Today I'm going to show you how I made this adorable chocolate raspberry torte last week for an event at my church. Adapted from a recipe out of Cook's Illustrated, this chocolate torte is a newer spin on the famous Sacher Torte of Austria. Except instead of apricot preserves, this torte is paired with raspberry. And, boy! But does she make a beauty of a dessert, or what? She suuuure does.
The torte is actually pretty simple to make, though it requires several ingredients. I like to pre-measure and sort everything out before I start a recipe. I highly recommend this so that you're not caught off guard while baking and missing an important step.
Preparing included chopping up THREE Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate bars. Oh yes, this is going to be good.
I started by placing a heat-proof (PYREX!) bowl on top of a saucepan with lightly simmering water, and melting 12 tablespoons butter with 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.
Gently melting until it was smooth, and then I transferred it to a larger mixing bowl to cool for a while. Oh, and I might have added 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder. Just for good measure.
Meanwhile, I took 1 cup of sliced almonds and sent them to their fate via food processor.
I processed the almonds with about 10 pulses for about a total of 1 minute, just to get them nice and powdery. You don't want to overdo almonds in a food processor, lest the oils start to come out and you would then end up with almond paste.
Once the almonds were ground, I added 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Then I pulsed my food processor just a few more times to mix.
Next, I set aside my almond/flour mixture and added 5 eggs to the food processor. I also had 3/4 cup sugar handy.
I ran the food processor for a few minutes so that the egg doubled in volume and became pale yellow. This is a very important step, you don't want to whisk or blend the eggs--you must do this in a food processor. For a torte, getting air into the eggs is crucial to help your torte rise a bit. It's already a dense cake.
When the eggs were ready--doubled and pale--I added my 3/4 cup sugar to the food processor while still running and allowed the sugar to mix in.
Next, I mixed my egg mixture in with the melted chocolate--now cooled--by gently folding it in with a whisk. The idea is to be very careful not to deflate the eggs by mixing these ingredients together.
I mixed until a few streaks of the egg mixture were still visible in the batter and then...
...I gently folded in my almond/flour mixture in the same way. Gently and delicately.
Once my batter was ready to go, I poured it evenly into to 9 inch cake pans, greased, floured, and lined on the bottom with parchment paper.
Then I baked them at 325° for about 15 minutes, watching them carefully. They are done when they look set and a toothpick comes out clean.
These cakes are especially delicate, so I used two 9 inch cardboard cake rounds to help get them out of their pans. I made sure the cardboard fit inside the cake pan and flipped the cakes over so that they released gently onto the cardboard circles. Then I removed the parchment, again, very gently.
Tortes are traditionally made with nuts and little or no flour, so you end up with a dense cake with lovely texture.
Now it was time to fill my cake, so I mashed 1/2 cup fresh raspberries with a fork.
But I also added 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, and I mixed those two together to make one spread.
I spread the raspberry filling on the first cake, leaving a good 3/4 inch space around the edge.
Getting a second cake layer on can be tricky, especially when it's a cake this fragile. Using the cake round the second layer was released onto, I brought the second layer up to the edge and right over the first cake. I used the cardboard round to push the second layer right over where it should be, sliding the board out and letting the cake fall right where it needed to. If it's not perfect, you can gently push the cake since the raspberry spread allows it to slide a bit.
With my naked torte assembled, it was time to make a ganache. This is incredibly simple: using the same bowl over sauce pan with simmering water technique, I melted 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate with 1/2 cup whipping cream.
This ganache doesn't even need to cool much, once it's well mixed and shiny, it's ready to pour.
I poured it into a pool on top of my torte...
...and using an offset spatula, I pushed the ganache over the edges and smoothed it around the sides.
These last couple parts are the most fun. I placed 3/4 cup almond slices in a bowl and crushed them up a bit more with my fingers so they were just small pieces.
VERY carefully holding my torte on one palm--think waitress with a tray of food style--I picked up handfuls of the almond pieces and pressed them against the sides of the torte.
Next, I took four raspberries and placed them at 12 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock.
Then I filled in those gaps evenly with 12 more raspberies, for a total of 16 fresh raspberries. Doesn't it look like a sort of crown when it's all dressed up like this? Gorgeous dessert.
Plop it on a cake stand and it's downright adorable.
I highly recommend this dessert for a perfect end to your Christmas dinner this year! I made this for my table at Advent by Candleight at church last week. It looked lovely on my candy-land themed table. You can see more photos of my table here, on my family blog.
So that, dear friends, is how you make a chocolate raspberry torte! Enjoy.
12 tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 c flour
1 c almond slices
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c almond slices
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c fresh raspberries
16 whole fresh raspberries
1/4 c seedless raspberry jam
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, dust with flour, and line bottom with parchment.
2. Place heat-proof bowl over sauce pan with just-simmering water. Melt butter and 8 ounces chopped chocolate until smooth, shiny, and fully combined. Stir in vanilla and espresso powder. Set aside in large mixing bowl to cool.
3. Place 1 cup sliced almonds in food processor; process until powdery, about 45-60 seconds, being careful not to over-process. Add flour and salt, pulse until combined. Place almond flour in bowl and set aside.
4. Place 5 eggs in food processor; process about 3 minutes until doubled and pale in color. Add sugar while processor is running and mix until just combined.
5. Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture, folding in gently with a whisk so as not to deflate the eggs, just until a few streaks of egg remain.
6. Add almond flour to batter, folding in gently with whisk until just combined Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cakes look set and toothpick test comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on baking racks.
7. Prepare ganache in heat-proof bowl over barely simmering water by melting 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Stirring occassionally, melt until combined and shiny. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
8. Gently release cooled cakes by placing 9 inch cardboard cake circles into pans and flipping over to release cakes directly onto cardboard circles. Gently peel off parchment.
9. Mash 1/2 cup raspberries with a fork in small bowl, add seedless raspberry jam and mix. Spread jam mixture onto first layer of cake, leaving 3/4 inch around the edge. Gently slide second layer off it's circle and onto first layer by holding layer just above the first layer and pushing it off gently to fall in place.
10. Pour ganache into a pool on top of the torte. Push the ganache evenly over the sides of the torte using an offset spatula. Spread gently around the sides so that most of the torte is coated in ganache.
11. Holding the torte carefully in one hand--waiter style--scoop up sliced, broken almond pieces with other hand and press into the sides of the torte. Finish the torte by placing 16 whole fresh raspberries around top edge. Allow the ganache to set by placing torte in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, allow torte to sit out for at least 20 minutes in room temperature.