9 July 2012

A Tea Party Treat : Chocolate Torte

This absolutely scrumptious, moist, chocolaty fantasy is the second dish that I made for my friend's bridal reception afternoon teaWhile tortes are not strictly British, they are a fabulous treat to accompany a proper cup of English tea (Earl Grey with milk, of course). 

A torte is a European style, flourless cake with a crusty outside protecting a rich and luscious interior. The ingredient list is short, and while there are quite a few steps involved, the whole thing is actually quite simple and easy. There is even an instructional video to help you out! If you're looking for something to make a smash at your next tea party (or satisfaction for a life-threatening chocolate craving), there's really no excuse for not whipping up this delectable torte! 

The recipe below is slightly edited from one I found at www.joyofbaking.com, and the photos are all my own :)

Chocolate Torte
Serves 10 to 25

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 9 ounces (255 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Chocolate + Butter = Heaven
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 9 x 3 inch (23 x 8 cm) springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment or wax paper.
Separate the eggs while still cold, placing the egg whites in one bowl and the egg yolks in another bowl. Cover both with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. 
It was tough, but I had to clean up the spoon somehow....
3. Place egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer or a hand mixer (I used our Bosch mixer). Beat on medium high speed until thick and lemon-colored, about 3-5 minutes. (The eggs should have tripled in volume, look thick and soft, and when you lift the beater the mixture falls back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture.
More lickable chocolate!

How did people get stiff peaks before electric mixers?!

4. In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. 

Fold in the goodness
5. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula or whisk, fold a small amount of whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter. Add the remaining egg whites, folding just until incorporated. Do not over-mix or the batter will deflate.
6. Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake the cake for about 50–60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. (During baking the surface of the cake will form a crust which will collapse when the cake is removed from the oven.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The top of the cake will have become hard with a cracked surface and lots of crumbs. Serve with softly whipped cream, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or be absolutely decadent and cover it in chocolate ganache (If covering the torte with ganache, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to a few days.)

Just remember--it's supposed to look like that.
6. If you make this torte one day ahead this will allow the flavors to meld. This torte will last for days at room temperature, and if refrigerated will take on a moist, brownie like texture. Cut the cake in small slices with a sharp knife, wiping off the knife after slicing each piece. If you have problems cutting the slices, warm the blade of the knife under hot running water before cutting each slice.

Beautifully positioned next to the chocolate covered strawberries and pound cake with lemon curd.


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