The Blitz is a Hit: World's Best Cake

When I saw Paul Lowe's recipe for the "World's Best Cake," I knew I would have to try it. Not because of the recipe name or the fact that the cake has been named as Norway's National Cake. It's because the first time I traveled with my husband to visit his mother in Wisconsin years ago, she served us a nearly identical cake that was absolutely delicious. She gave me the recipe (her cake is called "Company Cake" or "Blitz Torte"), and I tried it. It was a disaster. I don't know what went wrong, but I had to scrap the entire thing and I never tried the recipe again. I crossed my fingers that Sweet Paul's version would be more successful.

The method for this cake seems like it shouldn't work. You make a cake batter (butter creamed with sugar, mixed with flour, baking powder, egg yolks, and milk) and pour it into a parchment-lined pan. Then you make a meringue by beating egg whites and sugar to soft peaks. You spread the meringue on top of the raw cake batter, sprinkle on some sliced almonds, and put the cake in the oven to bake.
The meringue rose massively while the cake was baking, forming undulating waves that peeked over the top of the pan. It looked unmanageable, but as the cake cooled, the meringue sank to a more manageable and level height. To assemble the cake, I grabbed the edges of the parchment paper under the cake to pull the entire thing out of the pan at once, and cut it in half crosswise. I beat some heavy cream with the seeds from a vanilla bean to soft peaks, spread the whipped cream on one half of the cake, and put the other half of the cake on top. I chilled the cake for an hour before serving.

I thought this cake was excellent. The yellow cake is dense and moist, and the meringue makes it quite fun. The whipped cream in the middle is not sweetened, and the cake isn't very sweet overall. I love sliced almonds sprinkled on anything, and this cake was no exception. I served this cake at the same time that I served a blueberry fruit financier. The four children who were present all preferred the financier; the adults liked both. I thought that the financier was a bit pedestrian and definitely preferred this unusual and lovely cake.

When I hear the term "world's best," I always think of the "world's best cup of coffee" from the movie Elf. The recipe name might be hyperbole, but this is some darn tasty cake.

Recipe: "World's Best Cake" from Sweet Paul Eat and Make by Paul Lowe.


Louise said…
How many smallish servings does this cake make? I need to make a couple cakes for this weekend and this would definitely be a great addition.
I got 12 decent-sized servings, and I think you might be able to get 15 -- but you can't cut pieces too small, because they might fall over (since the assembled cake is fairly tall). I was thinking it would be easy to double the recipe and bake it in two 9-inch by 13-inch pans, and then just stack one of the whole cakes on top of the other one.
Louise said…
I was thinking the same thing about using two 9x13 pans. I'm also thinking I'll use Paul's recipe and then do like King Arthur and put pastry cream and berries between the two layers. I'm probably making the One-in-a-Hundred cake, plus Bagels and Beans No-bake Date Walnut Cake. That should make it pretty stress free. Its' for our Salsa Social, my good friend and teacher, Javier's birthday is this week. Other people get grocery store cakes, except when I bake. : )