The sun is out, I’ve got my balcony door open to the kitchen letting in some lovely fresh air and I’ve been baking one of my all-time favourite cakes. All things that are so good for the soul. I think it’s so important at the moment when we’ve all had to slow down a little (or a lot!) to enjoy the simple rituals of life. For me, those are mostly based in the kitchen. And there’s nothing better than a freshly baked cake on the weekend!
What is this fabulous cake you ask? This is an old family recipe from my German family and my mother in law makes such a delicious version that I especially requested it for my wedding day. It’s known here in Germany as an Eierlikörtorte, and it’s a glorious concoction of nuts, dark chocolate, whipped cream and advocaat that is seriously moreish.
This old-fashioned cake is made completely without flour, so it was gluten-free before gluten-free was even a thing. I like to make it with ground hazelnuts, but almonds or even walnuts will do if that’s what you have. This is a dense, rich and sophisticated cake so don’t be surprised that it doesn’t bake up fluffy and high. It’s packed with flavour and gets better and better over a couple of days.
I prefer to make my own advocaat as it’s so simple and the flavour is a million times better. I use rum for flavour, but use whatever spirit you have handy, vodka, bourbon etc. it’ll be different, but no less delicious. The amount that I’ve given in the recipe is enough to cover the top of the cake, but if you like you can double or triple the recipe so you can have a little tipple on the side. Win-win! Homemade advocaat keeps in the fridge in a clean bottle for weeks.
‘Eierlikörtorte’ German Advocaat Cake
for the cake:
- 200 g ground nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc
- 150 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 4 eggs, separated
- 75 g sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp dark rum
- 1 Tbsp vanilla sugar
- pinch of salt
for the advocaat:
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 ml cream
- 50 ml dark rum
- 50 g sugar
- 300 ml cream
- 2 Tbsp icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350° F / Gas 4. Line the base a 26cm diameter springform cake tin with baking paper and grease well with butter.
- Place the nuts, 100g of the chocolate, baking powder and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine and crumbly then set aside.
- Using an electric mixer beat the 4 egg yolks together with the sugar until thick, pale and foamy - at least 3-4 minutes. Beat in the softened butter, then the rum until fully combined. Pour the nut mixture until the bowl and stir well.
- In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites, vanilla sugar and salt until they form stiff peaks. Fold a big spoonful of the beaten egg whites under the nut mixture, then gently but thoroughly fold in the remaining egg whites. Make sure you keep as much air as possible in the mixture, but that it is also fully mixed through. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cake rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the advocaat by whisking together all ingredients in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring gently until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before placing in the fridge to cool completely. It will thicken further as it cools.
- When you are ready to assemble the cake, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Sift over the icing sugar and cornflour, then beat until stiff. Reserve ¼ - ⅓ of the cream to pipe an edge around the cake. Spread the remainder thickly over the top of the cake and thinly over the sides. Use a spoon or spatula to flatten the top, then pipe on the border using a star tipped piping nozzle or similar.
- Pour over the cooled advocaat, making sure it stays within the border of the cream. Use a small sharp knife or vegetable peeler to make shavings from the remaining chocolate. Press the chocolate shavings onto the sides of the cake and sprinkle a little over the top. Chill until ready to serve.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I don’t drink alcohol! Can I leave it out of this cake?
You sure can! Replace the rum in the cake with 1 tsp vanilla extract (non-alcoholic if you can find it) or 2 Tbsp milk and 2 tsp vanilla sugar. Replace the rum in the topping with extra cream and a teaspoon of vanilla extract or two teaspoons vanilla sugar. You could also use rum essence for the flavour if you like. This cake is also brilliant with a raspberry topping instead.
How do I store this cake?
Because of the fresh cream, you’ll need to keep this cake in the fridge. It does keep well for several days and keeps getting moister.
I am dairy-free. Can I still make this cake?
Yes! With a few changes, it is possible. The nut base of this cake is lovely as it is, as long as you use dairy-free chocolate. You could try topping it with whipped coconut cream, instructions in this recipe. The advocaat can also be made with cream substitutes.
I have a nut allergy. Can I still make this cake?
Not this one! Sorry!