Karl Ratzsch's Chocolate Torte

Originally published in the Milwaukee Sentinel, 1979.

1 pound cake flour
1 pound, plus 12 ounces sugar
1 ounce baking powder
10 ounces water
11 ounces shortening
1/4 ounce baking soda
4 ounces cocoa
1/4 ounce vanilla
12 whole eggs
14 ounces water
Vanilla pudding (see recipe)
Chocolate butter cream frosting (see recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, water, shortening, baking soda, cocoa, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl at medium speed. Add eggs and water and mix 7 minutes. Fill two 10" cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes. When completely cool, split layers horizontally and spread vanilla pudding between layers. Chill for 30 minutes. Frost with chocolate butter cream frosting.

Vanilla Pudding
1 vanilla bean
2 1/4 cups milk
2-3 tablespoons sugar, to taste
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
Pinch of salt

Slice open vanilla bean and use the back of knife to remove seeds. Add seeds and bean to the milk and bring to a boil. Let cool a bit. Remove vanilla bean.

Meanwhile mix egg yolks with powdered sugar; with a hand mixer beat for at least 3 minutes until it is thick and creamy, then add the corn starch. If it becomes too thick, add a bit more milk until desired consistency.

Very slowly add mixture to the milk, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until just thickened. Remove from heat and chill for at least 1 hour.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rum

Cream the butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in the chocolate. In another bowl, beat the egg yolk and sugar until creamy. Beat the egg/sugar mixture into the chocolate mixture until very light and smooth. Add the rum and mix.


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