Strawberry Cream Torte


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Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

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This is the epitome of the Oberstorte, the kind of torte that is constructed with as much (or more) whipped cream as cake. In its season, strawberry cream torte is ubiquitous in European cafés, not unlike the strawberry shortcake found in our Southern diners. Choose smallish berries for the garnish, or the cake will look out of balance.


Orange Syrup

  • cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, or orange juice


  • teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled


  • Small Sponge Cake
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray, for the wax paper
  • 10 perfect strawberries (on the small side), unhulled
  • ½ cup Red Currant Glaze, warm
  • ½ cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To make the syrup: Bring the water and sugar to a full boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the Grand Marnier. Pour into a small bowl and cool completely.
  2. To make the filling: Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water in a small bowl. Let stand until the gelatin absorbs the water, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, purée 1 pint of the strawberries in a food processor or blender. (This works best by dropping the hulled berries through the feed tube or lid with the machine running.) You should have 1 cup of purée. Transfer the purée to a medium-size, nonreactive saucepan and stir in the softened gelatin, the sugar, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until the mixture is hot and the gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Do not simmer. Stir in the food coloring, if using. Transfer to a large bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water. Let stand, stirring often, until cool and thickened, but not set. Remove from the ice water.
  4. Beat the cream in a chilled medium bowl until very stiff. Stir about one fourth of the cream into the strawberry purée, then fold in the remaining cream.
  5. To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 2 equal layers (do not trim off the top crust). Using an 8-inch-diameter plate or cake pan as a guide, trim each layer into an 8-inch round. Grind the trimmings in a food processor or blender to make cake crumbs. Transfer to a plastic bag and set aside.
  6. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan. Place the top layer, top crust down, in the pan. Drizzle and brush with half of the orange syrup. Spread half of the filling over the cake, being sure it flows around the sides of the cake. Slice the remaining pint of strawberries and arrange over the filling. Top with the second layer, and drizzle with the remaining syrup. Spread with the remaining filling. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is chilled and set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  7. To garnish the cake, make glazed strawberries: Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray with oil. Quickly rinse the strawberries and pat completely dry with paper towels. Holding each berry by the hull, dip in the glaze, let the excess glaze drip off, and place on the wax paper. Let stand until the glaze sets, about 15 minutes.
  8. Run a sharp knife around the inside of the springform pan and remove the sides. Press the reserved cake crumbs onto the sides of the cake. In a chilled medium bowl, beat the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until stiff. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 9/16-inch-wide open star tip such as Ateco Number 825. Pipe i0 large rosettes around the top circumference of the cake. Top each rosette with a glazed strawberry. Serve chilled.

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