This is a traditional Alpine cake (one of my favorites!) from Italy’s northernmost province of South Tyrol or Alto Adige, a predominately German-speaking area of mountain farmers. The cake is called Torta di Grano Saraceno (Italian) or Buckweizentorte (German) and is traditionally filled with preserves of a local fruit called mirtilli rossi. Blueberry, lingonberry, or raspberry preserves are good substitutes. Buckwheat is a common staple in this region of Italy and is used in both sweet and savory cooking.
Preparation time 30 minutes Bake time 30-40 minutes Makes one 23cm (9in) cake
For the cake
170 grams (6 ounces or 1½ sticks) butter
150 grams (¾ cup) sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200 grams (7 ounces or 2 cups) almond flour [or grind almonds in a food processor, pulsing on and off to avoid making them oily]
90 grams (3.2 ounces or ¾ cup) buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
For the filling and decoration
150 grams (5.3 ounces or about ½ cup) blueberry, lingonberry or raspberry preserves, for filling
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
Measure all ingredients.
Butter a springform pan (9 in/23cm) and line the bottom with a disk of parchment, cut to fit. Butter the parchment. Place prepared pan on baking sheet and side aside.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter until soft and pale. Beat in half the sugar (75 grams) and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until smooth between each addition. Stir in the vanilla, ground almonds and buckwheat flour.
In a clean and large bowl, whip the egg whites and salt until frothy. Whip in the remaining sugar (75 grams) gradually, adding a tablespoon at a time, and continue to whip the egg whites until they hold a firm, glossy peak.
Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture until combined, making sure that the batter remains light and airy.
Immediately pour the batter into the prepared pan. Even out the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry. Cool the cake completely before filling.
When cool, invert the cake so that the top is now the bottom. Slice the cake through the middle to make two layers using a long, serrated knife.
Place the bottom layer on a platter and spread with preserves. Place the remaining layer on the preserves and press gently to make the layers adhere.
Before serving, dust the cake with the confectioners’ sugar.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.