You'll fall for this impressive autumn dessert. Layer almond cake with creamy caramel filling, then lavish with whipped cream and rich caramel sauce. For the fullest flavor, use fresh-pressed apple cider in the filling, the sauce and the cake itself.
Caramel almond torte Makes 12 to 14 servings.
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 egg whites
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup ground almonds (4 ounces)
1 recipe caramel cream cheese filling
1 recipe sweetened whipped cream
1 recipe caramel sauce
In a small mixer bowl combine egg yolks, 1 cup of the sugar, the apple cider or juice, vanilla, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Wash the beaters thoroughly.
In a large mixer bowl beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Beat on high speed, slowly adding remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Fold cracker crumbs and almonds, a fourth at a time, into egg mixture.
Divide batter evenly among three well-greased and floured 8-inch round baking pans. (If necessary, use two 8-inch pans. Refrigerate one-third of the batter while the first two layers are baking.)
Bake in a 325-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched near the center. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides; remove cake from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.
Up to 24 hours before serving, place one cake layer on a cake plate; spread with half the caramel cream cheese filling. Top with second layer; spread with the remaining filling. Top with last layer. Prepare sweetened whipped cream; frost the top and sides. Refrigerate until serving time. Before serving, drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce. Cut into wedges to serve. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator.
Caramel sauce Makes 3/4 cup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 egg yolk
In a small saucepan, the sugar and cornstarch. Add the cider and margarine. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. In a small mixing bowl beat the egg yolk; gradually stir in 1/2 cup of the hot brown sugar mixture. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir until bubbly; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover and cool.
Use 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce for the caramel cream cheese filling. Use remaining sauce to drizzle atop the sweetened whipped cream. If necessary, thin the remaining caramel sauce with 1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider or apple juice to make of drizzling consistency.
Caramel cream cheese filling: in a mixing bowl beat one 8-ounce package cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce.
Sweetened whipped cream: in a small chilled mixing bowl combine 1 cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until mixture mounds slightly and soft peaks form. Makes 2 cups.
Nutrition information per serving: 503 calories; 8 grams protein; 60 grams carbohydrate; 27 grams fat; 172 milligrams cholesterol; 294 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber: 34 percent vitamin A; 26 percent riboflavin; 13 percent calcium; 10 percent iron.