Lemon & White Chocolate Trüffeltorte

I wish I had a funky story to write about.  I don’t.  I don’t even have fabulous photos to share.  Life now is all about work … renovations … cleaning … work …

I wish I could just spend more time in the kitchen and sharing my fabtastic kitchen adventures with you.  Not too many of those happening over the past few weeks, with the very odd exception.

This cake is one of them.   It should have been an unmitigated disaster.  Not because the concept is flawed or the flavours and textures were poorly conceived and thrown together in a Clash of the Inedibles.  Simply because I had to put it all together whilst work was going on all around me, tradesmen and visitors traipsed thumped their way around the house, demanding attention every 10 minutes, and the weather was conveniently suffocating and humid.

Meh.  I blow raspberries in the face of adversity.  It was my father’s birthday and there was no way he wasn’t getting a birthday cake.   He turned eighty-two earlier this week, bless him.   I always make him a chocolate cake for his birthday.    It’s usually this one, decorated especially for his big day.  I love how chocolate cake can make a man of any age regress into a five-year old boy, squealing with excitement.   But even he couldn’t face a rich, decadent chocolate torte of that intensity this year.   So I looked elsewhere for inspiration.

So glad I did.

Because, what I do have, is a fabulous torte to share with you.  It’s also gluten free.  Yes!

Vienna popped into my mind.  I’m very fond of Vienna.  I recall my first two visits there … of course, I saw all the sights, some famous and some less so, some a little more off the beaten track.  But I never let an opportunity go by to do my own tour of the chocolate and pastry sights and tastes on offer in any city worth its sugary buttery reputation.  Vienna has quite the reputation, right?   I have fond memories of many cafes and konditorei scattered across the city, but one cannot go past Demel’s without a special gasp of excitement.  They were the official bakers and pastry suppliers to the royal court.  They also invented the original Sachertorte.  Indeed, yes.  Aahhhh, long may they reign in that fair city … and soon may I return.  Can you hear me, oh great Flying Spaghetti Monster?  🙂

Well, The Demel makes an astonishing array of cakes and pastries, chocolates, and confectionery … among which is the stunning Demel’s Trüffeltorte.  It’s a soft chocolate cake layered with whipped chocolate ganache, covered in more whipped ganache, and coated in toasted flaked almonds around the sides of the torte.  You can see a picture of it here.  It may not be as elaborate as some of the other tortes made on the premises but it’s one of the all time favourites and is never taken off the menu … because it’s THAT good.  It was the first torte I tried there on my very first visit.  Did you know Mozart used to frequent Demel’s all the time?  Useless but interesting fact … anyway, I started reminiscing.  As is my usual wont, rather than just make a trüffeltorte, I took inspiration from it and made a white chocolate version instead.  With lemon.

So glad I did.

Instead of a soft dark chocolate cake, I made soft white chocolate cake layers spiked with a little lemon, just to keep the white chocolate honest.

Instead of a whipped dark chocolate ganache to layer in between the cake layers, I made a tangy lemon curd crème and added a little Limoncello, just to keep the lemons honest.

I frosted the top and sides with a white chocolate and Limoncello ganache, whipped to a state of creamy lightness.  Just to keep the Trüffeltorte honest. 😀

Toasted flaked almonds for the outside of the torte?  Swapped for the texture and flavour of some organic shredded coconut … perfect.

The lemon and white chocolate balance each other out really nicely!  Not too sweet, not too tangy.  The Limoncello gives the lemon a little more depth without adding any more sharpness to the flavour.  The coconut around the sides is just enough to add flavour and texture, without overpowering everything else.  The lemon curd crème is light and fresh, and contrasts with the soft cake layers and creamy smoothness of the ganache.

So so glad I did.

Voilà!  My Lemon and White Chocolate Trüffeltorte …

I love this cake and I generally dislike white chocolate.  It looked beautiful and tasted amazing.  Result?  One very happy five eighty-two year old boy.  The best part?  I got a chance to create something that was fun for me and to bring some joy to my papà.  Can’t ask for more than that.

I used Callebaut white couverture for this cake, although you might notice some flecks of vanilla bean in the ganache.  I didn’t have enough Callebaut on hand but, as luck would have it, I found a block of Green & Black’s white chocolate lying around in one of my secret chocolate caches.  Yes, I have secret chocolate caches.  The Green & Black’s has some Madagascan vanilla bean.  It is so subtle, it really didn’t affect the flavour at all.  In fact, if you love vanilla, you could add a little to the ganache or the cake layers.  Use it sparingly, if you do.  The lemon is the star counterpoint to the white chocolate in this torte.

The cake is far more lovely than the photos show.  I hope to make it again in the not too distant future and take some decent photos to do it justice.  Right now, I’m making do with whatever pics I can get, given the room I use is cluttered with stuff.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Makes 1 x 20cm – 22 cm layer cake (serves 8 – 10)

Limoncello Ganache
380 grams white couverture
200 grams cream (35% fat)
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) Limoncello liqueur

White Chocolate Cake
115 grams Valrhona Opalys or Ivoire chocolate
55 grams water
4 large eggs
zest of 1 small lemon
110 grams castor sugar
70 grams cornflour (or plain flour)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Lemon Curd Crème
165 grams Lemon Curd (1/2 recipe, made with 2 egg yolks, and prepared in advance), chilled
165 grams cream (35% fat), chilled
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) Limoncello liqueur

unsweetened shredded coconut, to garnish

Limoncello Ganache
Make the ganache before making the cake layers.  Chop the couverture and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream over a low heat.  When it comes to the boil, remove and pour it evenly over the chocolate.  Use a whisk to gently stir the ganache from the centre outwards, until all the couverture melts and the ganache is smooth.  Add the lemon juice and Limoncello and whisk until combined.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

White Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 180°C.  Line a 20cm – 22cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper or grease the base and sides with a little butter and dust out with cornflour (or plain flour).  Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the chopped white couverture and water.  Melt the chocolate over a low heat, stirring gently.  Stir until the chocolate mixture thickens and is creamy.  This will take a few minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In the large bowl of a mixer, combine the eggs and sugar.  Whisk until the eggs are thick, pale and light, almost creamy.  Sift the cornflour and salt together and sprinkle over the egg mixture.  Use a spatula to gently fold the flour into the eggs. After five or six folds, drizzle the white chocolate over the batter and gently fold in.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until risen and golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before releasing.   This cake is very soft so take care in slicing it into layers.  Use a serrated knife to slice it into three even layers.  It may help to use a cake board to lift each layer.  Set aside.

Lemon Curd Crème
Combine the chilled lemon curd, cream, and Limoncello in a bowl.   Whisk until thickened and light.  Spread half of the creme on the bottom layer.  Place the middle layer of cake on top.  Repeat with the remaining half of the crème and set the top layer of cake on top.

Remove the ganache from the refrigerator and whisk it until smooth and lightened in texture.  The texture will be more silky when whipped and it will also be easier to pipe.  Spread the ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing the ganache with an offset spatula or palette knife.  Reserve some of the ganache for decoration.

Gently coat the sides of the cake with the shredded coconut.  Use a pastry brush to remove excess coconut from the serving plate.  Finally, use the reserved ganache to pipe a decorative border on top of the cake.

The cake can be served at room temperature, or stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  The ganache remains creamy in texture and does not set hard, so you can choose to either serve it chilled or at room temperature.  If serving at room temperature, remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

The trüffeltorte will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days, covered.  It will still be as fresh and luscious as the first day.

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