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Jan 3, 2004 01:26 PM

What's the different between a torte and a cake?

  • w

So most torte recipe I see and taste ends up just like a cake. So why is something called a torte?

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  1. Technically, a torte is flourless, while a cake has flour as the base. The word "torte" is misused, however, so perhaps what you have been making is actually a cake.

    1. Althought there are often tortes that use nuts or breadcrumbs instead of flour, I can think of many that are flour-based, such as Sachertorte.

      Mostly, it's the Austrian term for a fancy cake, as opposed to a simple snack-type cake.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Liz K

        Sachertorte is made with almond flour.

        1. re: Evil Ronnie

          Absolutely not. There are no almonds in Sachertorte, and regular (wheat) flour is used. I have several recipes, including those originating from Demel and Leschanz in Vienna, and none use nuts of any sort.

          1. re: Sir Gawain

            Dear Sir,

            Almonds, zweiback, and even rusks are used in various recipes for Sachertorte. Chef Paul Prosperi at CIA Hyde Park (twenty + years at Essex House in NYC) uses lightly toasted and ground almonds to flour in a one to three ratio.

            I've seen Linzertorte recipes calling for almonds rather than the more typical hazlenuts. Different strokes I guess.

            Evil Ronnie

            1. re: Evil Ronnie

              All I know is that in the original Austrian recipes there are no nuts. Do a German language search for "Sachertorte Rezept" and you will never find one with any nuts. That there are tarted up recipes by illustrious chefs I have no doubt of, it's just that the ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC Sachertorte (by Sacher or Demel) positively had none.

              There are madeleine recipes out there with nuts too, and with chocolate and lavender and cheese, which still doesn't mean that the "standard", basic madeleine has any of these ingredients.

              1. re: Sir Gawain

                Ok Sir,

                Then to answer Wendy's question, what is the difference between a cake and a torte? CIA teaches nuts and lower profile than a cake = a torte. What say ye, Sir?

                Evil Ronnie

                1. re: Evil Ronnie

                  Sir Ronnie, you may be evil but your tenacity is admirable; I salute your determination to win this battle no matter what :D

                  That definition is correct, that's how the word "torte" is used in the English language. A Sachertorte is not a true torte, as it doesn't have nuts. It is called a torte because it is only known under its German name - for some reason, it doesn't get translated as "the Sacher cake", though that would be an appropriate translation. The German word for a layered cake is simply "Torte" - whether it has nuts in it or not, but that's not true of the English use of the word.

                  For the last time, a classic Sachertorte has no nuts, American chefs' creativity notwithstanding. Enclosed is the definition and recipe from the Larousse Gastronomique, which refers to Sachertorte as "a sort of chocolate Savoy sponge cake."


      2. Tortes often contain nut products in the batter, and are lower in profile (shorter) than cakes.

        Evil Ronnie

        2 Replies
        1. re: Evil Ronnie

          I think they have a lot of thin layers, with filling, too. I'm thinking of a Dobish torte.

          1. re: Pat Hammond


            Yes, Dobos Torte has many layers, but your typical torte does not. Linzer and Sachertortes typically have only two layers and their respective fillings/toppings.

            Evil Ronnie

        2. Remember the difference between pommes frites and french fries?

          $2 a serving.