Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Happy Birthday: Butterscotch Torte

If we're going to talk about the new things I made for my mom's birthday celebration, we must talk about cake!
I went back to my tried and true Cakes for All Occasions magazine that was produced by Taste of Home in 2006.  I love this magazine.  It's the one that the Peanut Butter Crunch Cake is from, along with a number of other tasty recipes.  I obviously went looking for something showy and delicious.  I was guaranteed delicious seeing as the recipe is from Taste of Home.  Based on the picture, I was sure it would be beautiful.
I would not say that butterscotch is one of my favourite flavours.  I mean, I won't turn down a hard candy; but I wouldn't go out of my way for one either.  Likewise, unless it's a turtle sundae I probably wouldn't think first of butterscotch sauce for my ice cream.
The butterscotch in this cake is different.  I was intrigued by the idea of using graham crackers, and that there was orange juice in the sauce.  I was also interested in the picture:  the cake had filling and topping, but the sides of the cake were visible.  I made mine just like the picture.  Well, almost.
I present to you now Lavonne Hartel from Williston, North Dakota's Butterscotch Torte:

6 eggs, separated
1-1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1 c finely chopped pecans
1 tsp baking powder

1 c brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 c orange juice
2 Tbsp water
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c butter
1 tsp vanilla

2 c heavy cream
1/4 c icing sugar

1.  Grease and line 3-9" round cake pans.  Preheat oven to 325F.
2.  In a small bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.  In a second bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemony in colour.  Add vanilla and mix well.
3.  Combine crumbs, nuts and baking powder.  Fold into the yolk mixture.  Then fold in egg whites, ensuring they are well combined.  Pour equally into the prepared pans.
4.  Bake the layers of the cake at 325F for 20 minutes, or until golden.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack and peeling off the waxed paper.  Cool layers completely.
5.  Make the sauce.  Combine brown sugar, flour and a dash of salt in a small saucepan.  Stir in orange juice and water; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.  Stir some of the hot liquid into the beaten egg, stirring well to ensure that the egg does not cook before returning to the sauce.  Cook and stir until boiling, then reduce heat and cook 2 minutes longer without boiling and stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool completely.
6.  In a bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
7.  Assemble the cake.  On a serving plate, place one layer of the cake, and top with 1/3 of the cream.  Drizzle with butterscotch sauce.  Repeat layers twice.  Serve the cake with leftover sauce.
From Taste of Home

 This was a recipe that really calls for mise en place.  If all the prep work is done, it goes together quickly.  The most labour intensive part was crushing the graham crackers and chopping the nuts finely.  I opened the last bag of pecan pieces that was lurking in my freezer that my dad bought me at Adcock's.  That made me smile, but a little sad.
 The sauce was the same.  Because all the steps happen very quickly, and you don't want the sauce to boil and burn, it's best to have everything ready to go.  We couldn't taste the orange at all.  I'd be willing to just eat this off a spoon.  Even better, I tempered my egg well and there were no cooked egg bits in my sauce.
But it's a lovely cake.  The original didn't drizzle the butterscotch between the layers, but I thought it would be a nice touch.
And really, a small piece is all you need.  We got 12 servings out of the cake, and really didn't want any more.  But it is a special occasion, and that calls for something fancy.  Pull out the stops for this one.  It only gets better on the second day when the flavours mellow together.

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