Monday, April 09, 2007

Chocolaty Decadence, Without the Pesky Leavening

Any adorable kid who's celebrating his fourth birthday deserves a delicious chocolaty birthday cake. But what happens when this sweet smiley kid's birthday falls right in the middle of Passover? Well, have you had passover cakes before? They tend to be dry, dense, and dominated by the flavor of soggy matzah and sugar. Not so good. Yet, my nephew needed something special this year -- after all, his potty training is finally settling in (that's right friends, our boy is a super pooper), and as his new big boy haircut demonstrates, this has been a pretty big year for him.

So, this year for his birthday, I made a fabulous and decadent flourless chocolate torte. The texture was rich and custardy and the flavor was loved by the kids as well as the adults -- a cup of strong coffee added depth, and the end result was not too sweet.

The original recipe is a little hard-to-read, so being the giver that I am, I have done some edits and will provide a clearer version of the recipe here. It's definitely good enough to eat throughout the year. But, it should be noted that it's an extremely indulgent dessert: a dozen egg yolks, 2 sticks of butter. So, serve it in thin slivers -- you can't really eat much more of it anyway.

Chocolate Espresso Torte

Note that if you are worried about keeping kosher, and you are eating this with a meat meal, you should use margarine, not butter. Of course it's more delicious with butter, and even more delicious with European-style butter, like Plugra. And for non-Passover preparation, feel free to dust your pan with flour, and garnish with powdered sugar. (I could go into the details of why some do not eat powdered sugar during Passover but the "logic" is so convoluted I won't even get into it. If you really wanna know, email me.)

1 cup butter or margarine
1 c sugar (heaping)
1 c brewed espresso or strong coffee
16 oz semisweet chocolate
6 eggs
6 egg yolks
matzah meal or matzah cake meal, to dust pan

Preheat oven to 325F. Cut a circle of wax paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Grease springform pan. Place wax paper circle on bottom of pan. Grease wax paper and dust with matzah meal; set aside.

Place butter, sugar, and epresso in the top of a double boiler on a medium simmer, and heat until sugar dissolves and butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Be sure when stirring to scrape sugar off the bottom of the bowl and mix well with the espresso and butter. Pour hot liquid over chocolate and stir until smoothly incorporated; set aside. Beat eggs and yolks until frothy. Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for one hour. When done, edges should crack and harden slightly. Remove from oven and cool; cover and chill.

When you remove this cake from the oven it looks like it is not set; and it isn't. It must go in the refrigerator for at least twelve hours, or the freezer for at least 4 hours (then placed in the refrigerator after that if not served immediately).


  1. What a handsome little birthday boy! His cake was delish and aunt Tannazie was a hero for making it for him.

  2. I DEMAND TO KNOW WHY POWDERED SUGAR IS BANNED!!!!!!! Also, my birthday was a couple weeks ago, will you make me some torte? Thanks.