Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 10-inch springform pan.
Beat eggs in large bowl with electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Beat in 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes more. Beat in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sift 1/3 of flour over egg mixture; fold in. Repeat until all flour has been incorporated. Spread batter into prepared springform pan. Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen cake from side of pan; remove side of pan. Remove cake from bottom of pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Clean pan.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in large saucepan; mix well. Stir in milk untilsmooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks in small bowl; gradually whisk in 1 cup hot milk mixture. Gradually whisk egg yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over low heat 1 minute, stirring constantly. Immediately pour custard into medium bowl. Cut butter into 6 pieces; add to custard and stir until melted. Stir in vanilla extract. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard; refrigerate. Cool completely.
For Strawberries and Torting Cake:
Reserve 8 whole strawberries for garnish. Hull and thinly slice remaining strawberries. Cut cake horizontally into 3 even layers using thin serrated knife.
To Assemble Torte:
Brush top of each cake layer with 2 tablespoons rum. Place one cake layer in bottom of springform pan. Spread with 1/2 of custard. Arrange 1/2 of strawberry slices over custard in single layer. Top with second cake layer; spread with remaining custard and top with remaining strawberry slices. Place third cake layer on top. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours. About 45 minutes before serving, beat cream with confectioners' sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at high speed until stiff. Spoon 2 cups whipped cream mixture into pastry bag fitted with large star tip; refrigerate. Remove side of pan; place dessert on serving plate (do not remove bottom of pan). Spread remaining whipped cream mixture on sides and top of torte. Pipe reserved whipped cream mixture around top and bottom edges. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.
Garnish with reserved whole strawberries. Cut torte into slices. Refrigerate leftovers.
Makes 10-12 servings.
Date: April 25, 2002