Friday, 24 February 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Torte- Cook's Illustrated

I remember when the only cooking shows on TV were shown on Saturday morning on PBS.

Originally there were only two shows. Graham Kerr's Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child's The French Chef

The Galloping Gourmet tv show photo

 My mother and I watched every show religiously. They were very entertaining and you can sometimes still catch them on PBS. Today, we have so many options. We have access to such a good variety on TV,  in  magazines,  the Internet and the wonderful selection of cookbooks available.

My husband is still pissed at me because I have burned the food network logo into the bottom left hand corner of our plasma TV.

This is a rich, dense and "chocolatey" torte. A torte is a European cake that is typically made with nut flour. This is a cake from a Cook's Illustrated recipe that was developed in the style of the famous Viennese Sacher Torte. I have actually had the pleasure to sit in the Cafe Sacher in Vienna and eat the original from the place it was invented. The Sacher torte is normally made with an Apricot filing and has less of a "chocolatey" taste to it. Cook's Illustrated created this recipe and I find it to be very very good. It is rich and velvety in texture with lots of chocolate flavour and the raspberry/chocolate mix is a natural combination. America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country are wonderful shows on PBS and they publish exceptional magazines. I have been watching them for years, I subscribe to both their magazines (Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country) and I am occasionally a recipe tester for them.

I will definitely make this cake again! There are many steps however, the end product is well worth the effort. if you have any cake that is left and has been refrigerated for longer than the recommended hour at the end of this recipe. Take it out of the fridge and let come to room temperature to let the chocolate ganache frosting and the cake become soft  again before serving.

You will need:

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz (227grams) best bittersweet chocolate- chopped
  • 2 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup almond slices (ground into flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup almond slices
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 16 whole raspberries
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 5 oz(142 grams) bittersweet chocolate- chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp whipping cream

Grease and flour 2 x 9inch round baking pans with parchment insert. This is a delicate cake and you do not want it to stick to the pans.

Step 1: weigh and chop 8oz/227grams of good quality bittersweet chocolate. I find a knife with a serrated edge works best.

Step 2: over a pot of barely boiling water melt chopped chocolate and butter. Stir until incorporated. Make sure the bowl is large enough so you do not to allow any steam to get to your chocolate or it will seize up.

Step 3: Remove from heat and add vanilla and espresso powder.Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Step 4: in a food processor add 1 cup of sliced almonds and grind  approx. 45 seconds into a fine flour.  Do not grind so far as to make the nuts turn into a paste, you are looking for a fine powder.

Add 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 tsp salt, pulse few times to mix. Pour into a bowl and reserve for later.

Step 5: For the decorative almonds around the finished cake add 3/4 cup almond slices to food processor and pulse 6-8 pulses. You can use with or without skins. I have used the sliced almonds without skins just because I like the contrast against the dark chocolate. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Step 6: add 5 eggs to the food processor and blend for 3 minutes until it will lighten up in colour and doubles in size. Add 3/4 sugar pouring through the top of the processor and blend until mixed through.

Step 7: pour egg mixture into cooled chocolate and with a whisk gently fold over as if using a spatula to fold egg whites. Folding with the whisk will avoid deflating the eggs you have whipped. When it looks as though it is almost incorporated you can add the nut flour mixture in the same manner.

Step 8: Add half the flour mixture and gently fold in. Add remaining half and continue until  just incorporated.

Step 9: pour equally into two prepared baking pans. Gently smooth out.

Step 10: Bake at 325 degrees 14-16 minutes. Cake should be firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle will have moist crumbs. Let cool completely in pans 30 minutes.

Step 11: cut out two cardboard rounds that will fit into the pans and allows you to invert the pans and allow the cake to fall on the cardboard . These are delicate at this stage. 

Step 12: prepare the raspberry filling in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup fresh raspberries with 1/4 seedless raspberry jam (I used my homemade full of seeds raspberry jam and it was still great!) and squish the fresh berries and mix the jam in. 

Step 13: Top this mix over the first layer and gently slide the second layer on top.

Step 14: to prepare chocolate ganache for the icing. In a bowl over gently simmering water melt 5 oz/142 grams bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp whipping cream. Once melted and mixed you can pour over top of the cake.

Step 15:  place cake over a cookie rack with a cookie sheet covered in foil underneath (for easy clean up) then with a small off set spatula gently allow the chocolate to go over the edges and then smooth and cover the sides with ganache. Once the cake has been frosted. Hold the cake under the bottom in one hand and with the other put the chopped nuts in your palm and gently press into sides until covered. You allow the excess nuts to fall onto the cookie sheet.  Top with 16 fresh raspberries. You place them equally by putting a berry at 12 oclock and 6 pm, then 3 pm and 9 pm. Then fill in the rest equally.

Let chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving.

Gorgeous! luxurious, velvety and moist.

I know you want to eat this! Will you try to bake this? that is the question.


  1. If you like chocolate like I like chocolate, then you’ll love this cake. I was away and didn’t get to try it for 2 days and it was still wonderful…Thanks

  2. Love this and always use the link for tutorials but is the recipe directions available?


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