double chocolate torte


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Weighing in at one pound of chocolate, three-quarters of a pound of butter, and nine eggs, I’ve had exactly two excuses to make this cake. I would ideally make it more often, but its general heft keeps me from breaking it out except for once every other blue moon. It’s my firm belief that if you’re going to make a decadent dessert, you should go all the way and never look back.

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This cake is truly a thing of beauty. It’s got three layers: an almost flour-less chocolate cake, topped with a layer of chocolate mousse, and further topped with a thin layer of unsweetened whipped cream, for relief. Making this cake isn’t for the faint of heart, or for those who might balk at the thought of so much chocolate and butter, and so many eggs. But really, it’s okay. It’s worth making at least once every two years.

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double chocolate torte
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Double chocolate torte, in turn adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2000

At first glance, the recipe comes off as fussy, but the second time I made it I was surprised by how quickly it came together. Make sure you make this a day ahead to give the mousse enough time to set. And if you’re like me and don’t have a springform pan, fear not: you can use a tin foil cake pan and tear off the sides to reveal the layers of chocolaty goodness within, and it’ll be like you had a springform pan all along.

In addition to not having a springform pan, I also don’t have a double boiler (for the mousse). If you don’t have one either, go ahead and use a metal bowl nested in a pot of boiling water (which is what this recipe calls for anyway). And if you don’t even have a metal bowl, you can use a bowl-shaped pan (I used a wok) and nest it in a pot of boiling water. It’ll all work out in the end.

Makes 10 servings

Cake
8 ounces/~230 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form1 cup/~230 grams unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Mousse
1/2 cup/113 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces/~230 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Garnishing (optional)
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons red currant jelly melted with 1 tablespoon water
Red currant bunches (optional)

For cake: Preheat oven to 325°F/165°C. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover; chill while making mousse.

For mousse: Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside.

Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top whipped cream with raspberries. Brush red currant jelly mixture over raspberries. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Garnish with currants, if desired.

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