Christmas dessert calls for something delicious, decadent, and show-stopping. Well, this dessert is certainly all three. Although the recipe may seem long, this torte is actually rather simple to make, and it is completely worth the extra steps. The finished product is extremely impressive and insanely delicious; I can already tell that this cake is going to be a holiday tradition in my family.
The texture is one of the things that makes this torte truly sensational. The cake is not dense, as one would expect, but instead velvety smooth and moist, perfect for the buttery chocolate flavor. A glossy, bittersweet chocolate ganache tops off the chocolate flavor, making the cake decadent but not cloyingly sweet. Finally, a delicate raspberry ribbon running throughout offers a bright berry tang to offset the dark chocolate.
And this torte is almost completely flourless, which is the main reason for its superb texture. Ground almonds lend most of the structure and moistness, aided by only a small amount of gluten-free flour mix. To honor this fact, lightly toasted almonds grace the outside of the torte, providing a beautiful finish and a satisfying crunch to the satiny cake.
This torte really speaks for itself with its fabulous presentation and incredible taste. So I will only say one more thing: this cake is so delicious that you will find it difficult to stop yourself after just one piece. So go easy on your first slice, because I guarantee you will want to come back for more! Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, November 2010
**This recipe calls for 9-inch round pans that are 2 inches high (slightly higher than normal pans). I, however, made this with normal 9-inch pans and the only difference was that the batter rose a little above the pan, making the sides of the cake a little more rounded opposed to straight. But normal cake pans will work!**
Cake and Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
¼ cup GF Flour Mix*
½ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ cup fresh raspberries, plus 16 berries for garnish
¼ cup seedless raspberry jam
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
For the Cake
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325 F. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans** with parchment paper.
2. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
3. Process ¾ cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, six to eight 1-second pulses; set aside to garnish cake.
4. Process remaining cup almonds until very finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add GF Flour Mix and salt and continue to process until combined, about 15 seconds. Transfer almond-flour mixture to medium bowl.
5. Process eggs in now-empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.
6. Using whisk, gently fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture until some streaks of egg remain. Sprinkle half almond-flour mixture over chocolate-egg mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Sprinkle in remaining almond-flour mixture and gently whisk until just combined.
7. Divide batter between cake pans and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until center is firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan, about 30 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto cardboard rounds cut to the same diameter as the cake. Remove parchment paper.
To Assemble Torte
8. Place ½ cup raspberries in medium bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir in raspberry jam until just combined. Spread raspberry mixture onto one cake layer with top side facing up. Top with second layer, bottom side facing up. Transfer cake, still on cardboard, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
For the Glaze
9. Melt chocolate and cream in medium heatproof bowl set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and gently whisk until very smooth.
10. Pour glaze onto center of assembled cake. Use offset spatula to spread
glaze evenly over top of cake, letting it flow down sides. Spread glaze along sides of cake to coat evenly.
11. Using a fine mesh strainer, sift reserved almonds to remove any fine bits. Gently press sifted almonds onto cake sides with one hand. Arrange raspberries around cake circumference.
12. Refrigerate cake, still on rack, until glaze is set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Transfer cake to serving plate and let cake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.
*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch