Chocolate Berry Torte
Finally…. chocolate cake! Actually, a chocolate torte, if you want to get technical. And not just any chocolate torte, but one with strawberries baked in the torte, spread over the torte in the form of strawberry preserves, and sliced on top of the chocolate ganache topping. Essentially it’s a flourless chocolate cake with strawberries and chocolate ganache. I don’t play around when it comes to my desserts, folks.
My usual rule is that I will only bake large desserts that cannot be easily transported or divided into smaller bits (like pies and cakes, unlike cookies and brownies) if I’m cooking for a group. Dinner party? Birthday party? Barbeque? These are all perfect reasons to try out a new cake recipe. But this time I wanted chocolate cake so badly that I decided to forgo my usual self-imposed restrictions. And now we have 3/4 of this cake still sitting in the fridge, waiting to be eaten. I had a piece for dinner the other day, but I will not allow for that to become a nightly occurence. And Nate doesn’t love desserts as much as I do. It’s a sad situation.
When I initially read over the recipe, a number of the instructions and ingredients gave me pause. Chopping up strawberries and folding them into the torte batter? Won’t that create mushy pockets that don’t necessarily impart a strawberry flavor? (Yes.) Won’t spreading strawberry jam over the torte make it unnecessarily sweet? (Yes.) However, I think that in the recipe I provided below I remedied most of these problems. Serving the torte with some freshly-made whipped cream won’t hurt either. But then again I don’t think you can ever go wrong with home-made whipped cream.
Did this chocolate torte fill my chocolate cake void? Yes. And there’s enough of it to fill that void at least another 4 times over. Apparently I need to stick to my own rules. That said, who wants to come over for dinner?
(Adapted from this cookbook… don’t go getting too excited)
1 c toasted almonds, finely chopped
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chopped fresh strawberries, plus more berries for garnish (the chopped berries are optional, however you will need at least 6 or 7 large strawberries for the top of the torte)
1/2 c strawberry preserves (optional)
1/4 c heavy cream
6 oz high-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the almonds and cocoa powder in a small bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the almond mixture and then the fresh strawberries (if using).
Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Spoon the batter into the pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean of chocolate batter.
Cool the cake completely. Remove form the pan and place on a serving plate. The cake is fragile, so it may be easier to just leave it on the base of the springform pan. Spread the top of the cake with the strawberry preserves.
Bring the cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove form the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cake. Decorate the melted chocolate with strawberry slices around the edge and a whole strawberry or a sprig of mint in the center of the cake. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.