I just came back from my trip to Germany. It was gray and cold and rained relentlessly for almost two weeks. In other words, typical Hamburger winter weather. Of course, everybody assured me that it had been really nice and warm until just before I arrived.
But I didn’t come for the weather, I wanted to meet with family and friends, trying to see all of them, hear everything that had happened since my last visit, and sharing all my Maine stories about our trials and tribulations with our backyard construction.
Going into a bakery in Bremen with my friend Christa, I marveled again at the enormous selection of different breads the offered, even in such a small suburban place. And the meringue studded Kapuzinertorte (Capuchin Torte) we enjoyed, while listening to Sting’s newest CD “If on a Winter’s Night“, was so delicious – it definitely had some liquor in it! – that I had to find the recipe.
Back in Maine, after doing some research, I opted for the Capuchin Torte recipe that most resembled the cake I had in Bremen. The author must have been a pro, he just listed buttercream as ingredient, without further specification. So Karl Neef’s wonderful pastry book “Sonntagskuchen und Festtagstorten” supplied the missing German buttercream recipe.
As usual, I reduced the amount of sugar, and wondered about the kirsch. Though I do like alcohol in pastry, the recipe amount (300 g) seemed way too much, I really didn’t see how the cake could take it – unless being totally submerged in booze!
Since we had a pavlova the day before, I used what was left for the meringue topping.
We loved the result of my baking experiment. Next time I will double the amount of vanilla buttercream (my husband’s suggestion – it’s so delicious!). (See recommendations below).
BREMER KAPUZINERTORTE – CAPUCHIN TORTE FROM BREMEN (adaptiert von chefkoch.de)
200 g/7 oz sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp lemon juice
180 g/6.3 oz all-purpose flour
100 g/3.5 oz cornstarch
8 g/0.3 oz baking powder
200 g/7 oz unsalted butter, melted
100 g/3.5 oz kirsch liqueur (if using kirsch schnapps, add some more sugar)
2 tbsp water
100 g/3.5 oz semisweet chocolate
63 g/2.2 oz unsalted butter
63 g/2.2 oz vegetable shortening
28 g/1 oz powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
200 g meringues, coarsely chopped
10 g/0.4 oz cocoa powder (or leftover chocolate scrapings from the melting bowl)
Preheat oven to 400ºF200ºC. Line bottom of a springform pan (26 cm/10.2 inch diameter) with parchment paper. Grease sides with butter.
Set a metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Add eggs, sugar, salt and lemon juice and, using a handheld mixer, beat . With a hand held mixer beat eggs at high speed until warm (but not boiling!). Remove bowl from heat, and continue beating mixture until lukewarm.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, starch and baking powder. Fold flour into egg mixture, then, slowly, add liquid butter.
Pour capuchin batter into springform pan and bake cake for about 30 minutes. Place cake on a rack and let cool completely.
Melt chocolate over low heat or in the microwave. Remove torte from springform pan, turn it upside down and peel off parchment paper. Brush bottom with chocolate, let dry completely.
Mix kirsch liqueur with water. Brush repeatedly over top and sides of cake. Let sit for several hours or overnight.
For the buttercream, using a hand held mixer, cream together butter and shortening until foamy. Alternately add powdered sugar and eggs and beat at high speed until foamy. Add vanilla extract and mix well. With a spatula, spread buttercream over torte.
Sprinkle capuchin torte with chopped meringue, sprinkle with cocoa or chocolate scrapings and serve.
Recommendations for a richer buttercream experience:
Cut torte horizontally in half. Brush top of both halves with kirsch. Prepare double the amount of buttercream. Spread frosting first over the top of both cake layers, then assemble torte and frost sides, too.