Gizella’s Torte Cake

This is the recipe for my grandmother’s (Gizella’s) torte cake, scaled down for eight inch pans…

Top and Bottom Layers

8 egg yolks
8 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 egg whites
4 Tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 375. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla for 12 minutes (and we mean BEAT).

Fold the flour into the beaten egg yolks (slowly).

Beat the egg whites until fluffy. Fold the egg whites into the above mixture. When combined, pour evenly into two greased, eight inch pans. Bake for 25 minutes at 375.

Middle Layer

4 egg yolks
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1 Tbsp cocoa
4 Tbsp ground walnuts
2 Tbsp bread crumbs

Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla for 25 minutes. Fold in the cocoa.

Beat the egg whites and fold into above mixture. Add the walnuts and bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes at 375 in an eight inch, greased pan.


1/2 lb. sweet butter
2 cups ground walnuts
1/2 cup milk (scalded)
6 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp bread crumbs

Beat the butter and sugar and vanilla. Pour the scalded milk over the walnuts and combine. Add sugar and bread crumbs.

Use the above mixture between the layers of the cake. Then frost with chocolate frosting.

This cake is very dense, and can be savored in small portions.

My grandmother, and then my mother, made this for family celebrations. It has been made with as many as 42 eggs, and can be used to feed an army. In fact, if Kaiser Wilhelm had enlisted the Imperial Chef of the Hapsburgs, and served Viennese Torte cakes to the Wermacht, they would have marched through Moscow before winter set in, and the world would be a very different place. Instead of Little Debbie Devil’s Food Cakes, we’d all snack on “Kaiser Willie Tortes”. But what do I know? It’s not like I’m happy or anything.

One additional note is that I have no idea how they made this before the age of electric appliances. The above can take three hours, and tears apart the kitchen. How Gizella did it with just a wooden spoon is beyond me.