Sunday, September 13, 2009

A is For Amazing

This Italian flourless chocolate cake is called a Torta Barozzi. It comes from The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. I made this cake several months ago, and sadly have not posted it until now because it is a rather lengthy recipe, but so worth it. It is the best chocolate cake I have had in my life. There is no need to goop the cake with frosting, the chocolate is so rich and decadent that only a small piece suffices. If you have a weekend afternoon I definitely recommend you make it for yourself or for someone special. It supposedly tastes best the first 24 hours, but I truly enjoy it the next day straight of the fridge. It keeps for up to three days in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap, and in the freezer up to 2 months.

Ingredients for Torta Barozzi:
-1/2 cup (2 ounces) blanched almonds, toasted
-2-1/2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
-1/4 cup cocoa (not Dutch process)
-1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour (organic stone-ground preferred)
-8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) sugar
-4-1/2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter or almond butter
-4 large eggs, separated
-6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
-1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
-2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tablespoon boiling water
-2 teaspoons dark rum
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To begin, start by toasting your almonds and letting them cool.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring form pan (I used a 9 inch cake pan and just reduced the baking time a bit). Cut a circle of parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan, then place in pan and butter the top. Use a couple tablespoons of flour to coat the entire interior of the spring form and shake out any excess.
Combine toasted almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa in food processor until it is a fine powder. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar at a medium speed with electric mixer for 8 to 10 minutes until it is very fluffy and airy.
Melt chocolates and dissolve instant coffee in boiling water and set aside.
At a medium speed add the almond butter to the beaten butter and sugar.
Then beat in egg yolks - 2 at a time until smooth.
Reduce speed to medium-low and beat melted chocolates, dissolved coffee, rum, and vanilla.
Use a big spatula to fold in the almond powder by hand.
Whip egg whites into stiff peaks. Fold in a quarter of the egg whites to lighten the chocolate batter. Then fold in the rest, keeping the mixture light but without leaving any streaks of white.
Place into spring form pan and gently even out top with a spatula and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce to 325 degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
Cool cake 10 minutes; the cake will settle a little but will remain level. Spread a kitchen towel on a large plate and then flip the cake onto it. Peel off parchment and let cake cool completely. Then place another plate you plan to serve the cake on and flip the cake over so the torta is right side up.
Just before serving sift a tablespoon of cocoa over the cake. Then top it with sifted powdered sugar. Or you can create a stencil like I did. Place the stencil on the cocoa powder layer and then sift the sugar on top. Carefully lift off the stencil.
Slice in small wedges and serve. Surrender to the rich fudgy slice.

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