Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Torte Part 1

I was certainly hoping to have this recipe posted before Christmas. Unfortunately, my computer crash prevented that. On the bright side, we got a shiny new computer for Christmas. Although it’s not quite as exciting when you have to pay for it yourself. Let’s talk about this cake. This cake just jumped of the cover of December’s issue of Bon Appetit. The letter from the editor inside the magazine gave me all the reasons I needed try this cake. The cake first appeared on Bon Appetit’s cover in 1984. Since then “it remains our most requested recipe.” I knew I wanted had to try this cake, until………. I read the recipe. After I read the recipe, a few thoughts went through my head. Most of them were cynical and skeptical in nature. To help you understand, let me highlight some of the ingredients going into this cake; 7.5 sticks of butter, 12 eggs, over 2.5 pounds of chocolate, and 1 cup of corn syrup plus nearly 3 cups of sugar. It’s OK, take a moment to catch your breath. So, my first thought was: If you want to pinpoint when the obesity epidemic in this country started, I believe it very well could have been December 1984, when this recipe was first published. My second thought after reading the recipe was: “it remains our most requested recipe.” Really?? My final thought: it must be incredible, let’s do this!

The cake is quite an undertaking so I ‘m breaking it up into three separate posts. Part 1 will be the cake recipe. Part 2 will be the butter cream frosting and the chocolate glaze. Finally, part 3 will be the ribbon decorations.

Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons:
Modified to be Gluten Free
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)room temp
2 cups of granulated sugar
8 eggs, separated, room temp
10 ounces, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), melted, room temp
1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1-1/3 cups
gf flour mix plus extra for pans
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 tsp of salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and gf flour 3- 9inch round pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a piece of parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the gf flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.Using a double boiler, melt chocolate. Take melted chocolate off the heat and allow to cool to near room temperature. To save a little money, I used a mix of semi sweet chocolate chips along with chopped semi sweet chocolate from a bar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the 8 egg yolks 1 at a time.
Next, blend in the melted chocolate. Slowly mix in the chopped pecans and vanilla extract. Gently mix in the flour in 4 batches. The batter will be thick and dense. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the 8 egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until medium peaks form. Gently fold in 1/4 of the egg whites into the batter. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Divide the batter equally between the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack. It may help to run a knife around the side of each cake before inverting onto a rack.

Stay tuned for Part 2.


  1. Brian this is amazing. That is a ton of ingredients. I'm curious, in the original recipe, how many servings did it say? I'm thinking you could serve around 30 people with this cake. How many folks got to eat yours?

  2. Oh my! What a cake recipe! I think you might be on to something with that 1984 obesity thing...

  3. Dang!!! That is some cake! I'm eager to hear how you do the big bow on top. I take it that's where the rest of the butter and the corn syrup comes in? I bet people at your party were really impressed with your skills!