What is the difference between a cake and a torte – is a good question because the word “torte” is German for cake. In fact the French word “torta” also translates to cake or round bread. Though both are baked, there are some differences between a cake and a torte. To put it simply, all tortes are types of cakes, but not all cakes classify as tortes.
The main differences between a cake and a torte are:
Tortes are a heavier version of cakes. The difference lies in the ingredients. A cake are generally made with cake flour or all purpose flour, whereas a torte is made with other heavier ingredients such as breadcrumbs or almond meal or other nut meal, that is added along with flour. Apart from making the torte denser, this ingredient also imparts additional flavor to the torte. For cakes generally oil, buttermilk, coffee, sour cream and such ingredients are used to add richness and flavor.
A torte is often soaked with a syrup or liqueur to make it dense and moist. The layers are often thin and each layer is built up by adding a coating of cream or jam. For example, when making the Sacher torte, which is the national dessert of Vienna, the layers are coated with apricot jam, and the torte is covered with a chocolate glaze and this is served with whipped cream.
A cake is not always layered or dipped in syrup. Bundt or angel food cakes are examples of cakes that are not layered and served without icing.
The way the number of layers in a cake and a torte are arranged is different. Both can have multiple layers, but in a torte the cake layers are generally thinner, with more layers of icing. Cakes are thus lighter than most tortes.
Due to its rich ingredients, a torte is generally more expensive than a cake. A cake takes less time to prepare than a torte. So it you want a simple recipe that does not require too much decorating, bake a cake. But if you want an elaborate elegant dessert, then you should try a torte.
Tortes are very popular in Europe, where most recipes originate. Cakes are more popular in America. Some of the more popular recipes of tortes include Empire torte, which is a flourless cake make with ground nuts, Blitz torte made by topping yellow cake with meringue and cinnamon sugar and others. Some European recipes are modified and substituted with ingredients popular in America, to make an Americanized version of the cake.