Berry Blitz Torte with King Arthur Flour

Simple sponge cake, crispy pillows of meringue, crunchy almonds, silky pastry cream, and juicy seasonal berries - this rustic dessert is a symphony of textures and subtle flavors.  Be sure to bake this Berry Blitz Torte before summer is officially over!

Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.

Summer is nearly over.  Say it ain't so!!!  For as much as I love fall, I can't believe another summer has breezed by.  I don't even want to think about the all the rain and dark days ahead.... 

While it is still warm out (which it actually is here in Vancouver), I'll be holding on to summer as long as I possibly can.  This includes baking all the berry desserts before they are gone for the season!!  I just stocked up on all the sale organic strawberries and local raspberries.  Have you?  Are you tired of berry desserts yet and already digging out your pumpkin spice and scarves?  I hope not...

Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.

I you are going to make one final berry dessert before we officially say farewell to summer, let it please be this Berry Blitz Torte!  Trust me, it's a winner.  Want to know how I know this?  It's from the amazingly talented chefs over at King Arthur Flour!

Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.

I made this Berry Blitz Torte with King Arthur Flour a couple months ago for their May #Bakealong.  I did a little Instagram takeover.  Did you join and bake along with us?

Velvety butter cake, crispy meringue, AND silky pastry cream? Yes please! I love the various textures throughout this torte and how the smooth, creamy filling contrasts with the slight crunch of the baked meringue and almond topping. It might seem complex, but the cake and topping layers actually bake up at the same time! Just spread the cloud-like meringue right on top of the cake base before being sprinkled with the cinnamon/almond mixture and baked to perfection.
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.
I love decadent pastries and unique flavor combinations, but there is something about the simplicity of fresh berries and cream that makes me swoon every time. With a filling as luscious as this vanilla-scented pastry cream you don’t even need frosting! I am thrilled that berries are finally in season. Not only do they “pop” in color against the pillows of meringue and pastry cream, but also they add a burst of sweet/tart flavour to each bite. Today I went with sliced strawberries and juicy raspberries, but feel free to swap in whatever berries you like! Be sure to tag your tortes #bakealong with @stylesweetca so that I can see your sweet creations!
Berry Torte with crispy meringue and pastry cream filling.

Be sure to join King Arthur Flour every month for a new #Bakealong.  For the recipe for the Berry Blitz Torte, click here.

Easy Summer Charlotte

easysummerchar1 As summer sadly comes to a close, I am no more tempted now to use my oven much than I was at the beginning of the summer.  It might not be as warm, but I'd rather spend my time soaking up the last bit of sun.  Now, as you've noticed, most days I am big supporter of making everything from scratch.  Today is not one of those todays.  Instead let's make the cutest, little cheater torte there ever was: my Easy Summer Charlotte.  

Sure you can make most of the components from scratch, and I applaud who ever deicides to do so.  For the rest of us, we are about to get "Semi-Homemade."  Just call me Sandra Lee ;)  This summer cake is not very representational of the traditional dessert on the inside, but the presentation is were it's at.  The ribbon makes it immediately festive and it is a great way to finish up the last of the summer berries.  Looking for something easy yet beautiful for a Labor Day party?  This is it.

easysummerchar

Ingredients:

– Store-bought ladyfinger cookies – 6 inch cake round (at least 2 inches high) – 2 cups heavy cream – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – 1/4 cup granulated sugar – 1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry preserves – 2 to 3 cups mixed summer berries – confectioner's sugar for dusting

Assembly:

1. Beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla together with an electric mixer until medium soft peaks form.  Set aside. 2. Place the cake round on your serving dish or cake board. 3. Using an offset spatula, spread the berry preserves on the cake.  Spread a thin layer onto the sides of the cake as well. 4. Adhere the ladyfingers around the cake.  Use a serrated knife to trim the last cookie to fit (if necessary). 5. Tie a length of ribbon around the cake to secure the ladyfingers in place. 6. Fill the cake with about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of whipped cream. 7. Top with mixed berries. 8. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

easysummerchar3

NOTES:

– Feel free to browse my collection of basic cake recipes here, or use your own.  Still don't feel like baking?  Use a store-bought pound cake! –  This might be a "cheater charlotte," but I do feel it necessary to use fresh whipped cream.  Just my humble opinion ;)

Photos by Chantel Elder