The other day I made dairy-free chocolate truffles and I was so impressed with the truffle mixture that fills them that I decided to try and use it in another recipe. As I was eating the dairy-free chocolate truffles it occurred to me that the truffle mixture is very similar to a ganache, a rich, creamy chocolate filling mixture that is traditionally used to fill chocolate shells. I knew that the ideal counterpart to the smooth, silky chocolate ganache would be a biscuit base, so I proceeded to make a raspberry chocolate torte with it.
The other day I was walking home from work when my Dad stopped his car to say that he’d got me a clutch of fresh duck eggs from one of his colleagues. Never one to turn my nose up at free ingredients, particularly ones as generous as eight massive, freshly-lain duck eggs, I dutifully followed him home to collect them. Once I’d given them a wash (chickens aren’t that fussed about keeping their productions clean) I was rewarded with the sight of a bowlful of creamy, pink and blue, large eggs with striations that made them look like they’d been sculpted from marble. They were truly a thing of natural beauty.
Now I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with a recipe that would do them justice. Duck eggs are very rich, infusing a delicate and delicious intensity into cakes and biscuits with very little effort, so I knew that I didn’t want to waste them on a bake that would fail to let them shine. After some consideration I knew that a chocolate torte would be the perfect vehicle for their use because the richness of the torte would only be enhanced by the duck eggs.
A chocolate torte is a very rich, buttery and intensely chocolatey cake. It’s not made with a flour sponge like most cakes are and instead depends on the lightness of whisked eggs (and in this case a small amount of ground almonds) to provide the structure of the cake. Accordingly, the result is a slightly dense, but infinitely moreish, chocolate torte that requires only a small serving to satisfy one’s sweet tooth.
Much like pavlovas and profiteroles, this bake looks complicated and its reputation only bolsters this misconception, but trust me, this chocolate torte is really easy to make. It literally only requires you to melt your butter and dark chocolate in one jug, whisk all of your other ingredients together in another jug and then pour one into the other before whisking again and baking. You can’t really get any easier than that, can you?
This chocolate torte is a dream to both make and eat, particularly when served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of good quality ice-cream. It’s a torte that is decadent and luxurious, with a rich, fudgy, but light cake base that delivers the perfect chocolate hit to the taste buds. Try making this one soon, guys, you won’t regret it.
85g salted butter (at room temperature)
170g dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
4 large hen’s eggs (or 3 duck eggs, if using)
2 tsps of instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
50g ground almonds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cocoa powder (for dusting the top)
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.
Line a 9 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.
Place your butter and dark chocolate in a microwavable jug and slowly melt in the microwave, stirring frequently so the chocolate doesn’t burn. If you don’t have a microwave then melt it slowly by placing the jug in a pot that’s been filled with boiling water (but is not on the heat) and allowing it to melt down. (Don’t have the pot over heat though or you might melt your jug!)
Leave the melted chocolate mixture to cool slightly.
Measure all of your other ingredients into a separate jug and whisk well until thoroughly combined and airy.
Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the other jug, whisking all the while. Mix it all together and then pour into your cake tin and bake for 40-45 mins.
Check the cake is cooked by poking a skewer into the middle. It should be cooked when only a few crumbs are on the skewer when removed from the cake, but remember that it is supposed to be moist and fudgy in the middle so don’t panic too much if it’s a bit wetter than a normal cake.
Leave to cool and then dust with cocoa powder and serve with whipped cream or ice-cream (or a non-dairy alternative).