, but this was the exception that proved the rule.

Nathalie Hachet @ LBM/ Mirabelle said...

There is something almost mystical about classic gâteaux: they are timeless, timeproof and refined. The Kirschtorte takes me back to those old-fashioned continental pâtisserie shops that exude sophistication.

MontanaGal said...

Wow! This is my family’s favourite special occasion cake that my mother used to make. She passed away a long time ago but I am going to make it this week for my father’s birthday. Labor-intensive but oh-so-good. Thank you!

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