Chocolate Almond Torte:
4 large eggs
1 cup (100 grams) slivered or sliced blanched almonds (can also use whole blanched almonds)
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
6 ounces (170 grams) semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 ounces (12 tablespoons) (170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar
Cream of Tartar - Cream of tartar can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores and should be stored in a cool dry place.
Chocolate Almond Torte: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick cooking spray, an 8 x 3 inch (20 x 8 cm) springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the egg yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and let stand until they reach room temperature (about 30 minutes).
Place the almonds, along with 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of the sugar, in your food processor and process until finely ground. (Don't overprocess or you'll end up with a grainy paste.)
Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Then place the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the granulated white sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can use a hand mixer). Beat the yolks and sugar until pale and thick (about 2 to 3 minutes). Beat in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Fold in the ground almonds and salt.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (can also use a hand mixer), and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake has a few moist crumbs. (The top of the torte will be dry with cracks) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The cake will rise during baking but falls during cooling, leaving a crisp and cracked crust. Once cool, run a spatula around the inside of the pan before releasing the sides. Serve at room temperature or cold. If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Serve plain or with whipped cream, vanilla cream, or a custard sauce (creme anglaise).
Makes about 8 - 10 servings.
I find myself making this Chocolate Almond Torte when I crave chocolate. I love this chocolate cake's moist texture and its rich chocolate flavor. What you may find unique is that ground almonds are used instead of flour in this cake. The ground almonds add a subtle almond flavor as well as a pleasant coarseness to the torte's texture.
When you make this type of cake you will notice that during baking, the torte will rise and the surface will become all cracked and crisp. However, as it cools the torte shrinks, leaving a crater like top. I love how the crisp outside crust is the perfect contrast to the moist interior of the cake. Don't worry if pieces of the crust fall off. That is what is so great about this cake, how rustic it looks. So just go ahead and press any fallen pieces back into place.
Making this torte the same day it's to be served, results in a wonderfully delicate and moist cake with a sharp chocolate flavor. But my favorite way to eat this cake is to refrigerate it overnight. This softens the chocolate flavor and although the cake is still moist, it takes on a more dense and fudgy texture. This torte is excellent plain with a just a dusting of powdered sugar, or you can serve it with softly whipped cream, fresh berries, creme anglaise, raspberry sauce, or a strawberry sauce.
A note on ingredients. Ground almonds are used in this recipe. As the recipe states you can take blanched almonds (slivered, sliced or whole) and process them in your food processor until finely ground. Or you can just buy ground almonds (also known as almond meal/flour) in some grocery stores or health food stores (use 1 cup (100 grams) ground almonds). Also, as a sidenote, Americans tend to use the word "Torte" for any type of European-style cake that contains little or no flour, although sometimes containing ground nuts or breadcrumbs. In Europe, "Torte" or "Torta" is the name used for any single or multi-layered decorated cake containing rich ingredients.