Here’s a recipe for a popular dish from San Marino called “Torta Tre Monti” or “Cake of the Three Towers.” It’s a delicious layered cake made with chocolate, hazelnuts, and buttercream. It’s named after the three towers of San Marino, a small country surrounded by Italy.
For the Cake Layers:
- 300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 200g finely ground hazelnuts
- 50g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Buttercream:
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons rum (optional)
- 100g finely ground hazelnuts (for coating)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
- In a heatproof bowl, melt the dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Gradually fold the ground hazelnuts and flour into the chocolate mixture. Then, gently fold in the beaten egg whites until the batter is well combined.
- Divide the batter equally among the prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To prepare the buttercream, beat the softened butter in a mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and continue beating until smooth and fluffy. Add the rum (if using) and mix until well incorporated.
- Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread a layer of buttercream on top. Place another cake layer on top and repeat the process until all layers are stacked with buttercream in between.
- Use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top of the cake. Press the finely ground hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake, creating a coating.
- Allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to set and enhance the flavors.
- Once chilled, slice and serve the Torta Tre Monti as a delightful dessert to enjoy!
Note: The Torta Tre Monti is best served at room temperature. Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container.