I do not know why this cake is called “Sherry” torte. It doesn’t actually have sherry in it! Maybe it did once and was since replaced with kirsch. Regardless, this is a delicious, if a little arduous, cake that’s well worth the effort.
Sherry Torte – Preparations
Bake a butter cookie layer (see this post).
Chocolate Sponge Layer
2 tbsp cold water
½ tsp vanilla extract
25g corn starch
25g dutch-processed cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
Cream together eggs and water, add sugar and vanilla, beat for another 3-4 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients and fold into the batter. Bake in a ring (or springform pan) at 360ºF.
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
90g hazelnut krokant
90g ground hazelnuts
120g cake flour
20g dutch-processed cocoa
5g ground cinnamon
Be sure to use fresh hazelnuts! Hazelnuts can develop an off-flavor when too old or not stored properly. If you can’t get ground hazelnuts at the store, just grind them in a blender or food processor.
Cream together the egg yolks and the first amount of sugar. Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until very stiff. Using a whisk, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 of the stiff egg whites to the whipped egg yolks and whisk in vigorously. Alternately fold in the remaining egg whites and the dry ingredients.
Spread three equal amounts of batter on three sheet pans into rectangles of about 15″x13″. Bake in preheated oven at 465ºF for about 5-7 minutes.
Drain one 25oz jar of morello cherries, saving the juice. Dissolve 2 tbsp of corn starch in 1/4 cup of the juice. Bring the remaining juice to a boil in a saucepan and whisk in the dissolved starch. Stirring constantly, boil the mixture until it thickens considerably. Whisk in the cherries to tear them into little pieces. Let cool.
My cherry cream did not set correctly, so I stirred some guar gum into the cold cream. I probably did not boil the juice long enough to allow the starch to thicken it sufficiently. I’ll experiment with the cream and update this post as soon as I have a satisfying solution.
I like meringue-type buttercream, and I use the formula from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking. Here is an informative internet resource with step-by-step instructions for making swiss meringue buttercream. I have not tried the recipe on the site but it sure looks promising. Half the amount for this cake.
Mix 150g sugar and 250g water and bring to a boil. Let cool.
When all this is done, store the cherry cream and the buttercream in the refrigerator, wrap the baked layers in plastic and call it a night.
Whip the buttercream from the day before. Fill the cherry cream in a pastry bag fitted with a 9mm tip. Fill the simple syrup in a plastic bottle with a cap that has holes in a star pattern (reuse a corn syrup bottle or similar, make the holes with a hot sewing needle). Add kirsch and orange liquor to taste.
Peel the parchment off the sherry layers. Using the plastic bottle, soak the layer in much simple syrup. Spread a thin layer of seedless raspberry or red currant jelly on the soaked cake layer. Spread a thin layer of butter cream on top of the jelly layer. Cut the layer in three equal strips and pipe a line of cherry cream lengthwise on each strip (see picture).
Do this with all three sherry layers. Roll each layer up along the shorter side (see picture below).
Spread a layer of seedless raspberry or red currant jelly on the butter cookie layer. Set the sponge base on top and the ring around the cake. Soak the base with simple syrup until thoroughly wet. Spread a layer of buttercream on top of the soaked sponge base. Lay the sherry rolls into the ring, filling it in as pictured above. Use buttercream to “glue” the rolls together. Once the ring is filled, soak everything thoroughly with simple syrup again and spread a very thin layer of buttercream on top.
Place a circle of parchment paper on top, and press down with a large cutting board. Place in the refrigerator for 2 days. Save the remaining buttercream.
After two days, peel off the parchment paper, use a blunt knife to cut the cake out of the ring.
Melt 3-4oz of chocolate and let cool slightly. Beat the buttercream. Add 1/4 of the buttercream to the melted chocolate and whisk in thoroughly. Add the mixture to the remaining buttercream and beat until smooth.
Spread a crumb coat around the entire cake. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Spread final layer of chocolate buttercream around the cake. Decorate (see picture).