Orange Hazelnut Buttercream Torte


Sourceadapted from Please to the Table
Prep time3 1⁄2 hours


Lorna's favorite birthday cakeThis spectacular and spctacularly delicious cake is a pain in the neck to make, but it never fails to get rave reviews.

It requires time and attention; for best results, don't rush this cake.


8eaEggs (separated)
1 1⁄4cSugar
3⁄4cPastry Flour
1cGround Almonds
1⁄4cTriple Sec
18ozApricot Jam
8TButter (at room temperature)
1⁄2cPowdered Sugar
1tVanilla extract
1cGround Hazelnuts (toasted)
1⁄4cHeavy Cream
1 1⁄2tUnflavored Gelatin
2 1⁄2TOrange Juice


You will make this in four parts, plus final assembly:

The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and put parchment paper in the bottom.
  2. Chop up two of the oranges coarsely, then grind them, skins and all. Try to save the juice; you'll need a little later.
  3. Separate the eggs and whip the whites to stiff peaks and set aside.
  4. In another bowl, blend the yolks and just 1 cup of the granulated sugar until pale golden. Add the orange puree.
  5. Add the pastry flour and ground almonds and blend until smooth.
  6. Fold in the whipped egg whites.
  7. Divide into two prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 and bake until done, about 20 minutes more.  
  8. While the cake bakes, prepare the buttercream and the glaze.

Hazelnut Buttercream

  1. Cream the butter and the powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, ground hazelnuts, and cream and combine well. Set aside but do not chill.

The Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, boil together the water and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar for one minute. Remove from heat and add Triple Sec.

The Glaze

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the orange juice and let soften for 5 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat one third of the apricot jam with the brandy. Stir in the orange-gelatin mixture and keep warm.


  1. When the cakes are baked, let them cool completely on wire racks.
  2. After the cakes are cool, slice them each in half horizontally into two layers.
  3. Set one layer on a cake plate or on a cardboard round. Brush it with 1/4 of the syrup, then with one third of the apricot jam.
  4. Set the top half of the first cake upon the jam. Brush it with 1/4 of the syrup, then the Hazelnut Buttercream.
  5. Set the bottom half of the second cake on top of the buttercream. Brush it with 1/4 of the syrup, then with another 1/3 of the apricot jam.
  6. Set the remaining half of the second cake atop the apricot jam. Try to get the whole thing as even and level as possible. If the layers slide, hold them in place with skewers and chill it until the buttercream sets. Then remove the skewers.
  7. Brush the top of the cake with the last 1/4 of the syrup.
  8. Thinly slice the remaining orange into rounds. Arrange the rounds over the top of the cake, then glaze with the warm glaze. Cover the entire top, but don't worry about the sides.
  9. Carefully move the whole thing to a cool place so it can set. Do not try to slice it until it has set, or the layers will slide.


One of the most difficult things about this cake is finding room for it to cool. In cold weather, I cover it and put it in the trunk of my car!

It is important to take your time with this cake. There are two steps where the cake has to cool - once when the cakes come from the oven (so the buttercream doesn't melt), and the second time to chill so it can be sliced without falling apart.

Don't worry about including the orange rinds on the top; they make it very pretty, and they are not too tough for eating.  

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