Fran’s Marguerite Torte

The Marguerite was named for Fran’s mother, who would show up to our original Madison boutique early on Saturday mornings perfectly tailored, coifed, and made up. Then she would slip on an apron and hand out samples to those in line. After a morning spent welcoming customers, she would slide into a seat at the counter and take a break over a cup of coffee and a slice of her favorite cake, the Marguerite.

A thin layer of tart dried apricots runs between the layers, cutting the richness of chocolate ever so slightly. This double-layer sheet cake is the easiest of the big cakes to assemble and serve, and it is a sure crowd pleaser. You can even cut it into 2-inch squares and set out on a tray for nibbling like petit fours. For a smaller group you can halve the recipe and filling and bake it in a 9-inch round pan.

Raspberry lovers—see the variation below. Both fruit fillings are jewel bright and would be lovely in bite-size tart shells

Serves 24



To Make the Cake

  1. Make the Dark-Chocolate Truffle Filling the day before baking and assembling the cake.
  2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 300°F.
  3. Lightly butter two 9-by-13-inch or quarter sheet pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.
  4. Evenly spread the batter for Prince Torte Layers in the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops appear lighter in color and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool at room temperature in the pan for approximately 20 minutes. (The layers can be wrapped in plastic once cooled and stored in the freezer up to a week prior to assembly. This size torte is easier to work with when well chilled.)

To Make the Apricot Filling

  1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring ½ cup water, the apricots, and the sugar to a simmer. Remove from the heat and cover, allowing the apricots to steep until plumped, about ½ hour. Put the apricot mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside to cool.

To Finish the Cake

  1. Have ready the Dark-Chocolate Truffle Filling at room temperature, or the consistency of soft butter.
  2. Let the Dark-Chocolate Ganache Glaze set about 30 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally until it thickens and ribbons off the end of the spatula, 80‒85°F.
  3. Turn a cake layer out of its pan onto a 9-by-13-inch cardboard cake board. Peel away the parchment. Spread approximately three quarters of the chocolate truffle filling (about ¼ inch thick) over this layer, out to the edges. (If the truffle filling softens while spreading, return to the refrigerator for 5 minutes.)
  4. Stir the apricot filling till smooth. Evenly spread a thin layer of the fruit filling over the truffle filling. Using a spatula, place the second chilled cake layer on top, parchment side up. Peel the parchment paper once it is positioned. Trim any rough edges if necessary. Use the remaining truffle filling to thinly coat the top and sides of the cake. Chill well.
  5. Transfer the cake on its board to a cooling or pouring rack positioned over a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Beginning 1½ inches from the edge, slowly and evenly pour the glaze around the cake, making sure that the sides and corners are sufficiently covered. Then pour the remaining glaze onto the center of the torte. Working quickly, with a metal offset spatula spread the glaze evenly over the top, letting the excess run down the sides.
  7. Let set at room temperature until the glaze is slightly firm, about 20 minutes. Once set, slide an offset spatula under the cardboard, rotating the spatula to release any spots where the glaze has stuck to the rack. Carefully lift the torte and, supporting the cake’s bottom with your free hand, slide it onto its serving plate.
  8. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove half an hour before serving.

Variation – Raspberry Filling

  • 8 ounces fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring all the ingredients to a simmer. Cook, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside to cool.

Variation – Petit Fours

    To make petit fours like those pictured, chill the filled cake well. Using a warm, dry oval cutter (approximately 1-by-2 inches), carefully cut out the petit fours. Have the Dark-Chocolate Ganache Glaze ready. Dip the tops of the petit fours in the glaze and place on a sheet pan to set. May be decorated with a thin line of writing chocolate. Makes 24. Other shapes can easily be made by cutting with a warm, dry paring knife. Best eaten the same day as cut and glazed.

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