Thursday, 2 October 2014

Technical Thursday: Paul's Schichttorte

I can't believe I'm saying this at this stage of GBBO (the Semi Final!) but this was the easiest challenge so far.

To be perfectly honest it didn't feel like much of a challenge at all - very un-Emma to admit - it was more a faff with an insane amount of eggs, lots of mental arithmetic and a seriously ridiculous method involving grilled layers of cake.

It was completely bizarre but one of the most doable challenges of the series. I was definitely not expecting something like this the week before the final!

The recipe for Paul Hollywood's Schichttorte can be found on the BBC Food website here, and below with my notes.


For the cake:
10 large free-range eggs, separated
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 large lemon, zest only
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g plain flour, sifted
65g cornflour, sifted
oil, for greasing
6 tbsp apricot jam

For the chocolate glaze: 
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
75g plain chocolate (36% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the vanilla glaze: 
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp rum
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1-2 tbsp milk


Whisk the egg yolks in the bowl of a freestanding mixer on a high speed for five minutes, until pale, thick and creamy.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.

Add the lemon zest and vanilla paste and mix well.

Add the whisked egg yolks and beat well. Add the flour and cornflour and mix.

In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen the consistency.

Then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Preheat the grill to high. Grease a 20cm/8in round springform tin with oil and line the base with parchment paper. I didn't have a tin this size so bought a 21cm loose-base tin from Morrisons this morning. To make sure the cake didn't glue itself to the sides I lined the whole thing with Lakeland's Parchment Lined Foil, which did the job but burnt slightly under the grill so be warned!

This part is where a spot of mental arithmetic comes in. I weighed my cake batter and then divided it by 20 (for each of the layers) so I'd know how much to grill at a time. Luckily it worked out at roughly 50g per layer, so I made sure to measure it each time to ensure even layers. Spoon a portion of the batter into the base of the cake tin and spread evenly across the bottom using a pastry brush. Give the tin a gentle side-to-side shake to even out the top of the batter.

Place on a shelf in the grill and cook until light golden-brown. Remove from the grill, add another portion (50g) of batter, spread out with a pastry brush, and place under the grill until dark golden-brown. With all the planning in the world a lot of this comes down to judgement and not timing. It took me roughly 1 minute for a light brown colour and 2 minutes for a dark brown colour, but this varied so it took a lot of watching, waiting and quickly pulling the tin out from under the grill before it burnt!

Continue layering and grilling until you have 20 layers alternating in colour from light golden-brown to dark golden-brown. (Or continue until you have used all the batter.)

Remove from the grill and leave to cool in the tin for five minutes.

Carefully release from the tin and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Melt the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat. Pass through a fine sieve, then brush the top and sides of the cake with jam. This will help the glaze stick to the cake.

For the chocolate glaze, melt the butter in a small pan with the golden syrup, rum and vanilla paste and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for five minutes. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to a coating consistency.

Place a large piece of greaseproof paper under the wire rack holding the cake. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake to cover completely. Any excess glaze will be caught on the greaseproof paper and can be reused to fill in any unglazed areas of the cake.

Transfer to a serving plate and then make the vanilla glaze. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add the rum, vanilla paste and milk, stirring until completely smooth. Place in a piping bag and drizzle over the chocolate glaze in a lattice pattern. Voila!

This is the moment of truth… Paul Hollywood made a point of counting the layers on last night's show, and my dad took on that role today. I have 20 layers!

Well that went well! Apparently the texture is really weird - it's almost like a stack of cold pancakes, rather than a multi-layered cake… Also, like on An Extra Slice last night, it's really dry at the bottom too. To me it just seems a really weird bake! To be honest though, I'm not really bothered what it tastes like when it looks like this!

So, what do you think of my Schichttorte? Have you tried making one before? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I have made this today and it looks good but tastes a little dry and a lot rubbery - maybe that was just mine? I just used a spoon to measure the batter and hoped the layers would work out - I ran out after 16 layers. I don't think I will eat it as is but might try soaking it in some spiced rum.

    1. Hi!
      I think it's supposed to taste dry and rubbery - mine did too! 16 layers is brilliant! I just went over-the-top with the scales aha. If it's too dry to eat it might be worth serving with pouring cream? Let me know if you soaked it in spiced rum - that's an inspired idea!
      E x

    2. How did you go with soaking it? I wanted to give this a try but not if it tastes bad!

  2. Ive made this twice since seeing it on bake off. The second time because I thought I had made it wrong the first time. It was so rubbery and difficult to cut. The second time better. But still rubbery. So I'm glad to see that's what it's suppose to be like!
    Can I ask though how did you get the height?? Mine have been pretty small so far.

    Another Emma

    1. Hi Emma!
      It's such an odd bake - I don't think cake should be rubbery but clearly this one's supposed to be like that! It seems so wrong though!
      With regards to the height, I'm honestly not sure. I used a 21cm loose bottomed tin, and it filled that to the top. Are you getting 20 layers out of your batter? I weighed each layer so it was between 45-50g which ensured I achieved all the layers and it was pretty tall. I don't really know what else to suggest! Maybe you could try using a smaller diameter tin? Lakeland have a 15cm loose-based tin ( which might do the trick?
      I hope that helps! Do let me now how you get on with it!
      E x

  3. We had fun making this, but the finished cake IS very dry. Was thinking of breaking it up into chunks and making some sort of tiramisu trifle. Thoughts?