Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whirlpool Surprise Torte - A Pantry Cleaning Party in a Pan

For sure I have angered the Deutsche Backen Ordnung (German Baking Order) Gods and there will be thunder and lightning in these parts soon. My oven will be struck first.

It was worth risking upsetting infamous German Order by not using uniform ingredients to make this.  You know why?

Because I now have the solution recipe for all leftover baking bits and pieces hanging out in the nether reaches of  drawers, kitchen cabinets and those dark "don't go there" recesses of pantries everywhere. All those unused tidbits from other baking projects. You know the ones you didn't have enough of to use in a whole recipe but could not bear to throw out? Mine were seriously taking over. Something had to be done even if it risked angering the local Gods.

All the half jars of jams, jellies, marmalades, the bits of various ground nuts, brickel, candies, coconut, dried fruits and chocolate. All of them GONE in one recipe.

The Solution is this torte. It's called a torte in my German cookbook, but it's more pastry-like. Each piece is rolled up individually, so there is plenty of room to tuck in surprises. Why make each section the same when every piece could be a mystery bite?

My almost empties gathered up included apricot marmalade, blackberry and black current jellies, my MIL's rhubarb-red currant- strawberry concoction, Nutella, Peanut butter, brittle, chocolate sprinkles and misc. ground nuts. All of it went into this torte and my newly reduced pantry, cabinets and drawers all heaved sighs of relief.

The fun part is once you have gathered up everything. Lay it all out and take a minute to think about getting creative with your combos. 

Pistachio blackberry? Oh yessery. Apricot Brickel? Be Fickle. Raisin Peanut Butter? Makes less clutter. Macadamia Nutella? Que Bella! 

Once baked, the sections can be pulled off one a a time, so each is an individual treat.

This torte is so versatile. Different flavors can be added to the dough itself and the rolls can be made much larger for a less labor intensive recipe.

The dough is buttery and chewy but not too sweet. The fillings I used provided the perfect balance of sweetness and flavor. A great cake to have with afternoon tea or coffee or as a sweet breakfast/brunch treat.

Whirlpool Surprise Torte
(adapted from Wirbel Torte recipe from Das Grosse Buch vom Backen
Stedtfeld Verlag GmbH, Rastatt 1994)

For the dough:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 7 ounces of butter softened and cut into pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 50 grams instant yeast (or enough yeast to use with 4 cups flour)

  • Heat the milk slightly in the microwave and dissolve the yeast in it.
  • Dump the flour out on your workspace, make a well in the middle.
  • Add the eggs, sugar, salt and butter pieces to the well.
  • Knead until the dough comes together.
  • Add yeast, milk mixture and knead it through.
  • If dough is still too dry you can add a bit more milk to make it smooth.
  • Form dough into a ball and score an X into the top. 
  • Put the ball in a bowl, cover with a dish towel and leave in a warm place for several hours until the dough has risen (I left mine overnight and it was fine to work with the next day)

For the Fillings:

Use whatever you like. If you want to keep it uniform use one jar of jelly, jam, marmalade, preserves, etc. and one type of crushed nut, or coconut, dried fruit or sprinkles, etc.

Assemble the Torte:
  • Grease and flour an 9 inch springform pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Make a template for your dough rectangles: Take a piece of thin cardboard and measure the height of your cake pan. Mark the cardboard about 3/4" below the lip of the pan. This will be the width of the dough strip. The length should be about 8". Cut the strip out of the cardboard
  • Since you scored the dough ball, you should have 4 sections. On a floured surface roll out one section at a time.
  • Using the template as a guide cut strips out of the dough.
  • Using a knife or brush, apply whatever spreadable ingredient you wish on the strips.
  • Sprinkle with nuts, raisins, whatever you wish.
  • Roll each strip up and stand it up in the pan.
  • Repeat until the pan is filled. Don't pack it too tightly as everything expands.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool in pan. 


  1. Love this big plateful of variety! I can't wait to try the recipe and make some much needed room in my own pantry.

  2. How very, very clever!
    Oooh! Wouldn't this same idea be just grand using savoury ingredients such as different cheeses, Proscuitto, flavoured butters, chopped fresh herbs, pecans, sun-dried tomatoes, etc?

    Thank you Lora!

    Kind regards, Kitty

  3. Your creativity in the kitchen never ceases to amaze and delight me. I tend to think that the German Baking Gods are very, very, pleased.

  4. LOVE this! You baked once and have a whole variety of different flavored things to eat! You are genius. I need to do this so badly!

  5. the best part about these is that they're all different! This way everyone is guaranteed to have a filling that they like!

  6. I love this idea!! Very creative., and so, so fun.

  7. Looks fabulous! Reminds me of breakfast rolls. Def will have to try this.

  8. Love this idea! Simply genius!


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