a torte is a torte, of course, of course

Wait.  What is a torte?  Apparently, it’s defined by Mr. Webster as ‘a cake made with many eggs and often grated nuts or dry bread crumbs and usually covered with a rich frosting.’  Sometimes they’re layered, sometimes they’re not.  Sometimes they contain flour, sometimes they don’t.  So, what’s the conclusion here?  Torte is just a German word for cake.
 

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Since we’re talking about other languages, let’s talk about Italian and French as well.   More specifically, let’s talk about Ferrero Rocher. Have you ever eaten one of those?  ‘Rocher’ may mean rock, but the only similarity between the two is appearance.  The little treats consist of a whole roasted hazelnut encased in a thin wafer shell filled with hazelnut cream and covered in milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts and walnuts.  In other words, they’re sensational.

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This bonbon-inspired torte begins with a layer of chocolate cake that gets split in half (which may or may not be called torting; I’m beginning to think I just made that definition up).  Between the hazelnut-flavored sugar-syrup-soaked layers and along the top and sides goes a milk chocolate buttercream frosting speckled with a crisp and crunchy hazelnut praline.

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It’s a mighty tasty combination for when you’re feeling like more than a fancy, delicate little bonbon.  Speaking of fancy (as in, the polar opposite of...), some of you chastised me for not posting a picture of myself after getting you to guess what I looked like.  I loved reading your theories—some popular choices were blonde bouffant hair (heck to the no) and cinnamon-colored freckles (yes!).  Many of you seem to picture me with a permanent smile on my face, which makes me smile even more.

Hello, chocolate fountain!
Enjoying the miracle known as a chocolate fountain.

Ferrero Rocher-y Torte

One recipe of your favorite chocolate cake, halved (or you could just make two 9-inch rounds and freeze one)

Nutty simple syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nut extract or flavoring

Hazelnut Praline:
1/4 pound shelled and skinned hazelnuts
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Fluffy Ganache Frosting:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar

Prepare the chocolate cake using 9-inch round pans according to your recipe's instructions. Once it has cooled, take it out of the pan and pop it into the freezer for a spell. Then, slice it in half horizontally (which may or may not be known as torting).

To make the simple syrup:
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Simmer for five minutes, remove from heat, and add extract. Stir, then allow to cool.

To make the praline:
Liberally coat a baking pan with vegetable oil, place the hazelnuts on it in a single layer, and set IT aside. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and cook until the mixture turns amber. Immediately pour the syrup over the hazelnuts, let it cool completely, and break it into small pieces. Transfer the pieces to a sealable plastic bag and crush them using a heavy skillet or rolling pin. Transfer the crushed pieces to a food processor and process until the mixture is finely ground.

To make the frosting:
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer and then pour it over the chocolate chips. Let the mixture sit for 3-4 minutes before whisking until smooth. Place the pan in a bowl of ice water; stir constantly until cooled. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and whip until smooth, thick, and fluffy.

To assemble:
Brush half of the simple syrup evenly over one half of the cake.  Then spread about a third of the frosting onto the top of that half and sprinkle it with half of the praline. Place the other half of the cake layer on top, brush it with the rest of the syrup, and spread the remaining frosting along the top and sides. Press the remaining praline into the frosting on the sides and sprinkle some on top if you're feeling fanciful. Chill for a bit before serving.

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