Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Mum

I was so excited to be at home for my mum's birthday, since I missed four of them in the past years. So I decided to make her something super special. Lets be honest here, I am not a cake person (not the ones covered in fondant), but I love this kind - tiny and cute.

Also, I prefer more non-mousse style cakes. To me, there is nothing better than a good nut based biscuit with creamy vanilla mousseline with addition of another flavor. What is mousseline? It is a German buttercream which is made from one part butter to two parts pastry cream. 
The biscuit was a flourless walnut cake adapted from Beatrice at La Tartine Gourmande which is probably something I will be doing from now on. Even baked as it is, it's SO good, super moist, flavorful and there is no flour and just egg whites! (what a great way to use them, I always have so many leftover that in the freezer)

I spread a thin layer of my mum's bitter orange marmalade on each biscuit (there were four layers) and then a layer of mousseline. After the first coat, I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours after which I gave another coat. At the very end I decorated my baby with some orange blossom flowers, bee pollen (please read this fantastic article on bee pollen HERE and check out Sarah's amazing work) and a few pieces of dill (I know, it sounds unappetizing, but it was just for a bit of color)

Here's the formula for the flourless walnut cake adapted from La Tartine Gourmande:


  • 280g walnuts (semi finely ground)
  • 4 egg whites + additional 2
  • 75g powdered sugar
  • 100g butter at room temp
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (very important!)

  • Preheat the oven at 180C or 350F
  • Grind the walnuts in the food processor or any other nut grinder you have. I ground 2/3 fine and the rest a bit more coarse.
  • Add butter, 2 egg whites, powdered sugar and salt. Using a spatula make a paste. Set aside.
  • In the meantime whip the egg whites and add the granulates sugar. 
  • Fold into the walnut paste and bake in buttered and floured pan, ramekins or on parchment paper in any form you wish. 
  • Baking time depends of the thickness of the batter, but it's usually about 20-30 mins.
  • Let cool, unmold.

Mousseline cream

  • 540g milk
  • 1 vanilla bean 
  • 160g yolks
  • 120g granulated sugar
  • 60g cornstarch
  • 250g butter at room temp (I reduced the amount of butter)

  • Split the bean, scrape out the seeds and put everything together in a heavy bottomed pan with half the sugar. Bring to a boil (don't go anywhere during this time, you know what happens when you leave the kitchen - caramelized milk, we don't want that here)
  • Mix the yolks with rest of the sugar and cornstarch, you can also add a bit of milk so it's easier to combine. 
  • Once the milk comes to a boil, temper the yolks, put back on the heat and with constant whisking on medium heat boil until it thickens.
  • Pour the cream into another bowl, add a few tablespoons of bitter orange marmalade (optional) and buzz with immersion blender. You can also pass it through a sieve if you want it super smooth. Cover with plastic wrap. Let cool.
  • Once cooled, put in the the mixer and add butter gradually using a whisk attachment. Mix until smooth.  
  • Now you're ready to ice the cake! I will not say anything else, but have fun and use your imagination!
Happy Baking!


  1. Prekrasna ti je torta! Jako mi se sviđaju okusi koje si koristila. Ova ideja za ukrašavanje peludom mi je super, imamo svoje pčelarstvo i pelud upravo u tim okruglicama ali nikad mi nije palo na pamet ukrasiti kolač time, odlična ideja!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday wishes to your mom! :-)

    (Mine was yesterday, I had a rhubarb strudel at D and later lunch with my family at Cafe' Central.)

    I am so glad you have a new blog host, much easier to comment here!
    Much love,

  3. Savrsena torta za mamu :-)
    Nikad nisam cula za tu njemacku kremu.

  4. Predivno Tea!! Sretan rođendan mami :) Sigurno je i njoj koliko i tebi bilo pravo zadovoljstvo napokon te vidit kod kuće na ovu prigodu :)

  5. prekrasna tortica za mamu!!!

  6. torta je preprekrasna kao i fotografije. danas sam tek shvatila da ti dugo nisam bila na ovom blogu i da ipak cesce pises nego na starom :).
    tako da se bacam na citanje zaostataka. vec sam uzivala u zagrebackom postu i strukle u hotelu palace su mi najbolje koje sam ikada jela...ako ih radi i dalje isti kuhar :)

    pozdrav iz beca,