Happy Valentine’s Day: Cocoa Orange Cashew Torte

orange-shewtella sponge 038As I was lounging on the divan the other day, eating my 'Shewtella off a spoon and feeling very smug that I was snacking on something closely resembling health food, I got an Idea.  And the idea came in Two Parts.

Part 1: 'Shewtella would taste lovely spread between layers of orange sponge cake.

Part 2: I think I can whip 'Shewtella with softened butter to make a buttercream. Then I can have 'Shewtella on the inside and the outside of my orange sponge cake! Yay!

And since I'm not really one to do a lot of testing, I went for it. I made the sponge cake yesterday, sliced it into four pieces, and wrapped it up.  I made a double batch of less-sweet 'Shewtella last evening, because I forgot that The Voice was on. Dammit. But at least I was ready for Assembly today. So, a little less dammit.

All I had to do today was make a soaking syrup for the cake, thin out the 'Shewtella for spreading between the layers and concoct a Tasty Buttercream. So I did. And now I am a little bit Full of Cake.  And I'm smiling, because my ideas turned out to be Very Good Indeed.

Now, for a short digression.  I have never professed to being a very good photographer.  I realize that my photography skills are a bit, um, Lacking.  I am of Two Minds about this fact.  Mind One says that folks will find my food more accessible since it's not all styled to the nines.  But Mind Two (the less sunshine-y mind) fears that folks won't even want to try to make some of my food because my pictures don't show it off to its best advantage.

All I can do is continue to practice my photography--but never at the expense of rendering the food inedible. Trust me, I will never paint a turkey with iodine so I can take its picture--while Exhorting you to give this a try. It is Marvelously tasty, not too hard to make, and your pictures will probably be so much better than mine.

Here's how I made mine.

orange-shewtella sponge 001I started with my four pieces of sponge, cut roughly to the same dimensions.

I peeled off the gummy top crusts, just by rolling them off the sides of the cake with my fingers.  Do this step. Like I said, the top crust is kind of gummy and brown. Removing it will make your sliced cake prettier and will help texturally as well.

orange-shewtella sponge 003I poured my orange-vanilla soaking syrup in a 7"X11" Vessel and dunked each slice of cake on both sides. Quickly so they wouldn't become soggy.

orange-shewtella sponge 004Except this one which I stopped to take a picture of so you could see.  Oh, well.

I heated up some of the 'Shewtella with a bit of coconut oil to thin it so I could spread it between the layers.

orange-shewtella sponge 009Then it was just spread-stack-spread-stach-spread-stack until I had built my cake.  I let the layers firm up a bit while I made the buttercream.

orange-shewtella sponge 006And that was easy, too.  I thinned out the 'Shewtella, added some powdered sugar (that I'd powdered myself in the blender--I didn't want the corn starchy rawness) and whipped in very soft butter.

After I took the stacked layers out of the fridge, I trimmed all the edges so it'd be all pretty and even.

orange-shewtella sponge 011Then, a quick and dirty frosting...

orange-shewtella sponge 012...followed by a finish coat.

orange-shewtella sponge 026Not too sweet, not too heavy--this cake would be a perfect ending to a romantic meal. Like, I don't know, maybe your Valentine's Day meal.

Cocoa Orange Cashew Torte
Recipe type: Spectacular Dessert
Serves: 10-12
Full of flavor yet not too heavy, the orange really complements the cashew-cocoa 'Shewtella. I'm pretty sure you could just do this with Nutella if you want. But when you make your own, it is Way, Way cooler.
What You Need
For the Orange Sponge
  • 6 oz. cake flour
  • 5 oz. egg yolk
  • 6.5 oz. egg whites
  • 6.5 oz. sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon orange oil
  • zest of 1 small orange
For the Soaking Syrup
  • 12 oz. water
  • 6 oz. sugar
  • wee splash of vanilla
  • wee splash of orange oil
For the Filling
  • 1 cup 'Shewtella
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut milk
For the 'Shewtella Buttercream
  • 1 cup 'Shewtella
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar (make your own to avoid the raw corn starch flavor, or find some that doesn't contain corn starch)
  • 8 oz very soft-but-not-greasy unsalted butter
What To Do
For the Orange Sponge
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F and line a ½ sheet or jelly roll pan with Silpat or parchment.
  2. Whip the yolks and half the sugar to very thick ribbon stage--it should almost look like marshmallow cream.
  3. Add the salt, vanilla, orange oil and orange zest and whip until well combined. Set aside.
  4. Whip the whites with the other half of the sugar to medium-stiff peaks.
  5. Scrape the whites into the yolk mixture and sift the flour over all.
  6. Gently but thoroughly fold together.
  7. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and spread to fill. It will be a think layer, about ¼" or so.
  8. Bake until golden on top and springy, about 13-17 minutes.
  9. Remove to a rack, peel off the Silpat or parchment and let cool.
For the Soaking Syrup
  1. Heat the water and sugar to a rolling boil.
  2. Pour into a shallow dish and add the orange oil and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
For the Filling
  1. Heat the 'Shewtella and coconut milk together until just slightly warm.
For the Buttercream
  1. Heat the 'Shewtella and coconut milk together until slightly warm.
  2. Remove to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment.
  3. Whip in the sugar on low and then increase to high.
  4. Add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time, until it is all incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl frequently to make sure you get all the butter whipped in.
To Assemble the Cake
  1. Trim any crispy edges off of the sponge cake.
  2. Slice into four equal rectangles.
  3. Quickly dunk each piece of cake into the syrup, then flip. Let excess drain off, and then place on a rack in a single layer until you need them.
  4. Place the first piece of spongecake on a serving platter masked with strips of parchment, wax paper or even plastic wrap. (You'll pull these pieces out after icing so your platter stays clean and pretty).
  5. Spread about ⅓ of the filling in a thin layer (maybe ⅛" over the cake, spreading all the way to the edges.
  6. Continue stacking the cake and spreading filling until you're out of both.
  7. Set aside in the fridge to firm up for about twenty minutes.
  8. Once set, use a large serrated knife to trim just a bit from each side of the cake to make all the sides even.
  9. Spread the top and sides with the buttercream and decorate however you like. I just dusted the top with some cocoa powder, but chopped toasted cashew brittle, candied cashews and candied orange peel all would be appropriate garnishes.
Other Stuff to Know
You can pipe the sponge batter into circles or hearts if you don't want to make a rectangular cake.


This isn't a cake you'd want to make for an after school snack, prolly, but for a special occasion, I think it really fits the bill. I do hope you enjoy it, and have a lovely Valentine's Day.





  1. says

    Your cake reminds me of my mother’s multi-layered European cakes. I applaud your patience, as I don’t bake like this:) One day maybe:)
    I can only imagine how good “Shewtella” would taste paired with orange and I don’t mind the photos (I am in the practicing phase myself:)
    Have a great V-Day!

    • says

       Thank you so much, Lana, for your kind words! This is definitely a more European-style cake; I’m glad it brought back memories for you. I definitely don’t bake like this every day, but every once in awhile, I like to pull out at least a few stops! 🙂  Will keep practicing my photography, too!

  2. says

    What a gorgeous cake, Jenni! Where’s my slice 🙂 I’m gonna eat some raw cashews and chocolate and pretend it’s a Shewtella party in my mouth. ha! xo

  3. Tracey@Tangled Noodle says

    If Yuri gets a slice, you’d better save one for me, too! Nothing like an epiphany whilst enjoying a spoonful of ‘Shewtella. As for the issue of photography, I think of it this way – there’s food for looking and there’s food for cooking. In the end, the latter always wins the day for me! 😎


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