6 large eggs separated
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
9 ounces (255 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate,chopped
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
8 ounces (227 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon or brandy (optional)
Mini Robin Eggs (candy coated malted milk candy) or other Easter Candy
Chocolate Torte: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Lightly coat a 9 x 3 inch (23 x 8 cm) springform pan with melted butter 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 simmering water.
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, fold a 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.
Pour into 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. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to a few days.
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.
Assemble: 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. Decorate with mini robin eggs or other Easter candy, if desired. 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.
Holidays and special celebrations are more festive when you serve a dessert that honors the occasion. This does not mean, however, that it has to be a complicated affair or that you have to hunt down a new recipe or even buy special equipment. What I like to do is to just take a recipe that I am familiar with and dress it up for the appropriate holiday. Take this dessert, for example. Since chocolate is definitely a favorite at Easter, all I have done is to take the Chocolate Torte recipe on the site, covered with a lovely smooth and shiny chocolate ganache, and garnished it with colorful sprinkles and Easter candy. My favorite Easter candy has to be these candy coated malted milk eggs which not only look wonderful but they have such a delightful crunch that contrasts nicely with the smoothness of the cake and cream.
Chocolate tortes contain very few ingredients; unsalted butter, chocolate, eggs, and sugar. There is a large proportion of eggs which gives the cake its rise since this recipe uses no artificial leavening. You will find this cake does rise during baking but sinks as it cools. This is because the torte does not contain flour. The outside surface of the cake is not smooth like a butter cake. It will be broken, cracked, and crusty. If you find pieces are falling off, just press them back into place. Also, the center of the cake will sink more than the outside rim. Eating this cake the day it is made gives you an intense chocolate flavor with a smooth and soft (almost pudding-like) texture. It will be quite fragile when sliced. My personal preference is to make this torte at least the day before serving. Once it has been refrigerated overnight it becomes dense and fudgy with a mellow chocolate flavor. Delicious.