Monday, February 7, 2011
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’d like to share an easy, sure success cake recipe that I have baked many times now. Besides being an easy recipe, there are couple of other reasons why I like this recipe. The first is that I can decrease the amount of sugar required and yet the cake will still turn out moist and decadent. The other reason is that my family really enjoy this no fuss Chestnut Torte! To serve, I would deck-out a slice of the cake with some fresh berries and several sifts of Varlhona cocoa powder. Here’s a suggestion, as, why not give this recipe a try? Enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich (pg 116)
4 Oz/115 g Bittersweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 Tbsp (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
¾ Cup (about 6 oz/170 g) Unsweetened Canned Chestnut Puree
1 Tbsp Rum or Brandy
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Sea Salt
4 Large Eggs, separated, at room temperature
½ Cup Sugar
1/8 tsp Cream Of Tartar
Powdered Sugar for dusting (optional)
Powdered Chocolate for dusting (optional)
Whipped Cream (optional)
Mixed Berries (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C.
Line the bottom of the cake pan (8 x 3 inches springform pan) with a circle of parchment paper.
Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir occasionally until nearly melted. Remove from the heat and stir until melted and smooth. Or microwave on Medium (50%) power for about 1-½ minutes. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Stir the chestnuts, rum, vanilla, and salt into the chocolate. Whisk in the egg yolks, along with 6 Tbsp of the sugar. Set aside.
In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and beat at thigh speed (or medium high speed in a heavy duty mixer) until the peaks are stiff but not dry. Scoop ¼ of the egg whites onto the chocolate batter. Using a large runner spatula, fold them in. Scrape the remaining egg whites onto the batter and fold together.
Turn the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it level if necessary. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan still has moist crumbs clinging to it.
Set the pan on a rack to cool. (The cooled torte can be covered tightly with plastic wrap, or removed from the pan an wrapped well, and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
To serve, slide a slim knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Remove the pan sides and transfer the cake, on the pan bottom, to a platter, or invert the cake onto a rack or tray, remove the bottom and the paper liner, and invert again onto a platter. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift a little powdered sugar or chocolate over the top of the cake before serving, if desired. Serve each slice with some mixed berries or whipped cream, if desired.