Esterhazy cake

Esterházy Torte – Royal Dahlietta

During a snowy January, Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake, invited us to start the year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?

Esterhazy cake feature 700 1 1

What’s the inspiration for Esterhazy cake cake?

This cake was the wonderful start for my debut with Daring Bakers challenges.

I have been silently following the Daring Bakers for some time, and have high praise in how it gives us home bakers a chance to practice and experiment with world-class pastries, pushing our limitations to build new skills. The prize is our own baking “chefs-d’oeuvre”.

The Month of January for my family has always been festive and bountiful. New Year’s celebrations, which start at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve and last for twelve days, culminate with my birthday.


Since this challenge coincided with my birthday, I decided to treat my family to this exotic and daring cake. To make this challenge even more exciting, my mom (in Armenia) and I (in the US) decided to make this cake together, each in our own kitchens. We both had very interesting experiences and came with very different cakes.

What’s the origin of the Esterhazy cake?

The Esterhazy cake caught my attention for several reasons. I have a soft spot for European-style multi-layered cakes. I know they are elaborate and time-consuming but the results bring a rich and satisfying dessert. The extravagance and complexity of the European pastries and desserts were century-long culinary battles amongst the aristocracy. The unbounded mastermind of the baker’s fine-tuning, while perfecting their craft, raised the bar to a high level of artistry.

My fascination with the history of European cafes led me to a cookbook, “Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague” by Rick Rodgers. The book cover illustrates a slice of an Esterhazy schnitten, an Austrian version of this cake. The recipe in the book was slightly different from our daring baker recipe (which I followed), but I very much enjoyed reading through the book. One day, when I find myself in Vienna or Budapest, I can treat myself to a variety of Austria-Hungarian delights.

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The other remarkable part about this cake is that the layers are of hazelnut dacquoise. The hazelnuts are my favorite nuts; their defined aroma bring back my very best childhood memories and provide unforgettable depth to any pastry and confection. From Rick Rodgers’ book I learned that in the 1700-1800s, nuts were abundant and less expensive than flour. How different from the present!

Special decoration for this cake

To elevate my cake even further, I decided to crown it with sugarpaste flower, a newly acquired cake decorating technique of mine.

I chose dahlia as my centerpiece. The flower’s cascading petals were flowing nicely with the cobweb design of the cake.

The dahlias come in various shapes and colors and I wanted the sunburst apricot color to play nicely with the cake tones.

Royal Dahlietta flower
Esterhazy cake Royal Dahlietta Sugar Flower

I tried to replicate the flower as closely as I could. The sugar paste flowers are very realistic looking.

Esterházy Torte – Royal Dahlietta

Esterhazy Torte is one of the most iconic Viennese desserts. The feathered glazed top design and hazelnut flavor are as memorable as its name.
Print Recipe
Esterhazy cake 2
Prep Time:45 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Assembling and chilling time:1 hour



  • 150 grams hazelnut toasted ground
  • 12 each egg whites
  • 250 grams sugar
  • 80 grams flour

Hazelnut butter cream

  • 12 each egg yolks
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 150 grams hazelnut toasted ground

Faux fondant icing (Glaze)

  • 250 grams powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil or any neutral oil


  • 50 grams apricot jam I used lemon preserve
  • 100 gram sliced almonds
  • 50 grams bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon almond oil or any neutral oil



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake all the hazelnuts for a few minutes until their skin starts crackling. Put the hazelnuts in a paper bag and rub them against each other to loosen the frail skin. Peal as much as possible.
  • In a food processor pulse the nuts for a few seconds at a time until nuts are finely ground.
  • Prepare parchment paper by drawing five 8” circles and placing them on a baking sheet.


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Chop the faintly roasted and cooled hazelnuts with powdered sugar in a food processor.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 12 egg whites on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until soft peaks, gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
    12 each egg whites, 250 grams sugar
  • Gently fold in the flour and ground hazelnuts.
    80 grams flour, 150 grams hazelnut
    Esterhazy cake Dacquoise
  • Fill the pastry bag with meringue mixture and pipe it on the prepared parchment papers, smooth with an offset spatula if needed. Bake the rounds for 15 minutes.
    Esterhazy cake layers


  • Prepare a double boiler. In a heatproof glass bowl whisk 12 egg yolks and 250g sugar. Put the glass bowl over the simmering water and continue stirring for about 15 minutes.
    12 each egg yolks, 200 grams sugar
  • While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter then add the custard in several batches. Fold in the 150 g grounded hazelnuts.
    150 grams hazelnut

Apricot Glaze

  • Heat the apricot jam with 1 teaspoon of water either on the stove or in the microwave.
    50 grams apricot jam

Assembling the torte

  • Reserve 1/4 cup of the buttercream for the sides.
  • Place the first disk on a serving plate and spread with one-fourth of the filling, place the second disk and add the filling.
  • Place the last layer bottom side up. Firmly press on to make it leveled. Leave it without cream. We will spread the jam on the last layer after the cake is chilled.
  • Place the cake into the fridge for one hour to firm it up, so it holds the layers.
  • Crumb coat the sides and chill for another 10 minutes. Save some buttercream for the final coating.
  • Evenly spread the apricot jam on the last layer and chill the torte for an additional 10-30 minutes.
    Esterhazy cake glaze


  • Melt the chocolate with a teaspoon of oil, place in a piping bag. Set the bag aside until you have applied the fondant icing over the cake.
    50 grams bittersweet chocolate, 1 teaspoon almond oil

Faux fondant icing

  • Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and oil. Drop by drop, add hot water and stir until you get a shiny and smooth icing. It should be smooth but not runny.
    250 grams powdered sugar, 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon almond oil


  • With a hot wet large knife, quickly spread the icing over the apricot layer. Use a hairdryer if the icing is cooling too quickly. You should have a smooth and shiny surface.
  • Pipe four circles onto the cake with the melted chocolate.
  • Using a wooden skewer or a toothpick to create the web design. Starting from the center of the cake superficially run the skew to the edge of the cake. Then do the opposite direction.
  • Cover the sides of the cake with the reserved buttercream and coat with the sliced almonds.
    100 gram sliced almonds
Servings: 12
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