Chocolate Torte: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177
degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9 x 3
inch (23 x 8 cm) springform pan or spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Line
bottom of pan with parchment 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).
Meanwhile, melt the
butter and chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of
Place egg yolks and
1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer (can also use a hand 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.
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. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and
beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula or whisk,
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.
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. Note: If covering the torte with ganache, cover
with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to a few
Ganache: Place the
chopped chocolate in a stainless
steel bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring just to a boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand
for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur.
Remove torte from refrigerator and brush any loose crumbs
from the cake. Place on a wire rack, top of the cake facing down (so now the
bottom of the cake is facing up). Put the wire rack on a baking
sheet. In this way if the chocolate ganache drips it will fall on the baking
sheet, which makes clean up easier. Pour the
ganache into the center of the cake. Spread the ganache with a
spatula, using big strokes to push the ganache over the sides of the cake, to
create an even coating. If there are any bare spots on the sides of
cake, cover with ganache. If there is leftover ganache, strain to remove
crumbs, and with a hand mixer or whisk, beat until light and fluffy. Place in a
piping bag, fitted with a Wilton 1M open star tip, and pipe rosettes on top of
the cake. Refrigerate cake. I find this cake is best served the next day as it
allows the flavors to blend.
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.
Serves 10 to 12.
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