Sicilian Blackberry & Hazelnut Liquor Torte with White Chocolate Buttercream

I should start by saying, this is a very special torte.

And just so we’re all on the same page, a torte is just a layer cake. Cake made with a lotta eggs, and not a lotta flour.

But yeah, you may not want to attempt as your very first cake ever. It kind of involves a hearty chunk of time and a good hunk of patience.         

Well, unless of course you’re one of those people who’s naturally great at everything in the universe. In that case, you go right on  Ms./Mr. Perfect Pants. You just torte it on up.

This recipe comes from Lisa Chillura, winner of the Food Nation Radio Network heritage recipe contest. We certainly received a plethora of super fab recipes, but this nutty cake brushed with hazelnut liquor, then layered with luscious blackberry mousse and white chocolate butter cream…

Well, I don’t even need to say it.         But I will.     What we have here, is exceptional.

This beauty won Lisa a weekend stay for two at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club with Sunday brunch. Kudos to Lisa for her exceptional rock star of cakes.

PS,  I wasn’t trying to intimidate or discourage anyone earlier …or hate on your pants. I’m just saying, that even with the amount of time I dedicate to cake as a part of my routine existence, I definitely ended up investing more  into this one than usual. I could totally see where it might come off as slightly daunting to some.

No lie though, completely worth it.

I’m usually skeptical about people who tell me that something was totally worth the time and effort. I mean how do you know they’re not just saying that so they feel like less of a goober, supposing it wasn’t actually worth it?

You know you can trust me though. I would never leave you astray…purposefully.   Heed me when I say, this some serious cake. Seriously rich, seriously delish, seriously special.

I’m serious.

You may have to separate like 15 eggs. Then spend like 15 minutes beating egg whites into oblivion.                  Worth it.

You will need to break out the begrudged candy thermometer. You’re gonna have to temper chocolate.                                Still worth it.

You may quite possibly find yourself sitting up at 2:47 a.m. with butter cream in your hair,  chowing down on a hearty slab of this torte even though your pants are too close for comfort as is & you need to be a productive member of society in roughly 3 hours.                                              So worth it.

Tha being said, you wouldn’t typically make something like this to follow up a Monday night meatloaf.                     Shoot, no wait, Mondays are still meatless or something.    Tofu loaf.     Yum.

Point is, You’re probably gonna want a special occasion of sorts for such an exceptional torte.

And holy moly guess what… I’ve got one.

Eighteen years ago today, a very special little booger was birthed.

Today is my dazzling baby sister’s big fat birthday. You should all be fully aware that Ellen (aforementioned B-day princess) is amongst the all-around coolest people you will ever meet, should you ever be so lucky. I want to be her when I grow up.

To my sweet Ellie Bellie, you are amazing. As well as gorgeous, talented, hilarious, kind, and a million more flattering adjectives. You’re currently blowing my mind with how old you are. Stop it. I’m inexplicably proud of the insanely awesome individual you are….and how you’re only gonna become more awesome until we all explode from your overwhelming  awesomeness. Thanks for being born and being one of the best friends ever and stuff. Yeah so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL.

Oh, and uh since we now live like 4 hours apart, just know that I fully dedicated this cake to you & your birth. I thoroughly enjoyed it in your honor.

Now,  you may not have Ellen in your life. That’s understandable, she is one of a kind.

If that is indeed the case, this torte could make you really popular at Easter dinner.

Ya dig?


Sicilian Blackberry Liquor Torte

 From Lisa Chillura

Cake layers:

12 oz. hazelnuts, toasted and peeled

2/3 C. flour

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 C. sugar

12 large eggs, separated, plus 3 additional egg whites

2 T. Frangelico

1 1/4 t. salt

Blackberry Coulis:

1 1/4 lbs. or 20 frozen oz. blackberries, or 1 1/2 pints frozen blackberries

1/4 C. sugar

2 T. corn syrup

White chocolate buttercream :
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C. plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3 T. water

1/2 T. corn syrup

2 eggs

1 egg white

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. vanilla extract

12 oz. white chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter four round 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Pulse hazelnuts in food processor until finely chopped (do not allow nuts to form a paste), then stir together with flour in large bowl.

Beat together butter and half the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add yolks one at a time. Beat in Frangelico, and then fold in nut mixture by hand.

In a clean bowl with mixer set on medium speed, beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks. Add remaining sugar and increase speed until whites hold stiff peaks. Fold in 1/4 of the whites to lighten the batter, then work in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until the center is set and the top is pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack.

To make blackberry coulis: In a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, combine the ingredients and reduce the mixture by one-third. Stir occasionally so the mixture does not scorch. Remove from heat and strain to remove all seeds. Cool the sauce to room temperature.

To make the buttercream frosting: Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Set aside.

Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a saucepan. Boil to 240°F., brushing down the sides of the pan. Do not stir.

While the syrup is boiling, whip the eggs, egg whites, salt and vanilla on low-speed to combine. Remove the syrup from the heat, wait about 10 seconds, then gradually pour the hot syrup into the egg mixture, adding it in a steady stream between the whip and the side of the bowl, with the mixer at medium speed. Increase to high-speed and whip until cold.

Reduce to low-speed and gradually mix in the whipped butter. Remove the mixing bowl from the machine. Place one-third of the butter mixture in a separate bowl and quickly mix in the melted chocolate to temper. Still working quickly, add this to the remaining buttercream.

To make blackberry mousse: Combine 2 cups of buttercream with 1/2 cup coulis.

To assemble the torte: Remove the parchment paper from the cooled cake layers and place one layer on a serving plate. Using a pastry brush, paint the cake with Frangelico and spread 1/3of the coulis on top. Place the next layer on and paint the cake with Frangelico again. Spread the buttercream over this layer just to the edge of the cake and top with another cake layer. Paint more Frangelico and top with a layer of the blackberry mousse. Finally, top with the last layer of the torte and buttercream. Mask the sides of the torte with hazelnuts and pipe rosettes of mousse on top.


2 thoughts on “Sicilian Blackberry & Hazelnut Liquor Torte with White Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Oh my! That makes me so tired thinking of making a cake like that with all those steps. But I can’t imagine how delicious it must be. Wish I was there to try some! Happy Birthday Ellen!

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