There is not a mistake in the title – yes, it is Valeria. Valeria was my grandmother, who I never met, but I was named after her. Everybody in the family remembers her as an amazing cook and queen of Hungarian recipes. During the war (WWII), she ran a small workers’ kitchen, and her cooking is still remembered by those who outlived her. The problem with my grandmother’s recipes is that she wrote them for herself. She did not write a lot about how to prepare this cake, at which temperature to cook it, how long to cook it, what kind of cake pan to use. I tried to check online and asked some friends but when I mentioned the ingredients, they said “no flour? you must be missing a page!”. So I looked into early twentieth and late nineteenth-century cookbooks, and there it was. Potato torte, at least 4-5 versions. Mr. Kugler (a Hungarian pastry celebrity from the early twentieth century) explains a lot about the cake, but my questions were still unanswered. It seems that since then this recipe has been forgotten. So we had to experiment and bring it back. The main difference between my grandmother’s and Mr. Kuglers recipe is that my grandmother wrote it during or right after war, so she used a limited range of ingredients. Her version of the cake is great not only for people with gluten intolerance but for people watching their fat intake and for people who watch their wallets. A great cake for hard economical times.
Valeria’s Potatoe Torte
This is the cake part of the recipe. We used Russet potatoes, which worked great. The recipe calls for three eggs, but our eggs were small so we used 4. You can experiment with the filling. We tried to mix cocoa and chocolate into the potatoes and we layered that with chunky cherry preserves. The results were ok but not great. I think the original filling is more suitable. You can also try any ordinary buttercream frosting but then forget about the cake being good for people watching their weight! You can also eat it without filling like a coffee cake. In that case add some vanilla and more walnuts.
Ingredients for the cake
- ½ pound floury potatoes
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup walnut halves
Ingredients for the filling
- ½ pound potatoes
- Up to ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup walnuts halves
- 1 Tbsp butter
1. Cook the potatoes until soft, then mash them or put them through a ricer.
2. Let them cool a bit, but while they are still warm add the egg yolks, sugar, and ground walnuts. Mix well.
3. Beat the egg whites to form soft peaks, and gently fold into the previous mixture.
4. Pour it into 2 nine- inch round pans and bake it at 350F for 20-25 minutes. You wll see that the top is getting a bit golden.
5. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out from the pan and frost as desired.
The recipe for filling:
Cook the potatoes until soft, mash them in a medium bowl, beat in the other ingredients. Enjoy!