Chocolate-Raspberry Torte for Nana’s 70th Birthday

Yesterday, I received word that one of my relatives would really like me to make a dessert for my grandmother’s 70th birthday.  It would have to be gluten-free of course because a cake was already being made that was gluten.  I also got the suggestion that chocolate would be nice…but of course chocolate is always nice, especially gluten-free.  The flavor of chocolate pairs very, very well with gluten-free flours because it has a deep enough flavor of its own to disguise all off notes.

So I knew already that this would be quite easy, except for the time issue.  My mom first suggested that she make the chocolate torte recipe I had done three times before, but I knew I had to do it so that I could post it to the blog.  It was direly necessary for everyone to see that my cooking does not merely consist of cookies with 5 ingredients and instructions saying to just stir everything together.

Thus, I made the lemon risotto for dinner, did my homework, made the cake, and went to bed at 11
o’clock last night.

Today we ate the cake, and it was quite good, seeing as it was the fourth time.  It was a bit more dense than normal, but I think that came from using gluten-free flours and having it sit nearly 24 hours in the fridge.  Of course, these shortcomings were very easy to overlook, seeing as everyone could eat it, meaning I wouldn’t be the sole consumer until it was all gone.

I have to point out the recipe does give instructions for making a beautiful cake using cardboard rounds to transfer the layers so that all the ganache doesn’t pool at the bottom of the cake stand.  You can do this if you wish, but it is also far easier to transfer the first layer to a cake stand and just wipe away extra ganache once you have added the almonds to the side.  Here is the recipe for the cake, also below are pictures from last week at my grandparents, and a stir fry we made:

Chocolate-Raspberry Torte
Cook’s Illustrated  
November & December 2010
Makes one 9-inch cake serving 12-16
Note:  We recommend using either Callebaut Intense Dark L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, but any high quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate will work.  If you’re refrigerating the cake for more than 1 hour in step 6, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.  
Cake and Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups (about 7 ounces) sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup ( 1 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour  (This was my first time making gluten-free but used 1/8 cup white rice flour, 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, 1 tablespoon potato starch)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, plus 16 individual berries for garnishing cake
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1. For the cake:  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line bottom of two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans with parchment paper.  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 and espresso powder.
2.  Process 3/4 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, six to eight 1-second pulses; set aside to garnish cake.  Process remaining cup almonds until very finely ground, about 45 seconds.  Add flour and salt and continue to process until combined, about 15 seconds.  Transfer almond-flour mixture to medium bowl.  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.  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.
3.  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 same size as diameter of the cake and remove parchment paper.  Using wire rack, reinvert 1 cake so top side faces up; slide back onto cardboard round.
4.  To assemble torte:  Place 1/2 cup raspberries in medium bowl and coarsely mash with fork.  Stir in raspberry jam until just combined.  Spread raspberry mixture onto cake layer that is top side up.  Top with second cake layer, leaving it bottom side up.  Transfer assembled cake, still on cardboard round, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
5.  For the glaze:  Melt chocolate and cream in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Remove from heat and gently whisk until very smooth.  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.
6.  Using fine-mesh strainer, sift reserved almonds to remove any fine bits.  Holding bottom of cake on cardboard round with 1 hand, gently press almonds onto cake with other hand.  Arrange raspberries around circumference.  Refrigerate cake, still on rack, until gaze is set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.  Transfer cake to serving platter, slice, and serve.


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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!