Blitz torte: a birthday cake for the cake-challenged baker

My goal was to make a yellow birthday cake with chocolate icing. I tried. I really did. But I failed. And I’m not unhappy about failing, not one little bit.

The test kitchen here at King Arthur Flour is a bastion of failure. Like baseball players, our theoretical goal is to bat 1.000, but it’s an impossible dream (like the ’67 Sox, for all you members of Red Sox Nation out there). Once in a blue moon does any of us think up a recipe, write it down, bake it, and WOW—instant success!

To continue with the baseball metaphor, we have a “three-strike rule” in the test kitchen, as in “Try a recipe three times and if you’re not pretty darned close, forget it and move on.” So the process is usually something like this: “Man, that was pretty bad,” followed by “Better, but it could still use…” followed by “Pretty good. Now, if I just increase the (cinnamon, butter, yeast…) a teeny, tiny bit…” And the fourth time should be—SHOULD be—perfect. (Sometimes we cheat and go to bat a fifth and sixth time, but we try to sneak such efforts past our fellow test bakers, lest they consider us truly lame.)

Thus did I start honing in on a really great yellow cake recipe iced with perfect fudge frosting. First attempt: dry and crumbly. I tried to salvage it by brushing vanilla syrup on top, but the result was “dry and crumbly with a 1/8” soggy layer of vanilla syrup on top.” I tried another recipe: better, but still kind of dry. I went back to the first recipe, subbing in some sour cream, tinkering with the sugar, the eggs… blecchh, worse than the first attempt.

So now I’d tried three times and “struck out.” But yellow cake—c’mon, EVERYONE can make yellow cake. Why can’t I? I researched my cookbooks, looking for something different; an old-fashioned, oil-based chiffon cake, perhaps. Tried it: moist, but dense and heavy. Tried a hot milk cake; OK, but too spongy. On and on it went, as I fussed and fussed and FUSSED with this project, covering my futile attempts with chocolate ganache and leaving them in the lunchroom for unsuspecting fellow employees (whose standards might not be as high as those we set in the test kitchen—cake is cake, after all).

And then finally—at last!—I gave up.

Why? Because my fellow test baker/blogger, Susan Reid, started working on the very same project (yellow cake) for a new recipe section, Guaranteed Classics, we’ll be posting online this summer. And Susan, being 20 times the cake baker I’ll ever hope to be, will no doubt nail this sucker in about 35 minutes (in a preheated 350°F oven) flat.

Thus, emotionally sucking my thumb and pouting, I retreated back into my safe haven of yeast bread. But first, I assuaged my feelings by going into the test kitchen and baking my favorite cake, a recipe my mom gave me years and years ago, one that never fails to elicit raves, one that’s simple to make, utterly delicious, and is my default office birthday party cake… Why was I fooling around with yellow cake when I could make a Blitz Torte?

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When you want to make absolutely, positively certain that your cake won’t stick in the pan, line the pan with parchment paper, the baker’s best friend. First, put your cake pans on a sheet of parchment, and trace their bottoms with a felt-tip marker.

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Like this.

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Cut the circles out, and put them into the pans, which you’ve first sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray. My favorite is Everbake, since it doesn’t leave that annoying brown, sticky goo on your baking sheets. Spray the parchment, too.

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This recipe calls for four eggs, separated. That means you have to separate the yolks from the whites. The easiest way is to crack the eggshell in half, and pour the yolk and white from one side to the other.

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As you pour, the white will separate itself from the yolk, and fall into the bowl below. Set the bowl of whites aside; you’ll use them later.

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Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks, then beat in the vanilla or Fiori di Sicilia, milk, baking powder, and flour.

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Divide the stiff dough between the two parchment-lined pans.

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Spread it towards the edges of the pans. Don’t be too fussy; it’s OK if the batter doesn’t quite reach the edges.
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Next, go back to that bowl of egg whites. Beat them, gradually adding the sugar, till they’re glossy and starting to mound. There’s no need to beat them till they’re stiff; they just need to be pillowy. Hey, how do you like that? You’ve made meringue!

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Divide the meringue atop the cake batter in the pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and sliced almonds.

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The cakes will rise high as they bake…

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…then gently settle down as they cool. Use a spatula or table knife to loosen the edges of the cakes from the pan.

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Now, you’re going to take the cakes out of the pans without losing too much of their topping. Lay a piece of parchment atop one pan, then set a cooling rack, feet-side-up, on top of the parchment.

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Flop pan, parchment, and rack over; lift the cake pan off the cake, and peel off the parchment that it baked on. The bottom of the cake is now facing up. Place the rack on the cake…

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…and flop it over again, so the cake is right side up.

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Put one layer on a serving plate, and spread it with your favorite filling. Mine is instant vanilla pudding, enhanced with extra vanilla extract and made with half and half (or even heavy cream) instead of milk. Tastes just as decadently rich as the best pastry cream, and it’s a whole lot easier to make.

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You can add fresh berries or cut-up fruit at this point, but the fellow whose birthday cake this was loves apricots. So apricot jam was the counterpoint to the vanilla pudding.

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Here it is, ready for the candles…

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And here are the remains, post-singing, post-celebrating, and post “Who wants cake? I do I do!”

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Blitz Torte.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Wanda Redmond

    My question concerns the Zojirushi bread machine (It’s getting more use now with the high ready-made bread prices!).

    HOW do you people get loaves of baked bread out of the Zojirushi without the two beaters tearing holes in the botton of the loaf?

    Will sure appreciate your help! Birthday cake recipe and all the others are a ‘treat’ to observe. WGR

    Reply
  2. Linda

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to use a springform pan or cheesecake pan to keep the cake upright when removing it from the pan? Your top wouldn’t get crushed and the appearance would be maintained. Even if people do not have a cheesecake pan–most bakers have a springform for cheesecake and flourless cake baking.

    Reply
  3. Grant Kolnes

    I would like the recipe for the above shown cake. it’s my wifes birthday soon and I want to make this for her. I have your cookbooks, that are sold as a grouping of 3, is it in one of these books? Please let me know how to get this recipe, Blitz Torte. It looks great.
    Thanks
    Grant Kolnes

    Reply
  4. Mary Lu Shultz

    I use a terry cloth dish towel, hold on to both ends of the pan and bounce the bread to loosen the loaf. This doesn’t completely do away with the ‘holes’ but usually lets the beaters come out easier and neater.

    The cake must be absolutely delicious!!

    Reply
  5. Shirley Garies

    This looks wonderful! However, I don’t see the list of ingredients for the cake! Am I just overloking ? Love your website/catalog. Our supermarkets are beginning to have some of the mixes, they have had the flour for a long while.
    Thanks so much,
    Shirley Garies

    Reply
  6. PJ Hamel

    Hi everyone: Please click on Blitz Torte up where the photos begin. It takes you to the recipe in our online recipe archive. I can see I’m going to have to make that link more clearly visible, huh? Sorry ’bout that – technology is still somewhat of a challenge for me at times!

    Linda, if you have two springform pans (one for each layer), yeah, you could certainly use them. Or bake one layer, cool, take out, then bake the next. But since most people don’t have two springforms, I thought I’d show how to do it in two regular cake pans.

    Wanda, the best solution (if you’re around) is to set a timer for when the Zo does its “punch down” midway through the rising prior to baking. Just take the dough out, paddles out, shape the dough into a log, and plop it back in and let the machine finish doing its thing. Or, if you don’t want to do that, be sure you grease the paddles well once its finished its initial kneading; that seems to help.

    And Lorrie, yes – the cake is delicious. Maybe my photos didn’t do it justice, but it also looks pretty good, too!

    Thanks for the comments, everyone-

    Reply
  7. Susan Williams

    Re: Separating Eggs. I was watching some of the old Jacques and Julia at Home videos. One of them separated eggs this way: Crack the egg. Hold your (clean) left hand over the bowl. Pour the egg into your left hand and let the whites ooze down into the bowl between your fingers. Take the now separated yolk and put it into another bowl. They swore the yolk would never break (unless you squeezed it!)

    I haven’t had the guts to try that yet. It make sense, but… ewww!

    The cake looks totally yummy!

    Reply
  8. Teri Einan

    I was thrilled to see this recipe. About 25 years ago I had a similar one and it was filled with lemon curd. Lost the book it was published in during a move. Guess what we are having this week-end???

    Love all the products I have purchased from “The King”. (that is the term now used by the family when they discover a box left on our porch) Living in a community that is ” baking supplies lacking” it is wonderful to get on the computer and order up knowing that in a few days I am back in the kitchen.

    Thanks,
    Teri Einan
    Kennewick,Washington

    Reply
  9. PJ Hamel

    Susan, I’ve actually separated eggs that way, simply using my fingers. It’s not “ewwww,” exactly; just kind of jello-y, slurpy, weird feeling. But yeah, it definitely works if you keep your hands relaxed, your fingers just the RIGHT distance spread apart – and don’t squeeze!

    Reply
  10. PJ Hamel , post author

    Teri, glad you found your long-lost recipe here! Lemon curd sounds like the perfect filling. enjoy it this weekend. and glad “the King” could help you out1 thanks for connecting-

    Reply
  11. Jan Hickey

    PJ, have you tried coconut milk with your pudding mix? I usually use the no-sugar cooked version of the pudding mix-vanilla or chocolate-and 1 can of ‘light’ coconut milk (14 oz of tasty liquid coconut instead of the 16 oz of milk that is recommended, so the filling is just a bit thicker). It makes a lovely, coconut flavored filling for many things–also great pudding!

    Reply
  12. PJ Hamel

    Jan, what a fabulous idea! No, I hadn’t thought to use coconut milk in the pudding mix… but I’m definitely going to try it. We have a coconut thing going on around the test kitchen lately, what with one of our new best friends in the kitchen, coconut milk powder; Susan Reid, another baker/blogger here, has been trying it in tons of stuff, with very tasty results. Next time I make this Blitz Torte, though, it’s getting shredded coconut in place of the almonds on top, and coconut filling. I’ll bet lemon pudding with coconut milk would be good too, huh? See, now you’ve got me going! THANKS-

    Reply
  13. Mary Witkowicz

    Hi everyone, Love you website, love the blog. I had contacted you a few months ago about a recipe for Portuguese Sweet Bread. I have tried a few of them, with the same results–dry, crumbly ‘but tasty ,” Hockey Pucks”.!! I am still trying to find that recipe that will give me a fluffy, light, lemony traditional Portuguese Sweet Bread. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

    Also, where can I find the ingredient list and recipes for the Blitz Torte and other recipes on the blog. Thank you for a great website..

    Sincerely,
    Mary Witkowicz

    Reply
  14. Robin Kline

    Susan–YES! to the easy separating of eggs, by holding the yolk in the palm of your clean hand (a la Jacques and Julia). Works like a charm.

    Reply
  15. PJ Hamel

    Mary, click on the words Blitz Torte just above the series of photos; that will take you to the recipe online. And that’s true with all the blog recipes; the “clickable” recipe name is just above where the series of photos starts. Sorry it’s not more evident… we’ll work on fixing that, design-wise.
    As for the Portuguese Sweet Bread, we have several recipes online you might enjoy. I recommend the Portuguese Sweet Rolls, in particular; make them into a large loaf rather than individual rolls, if you like. I know exactly what you mean: soft, sweet, pillowy, a touch of lemon. YUM!

    Reply
  16. Tena

    Two of my baking friends and I attended a class on baking with chocolate, taught by guest chef Susan Gold Purdy. A version of the Blitz Torte, using one vanilla layer and one chocolate layer, was one of the gems I collected from that class, along with some great memories. Thanks for reminding me.

    FYI, a tasty low fat version of the blitz torte, using vanilla layers with a creamy berry filling, is in Susan’s book ‘Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too’. Susan told us she developed these blitz torte recipes because she wanted to cut out the added step of frosting, and was looking for a cake that baked it’s own topping. Works every time!

    Reply
  17. Virginia Holsten

    An old family recipe that I could never get right, but with these instructions, I am more than willing to try it again – I have always loved Blitzt torte, but our version just had a few chopped pecans on top of the meringue and was always frosted with tons of whipped cream.

    Thanks for giving me the incentive to try again.

    Reply
  18. BeverlyJean Smith

    Well, I must be technically challenged also since I have tried clicking on eveything and still can’t get the recipe to come up.

    Reply
  19. Betty Anne Smith

    I have tried and tried clicking on the words Blitz Torte to get the recipe but it does not take me to the recipe. I then tried going to the web site, then recipes, then cakes. I could find some torte recipes but not this particular one. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  20. PJ Hamel

    Betty Anne and BeverlyJean: When you double click on the words Blitz Torte in this sentence:

    Why was I fooling around with yellow cake when I could make a Blitz Torte?

    It should take you to the recipe. If it doesn’t, please write back. Sorry for your troubles with this! I’m not sure what’s happening, because the link seems to be working fine…

    Reply
  21. JA Anderson

    Where do you keep the recipes for your blogged items? I do think this site needs to be redesigned so that readers can find the recipes quickly and easily. I know that I found one the other day, but I have forgotten how I pulled that feat off.

    Reply
  22. Joe

    I love that idea of using coconut milk with pudding!

    PJ – I’m happy to see you guys opened up the site to comments! I hope you’ll be able to share more pictures of the test kitchen – I can only imagine how fun it would be to play around in there!

    Reply
  23. PJ Hamel

    JA, check out the paragraph just before where the step-by-step photos start. You’ll see the recipe title in brick-red color and, if you don’t have a color monitor, it’s also underlined. This means it’s a link – to the recipe. However, we talked about this here yesterday, and going forward I’ll provide a very clear link to the recipe at the bottom of the photos. We’re also thinking of linking the large blog title at the very top to the recipe – anyone have any thoughts about that? Would it be confusing?

    Reply
  24. Jan Hickey

    PJ, what about a “recipe button” somewhere near the top of the blog entry like the ones used under our screen names on the BC?

    Glad you like the coconut milk idea. I have used it with chocolate and vanilla pudding (unfortunately, those are the only flavors they make in the cooked sugar-free version of the pudding). I have not tried it with instant pudding mix, but I think it might work there too.

    Reply
  25. Madeline Brauch

    Clicked and double clicked “Blitz Torte” everywhere I saw it and still haven’t gotten to the recipe. Help! Also, how do I get the recipe{s} for Portuguese Sweet Bread?

    Reply
  26. Aaron Frank

    Why, oh why do people keep teaching people to separate eggs by dumping them back an forth? First, this is a great way to introduce our pal Sal (salmonella) into a dish. Second, it is just so much easier to keep your eggs cold and then crack them into your (clean) hand letting the white drain through your fingers while you cup the yolk in your palm. After separating the eggs, let them warm up to room temperature.

    Thanks

    Reply
  27. Janet Gordon

    Thanks for giving us the links for these 2 recipes, which are clickable for me. Earlier when I clicked on the Blitz Torte words above the pictures I had ‘the little hand’, but the words are not underlined, and the page would “blink”, green bars would appear on the status bar at the bottom of my monitor, but nothing would change on your page, and I’d still be at the pictures. I do have a question about printing the pictures and postings from Baker’s Banter. I printed the whole thing on Strawberry Shortcakes, including postings because they are so interesting, but it takes a lot of paper. I want to print the Blintz Torte as well, does it require changes to one’s IE for margins? Mine is set so I can print full pages on most web sites, but you have such wide margins I wouldn’t know what to change on my settings. Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  28. Janet Gordon

    Found the Blitz Torte recipe! Piece of cake!! I was clicking on the words at the very top of the picture of the cake with the candles lit. Wrong!
    When are the postings updated? I’m anxious to print this whole thing with the pictures, but hoping you’ll comment about how to do it in less pages. Thanks!

    Reply
  29. Kim

    My mother had a Tupperwear egg separator she always used when I was growing up. In fact, I’m sure she still has it! I can only find them these days in EBay type auctions; here’s a picture: http://www.wagglepop.com/auction/images/imgupld/38538_1.jpg

    Myself, I use the drip-through-your-fingers method to separate eggs. It’s messy, but I never get bits of shell in the whites, and I never break the yolks!

    I love, love, LOVE your blog, PJ!!

    Reply
  30. Mary L

    What fun to see this recipe! My mom made blitz torte frequently when we were growing up in the 50s and 60s and we loved it. We always thought of it as a celebration cake, but she told me recently that she made it often because she always had all the ingredients on hand. She never thought of it as a special dessert, just an everyday one. She did make her own pastry cream with milk, sugar, egg and cornstarch (instant pudding probably hadn’t been invented yet!), and she always put the meringue side down on the bottom so that when the cake was cut there was meringue on the outside of both layers. Sure, it got squished, but it still tasted wonderful.

    Reply
  31. jmk

    Blitz tort has been my dad’s birthday cake since I was a little girl (and I’m 43). My mom thinks it’s really old fashioned, and I didn’t know anyone who’d ever made one except my mom!!!!

    Reply
  32. Jayne

    What would happen if I substitued potato starch for this small amount of flour? I’d love to serve this on Passover. Thanks!

    Reply
  33. PJ Hamel

    Gosh, Jayne, I don’t know…. Give it a try and let us know! I would think it might be a little gummy, as you’d be using only starch with no protein. But, since it’s a fairly thin layer of batter, it might translate OK? Just guessing here…

    Reply
  34. David Armstrong

    I want to make this cake for April birthdays at work. I need to do a 13 x 9 cake in order to have enough for everyone. I’m thinking I can double the recipe and bake it in two 13 x 9 pans. However, I’m wondering if this would work if I used a half-sheet pan (with a double recipe). So two questions:
    One: Is there enough batter for one 13 x 9 pan (in the recipe as published)?
    Two: Are the sides of a half sheet pan too short if the recipe is doubled?
    Also, really like the different ideas for filling!

    Reply
  35. PJ Hamel

    Hi David: This would be barely enough batter for a 13 x 9 pan… you could just simply not spread it close to the edges, though,a nd not stress about getting ALL the way to the edges. As for a half-sheet, no, it would be too short – needs to be about 1 3/4″ tall. Sounds good – have fun!

    Reply
  36. Julie Thornton

    Read the blog comments and had to try it. Now my husband wants it for his birthday cake. My brother-in-law had just shipped us 2 dozen ripe Meyer lemons, so…lemon zest added to the cake batter, made lemon curd and folded in some whipped cream for the filling, didn’t have sliced almonds so used coarsely chopped. It was excellent. The meringue with the toasted almonds was good on its own! I used my layer cake pans with removable bottoms as suggested and that worked very well. Next flavor trials will be espresso/chocolate and hazelnuts on the meringue. It is a great cake because it is so easy.

    Reply
  37. Dana Courtney

    I took this to our end-of-season x-country ski potluck a couple weeks ago and it was a MAJOR hit. There were three desserts on the table and there was nothing but crumbs left of this one. One of the guys said, “Dana, you can bring that dessert ANYTIME!” It really was a snap to make, and I used sliced strawberries on mine since they’re getting more plentiful in the stores. Thanks KAF for another winner recipe.

    Reply
  38. Gert Martel

    Hi PJ,
    I made the Blitz Torte a few weeks’ ago for my son and daughter-in-law and they just loved it. I will definitely try all the variations but I’m sure that they will all be delicious. I especially liked the instant pudding filling and I think it tasted just like an eclair filling. I will definitely make it again. Our son and daughter-in-law live in Vermont and I have them shopping for me at King Arthur every time they come for a visit.

    Reply
  39. PJ Hamel , post author

    Gert, the instant pudding trick is one of my favorites… and they have so many flavors to choose from, so don’t limit yourself to vanilla. Pistachio in chocolate cake is umm-UMMM GOOD!

    Reply
  40. Betty Amer

    My copy of Joy of Cooking (1964) has a recipe called Cream Meringue Tart Cockaigne which is almost exactly the same as your Blitz Torte. (It has a little less butter in the cake, a little more sugar in the meringue.) Although it sounded intriguing enough for me to remember, I’ve never made it. After seeing your photos I think I’ll be baking a version soon!

    Reply
  41. Shirley Haflich

    Are my eyes failing, too? The directions for the Blitz Torte do say when to add the sweet dough flavor, but I can’t seem to find it in the ingredient list. Since the postings are so enthusiastic, shall I assume it is an optional ingredient. If it is to be used, how much of it?

    Shirley, it’s an editing error – should say Fiori di Sicilia, rather than sweet dough flavor. But they’re very similar, so use the same amount of sweet dough flavor, if you prefer. Sorry ’bout that! I get going too fast sometimes… – PJH

    Reply
  42. Ann Snow

    I just read this blog for the first time–great ideas for individualizing the cake. BUT WHAT THE HECK IS “SWEET DOUGH FLAVOR”? You don’t have it listed as an ingredient on the main recipe, but at the bottom, it’s referred to.

    I have a box of lemon instant pudding, and the blueberries out back are beckoning. I think the flavors will be great together. Thanks for what looks like a great recipe!

    Whoops, editing error- please substitute “Fiori di Sicilia” for “sweet dough flavor” in the instructions. Sorry ’bout that – PJH

    Reply
  43. Marilyn Hogan

    I grew up in Worcester Massachusetts and as a child my mother (Swedish/Finnish) was always making great desserts. The Blitz Torte was one that we had often and I have been looking for the recipe for years. She always filled it with fresh strawberries and a cream of some kind. Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this. I have a cookbook CD I have done for my 3 daughters in Massachusetts of our family recipes and this will certainly be added.
    Marilyn (Arvidson) Hogan
    Maimi, FL.

    Reply
  44. Paula Valencia

    A good substitute for the Fiori di Sicilia (which seems to be a citrus flavored valnilla) would be to simply add vanilla and grated lemon. Or, use lemon flavored pudding.

    This sounds like a great cake for any occasion. Chocolate pudding in the center with strawberries sounds good. The combinations are endless.

    Thanks for a good recipe that seems easy.

    You’re welcome, Paula. Though I have to disagree – vanilla and lemon rind, or lemon pudding, would be a substitute for Fiori – but not a GOOD substitute. Fiori just has that certain something… it’s more than the sum of its apparent parts, is what I’m saying. It’s lovely and aromatic and very easy to use, since a little goes a long way. Cheers!- PJH

    Reply
  45. Linda

    What great ideas! I plan on sending to my newly married daughter, since this doesn’t sound hard and has step by step directions.
    Now for the question…how would you suggest converting cake receipe to a choc cake (so I can try the pistachio pudding idea)?

    Linda, try substituting 1/4 cup cocoa powder for 1/4 cup of the flour, see what happens. I’ve never tried it, no guarantees, you may need to increase the sugar (taste the batter) – but give it a try and let us know. – PJH

    Reply
  46. Christl Michele

    Wow! This recipe reminds me of one my Austrian mother used…I’ll have to try it ASAP. My question: what changes (if any) would I have to make to bake this cake at high altitudes (e.g. 8,000 feet or higher)?

    Hi Christi – I’m not an expert at high altitude baking (we’re at 460′ here), but I’d add 1 large egg; add 3 tablespoons flour; increase oven temp. by 15° or so, and decrease baking time by about 5 minutes. Hope this works for you – PJH

    Reply
  47. Esther Mozo

    I’m a laywer in the Philippines but I also love to bake. So everytime there’s a birthday party in our office, I bake the cake. It’s my chance to try out new recipes and taste just a bit of it. Anyway, last time I looked at your website, I saw a recipe for choco-vanilla cake. It looked good and easy. I thought I’d try that for an upcoming birthday party at work next week. But today, I saw this Blitz Torte recipe and now I can’t make up my mind which one to try! I have an aunt who’s cook used to make Blitz Torte for special occassions when I was a little girl, so I know how great it tastes. Thanks for your wonderfully easy instructions and pictures. I find it comforting to know that I’m not the only one who’s intimidated by perfectly decorated cake pictures.

    Esther, I’m the one who’s intimidated by beautifully decorated cake pictures! I don’t have that particular gene… but I do enjoy a good, tasty cake. Blitz torte is definitely faster/easier. And then, there’s the current post, Susan’s wonderful coconut cake… Ah, so many cakes, so few birthdays! – PJH

    Reply
  48. Karen

    My daughter made this for my birthday. She used 1/4 tsp orange oil in addition to the vanilla. The filling was instant vanilla pudding (using half-and-half is a great tip!) and fresh, sliced strawberries.

    The only complaint was that there wasn’t quite enough of it for our group of 7 cake lovers. Any chance you could give measurements for 3 layers? I think doubling the recipe would be too much of a good thing. :)

    Just increase it all by half, Karen. For example, 4 egg yolks become 6; 1 stick of butter becomes 1 1/2 sticks, etc. Pretty simple; go for it! PJH

    Reply
  49. Georgie Taylor

    My mother made this cake for every single birthday for as long as I can remember. OK, I’m dating myself but it would be 50 some years now. And, for each and every celebration this cake was very special. She always filled it with homemade pastry cream and fresh strawberries when in season. And. of course, a dollop of whipped cream on the side! Thank you for helping this spectacular cake to make a comeback. It really does make every celebration memorable. And, it’s so much fun to make! Like magic in the oven!

    I agree, Georgie – this falls under the wonderful heading of “looks fancy, tastes terrific, SO easy”! PJH

    Reply
  50. Jim Evans

    My mother use to make Blitz Tort, but it always had a Crunchy top. It was more like the Meringue cookies. Very crisp. Unfortunately, her recipe died with her. Does anyone know how to make the meringue dry out and be more like the cookies?

    The top of this blitz torte has a dry, crunchy top… It softens as it stands, but it starts out dry and crunchy. PJH

    Reply
  51. terri sue

    the first time i made a blitz torte was 27 years ago. i made it for my husband for our 3rd anniversary. he loved it so much i promised i would make him one every year for said anniversary. ha! our daughter was born three days later. he has gotten them on and off over the years but it has only been in the recent years that i have finally become consistant with my promise. i just didn’t know three days before she was born how much time she and then later her brother were going to take!!! the recipe that i found uses slightly sweetened whipped cream. wonderful. i don’t know though, a thick custardy pudding sounds pretty good. i don’t think my husband would mind my trying it out on him for a just for fun occassion. maybe like it’s the third weekend of february celebration!!!!
    Sounds like a great reason for a celebration! Joan D @KAF

    Reply
  52. Michelle

    You rock! Thank you for posting this. Your photos and instructions are great! I’m looking forward to creating this bite of Heaven!

    Reply
  53. Jayne

    Whenever I have to seperate eggs, I do it one egg at a time into a custard cup, then transferring from the cup to the bowl with the rest of the egg whites. That way if you break the yolk or have a bad or bloddy egg, you don’t ruin the rest of the eggs.

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  54. Ruth

    *evil cackle*

    The recipe will halve beautifully . . . which means that I could make this for my husband and myself and not wind up with half a cake that goes out for the squirrels and birds. One cake layer, cut diametrically, a little filling, maybe some fruit . . . oh yeah, baby!

    So I’m thinking lemon curd and fresh blueberries, but I’m having some trouble imagining it with cinnamon. The almonds would be terrific, though. Hmmm.

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  55. Susie

    This Blitz Torte recipe is from the JOY OF COOKING, where it is called CREAM MERINGUE TART COCKAIGNE. It’s been a favorite in our house for decades. I kindly hope you mention that and give credit where credit is due!

    Susan, I’d guess this recipe has been around longer than Joy of Cooking – it’s been handed down, tweaked, and enjoyed for years and years and years, as you say. It’s not useful to try to credit recipes like this, that have entered the public domain, as there’s no telling where Irma Rombauer got her version… I always give credit when it’s clear the recipe I’m putting forth is directly from an original source, but in this case, I simply give thanks, mentally, for all the bakers over the years who’ve passed this delicious cake recipe along. As I’m sure you have! PJH

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  56. Katie

    In response to Aaron above – I’m not sure why people insist that cakes made with eggs separated by the method shown are unsafe after baking for half an hour at 350F, as salmonella (and a lot of other nasties) are killed pretty effectively by a few minutes at 160. True, the cake doesn’t actually get up to the full oven temperature, but according to my resources, most cakes reach a center temperature of over 200F just by baking completely. And if you’re deliberately not cooking your eggs thoroughly, separated or unseparated, you’re asking for bacterial trouble anyway.

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  57. Linda

    I don’t know how I lucked out in finding this website — was searching “something” and hit a link and then another — you know how it goes! Wow – I’m quite excited about this. Great comments and can’t wait to try this recipe, but has anyone tried the recipe with sugar substitute such as Splenda?

    Linda, we’ve experimented a bit with Splenda in baking, and found it doesn’t work very well in cakes. I wouldn’t go there for this particular dessert… It’s not very high in sugar, anyway, so best to leave it as is. Unless you’re willing to experiment and possibly get a result you don’t like – in which case, please write back and let us know what happened. Good luck – PJH

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  58. Sharon

    I clicked on the Blitz Torte link you mentioned, but it gave me a blank page. Did I do something wrong here? Thanks.

    Not you, Sharon – we’ve been having random broken links problems. All fixed now – thanks so much for your patience… PJH

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  59. moasmom

    It is so amazing to find this recipe online. This cake has been my husband’s family’s celebration cake for more than 40 years, and I’d never seen the likes of it any where else. His grandmother used to be the designated baker; now that she’s gone, I *have* to make it for my husband every January 15th. And I’m not allowed to experiment with fillings or flavorings, either (traditionally, we top each layer with raspberry jam and whipped cream before assembly; my husband is allergic to nuts, so they get left out).

    We know it as Thunder & Lightning Cake, but no one has any idea where Grandma originally got the recipe, or what’s behind its unusual name. The German word for lightning is blitzen, so now I am thinking the provenance must be similar to your Blitz Torte. This is so fun! I love recipe “archaeology”!

    Thanks for making my day,
    Kara

    This is definitely a classic recipe, Kara – I’ve seen versions in many cookbooks. This just happened to be the one my mom made. I love how we all put our own family twists on things. And I LOVE the thunder and lightning. I’d agree the lightning probably springs from blitz, and the thunder just naturally tagged along! :) PJH

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  60. Patricia

    This is one of our family’s favorite cakes. It’s so easy to make and you can use fresh fruit or jam in the middle…yum! And I make it often around the Christmas holidays and just use green and red sprinkled sugar on it – looks great! May look a little funky, but it always gets raves.

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  61. "New York Sunflower"

    This is excellent; I made it today for DD’s BF’s birthday and it was impressive. We still have fresh raspberries in our garden so my torte mirrored the KAF photo — I did use a thin raspberry jam layer under the pastry cream. This looks and tastes complicated and complex; it is neither, just delicious.

    That’s one of the things I like about this, aside from its taste – it LOOKS so much more complicated than it is! :) PJH

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  62. Cecelia

    I grew up with Blitz Tortes – our family’s favorite holiday cake. I still have my grandmother’s stained recipe card from easily 70 years ago. The way she made it was rather than custard, the filling was whipped cream and sliced bananas (any fruit would do, but we kids insisted upon bananas). She always made it with the “meringue side” of the bottom layer down on the plate, so the two “cake sides” sandwiched the filling. Any way you do it, it will all taste good!

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  63. mkasten

    I’d like to bake this a day ahead of time. Does this recipe work well if you bake the cakes and make the pastry cream the day before but assemble just before serving? Thanks!

    Absolutely – that’ll work just fine. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  64. Judy

    Just made 2 Blitz Totes, from a recipe passed down from my mom from the 50’s, always made for special occasion, mines a bit different, with homemade filling, and toppings are just chopped nuts or coconut or both on top of meringue of course. Was so happy to see others are still enjoying an old German favorite from my childhood, as do my grown children and grandchildren do, even though not health friendly, that’s what makes it so special just for those special occasions. Thanks.

    Judy, you hit the nail on the head – while we wouldn’t want to enjoy these rich cakes all the time, they’re perfect for birthdays and special occasions. I love this particular cake – it’s not overly sweet, and the meringue/nuts on top are just the right touch. Thanks for connecting here – PJH

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  65. Angela Campbell

    Found this recipe at the perfect time – I was in charge of dessert for a dinner party. it was great and not heavy after a meal – I thought that the sugar on top of the meringue could be eliminated ….? Or would that change the texture of the meringue? Any thoughts? It was delicious and looked beautiful. I even took a picture : )

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Angela I like the cinnamon flavor the sugar gives, but it’s not necessary – a simple dusting of cinnamon (or nothing at all) would be just fine. Glad you enjoyed it – maybe you’d like to post the photo to our Facebook page? PJH

  66. milenka

    Thank you for the recipe! I am not great baking cakes but this one was soooooo easy :) The finish product looked just like the picture from the recipe in the king Arthur’s web, and it tasted much better than it looks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      A beautiful Rustic torte, excellent taste, and a breeze to make….it doesn’t get much better than that! We’re so happy to hear you blitzed your way to a delicious dessert and we’ll do our best to keep the simple and delicious recipes coming! Happy Baking! Joceyln@KAF

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