March 14th. The middle of this meddlesome month. March is such a tease. I mean, winter is the worst, that’s a fact. But at least January and February are straight up about the dark, dreary cold that is associated with them. March fools you into thinking it just might be warm and then BAM you bust out the flats prematurely only to end up with frozen feet. First you’re a lion, then you’re a lamb, we get it. You have personality disorders, March. We’re over it.
But March does provide us with some fun holidays, namely the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day and also the nerdy math-themed Pi Day. Honestly, I vaguely recall the significance of the number 3.14 from the last math class I took about one hundred years ago, but who’s counting? Obviously not me because I forgot how. Regardless, it seemed like an appropriate day to showcase one of my favorite pie-esque desserts, the torte.
My darling friend Meghan, who is a better cook than I could ever dream of becoming, celebrated a birthday at the beginning of October. She hosted a lovely birthday brunch and served some fantastic food. But the cake she left to me. I love making cakes for people, especially when I can take their favorite flavors and transform them into a celebratory treat. Now, I spent the month of October up to my elbows in pumpkin and as Meghan wasn’t about to have a pumpkin birthday cake, I’ve delayed this posting until now. Also, with Meghan’s superior culinary prowess, I knew a regular birthday cake wouldn’t suffice. Enter the torte.
Chocolate, hazelnut, and caramel — three big winners, on their own, but a total powerhouse when combined. Tortes are like pies that ate brownies. They’re dense, rich, and chewy like a brownie, but also light and tender like a pie. Toasted hazelnuts add their warm nutty flavor but when you grind them up and mix them with flour into the batter, they also add a crazy amount of texture. When the beaten egg whites get folded in, the chocolatey nuttiness gets taken to a whole new level of airy fluffiness. That’s a lot of words that end in ‘ness’ so you know it’s got to be good. Fresh whipped cream and some chocolate shavings on top couldn’t hurt either. Take that, March.