By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Mar 30, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Unless you're from Wisconsin, you may never have heard of schaum torte (foam cake), a favorite among German immigrant families. You may have heard of this dessert called simply "a meringue," "pavlova" or even a "bizet." Essentially all of the desserts are one in the same – meringue, filled with sweetened whipped cream, and topped with fruit.

Like pavlova, there are two schools of thought when it comes to schaum torte – one side insists that the meringue be crisp on the outside, but squoodgy (marshmallowy) in the center; the other camp insists that a good schaum torte is dried and crisp throughout.

My family staunchly swears by the first approach. In fact, I actually grew up utterly convinced that the women at church who made the crisp version were simply bad cooks who had made the mistake of baking their schaum tortes too long!

My grandmother made schaum torte every year for Easter while I was growing up. Hers was always baked in a springform pan, flavored with both vanilla and almond extract, and topped with sliced strawberries (often those she picked and froze from her own garden). And it was always topped with freshly whipped cream.

This recipe is a nod to Grandma, and a celebration of all that is good about spring.

Classic Schaum Torte with Strawberries
Serves: 12-14

9 eggs at room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1-2 tablespoons butter for greasing the pan
2 pounds strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Generously butter a 10 inch springform pan. Set aside.

Separate eggs, reserving yolks for another purpose. Place egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5-8 minutes, or until volume has tripled and whites are very stiff. With motor running, gradually add sugar in a constant stream. Once sugar is incorporated, add lemon juice, flavorings, and baking powder. Continue to beat for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture takes on a marshmallowy appearance.

Spoon meringue into the springform pan, mounding the mixture as needed. Place on top of a large sheet pan and place into the oven. Bake for one hour and 10 minutes. Turn oven off and allow the schaum torte to cool in the oven for 1-2 hours before removing.

While schaum torte is baking, core and slice strawberries. Toss with sugar and allow to sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours.

Serve torte with sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

This week, March 26-30, presents five Easter recipes in our Dining section. You'll have the opportunity, via this contest and courtesy of Roundy's, to win the ingredients to create each featured recipe.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.