Tuesday 22 December 2015

Chocolate Almond Torte

On Christmas Eve or Christmas day, this is perfect— a flourless, chocolate-almond torte for dessert. I can tell you everyone went silent at the table, when I served this delicious dessert and the silence was followed by......is there any left? Can I have another slice?


I love this class of cakes, those that can stand on their own, that don’t beg for layers of buttercream, pools of crème pâtissière, glazes of chocolate ganache or even dollops of whipped cream. This one, fits into this class. I served with optioanal sour cherry compote and whipped cream, but, it is not necessary.

Containing no flour and leavened only by whipped egg whites, this torte is at once light, rich and moist. Ground almonds give it a wonderful texture throughout, and a splash of Kirsch offers a hint of cherry. Made with bittersweet chocolate, it is perfectly sweet, and when it bakes, that brownie-like, most-delicious, paper-thin crust forms on the top-most layer. It is every bit elegant, the finale of a special occasion should be, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day or otherwise. 

Chocolate Almond Torte

3/4 c.  whole blanched almonds, toasted lightly and cooled or buy them toasted at Trader Joes
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 cubes of unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
1 T. Kirsch (cheery flavored liquor, can be bought in small quantity)
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), broken into pieces and ground fine in food processor

Garnish: confectioners sugar
Accompaniments: sweetened whipping cream and/or sour cheery compote, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 F. degrees

Line bottom of a buttered 9 inch spring form pan or cake pan, with a round of parchment paper. Butter paper and dust the pan with flour. (For total flourless use some of the finely ground almond mixture)

In food processor, pulse almonds with 1 T sugar until just ground fine.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter with 1/4 cup remaining sugar, until light and fluffy. Beat  in yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in zest and Kirsch. Stir almond sugar and chocolate into yolk mixture (mixture will be very thick).

In another bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until foamy, add a pinch of salt and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a stream, beating until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 whites into yolk mixture to lightlen, and fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

How to Fold Ingredients Together
“Folding” is a method of combining ingredients without knocking the air out of the mixture, such as the folding of egg whites and batter to make this chocolate almond cake. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Use a rubber spatula and make sure your bowl is big enough
  • Add 1/4 of the lighter ingredients (i.e. whipped egg whites) to the batter to lighten it
  • Fold the remaining egg whites in small batches
  • Using the spatula, cut through the egg whites at 90 degree angle to the bottom of the bowl
  • Scoop of the batter and fold it on top of itself and the egg whites.
  • Rotate bowl a quarter turn and repeat only just until the lighter ingredients are incorporated into the batter.

Bake torte in middle of oven for 30-35 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from side of pan. For me that was 30 minutes, and the cake was perfect, not dry inside. (Torte will fall slightly and continue to set as it cools.) cool torte in pan on a rack and remove from pan.

Torte may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Let torte come to room temperature before serving. 

With sieve, sprinkle torte with confectioners sugar and serve with whipped cream and/ pr sour cherry compote.

Sour Cherry Compote

1 c. dried sour cherries, preferably unsweetened (about 5 ounces)
1/2 c. Kirsch
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. cherry jam or preserves (about 7 ounces)
1 cinnamon stick
1 - 3 inch strip orange zest 

In a small saucepan, simmer all ingredients, covered for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let mixture stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove cover and cool completely.

Compote may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Let compote come to room temperature before serving.

This delicious Sour Cherry compote makes a very nice hostess gift!


Click on this link- I find it to be an intriguing trick of the mind to make Cinnamon Ice Cream. A chilly treat with a fragrant, spicy glow that sort of buries itself in your stomach and fans embers through your body.

Click on this link- Hungarian Nut Strudel This Nut Roll is a traditional Hungarian pastry that is a sweet bread known as Beigli. Eva Kenly, my mentor for 20+ years, made her Beigli or Hungarian Nut Roll usually during the holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving. 

Click on this link- Hungarian Raspberry Cheesecake  A heavenly post by my daughter-in-law Eva.

Click on this link for a family favorite- White Chocolate Coeur le Creme

 Click on this link- White chocolate mousse shooters

 From my home to yours, I wish you and yours a holiday filled with all the joys of the season. We look forward to a New Year of even more wondrous discoveries together! 

Click on this link- Raspberry Ribbon Pie! A old family favorite!


  1. Thanks! I was waiting for another spectacular dessert! John W

  2. I rarely have time to comment, but, I am off for a week for Christmas holiday and wanted to say, I follow, I love, and have made many of your recipes and Amy's...tried and true every one of the recipes turned out as expected. I have followed for 3 years and you are very true to your word, you post, you are regular and the recipes work! Thanks! Suzanne Gere- Los Angeles, Ca

  3. I made the torte and it was a major hit with family and friends. Heidi


Please leave a suggestion or comment for me! I would love to respond to it!