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Chocolate Torte:

6 large eggs, separated

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

9 ounces (255 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

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Chocolate Torte: 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 to 60 minutes).

Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9 x 3 inch (23 x 8 cm) springform pan, or spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to tepid.

Next, place egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the sugar in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (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, be quite 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 (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, on medium low speed, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup (100 grams) of sugar and beat, on high speed, 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, in two to three additions, folding just until incorporated. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.

Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. (During baking the cake will rise and the surface of the cake will form a crust. The cake will collapse during cooling. The top of the cake will be crisp and cracked with lots of crumbs.)

I find this cake is best served the next day as it allows the flavors to blend. It can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cut the cake into small slices with a sharp knife, wiping off the knife after slicing. I find it best to warm the blade of the knife under hot running water before cutting each slice. Very nice with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. The torte can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days or frozen for about one month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Serves 12 to 14.



This European style Chocolate Torte, also called a Flourless Chocolate Cake, is a rustic looking cake that has a buttery rich chocolate flavor. It is distinctive looking with its broken and cracked surface and sunken top. You can serve this cake plain, dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder or powdered sugar, with fruit sauces, or with softly whipped cream, crème fraiche, or vanilla ice cream.

I adapted this recipe from Alice Medrich's groundbreaking book Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts. Chocolate Tortes have just a few ingredients; butter, chocolate, eggs, and sugar. There is a large proportion of eggs in this cake and they provide the leavening. This cake will rise during baking but sinks after it is removed from the oven (as it does not contain flour). You will notice the center of the cake sinks more than the outside rim and that is how it should be. The outside surface of the cake will be broken, cracked, and crusty. If pieces do fall off, just press them back into place. Eating this cake the day it is made gives you an intense chocolate flavor with a soft texture. And it will be quite fragile when sliced. My personal preference is to make this torte at least a day or two before serving. Once it has been refrigerated overnight the texture turns dense and fudgy (like a brownie) with a mellow chocolate flavor.