Allergy Friendly Torte
1. Decide what type of torte you’d like to make: chocolate mint (chocolate cake with mint filling); raspberry (white cake with raspberry jam filling); pumpkin spice (pumpkin cake with spiced filling); lemon (yellow cake with lemony curd filling); etc…. The options are actually endless.
2. Make your cake: Find a recipe that you really like and make your substitutions as needed. Most torte recipes will tell you to bake one or two layers and then cut them. I suggest instead that you bake thinner layers.
Line your cake pans with parchment paper and pour one cup of batter into each pan and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Let the cakes cool for a couple of minutes, then turn them over onto a wire cooling rack to cool, removing the parchment paper immediately from the cakes.
If you only own two cake pans or your oven will only fit two 8 or 9 inch pans at a time, after you bake the first two cake layers and turn them over onto a wire cooling rack, put the cake pans into the freezer for a couple of minutes to cool them. Then reline them with your previously used parchment paper and fill them with one cup of batter each again and repeat.
I usually find that a basic cake batter recipe for a two layer cake will make six of the one cup layers. Let all the layers completely cool.
3. Make your filling: If you’re simply going to use jam, scoop out whichever jam you are going to use (I like to use Polaner All Fruit which has no added sugar) and whip it up in a bowl to a nice spreadable consistency. Similarly do the same if you are using a store bought lemon or fruit curd or fruit butter.
A recipe for your own lemon curd: Heat 1/3 cup of lemon juice in a pan until it’s warm, but not boiling. Whisk two whole eggs and one egg yolk with 1/2 cup of sugar. Then while you’re constantly stirring, very slowly pour the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture. Pour all of the mixture back into your pan and cook for about two to three minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp of “butter” which has been cut up into small pieces. Add 1 tbsp of cream or cream substitute, 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1/8 tsp salt. If you want the curd to be smoother, push it through a mesh strainer. Wrap the curd with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the curd surface. Let it cool in the fridge until needed.
If you are making an allergy friendly cream filling: A nice versatile recipe I like to use is as follows: Overnight, put two 14 oz cans of coconut milk into the fridge. When you’re ready to use them the next day, turn the cans upside down and open them. Pour out the coconut water and scoop the “cream” into a cold mixing bowl (I put the bowl into my freezer for about ten minutes, along with the mixing tool.) Whip the cream until it’s nice and thick.
For a chocolate cream, add 1/3 cup special dark unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, and 2 tsp vanilla. To make it minty, reduce the vanilla to 1 tsp and add 2 tsp mint extract. For a spice cream, add 1/2 cup coconut sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon or a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc…. For just a plain sweetened cream, just add 1/2 cup of coconut sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.
While the cream is being whipped, put 2 tbsp of cold water into a bowl. Gently sprinkle 2 tsp of unflavored gelatin over the cold water. Let it sit for two minutes. Carefully pour 1/4 cup of boiling water over the gelatin and whisk until its completely dissolved. Let it cool for a couple of minutes. Then add it to the whipped cream. You can either cool it in the fridge for two hours and then stir it and spread it over your layers or you can spread it directly onto your layers immediately and let the entire cake cool for two hours in the fridge.
4. Layer your torte: I find that the best way to layer the cake is to use a springform pan that fits your cake. Put down one of the cake layers on the bottom of the pan, layer your filling, and then keep repeating until you reach the top layer of cake. Cover and let the cake chill. When you’re ready to top the torte, release the springform pan and clean up the sides with a metal spatula.
5. Top your torte: After your torte is cooled, you can frost it with your favorite frosting or cover it with a ganache or top it with melted chocolate.
Elana’s Pantry has some nice allergy friendly frosting recipes if you’re trying to also avoid using sugar. If you have no problems with powdered sugar, then use a recipe you like and just substitute as necessary for ingredients like butter and spread the frosting over your cooled torte.
For a ganache: If you aren’t allergic to dairy, heat in a pan over low heat 1 cup of cream, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt, stirring frequently until it begins to simmer. Pour the hot mixture over 10 ounces of small pieces of chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 stick of butter. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour until it’s cool but spreadable. Spread carefully over your cooled torte.
If you need to substitute, you can use Enjoy life chocolate, and/or water or your type of “milk” (this will just make it bit thinner and have less of a “shine”) and/or 1/2 cup of Agave and/or your type of butter.
You can also make another type of ganache where you melt one ounce of your type of butter with two fluid ounces of your type of milk per four ounces of chocolate, cool, and then whip until thick.
For a hard chocolate topping: Fill a small pan halfway with water. Put a larger pan on top of the smaller pan and turn the heat to medium low. Melt 2/3 of a 10 ounce bag of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, keeping the other 1/3 nearby. Be sure to stir constantly. Once the chips are melted, remove them from the heat and quickly stir in the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate chips until all the chips are melted. Working quickly, pour the melted chocolate over the cooled torte, and use a cake spatula to spread the chocolate over the top and around the sides.
You can use regular chocolate if you’re not allergic to dairy.
If you use the chocolate as a topping, you’ll need to remove the torte from the fridge about an hour before you’re going to serve it so it can soften a bit. Then run your knife under hot water before slicing the torte.