Extremely popular in the ‘80s, a flourless chocolate torte is reemerging as a favorite dessert in restaurants across the country. It’s dense texture and creamy ganache frosting makes it one of the most concentrated chocolate desserts. But I think the growing awareness of Gluten-Intolerance and Celiac disease makes it the perfect dessert to have on your menu.
Unlike normal cakes made with flour and baking soda or baking powder, this cake has only eggs as leaveners. There are two main points when whipping egg whites for this cake, having sparkling clean equipment and not over-whipping the whites. If there is ANY fat on the bowl, beaters, or rubber spatula, or if you get any yolk in the whites, they will not whip properly. Make sure everything has been washed in hot water with soap and dry completely. Then, when separating your eggs, use your hands instead of the eggshells – there is less chance of the yolk breaking.
The second point is not to over-whip your egg whites. If you do the cake will be crumbly. The egg whites should be beaten to the soft peak stage. When you lift the beaters, the whites on the beaters and in the bowl will hold together but they will make a rounded peak rather than a pointed one.
Of course you can serve this just plain, but think how wonderful it would be with some whipped cream or maybe with a drizzle of raspberry coulis! You can make it all year long when you use frozen raspberries. Or you can combine Orange Juice with a little Grand Marnier and reduce until thick. So decadent and delicious! However you choose to serve this, enjoy!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you wind up with some imperfections on the surface of the cake, you can always cover them with some very finely chopped nuts, powdered sugar, or toasted coconut flakes. Chocolate shaving or curls would be beautiful too. And never forget, your guests will be so impressed with the intense chocolate cake that they’ll forget all about what it looks like and only remember the incredible taste!
Kitchen Skill: Pouring Ganache
To get a satiny smooth chocolate coating on a cake make sure the cake is cool and the ganache is warm, it will flow smoothly over the cake. Set the cake on a rack set over a sided baking sheet. Starting in the center, pour the chocolate evenly, allowing it to flow across and over the cake. Use a spatula gently if needed to help it spread. Make sure all the edges have been covered.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups light corn syrup
- 28 oz good quality semisweet chocolate, preferably French or Belgian cut
- into small pieces, divided
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 10 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch to 12-inch round solid cake pan. For added assurance that you can get the cake out of the pan easily, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper and then butter it too.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Melt 20 oz of the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir the chocolate occasionally as it melts. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
- With an electric mixer, beat the eggs at high speed until frothy. Lower the speed to medium and carefully pour the hot syrup into the beaten eggs. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture and blend to a smooth consistency.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared cake pan. Set the pan into a larger pan (such as a roasting pan) and add hot water to rise halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Being very careful not to scald yourself or get water into the torte, remove the pans from the oven, and remove the cake pan from the water bath. Cool the torte completely to room temperature before unmolding. Run a sharp knife around the inner circumference of the pan. Place a plate over the pan, invert, and, if necessary, tap the bottom of the pan with the knife handle to encourage the torte to release.
- The torte should then be refrigerated for at least 3 hours before serving.
- After the torte has cooled 2 hours, place the heavy cream in a thick-bottomed pot and begin to heat gently. Add the remaining 8 oz of chocolate; stir together while the chocolate begins to melt in the hot cream. Being careful not to burn, boil or scorch the chocolate, when the chocolate has melted almost entirely, remove from the heat and allow to cool for several minutes before pouring over the torte for a glossy "finish.”
- Place the unmolded torte on a baking rack with a cookie sheet underneath, and pour slightly cooled chocolate ganache directly onto the center of the torte in one motion so that it will flow out in one smooth sheet over the top and sides of the torte. You can gently help this along with the aid of a spatula but it is important to use still warm ganache.
- Allow to dry a few moments at room temperature. Then place the torte, baking rack, and cookie sheet into the refrigerator to chill completely and set firm. If you haven't overheated the chocolate or cream, this "ganache" will set and harden into a shiny "couverture" during the hour the torte is chilling in the refrigerator.
- If pouring the ganache is too intimidating for you, you can always serve the cake as is, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Or you can spread some ganache on the plate and then top with a slice of cake. Everyone will love it just as much!
- Yield: 10 to 12 portions