Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong: challenge #10

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May means graduations. And wedding showers. Throw the potential for birthday celebrations in there, and you’ve got all kinds of reasons to bake a cake. Or multiple cakes, if you’re the designated family cake baker.

Most of us have a go-to cake recipe, one we religiously bake for one party or gathering after another. Maybe it’s a chocolate layer cake, like our Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake. Or perhaps a simple pound cake, such as our Lemon Bliss Cake.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

For me, that signature cake is Berry Blitz Torte. A wonderful mix of tender cake, delicately crunchy topping, and creamy filling layered with fresh berries, it’s a visual stunner with flavor to match.

Best part? Well, aside from all of the above — it’s easier to make than it looks. There’s no need to set aside hours of time, nor polish up your pastry skills; this cake is reachable by any baker, I promise.

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Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong: start with the filling

We’ll start by making the filling, since it has to chill before you use it.

Gather your pastry cream filling ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, egg yolks, and whole egg with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Whisk some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks/cornstarch to temper the yolks. This keeps them from coagulating when you add them to the simmering milk.

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk, pouring it through a strainer (if necessary) to capture any bits of egg.

Bring to a boil over medium heat (this may happen very quickly), stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly; the mixture will thicken significantly.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Transfer the filling to a heatproof storage container, and top it with a piece of buttered plastic wrap, waxed paper, or parchment (make sure it touches the top of the filling so it doesn’t develop a skin). Refrigerate until cool, or for up to several days.

Pssst! Here’s a tasty pastry cream shortcut, and one I take all the time: Mix 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 3/4 cups light cream (rich) or heavy cream (ultra-rich) until thick. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong: make the batter

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Lightly grease two 8″ round cake pans. Or lightly grease the pans, line with parchment rounds, and lightly grease the parchment as well.

Gather your cake ingredients:

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks until well combined.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

See the streaks of unincorporated butter/sugar scraped from the wall of the bowl, at left? This is why it’s important to scrape the bowl and beat again.

Scrape the bowl, and beat briefly to incorporate any sticky residue.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Beat in the vanilla, milk, baking powder, and flour; the batter will be stiff.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflourBerry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflourSpread the batter into the prepared pans (it will barely cover the bottom of the pans; that’s OK). Using a scale to divide the batter in half is a help here.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong: top the cake

Gather your topping ingredients:

4 large egg whites (reserved from the cake ingredients above)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1 tablespoon sugar*

*Substitute prepared cinnamon-sugar, if desired.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflourGradually add the 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and somewhat stiff (but not stiff enough to form rigid stand-up points).

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Spread the meringue on the cake batter.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflourSprinkle the almonds over the meringue. Mix the cinnamon with the sugar, and dust on top.

Notice I did this in reverse order; live and learn! Sprinkling the almonds over the meringue first, before the cinnamon-sugar, helps keep them from falling off when you turn the cakes out of the pan. Do as I say, etc.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflourBerry Blitz Torte Bakealong: baking the cake

Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned. They’ll puff up significantly; don’t worry, they’ll settle as they cool.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Carefully and thoroughly loosen the edge of each cake.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Gently turn the cakes out onto a rack to cool completely.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

The best way to do this is to drape a piece of parchment or waxed paper across the top of the pan, then place a flat object (a giant spatula, a small baking sheet) atop the paper, and turn everything over.

Lift the cake pan off the cake, then place a cooling rack against the bottom of the cake. Turn everything back over again, so the rack is on the bottom. Some of the almonds will fall off during this process; just sprinkle them back on top.

When you’re ready to finish the cake, remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Wash and dry 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh berries.

Can you use frozen? Of course, if you must; but they’ll make the filling watery and streak it with juice.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Stir the pastry cream gently, just to loosen it up enough to spread; stirring too vigorously can break it down and turn it watery. It’ll probably have a few lumps; that’s OK.

For slightly richer filling with greater volume, whip 1/2 cup heavy cream to stiff peaks, and gently fold it into the pastry cream. Again, don’t beat the pastry cream; it’ll be a bit lumpy, but that won’t affect the taste.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

This filling doesn’t include the optional whipped cream; to make a cake that looks like the picture at the top of this post, add the whipped cream.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong: final assembly

Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the filling.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Add the fresh berries.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflourTop with the second cake layer, meringue-side up.

Berry Blitz Torte Bakealong via @kingarthurflour

Serve immediately; or refrigerate covered, until ready to serve. It should stay good in the fridge for a day or so.

Dense, buttery cake; delicately crunchy cinnamon meringue; rich, creamy filling, and fresh berries — irresistible! How much do I value this recipe? I make it every year for my mom’s birthday, May 1. And since she’s somewhere north of age 90, that’s a lot of Berry Blitz Tortes!

Baking gluten-free?

Make this cake with our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, following the recipe as written; no changes beyond this simple substitution are necessary.

High-altitude adjustments

Do you live high on a mountainside? Check out our high-altitude baking tips.

Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Joyce (they call me the cake lady at the senior center.)

    Thank you for such a easy receipy. I like the way you list every step! I’ve been baking for 70 or more years for my family but never tried one like this. I hope to try it soon.

    Reply
  2. odile Feria

    Hi
    I made this recipe, and it was very easy, and delicius, but, i used strawberries instead of other berries, and I think even that it was delicius, it was not very beautiful, and a little messy. This recipe my mother in law, who is now 89, used to make it and never wants to shared it.
    I surprise her, when i did it, and i dont think she was very happy that i got t the recipe.
    JA

    Reply
  3. Bridgid

    I made this for Mother’s Day, but changed the flavor profile. I made the cake recipe as directed but added a half teaspoon of almond extract. Instead of making pastry cream & berries, I made lemon pudding. I did not use cinnamon sugar and almonds for the meringue, but instead added vanill an almond extract. So I can’t review the cake as written, but I can say I followed the idea.

    I lined my 8×2 cake pans with parchment with the parchment sticking over the ends as a handle and something to the meringue to stick to. After cooling for 15 minutes, I simply lifted the cake out of the pan, no flipping necessary. Then I gently removed the parchment. Very easy!

    We loved the cake. Next time I make this (and there will be a next time!) I will bake in 8X3 pans lined in parchment. I think it would contain the meringue better.

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  4. Marina

    Made this for Mother’s Day. What a big hit,it is a keeper,I will be making this again. Next time I might try with peaches and add frangellico and do whip cream instead of custard.

    Reply
  5. Cathy Francek

    I have made this before and it DELICIOUS!! My question is, can I double the recipe and bake it a 9 x 13 pan, or some other bigger size pan to feed a larger crowd?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this recipe, Cathy! Because the structure of this torte relies so heavily on the sides of the pan, we’d recommend making two smaller ones for a crowd, rather than doubling up and using a larger pan. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  6. Cherie W

    In the early 80’s I found this recipe on an egg carton. It was very unique at the time and delicious! It is still one of my favorite recipes for fresh berries. Seems to be a hit with family and friends … different and very tasty, pretty and fun!!

    Reply

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