Typical of the fancy cakes found in the elegant pastry shops of Milan and other northern Italian cities, the torta bignè is not particularly difficult to prepare. To make the process easier, bake the pan di spagna and the bignè the day before. Refrigerate them, tightly covered. Reheat and cool the bignè before assembling the cake.
For the syrup, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cool the syrup and add the rum.
For the pasta bignè, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and sift in the flour, all at once. Stir until smooth and return to the heat. Cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Pour the paste into a bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the paste into a pastry bag fitted with a
For the chocolate filling, bring the cream to a boil, remove from the heat, and add the chocolate. Allow to stand 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Pour into a bowl and cool. Beat the butter until soft and light. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture, beating until light. Beat in the rum, a little at a time, being careful not to overbeat, which will make the filling separate.
To assemble the cake, cut two
Chill briefly to let the filling set. Dust lightly with the confectioners’ sugar, then with the cocoa powder. Keep the cake at a cool room temperature until served. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Confectioners’ sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder for finishing
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.