Schichttorte (Laminated cake)

For the cake

10 large free-range eggs, separated
100g/3½oz (7 Tbsp) unsalted butter
150g/5½oz (1/2 cup) caster (table) sugar
1 large lemon, zest only
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g/5½oz (1/2 cup) plain flour, sifted
65g/2¼oz (1/4 cup) cornflour, sifted
oil, for greasing
6 tbsp apricot jam

For the chocolate glaze

50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
75g/2½oz plain chocolate (36% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the vanilla glaze

250g/9oz icing sugar
1 tbsp rum
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1-2 tbsp milk

For us Americans, cornflour (here) means cornstarch and ‘grill’ is the broiler.

Whisk the egg yolks in the bowl of a freestanding mixer on a high speed for five minutes, until pale, thick and creamy.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla paste and mix well. Add the whisked egg yolks and beat well. Add the flour and cornflour and mix.

In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen the consistency. Then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Preheat the grill to high.

Grease a 20cm/8in round springform tin with oil and line the base with parchment paper.

Spoon some of the batter into the base of the cake tin and spread evenly across the bottom. Give the tin a gentle side-to-side shake to even out the top of the batter. Place on a shelf 10cm/4in below the grill and cook for two minutes, or until light golden-brown.

Remove from the grill, add another spoonful of batter, spread out with a pastry brush, and place under the grill for three minutes, or until dark golden-brown. Continue layering and grilling until you have 20 layers alternating in colour from light golden-brown to dark golden-brown. (Or continue until you have used all the batter.)

Remove from the grill and leave to cool in the tin for five minutes. Carefully release from the tin and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Melt the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat. Pass through a fine sieve, then brush the top and sides of the cake with jam. This will help the glaze stick to the cake.

For the chocolate glaze, melt the butter in a small pan with the golden syrup, rum and vanilla paste and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for five minutes. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to a coating consistency.

Place a large piece of greaseproof paper under the wire rack holding the cake. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake to cover completely. Any excess glaze will be caught on the greaseproof paper and can be reused to fill in any unglazed areas of the cake.

For the vanilla glaze, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the rum, vanilla paste and milk, stirring until completely smooth. Drizzle over the chocolate glaze.

Less than 30 mins preparation time
1 to 2 hours cooking time

My notes:
Ok, I’ve been wanting to try this for a long while. There won’t be a picture because it did not turn out well at all.

First, I used the wrong flour- when it says ‘plain’ flour, it means it- self rising will not do. Also, line the cake pan with parchement paper- really- and separate your eggs in a small bowl one at a time and then add them to a larger one so that if the yolk breaks on egg #7 you will not either have to throw the whole thing out (not an option in my book) or continue and know the texture will not be as good as it could be.

I also burned the first layer and had to start over because my broiler in the little oven should be on low not high so it only turned out to be 18 layers.

About the vanilla bean paste. I got some- I never will again. It’s fine but it tastes just like my good vanilla and I can’t even imagine a recipe where such a small difference will make any difference at all. Besides which- my vanilla is available at my store and I had to run all over town to find the paste and then it cost 3 times as much. So no.

Will I make this again? Not a chance. It’s too much work for too little return and ten eggs? It would have to be manna from Heaven to get me to spend 10 eggs on it again and it just isn’t. It’s not even as good as most standard cakes.

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