Feb 14, 2010

Torta al Cioccolato

Straightforward chocolate cake is the Marvin Gaye of desserts: classy, smooth, sensual. This particular treat conceived after many delicious variations and tastings, features rich crusty chocolate with a moist heart, and a touch of bittersweet. Just like romance.


Image © Buttalapasta


  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) cake flour
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 50 gr (1/4 cup) pure cocoa powder (don't use Dutch processed cocoa in this case)
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 50 gr (1/4 cup) 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I use a smuggled organic brand called Dagoba)
  • 200 gr (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 regular eggs (or 3 large), separated
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) drinking water
  • 300 gr (1 1/2 cup) packed dark brown sugar
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) sour cream
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F).
Butter and flour a 12-inch springform pan (best if with 2-inch high sides).
In a bowl, sift together the 2 flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Break up the chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces and combine with the cacao powder and espresso powder.

Bring the water to a boil and measure out 1 1/4 cup. Pour over the chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate has completely dissolved. Using water heightens the chocolate flavor of the mixture as opposed to milk. (Try tasting chocolate melted in warm milk and compare it to the taste of chocolate melted in water. The milk-based hot chocolate will feel thicker and richer, but the water-based hot chocolate will have a surprisingly strong chocolate flavor. Hence the Laura Esquivel novel/film title "Like Water for Chocolate.").

Once the flour has been sifted and the chocolate melted into boiling water, you must cream the unsalted butter with a flat beater. Add the sugar and mix until butter and sugar are evenly mixed.

One at a time, add the egg yolks and beat on medium-high until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Mix in sour cream and vanilla extract.
On low speed, mix in one third of the flour mixture followed by half of the chocolate liquid. Repeat with another third of the flour and the rest of the chocolate. Finally, mix in the last third of the flour. Stop the mixer once the batter has just combined, resisting the temptation to lick the batter.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Initially pour only 1/4 of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites until just incorporated. After that, the trick is to gently stir the egg whites, folding them over with a spatula in the same direction, and with a sweet smile on your face.

Pour the combined batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is risen and crusty, 25-30 minutes according to oven, or until a toothpick or a dry spaghetti strand thrust into the center of the cake and withdrawn comes out clean, or covered in dry crumbs. The center should be decadently soft and moist.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. The top will fall a bit, but go ahead and remove the pan sides. To do this, loosen the cake’s edges by running a knife along the circumference of the round to release the cake from the pan, unbuckle the spring and sensually slide the torta onto a serving plate. Dust the warm cake with confectioners’ sugar, cut into messy slices, top with optional whipped cream and prepare to find religion.


Image © Celiachiamo


I won't wish you happy "lucrative-greeting-card-business" day because I don't believe in it. You may remember how last year I put forward my arguable reasons for this aversion. Every day is Valentine's Day in my home, not just today.










21 comments:

  1. I agree with your sentiments about Valentine's day...the people you love should know it all year long!

    That torta is so tempting and luscious looking!

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  2. Ooh, such a chocolate therapy is something I always need :o)! Have a nice day!

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  3. every day is valentines...i like that. hope you and E have a wonderful valentines...

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  4. Oh wow, who wouldn't be seduced by such a wickedly delicious looking chocolate cake?

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  5. O.K. Don't get this chocoholic started!!
    Get some cold milk quick!

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  6. oh ... YOU, are Awful. ;)

    mmmm

    ps. your marvin gaye reference .. brilliant. ha!

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  7. Everyday is Valentines Day in my home as well :)

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  8. (runs out screaming)

    I started Weight Watchers on Wednesday

    xx

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  9. Oh wow, that's just wicked! You've made me drool all over my keyboard! :-)

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  10. love the photos. love the marvin gaye.
    now would it be kosher to make this cake into cupcakes?

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  11. The cake looks amazing! I love good, rich chocolate cake. :)

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  12. Chocolate Cake and Marvin Gaye. I'm in. I'll bring and coffee.

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  13. This cake looks better than Marvin Gaye any day of the week! ;-)

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  14. I'm drooling...that is a very impressive chocolate cake

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  15. How's the blood sugar? Are you all high on this divine choco-extravaganza? Well, the fun isn't over yet. I have a new chocoholic anonymous post scheduled soon. In the meantime why don't you head over to Forchettine for a quick fix? If you don't read Italian, the eye candy will suffice, I guarantee. A hint: not rusty tools at all...

    Ciao

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  16. Wow! This IS a chocolate cake! ;-)

    Happy Valentine's! It's wonderful that it Valentine's day, everyday in your home. ;-)

    Paz

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  17. Wow!!! Beautiful cake!!! I love chocolate! Great photos

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  18. This is a perfect chocolate cake/dessert- rish and luscious looking.
    My motto is- if it's dessert, it must be chocolate, and if it's chocolate cake, it must be rich.
    And if you eat it, please, please don't moan guilt- savour every bite, it's the same calories anyway, but so much more satisfaction.
    And I often eat dessert with closed eyes!

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  19. Che delizia... una delle mie torte preferite.

    Saluti!

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