1628 Chinese torte*

Tort kitajskij


  • lb butter
  • 3⅔ eggs plus 2⅔ egg yolks
  • ¼ glass almonds
  • ½ lb, or glass, sugar
  • 4 hard-boiled egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • lb, or ½ glass, flour
  • zest from lemon

For the cream

  • ½ glass sour cream
  • about 6 pieces sugar
  • 3⅔ egg yolks
  • cinnamon
  • zest from lemon
  • ingredients for saffron icing and for designs


Beat 1 lb butter until white, adding 8 eggs and 8 egg yolks one by one. Add ¼ lb blanched, grated sweet almonds, 1 lb sugar, 12 hard-boiled egg yolks rubbed through a fine sieve, the zest from 2 lemons, ¼ lot cinnamon, and ½ lb flour. Mix all this as well as possible and bake 5 round layers on paper. [Set the layers aside to cool,] then stack them one on top of another, interspersing them with the following cream: Mix together glasses sour cream, ½ glass sugar beaten until white with 8 egg yolks, a little cinnamon, and the zest from 1 lemon. Place in a saucepan on top of the stove and beat with a whisk until it thickens, but do not let it boil. Remove from the fire, spread this cream over the layers, cover with saffron icing, and decorate with fruits, etc.

*Although there is nothing Chinese about either the ingredients or the preparation of this torte, its name—as often happens—might have derived from a torte that was served in the Café Chinois on Nevskij Prospect (#18, at the Police Bridge by the Mojka Canal). A café of that name was founded in 1830 by two Swiss bakers from Davos, Tobias Branger (Beranger) and Salomon Wolf, and the business continued until 1876. It was also known as the Café Wulf [sic] et Beranger, and later as Frères Wolf au Pont de la Police. It was at this café that the poet Pushkin stopped off to meet his second on the way to his fatal duel with d’Anthès. (Kaiser, Fast ein Volk von Zuckerbäkern? 145; Blue Guide Moscow and Leningrad, 269.)