The BBC have spilled the beans, and on tonight’s Great British Bake Off, the technical challenge is to make a Spanische Windtorte. What on earth is a Spanische Windtorte most people will ask, and even I had to scurry over to my Larousse Culinary Encyclopaedia to find out what it was. Basically, in simplified terms, it’s a meringue gateau or cake, filled with cream and soft fruit with chocolate added sometimes.
So, where does this cake originate from? It is a famous Austrian dessert, albeit one I had never heard of before, and is very popular in all the Austrian Coffee and Cake houses. It is known as “the fanciest cake in Vienna” and was the dessert cake of choice during the Baroque period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the Spanish reference being attributed to the Austrian House of Habsburg and their obsession with all things Spanish as the time.
My first attempt at this tricky cake over the weekend was a fail, and Paul Hollywood would have fixed his piercing blue eyes on me as he delivered the death blow verdict that I was last in the technical challenge! However, I AM a competent baker (and cook) and I am no quitter, so, I decided to have another attempt at making this meringue cake at home, but simplifying it a wee bit for home cooks.
After perusing numerous images of Spanische Windtorte cakes online, I discovered that they come in all shapes and sizes, from very simple two layer cakes to multi-layered and decorated creations. The basic recipe comprises two discs of baked meringue, for the bottom and the lid, with several rings of meringue being baked to complete the cake shape. The meringue shell is then filled with whipped cream and soft fruit and is decorated with chocolate shavings.
My simplified version below comprises of four layers of meringue discs, with cream and fruit being added to each layer, and then chocolate shavings being added to the top – it looks the part, tastes delicious and has all of the elements of a classic Spanische Windtorte, but is made in half the time. It’s well worth the effort to make this dreamy dessert, and I WILL be attempting to make the more complicated version very soon, in an attempt to finally win the technical challenge!