Valentine’s Day Dessert: Chocolate Raspberry Torte Recipe

This Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to a dessert so decadent you’ll forget about all your troubles. Create the perfect pair by enjoying this rich Chocolate Raspberry Torte with a glass of champagne. Because on Valentine’s Day, you can have your torte and eat it, too.


 

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

 

Ingredients

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Cake Ingredients:

 

• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao), finely chopped
• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder or cocoa powder
• 1+3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
• 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon table salt
• 5 large eggs
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, plus 12-16 individual berries for garnishing cake
• 1/3 cup raspberry jam

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle. Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

 

Parchment Pans

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2. Create a double boiler with a heat proof bowl placed over a saucepan with about an inch of water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer and melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until it’s completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add vanilla and either cocoa powder or espresso powder. This bumps up the chocolate flavor a bit. Melting the chocolate can also be done in a microwave. Start with just the chocolate on high for 30 seconds then stir and continue with 15 second intervals until it’s melted, then add butter and continue with 15 second intervals until it’s incorporated.

 

Butter and Chocolate

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3. Add 3/4 cup almonds to a food processor and pulse for 1 second, 8 times. Set aside for garnishing the cake. Add remaining cup almonds and process until very finely ground, about 45 seconds. The texture will be almost like a coarse cornmeal. Add flour and salt and process to combine well. Set aside. In the empty food processor (there’s no need to clean it), add the eggs and process for 3 minutes until they almost double in volume and are a creamy color and texture. With the processor running, slowly add the sugar until combined. In a large bowl, add the melted room temperature chocolate and egg mixture. Using a whisk, gently fold until there are some streaks of the egg mixture remaining. Add half of the almond flour mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Repeat with the remaining half of the almond flour mixture. The goal is to not lose too much of the air that has been incorporated into the egg mixture.

 

Processed Almonds

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Adding Almonds

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4. Divide the batter between the cake pans and smooth the batter with a rubber spatula. If you want to be exact you can use a scale to weight the cake pans with batter but once the torte is assembled, it won’t be noticed if one cake is bigger than the other. Place in the oven and bake 14-16 minutes, until the center is firm. Test for doneness with a tooth pick in the center, it should come out with a few moist crumbs. Place pans on wire racks to cool completely before removing the cakes.

 

Batter in Pans

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5. While the cake is cooling, prepare a base by wrapping a 9” cardboard disk or springform bottom with a piece of foil. Take care to not have the foil bunch up so the base can lay flat with the foil “folds” on the bottom. Prepare the raspberry jam by straining it to remove the seeds. Use a spoon or small spatula to push the jam through the sieve. Scrape the bottom of the sieve to get all of the now seedless jam. You’ll need about ¼ cup but if there is a little more, that is fine. Smash fresh berries into the jam leaving larger piece for texture.

 

Jam

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6. Once the cakes have cooled, invert one cake layer onto the foiled so the parchment is now on top disk (remember to keep the foil folds on the bottom side). If you have nonstick pans, they should come out easily but if not, run a paring knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper. Spread the raspberry jam mixture evenly onto the first layer, just shy of the edges by about a ¼” Invert the second cake onto the first layer with the jam. Place the assembled torte with the round base on a wire rack over a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment.

 

Cooked Cake Out of Pan

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Filling on Cake

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Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

 

• 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (60-70% cacao)
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

 

1. To make the glaze, begin by adding chocolate and cream to a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water. Stirring occasionally until the cream is incorporated and the chocolate is smooth and melted. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cake, spreading with a spatula and letting the glaze come over the edges. Smooth the glaze around the sides of the cake until it is covered evenly on all sides. With the glaze still warm, apply the previously pulsed almonds to the sides. Pick up the assembled cake with the base and place your palm under the cake with one hand holding the torte over the cookie sheet. With your other hand, take a handful of the almonds and gently press into the glaze on the sides, turning the cake and applying more almonds until they are covering the sides of the cake. Fill in any gaps as needed. Place the raspberries on the torte, evenly spacing them around the circumference of the cake. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.

 

Glaze on Cake

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2. When serving you can leave the round base under the cake or if you want to remove it, let the cake sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then pick up the cake and with your palm underneath, gently unfold the foil from the bottom of the round to slip it out. Place on serving platter.

 

Finished Chocolate Raspberry Torte

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