I was making my husband a jelly roll, doing laundry, and writing when I got a phone call. Guess what happened to the cake? Right, it was overcooked. It did not burn, but it wasn’t soft spongy cake anymore. I did not want to waste it, so it became this Failed Jelly Roll Torte. It tasted quite good, even though it was born from disaster. I made jam with fresh strawberries and lemon buttercream (I will give you the recipes soon). After eating this simple torte, I started looking at other ones online and discovered a viral cake craze. It is a fruit and flower decorated torte, designed by Israeli baker Gargeran. And I decided to make a plant-based version. I am quite pleased with how it turned out.
Make it for Valentine’s Day and surprise the ones you love best!
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Fruit and Flower Torte
It is best to make the Torte and Meringue Cookes the day before you want to serve the cake. This dessert consists of four separate components.
- Vanilla Torte
- Aquafaba Meringue Cookies
- Aquafaba Meringue Cream
- Fresh Berries and Flowers
- Make a triple batch of Vanilla Torte (recipe below) and divide it equally between 2 prepared 18×13 inch rectangular pans. When the cakes are cool, cut them into 12×7 inch rectangles. Save the discarded cake for a snack.
- Put each layer on a cake board and individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Then put them in the freezer until ready to use.
- Make the Aquafaba Meringue Cookies, (recipe below). When they are cool, put them into an airtight container. Save until ready to use.
- Make the Aquafaba Meringue Cream (recipe below) on the day you plan to serve the cake.
- Gather all the prepared ingredients and assemble your cake. Take the first torte, using a plain large piping nozzle and bag, make giant Hershey’s Kiss shapes with the Aquafaba Meringue Cream on the entire surface of the cake.
- Put the next cake layer on top of the cream. Decorate it just like the other one.
- Design the fruit and flower arrangement on an empty cake board and transfer the pattern to the top of the cake.
Fill any empty spaces with more fruit and flowers. Refrigerate. This cake is best eaten the same day it is prepared.
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 – 3 tablespoons vanilla rice milk
- Set the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 2 – 18×13 rectangular pans by greasing and lining them with parchment paper. Cut the paper about one inch larger than the pan, so the sides of the cake are also covered with the paper.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together into a bowl.
- Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.
- Add the wet to the dry ingredients, mix well and pour into the prepared pans. Make sure the batter is evenly distributed.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Lower the heat to 350 and leave the oven door open for a few seconds to quickly reduce the inside oven temperature.
- Continue baking for an additional 20 – 25 minutes. The cake should be quite firm but not burnt.
- When completely cooled, remove the parchment paper.
Aquafaba Meringue Cookies
All the liquid from a 1lb. 13oz. can of chickpeas (aquafaba)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pink food color gel, not liquid
a candy thermometer
- Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing the bottom and sides then putting parchment paper on it. Set it aside. Heat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drain and save the liquid from the chickpeas. (Keep the chickpeas for another recipe). In a small saucepan, reduce the aquafaba until it is 1/2 the original amount. A can of chickpeas usually has about 1 1/2 cups of liquid. That should be reduced to 3/4 cup. Cool the reduced liquid in the freezer until it is quite cold, about 15 minutes.
- Using a mixer beat the aquafaba on low until it is foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high. Continue beating until very stiff peaks are formed.
- While the aquafaba is beating, make a simple syrup. Put the water and sugar in a thick bottomed saucepan. Let the sugar completely dissolve in the water before turning the heat on. After the sugar is melted turn the heat to medium-high and then cook it until it boils.
- Continue boiling the syrup until it reaches between 220 – 230 degrees. Lower the heat.
- Slowly drizzle the syrup into the meringue one spoonful at a time. Between each spoonful, return the syrup to the burner to keep it in a liquid state. If the syrup gets cold, it will get hard.
- When all the syrup is incorporated into the meringue add the vanilla and mix one more minute.
- Divide the meringue. Keep 1 cup of meringue in the mixing bowl and put the rest in an airtight container. (Use the leftover meringue to make French Macaroons. I will post a recipe for Lavender & Lemon French Macaroons soon).
- Add 1 to 2 drops of the food coloring gel and whip the meringue until the color is even.
- Use a small star piping nozzle and make the cookies on the parchment lined cookie sheet. They should be no wider than 1/2 inch.
- Bake the cookies for 3 hours in a 170-degree Fahrenheit oven. They will be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside while they are still hot but will become completely crunchy when cool. Let them cool on the cookie sheet. When they are at room temperature, put them in an airtight container.
Aquafaba Meringue Cream
You will use the same ingredients as for the Aquafaba Meringue Cookies, omitting the food coloring. Additional ingredients are:
1 1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder (agar agar is a plant-based thickening agent that behaves like gelatin. You can order it online, or find it in health food stores).
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup lemon juice
- Follow the directions for the aquafaba meringue cookies. Make sure you read the following directions before beginning the recipe.
- Put the sugar in the water and let it sit until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Mix the agar agar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small cup. Let it sit to the side until the sugar syrup is almost done. It is important to let the agar agar soak for at least 5 minutes.
- When the syrup reaches 180 degrees add the agar agar to the syrup. Use the back of a spoon to stir the syrup and incorporate the agar agar. The agar agar may stick to the bottom of the pan, stirring with the bottom of the spoon will prevent clumps of agar agar from being pulled off the bottom of the pan and ruining the meringue.
- Drizzle the sugar and agar agar mixture into the meringue as directed in the Aquafaba Meringue Cookie recipe.
- After all the sugar is incorporated, continue mixing as you add the vanilla and then add the lemon juice one spoonful at a time.
- Put the cream into a large piping bag with a large plain round nozzle. Follow the directions for assembling the cake as outlined above.