Prep 1 hr
Cook 20 mins
This is not a simple recipe but it's worth it! It's from the cookbook, "Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague" by Rick Rodgers. It is composed of six thin, nut meringue layers made with a mixture of ground hazelnuts and almonds (you can also use just almonds or just hazelnuts). The layers are filled with a kirsch buttercream and the top layer is covered with an apricot glaze and is then covered with a faux fondant icing which is feathered with melted dark chocolate (it looks like a Napolean). You can make this 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate.
- 1⁄2 cup hazelnuts (2 1/2 ounces, toasted and peeled)
- 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds (2 ounces, natural or blanched)
- 1⁄4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, at cool room temperature, cut into small pieces)
- 2 tablespoons kirsch or 2 tablespoons cognac or 2 tablespoons golden rum
- 1⁄4 cup warm apricot jam or 1⁄4 cup apricot glaze
- faux fondant (see recipe below)
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1⁄2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (for garnish)
Small-Batch Faux Fondant Icing
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 2 teaspoons warm water
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- To make the nut layers: Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 350º F. Butter a 17 x 11 inch jelly-roll pan; line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. [Cut slashes in the corners of the paper to help them fold neatly.].
- In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the hazelnuts, almonds, and confectioners’ sugar until the nuts are finely chopped. [Or buy ground nuts.] In a large grease-free bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until stiff, shiny peaks form. Fold in the nuts.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared jelly-roll pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Unmold the cake onto a cutting board, peal off the parchment paper, and cool completely. The, trim the edges to even out, and cut the cake vertically into six 2 ¾ -inch-wide strips.
- Buttercream filling: Heat ¼ cup of the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Whisk in the sugar, then the egg yolks. Add the remaining ¾ cup of milk and whisk over medium heat until very thick. Remove form the heat and transfer to a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water; stir and cool. Using a hand-held electric mixer, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, then add the kirsch.
- Faux Fondant Icing: Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan; stir over low heat until the glaze is barely warm, 92º to 95ºF. Use immediately.
- Assembly: Place the best-looking nut layer on a wire rack, smooth side up. Spread this layer with warm apricot jam and let stand for about 15 minutes. Pour warm fondant icing over the jam letting any excess drip over the sides. Pipe four thin line of chocolate about ¾ inch apart along the entire length of the icing. To make a feathered effect, at one-inch intervals, draw a wooden toothpick in straight line perpendicular to the long lines of chocolate. Let stand until the icing and chocolate are firm.
- Meanwhile, place 1 nut layer on a cutting board; spread it with about 3 tablespoons of the buttercream. Repeat with the remaining layers, ending with the buttercream. Spread the remaining buttercream around the sides of the cake. Press sliced almonds onto the sides. Top with the iced layer. Refrigerate uncovered for at least one hour prior to slicing.
I originally had this at the Café Sacher in Salzburg. I had seen the recipe before in 'Kaffeehaus', but it wasn't until we returned from our trip that I attempted it. While the original poster is correct, that it's not an easy recipe, it isn't difficult either. There are multiple steps involved, which definitely add to the complexity. The finished product, however, makes the work worthwhile. If you like hazelnuts, this recipe is a must. There is no other cake like this, and this is exactly the cake they serve in the finest cafés in Europe.