This blog marked its 17th anniversary at the beginning of August.
It’s been through a number of iterations and changed hosts several times, but it’s still musing along after all this time.
I’d actually forgotten the occasion, yes, typical of a man, until I read the Wednesday Chef’s post marking her blog’s sixth birthday. And as she’d had the great idea of serving up a cake to celebrate, I decided to follow suit.
I present the Musings from a Stonehead birthday torte.
After that, though, it’s something of an abomination as far as the original torte is concerned because the creator, József C. Dobos, wanted a long-life cake that didn’t rely on the then common whipped cream fillings found in other tortes.
Mr Dobos opted for fine buttercream. I opted for sherry cream. But in my defence, I didn’t need a long-life cake and I like sherry cream.
- 200g plain flour
- 150g dark brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 150ml full-cream milk
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 15g butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 125g flaked almonds, toasted
- Preheat oven to 170ºC. Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with non-stick backing parchment.
- Sift the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the sunflower oil, milk, golden syrup and eggs.
- Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and beat hard until well combined.
- Divide the batter equally between the two tins and bake for 35 minutes. Push a steel skewer into the centre of each cake to check that they’re cooked through.
- When the cakes are done, remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in their tins. Turn them out on to wire racks, remove the parchment and allow to cool completely.
- Cut each cake into multiple layers. If you have a wire cake slicer you should be able to get three layers from each cake, possibly four. If a bread knife is used, you’re more likely to get two, possibly, three layers per cake.
- Place the cream, caster sugar and sherry in a bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks begin to form. Don’t over whisk—instead, stop every few seconds to see if the peaks stay erect or slump. As soon as they hold their shape, stop whisking.
- Set one layer of the cakes aside to be used as the top. Place it on a wire rack over a large, lightly oiled plate. Decorate the top with a pattern made from flaked almonds.
- Use three-quarters of the sherry cream to sandwich the remaining layers of cake together.
- To make the caramel, melt the butter in a large, spotlessly clean frying pan over a low heat.
- Sprinkle the caster sugar over the melted butter and heat gently until the sugar dissolves and turns golden-brown.
- Spoon the molten caramel over the top layer of the cake, while placed on the wire rack. (Caramel will run on to the plate, but the oil makes it easier to remove and it will be popular with children. And some adults!)
- Spread the remaining sherry cream over the sides of the cake sandwich. Reserve a little.
- Place the top layer, with its caramel coating, on top of the sandwich and use the reserved cream to fill any caps between the top and base layers.
- Press toasted almonds into the cream spread over the sides of the cake.
- To slice the cake, use a finely serrated bread knife to carefully saw through the caramel, then use a sharp knife to cut the torte. Alternatively, before pouring the caramel, slice the top layer into an equal number of wedges—usually eight or 16. Place the wedges on the rack and pour the caramel over them. When the caramel is set, reassemble the wedges as the top layer of the cake.
- Serve with coffee. Or sherry.