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Prinzregententorte is a layered cake originating from Bavaria, Germany. It primarily consists of layers of thin sponge cakes, covered with a chocolate icing that usually hardens, giving the cake a glossy, smooth exterior. The cake usually has six to nine layers, and is often served with a cup of coffee. Prinzregententorte is a very popular cake in Bavaria and is sold and bought throughout the year, whether or not occasions call for it.
The name “prinzregententore” literally means “Prince Regent’s Cake,” in reference to Prince Regent of Bavaria, Luitpold, who reigned from 1886 to 1912. The inventor of the cake, however, is still not certain; some sources say that Prince Regent’s own personal chef, John Rottenhöfer, invented and dedicated the cake in honor of the Prince Regent. Other sources cite a famous baker named Anton Seidl to be the inventor, who baked a chocolate-covered cake with nine layers, representing the nine children of King Ludwig I, the father of Luitpold. Another baker named Heinrich Georg Erbshäauser is also credited by some sources as the inventor when he was tasked to bake a cake for Luitpold’s 90th birthday in 1911. His cake consisted of eight layers, symbolizing the eight administrative districts of Bavaria at that time.
The main ingredients for the prinzregententorte’s cake layers are eggs, butter, flour, and sugar. Other ingredients used for texture and flavoring include some baking powder, vanilla, salt, and some hot water. The batter is usually divided into separate pans and baked all at once, resulting in thin, smooth-surfaced sponge cake layers. A thinner layer of chocolate buttercream is spread in between the cake layers. Ingredients in the chocolate buttercream filling usually include cocoa powder, butter, egg yolks, and confectioner’s sugar.
Assembling the prinzregententorte starts when the sponge cake layers are cool enough that the buttercream does not melt. The base and the uppermost part of the cake should be the sponge layers, so the cake is stable enough to stand on its own. When all the cake layers and buttercream filling are assembled together, the whole cake is covered in chocolate icing, primarily made of dark chocolate and butter or whipped cream.
Some versions of the prinzregententorte have a coating of apricot jam at the topmost layer, and a coating of chocolate buttercream smeared on the edges of the cake, before the chocolate icing is generously applied. For final embellishments, shaved chocolate is sprinkled on the cake, or dollops of whipped cream can be added using a pipe. The cake is usually served either cold or at room temperature to retain the hardened chocolate shell on the exterior.