Two questions for the pastry gurus, cake lovers and torte experts

My mom has a recipe for an amazing cake (actually it’s a torte, pic attached). This torte marked every occasion in our family. One of my first photos is while eating it. It’s been present ever since: at my birthdays, graduations, wedding, when my daughter was born, and now for her birthdays.

I am trying to write down my mom’s recipe. Properly and precisely, so that it can be shared with others. The precise recipe resides in my mom’s head, but not on paper. The paper version looks like this:

“beat 12 yolks with 250g of sugar, add 250g of chocolate and butter. Cook over simmering water until it’s done. When the cream is done divide into two parts. Cool the first part completely. Beat 8 egg whites and add to the second part. Add 2 spoons of ground walnuts. Bake. When the cake is cool, spread the remaining cream on top and finish with chocolate glaze”

Question 1: I’ve tried to locate the source of this recipe, but it’s been in the family for over 50 years and she does not remember where it came from. I suspect it goes back to some of the grand cakes of Austro-Hungarian Empire and central Europe. I searched for a similar torte, but could not find anything like it. I wonder if you might have some insight and help trace its roots.

Question 2: I’ve pretty much written most of the recipe, except for the cream part. The cream needs to be cooked to the right consistency, not too creamy not to dense. I made the cake thousands of times, and know how the cream is supposed to look, but I lack the words to describe it properly. My mom used to say, “the cream is done when it starts to separate from the pot”. I wonder if there is a better and more “technical” way to describe it?

Thanks a bunch!



boulangere August 23, 2013
I'd cook the eggs, sugar, and chocolate over a bain marie to 165 degrees, then stir in the butter off the heat. Bake in a water bath.
mensaque August 23, 2013
In Brazil we call it "Pudim de bolo":Pudding cake,but it's not a traditional recipe per say.The most common recipe would be to bake a condensed milk on top of a cake batter.I think the discription for the cream is's like we describe in Brazil a done "Brigadeiro"(condensed milk with chocolate cooked to make party candies),but there's one other thing I think you should explain better:the amount of chocolate and's 250g of each or 250g total,half and half?I would love to know so that I could try,I love your recipe!
mensaque August 23, 2013
"To bake a condensed milk 'pudding' on top ..." I missed a word there.
QueenSashy August 23, 2013
I love Brigadeiros! The recipe in the question is really what my mom wrote, that's how she does it. I am trying to write it in a real recipe-proper way and would be happy to send it to you as soon as I am done. Cheers!
QueenSashy August 23, 2013
Hi Droplet. Yes that's it! A thin, small torte (I always double the quantities). If you look at the cut piece from the side, it will be half cake and half thick cream... Perhaps you could ask your mom where it comes from, I would really like to know where it comes from. Thank you!
Droplet August 23, 2013
Hi QueenSashy, I have seen a similar recipe in my mom's recipe notebook that calls for boiling a chocolate cream and splitting in half, just like you describe. My memory of it is vague, but as far as I can remember it makes a thin torte on the small side. I will look for it and let you know what that recipe calls for.
Rebecca V. August 23, 2013
Hi QueenSashy-- Maybe like this [], or a type of Hungarian Chocolate-Walnut Torte?

Re: cream consistency, that or "pulling away from the sides," seem like a reasonable way to describe it. You could also give a dynamic cue, like what it does on a wooden spoon or something like that (sounds like it's past coating stage, but does it clump up, how does it drop off the spoon, can you see the bottom of the pan for a bit when you drag a utensil through it -- sounds like yes, etc).

Have you been to Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie? I love to go every once in a while and choose from the lineup of tortes on the side wall. Mmmm.

Good luck writing the rest of it out!
QueenSashy August 23, 2013
Ha! How can I miss Sbarsky!

Thanks for the great tips, and for the recipe. I did find several recipes for chocolate mouse or flourless chocolate cake similar to the NY Times one, but none of them calls for cooked egg/butter cream. The cooking part seems to be unique…
QueenSashy August 23, 2013
and the pic...
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