Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

If you are in search of a show-stopping dessert that will appeal to both children and adults alike, look no further. This cake is probably one of the greatest creations to ever come out of my kitchen. I first made it way back in January 2009 for Paul's birthday and it has been one of our favorite desserts ever since. Paul is not a huge fan of chocolate, but he finds this fudgey almost-flourless chocolate cake with a sweet raspberry center and decadent ganache topping to be irresistible. It looks gorgeous, takes like it came from a professional bakery, yet takes almost no time to make. There are a few different steps between making the batter, baking, assembling, and decorating but none of them are difficult in the least. It's actually the perfect dessert to make with kids in the house because none of the components take too much time, leaving lots of opportunities for breaks to feed the baby, play with the kids, feed the kids, or change a diaper.

Maybe I shouldn't mention diapers in a blog post about food. But that is the reality of being both a mother and a personal chef. Sometimes, you gotta do both jobs simultaneously. Don't worry, I'm a firm believer in hand sanitizer.

But this cake! This cake is a play on the famed Viennese sachertorte. This recipe being a tribute to that cake appealed to my husband's German blood and compelled him to request it for his birthday treat. A traditional sachertorte consists of a dense chocolate sponge cake with an apricot filling. The entire cake is then covered in a dark chocolate icing. It is meant to be served with coffee.

Our version nixes the apricot filling in favor of raspberry (a wise decision in my mind), and utilizes almost-flourless (it is made of mainly ground almonds and a teeny bit of flour) chocolate cake layers to sandwich it together. Chocolate ganache is chosen as the rich frosting to engulf the top and sides of the finished cake.

At the time, I did not own a food processor but rather a very, low-power blender which I used to grind the nuts and mix the batter. It was quite the battle getting the almonds to a "flour-like" consistency, but I persevered and the end product turned out amazing. Fast-forward to re-making the cake again this year with a properly working food processor and I was taken aback by how much easier this recipe was to complete with the right equipment. However, the results were very much the same which shows that either one can be used to make this cake - you just might want to defenestrate
your blender out of frustration since it takes a lot longer to get the correct consistency.

But the results are so worth the frustration! This cake is divine. Divine, I tell you. It's rich. It's fancy. It's sweet but not too sweet. It's amazing.

Paul has since visited Austria on business and tried a couple authentic sachertortes. He was so disappointed by how dry and bland every single one of them was. He far prefers this very inauthentic, Americanized version of the cake for its superior taste and texture.

Make it! No regrets will be had.

Chocolate Raspberry Torte
from Cook's Illustrated November/December 2010

For the Cake and Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups (about 7 ounces) sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (1 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, plus 16 individual berries for garnishing cake
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. n large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with simmering water melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Mix in vanilla and espresso powder.

In the bowl of a food processor, process 3/4 cup almonds until coarsely chopped, about eight 1-second pulses; set aside to garnish cake. Process remaining cup almonds until very finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour and salt and process until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer almond-flour mixture to medium bowl. In the now-empty food processor, process eggs until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Using whisk, gently fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture until some streaks of egg remain. Sprinkle half almond-flour mixture over chocolate-egg mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Sprinkle in remaining almond-flour mixture and gently whisk until just combined.

Divide batter between cake pans and smooth with an off-set spatula. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until center is firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out with few moist crumbs attached. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan. Run paring knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto cardboard rounds cut same size as diameter of cake and remove parchment paper. Using wire rack, re-invert one cake so top side faces up; slide back onto cardboard round.

In a medium bowl coarsely mash ½ cup raspberries with a fork. Stir in raspberry jam until just combined. Spread raspberry mixture onto cake layer that is top side up. Top with second cake layer, leaving it bottom side up. Transfer assembled cake, still on cardboard round, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.

To make the glaze, in a medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with simmering water, melt chocolate and cream together, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and gently whisk until very smooth. Pour glaze onto center of assembled cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze evenly over top of cake, letting it flow down sides. Spread glaze along sides of cake to coat evenly.

Using a fine-mesh strainer, sift reserved almonds to remove any fine bits. Holding bottom of cake on cardboard round with one hand, gently press sifted almonds onto cake sides with other hand. Arrange raspberries around circumference. Refrigerate cake, still on rack, until glaze is set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Transfer cake to serving platter, slice, and serve.

Recipe Note: If refrigerate the cake for more than 1 hour in step 6, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the reassurance that this is easy to make with kids around. That's basically the only way I bake now!