Strawberry torte or Erdbeerkuchen is a favorite German summer dessert. It was one of the first things I decided to make with the fresh strawberries I picked last week.
A German torte base is similar to a sponge cake. It is delicate, but not too soft. I have a special enamel torte pan, but this recipe can be made using a regular cake pan. The pan I use has a fluted edge and a slightly inset center to hold the filling or fresh fruit. I have even seen sponge shells at the grocery store which could be substituted for the cake.
Some German fruit tortes are made with fresh fruit that have a light glaze poured on top. These are called “Obsttorte mit frischem Obst,” which translates to “fruit torte with fresh fruit.”
You can easily make the glaze for fresh fruit torte with fruit juice and sugar, but a commercial glaze called Dr. Oetker is widely available in shops that carry imported foods and it is quite convenient. Packets can also be purchased on the internet. The recipe I chose to use has a cooked strawberry filling.
Strawberries are a seasonal fruit and locally grown berries always have exceptional flavor. Imported strawberries are available year-round, so this dessert can be made for any occasion. This recipe can be prepared with other fruits such as raspberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches or whatever is in season.
The only complaint one might hear after making this easy, yet impressive dessert is that it just doesn’t last too long.
BASIC TORTE RECIPE
¼ cup butter
½ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1¼ cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon lemon extract
Beat butter, sugar and yolks until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients. Add alternately with flavoring and milk. Blend well.
Pour into a greased and floured torte pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Invert torte onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
½ cup water
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1¼ cup strawberries, cut in half or bite-size pieces
1/3 cup sugar
Whisk water and cornstarch together in a large saucepan. Stir in strawberries and sugar.
Cook strawberry mixture over medium heat until thick, about 10 minutes. Allow filling to cool completely before pouring on top of torte.