Today, my nephew Eddie turns 1! It’s not every day your first baby turns 1, so when Adele asked me to bake a cake for his birthday party, I told her to pick any recipe and I would make it. Adele loves lemon desserts, and she chose this awesome and fancy torte. I told her I’d only make it if I could make another cake, too. I ended up baking vanilla cupcakes so that Eddie and the other small guests would enjoy a dessert, as well.
His birthday party was a little early, because the holidays got in the way of his birthday plans. Which was great for our blogging schedule, because we were able to post this in time for his big day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EDDIE!
This is a great cake for people who like lemon flavored desserts! It’s also great because it’s gluten free, and lots of people are on gluten free diets these days. Also, you can use it for Passover! Another great reason to bookmark this recipe.
Eddie did not like this cake. His mother did. So did the grown ups at the birthday party.
This cake looks like it has a ton of steps, and I guess it does. But it really wasn’t hard to make at all. The electric mixer did all the beating for me, and though it was a lot of different steps, most of them were easy. I was able to bake this on a summer Saturday night for the birthday party the next day. Read the instructions, give yourself 5 hours, and get baking. Just make sure you have a good ice cream recipe because you’ll have a bunch of egg yolks to use up!
Lemon and Pistachio Praline Meringue Torte, adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts:
For the Praline:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup pistachios (peeled, of course)
For the Meringues:
- 5 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
For the Lemon Buttercream:
- 4 ounces good white chocolate (none of that fake stuff that’s just hydrogenated oil in bar form)
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons + 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Make the praline: Oil a large baking sheet.
2. Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.
3. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is a deep amber color.
4. Turn off the heat and stir in pistachios.
5. Immediately pour mixture onto prepared sheet.
6. Cool completely.
7. Finely chop praline.
8. Grind 1/2 cup praline in your food processor to make praline powder.
9. Make the meringues: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
10. Line two large baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
11. Use an 8-inch cake pan to trace three circles on parchment paper with a pencil and put pencil side down (if using a silpat, trace on regular paper and put under the mat. Remove before baking).
12. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
13. Gradually add in 1/2 cup sugar, then beat until egg whites are still but not dry.
14. Stir in powdered sugar and praline powder, folding gently as not to deflate the egg whites.
15. Divide meringue among traced circles.
16. Using a spatula, spread mixture to edges.
17. Bake until crisp and pale golden, reversing baking sheets after 45 minutes, and bake for a total of 1 hour, 45 minutes.
18. Make the buttercream: Stir the white chocolate in top of a double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Let stand until cool but not set.
19. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
20. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons sugar.
21. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons water in a small heavy saucepan.
22. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
23. Increase heat and boil without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 5 minutes.
24. Immediately pour the hot syrup in a thin steady stream into the beaten egg whites, beating until mixture is completely cool, about 4 minutes.
25. Beat in butter 2 tablespoons at a time.
26. Beat in white chocolate, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
26. Chill about 45 minutes.
27. Build Cake: Place meringue layer on platter.
28. Spread 1 scant cup buttercream evenly over.
29. Top with another meringue.
30. Spread 1 scant cup buttercream evenly over.
31. Top with remaining meringue.
32. Spread remaining buttercream on top and sides of torte.
33. Press chopped praline around the edge, making a 1-inch border.
34. Refrigerate until buttercream sets, overnight.
34. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.