Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chocolate Torte

Adapted from Chocolate (Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library) by Lora Brody

Serves 8 to 10

This is the best (and easiest) almost-flourless chocolate cake I have ever made. It's very rich so a small cake goes a long way. I make it every year for Walter’s birthday, and if I even try to suggest something new and different, he protests. This recipe needs to be made at least one day, and up to two, in advance to cure.

Chocolate Torte
Adapted from Chocolate (Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library) by Lora Brody

The only catch with this recipe is you need to use a standing mixer because you beat four extra-large or five large eggs with one tablespoon of sugar until the mixture triples in volume.

500g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature (5 eggs if using large)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Confectioner's sugar for dusting the top of the cake (optional)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped softly, to top the cake

Preheat the oven to 425°F, and position the rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-inch springform pan or an 8-inch by 2-inch pan with a loose bottom.

Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper either bought all ready or cut to fit precisely. If you have to cut the paper yourself, the easiest way to do this is to the trace the pan bottom on paper and cut it with scissors.

Butter the paper liner, and dust the whole pan with cocoa powder (because flour would show white), and tap out any excess.

Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl or the top pan of a double boiler set over a pan of gently simmering water. Do not let the pan touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted. (Alternatively, you can do this step in the microwave, but do it in 30-second increments, stirring between each thirty seconds until it's all melted, being very careful not to burn the chocolate.) Stir to combine the butter and chocolate completely.

Remove the bowl or top of the double boiler from the pan of simmering water to get it away from the heat, scrape the mixture into a bowl large enough to eventually hold all the batter, and let cool for a few minutes.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl in bowl of your electric mixer. I use a KitchenAid fitted with the paddle, not the whisk.

Set the mixer on high speed, and beat the eggs with the 1 tablespoon of sugar until light, fluffy, and tripled in volume. This will take about 10 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low, and beat in the 1 tablespoon of flour

In the next step this mixture is going to be folded into the chocolate mixture, so the chocolate has to be in a bowl large enough to hold it. If it isn't, transfer the chocolate/butter mixture to a big enough bowl at this point.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it, and then carefully fold in the remaining egg mixture, being careful not to deflate the batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with the spatula.

Bake for exactly 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven, put on a cooling rack, and let cool completely to room temperature. The cake may deflate slightly, but it won't matter. Do not refrigerate. I like to let it cure overnight before serving.

The cake will pull away from the sides of the pan as it cools, but run a blunt knife all the way around the cake before you remove it from the pan to be sure it doesn't stick.

The top can be dusted with confectioner's sugar if you wish. (I have a holiday patisserie cake stencil set from Kaiser, which I use when I make the cake around the holidays.)

Cut the cake into small wedges, and serve each wedge topped with softly whipped cream.

If you want to be truly luxurious, and who doesn’t on occasion, also serve with crème anglaise and raspberry coulis on the side.


  1. Is there ever a time to be NOT truly decadent?

  2. Ooh, this sounds amazing. I recently bought a new stand mixer and haven't had the chance to use it. Maybe I'll start with chocolate torte! Have you ever tried lightly flavouring it? I had an orange-peel scented orange chocolate cake at a kitchen-ware store(!) in Montreal that was just perfect, perfect, perfect. I'd like to try something like this with lemon, too.

  3. Is the extra 2 tbs uns. butter for buttering cake pan?

  4. Tess,

    The original recipe does not specify that the 2 tablespoons is specifically for buttering the pan.

    Personally, I use the total amount of butter in the recipe in the cake and use extra butter to grease the pan.


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