Thursday, 9 August 2007

A Breakthrough

Baked this Classic Chocolate Cake or Chocolate Torte, upon my elder boy's request. I owned him this for a long time already, he has since requested for a chocolate cake ever since he watched Spiderman 2. There was a scene in the movie where Spidy's girl-next-door baked him a chocolate cake and he told me right after the show that he would love to eat that kind of cake. The only problem is, I didn't watch the movie with them when it was shown on TV. So, I have no idea what kind of cake it didn't help when my boy just told me it's a plain chocolate cake. Somehow, back in my mind, I formed the impression that it wouldn't be a simple chocolate sponge cake, must be some fudgy decant chocolate cake. To me, a chocolate torte seems close enough.

I learned that chocolate torte requires very little amount of flour, or no flour at all. It also requires that the egg whites be beaten separately from the yolks. It was a major breakthrough for me to try this out! Ever since I started my baking journey almost a year ago, I have Not tried beating egg whites before. Somehow, the process of beating egg whites seems so intimidating to me. I wasn't sure when the stiff peaks were formed, and I had to stop the mixer several times to check. After baking the cake, I still wasn't sure whether I got it right?! Anyway, I have finally overcome my fear, and I certainly have the courage now to try other recipes such as a chiffon cake!

The cake cracked while in the oven and sank a little after it was cooled. I like how the cake turned out...with the crusty, flaky surface. I left the cake at room temperature over night as I wanted to see how the texture would be like if it was not refrigerated. The very fine, smooth and soft texture of the cake was really pleasing to my taste buds. It was not sweet at all, and I love the slight bitter sweetness from the dark chocolate. Not to mention the chocolaty aroma filling my entire kitchen, spilling over to my living room when the cake was baking. I was very sure that my next-door neighbour could also smell it!

Well, the males in my family didn't really like the cake. They complained that the cake was not sweet enough, too soft, not like brownies, and they prefer MORE chocolates to be added! I wasn't bothered by their comments at all, as I truly enjoyed the taste and texture of this cake. Next time, I will make this again just for my OWN indulgence ;)

(make one 18cm cake)

150g dark chocolate
100g butter
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
70g caster sugar
30g cake flour
15g cocoa powder
icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degC. Line the bottom of an 18cm round pan (with removable base) with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides. Separate egg whites from egg yolks when the eggs are still cold from the fridge. (It's easier to separate eggs while they are cold). Sift together flour and cocoa powder, twice, set aside.
  2. Melt dark chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl is able to sit above the water and it should cover the pot so that steam will not get inside the bowl). Remove from heat. Let cool.
  3. With a manual whisk, whisk egg yolks with 20g of the caster sugar, till the mixture turns pale, becomes thick and creamy. Add in the melted chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk till well mixed. Add in flour mixture and fold gently with a spatula. Set aside.
  4. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld electric mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy and foamy.  Add half of the sugar amount and turn to high speed and beat the mixture. Continue to add in the remaining sugar and beat until the egg whites reaches the soft peak stage.The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. The egg whites should appear smooth and glossy. (Do not over beat the whites still stiff, it is better to beat the whites still soft peaks for easy folding with the yolk batter.)
  5. Add the egg white to the egg yolk mixture in three addition. Each time, fold in gently with a spatula, making sure all the egg whites are incorporated into the batter. Note that any unmixed egg white lumps may cause holes in the final product.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the cake pan slightly on tabletop a few times to release any trapped bubbles in the batter. Bake at 170 degC for 30 ~ 35 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumb. The cake surface will start to crack while still in the oven.
  7. Remove cake from oven, leave it in the pan for about 5mins. Unmould and let cool, right side up (do not invert) on wire rack. The cake is best eaten at room temperature. If stored in fridge, bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
Recipe source: adapted from Delicious!! Baked Cakes 

** This cake is best baked in a springform pan or one that has got a removeable base. If these are not available, besides lining the base of a normal pan with parchment paper, line the sides with parchment paper as well. Make sure the paper comes up about 1/2 inches higher than the rim of the pan. When ready to unmold, simply lift the cake by the parchment paper. Remove the paper and let cool right side up.


Anonymous said...

Lovely. I am into flourless (esp wheat) anything now.
Question: have you made bread using rice flour?
:-). Flourless

Anonymous said...

Lovely. I am into anything flourless (esp wheat) now.
Question: Have you made rice flour bread ie none wheat flour so far?
:-) new into cooking.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi anonymous, no, I have not tried anything with rice flour yet :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

That chocolate torte is just sinful, sweetie!!
You can send half my way, ok? :)

VB said...

Flourless? This is new to me leh. I hv seen recipes asking for rice flour but I don't know what that is and where to buy.......can u pls help? Oh, I think I'd love this chocolate cake as I think our taste is quite similar so I will try to bake it question, what is 'dark chocolate"? Can I just buy a bar of normal dark chocolate and use that? I know what u mean by "just baking for yr own indulgence"!!!!! ; )
ps. did u mk the pastry cake?

Lousy Baker said...

I also prefer cakes that are not too sweet. I think this cake will suit my taste too. Definitely going to try this. :) Is the chocolate torte supposed to crack and sink? If it doesn't, it means something is wrong?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Patricia, if I could, I will love to bake one of this and apparate it to you ;)

Hi vb, I am not so advance lah! I've not used rice flour before...I always think rice flour is meant for making Chinese dim sum, right?
Do try this out and let me know how you find it! I wasn't sure whether I got it righ. You have got more experience in beating egg whites than me! You can get dark chocolates from baking supply stores...they are basically chocolates meant for baking, and are made with higher cocoa butter content. Dark chocolates are either semi-sweet or bittersweet. It will not taste as good if you use normal chocolate bars. There was a change in plan, didn't manage to try the pastry cake :(

Mandy said...

I love flourless chocolate cake too! like you said, the chocolate flavor will be really intense. Too bad we are not neighbor, or I can beg you for a piece. ;p

Happy Homebaker said...

hi Lousy Baker, yes, the chocolate torte will crack on the cake surface and sink as it contains little or no flour to hold it up. I can't wait to see your posting on this :)

hi Mandy, I will love to be your neighbour too! You definetly have more to offer...I will be the one begging for your delicious meals and lovely bakes! ;b

Anonymous said...

Wheat (gluten) puts on wt. So non wheat flour for me nowadays. Have rice flour pasta. Tried brown rice bread too (bought from Holland V shop). No idea if that bread is made from rice flour la. Wondering if it can be done. Then i will be a bread lover too. :-) Flourless

lynn said...

That looks so luscious! I would have a blop of whipped cream on it and a big smile on my face.

Dinha said...

hi, Pretty its son, when asking for the chocolate cake! you seem to be a wonderful mother and dedicated, the cake was very pretty. until more.

Happy Homebaker said...

hi Lynn, I am sure it will go very well with whipped fact I have some left over whipped cream from the swiss roll. If not for my expanding waistline, I would be glad to pile it on ;)

hi dinha, thanks!

Debbie said...

Hi there! I just stumbled upon your site but I am defitnatly bookmarking it from now on. Wow! your cake looks so delicious and decadent. I have a question about one of your recipes from July 10, 2007. The green tea buns looked really good and I've been looking for a recipie like that. I was wondering if you could post up the recipie again because it seemed to have been taken down.
Thanks! and keep up your amazing baking!

Happy Homebaker said...

hi Debbie, thanks for stopping by :)
I didn't want to post the recipe for the green tea buns as they didn't taste good after I left them over night, although they tasted really soft and good on the day they were baked. The buns became dense and a little hard left over night. What I did was to use a sweet bun recipe from a cookbook and added in 5g of green tea powder (for baking) to make the dough. I wasn't sure whether it was the problem with the green tea powder or the red bean paste that made the texture of the buns became hard. hope you understand why I am not posting the recipe.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Debbie, upon another request, I have already posted the Green Tea Buns recipe. If you are still keen to try, you can refer to that posting.

JY said...


Where can I find more info & pix of a perfect torte?

Thanks in advance

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi JY, I have searched the internet and couldnt really get any info except this one in joyofbaking ( Maybe you would like to try search for cookbooks that specialise in chocolates? I am sorry, I am not able to provide much help in this area :(

JY said...

Thanks, will try her recipe next time.

Kitti said...

Lovely cake HH! I especially like the sugar dusting and the ribbon around it! I'm going to make this cake for my nephew who is allergic to wheat (with the joy of cooking recipe).
Also, to other's comment - i believe rice flour is simply ground up rice. A coffee or spice grinder works well for this. But you have to add other things to make a cake rise, you might look under 'Gluten-free' recipes on google :)

Min said...

Thanks for this great recipe. It tastes really good. It is rather easy and not time consuming at all. Just need 40 minutes and the cake is right in the oven!
BTW, the cake sank in the center, and I was expecting the crack as you mentioned, but it turn our perfectly fine. No crack at all.. huh, not sure what I have done wrong. I bake two, one on Thurs, and one on Fri. Both turn out the same. Sank in the centre and no crack. It's really wonderful to go with vanilla ice cream and mint leaf!! Thanks.

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Min, I am not sure what happens, but I suspect it could be due to the oven temperature. This cake will rise in the oven and upon cooling will shrink and sink in the centre. I am glad to know that you like this cake :)

lizziebeh said...


I just baked this and it look so good when I took it out but it shrank soooo badly. The top is all wrinkled. I've followed everything as per your instruction.. do you have any idea what happened to my cake? Appreciate your expert advice...

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi lizziebeh, this cake will shrink upon cooling, there it nothing wrong with it, and it is suppose to crack all over on the top ;) I am no expert in baking, but your can read about it from this professional baking site:

mommy of 3 said...


I tried out this recipe last night and weird, my cake didn't cake, can advise why? :(

Do you mind I link your blog from mine?

Mommy of 3

Simonne said...

I try baking this today.
This cake is kind of RICH!!
I have difficulty in fold in the egg whites, the egg yolk batter is kinda "dry"