Thursday, 10 April 2008

Story of A Chocolate Torte

I had not just one but two chances to re-visit this classic chocolate torte recipe over two weekends.


This was a birthday cake I made for a close one. My younger boy was as eager to offer his help on both occasions. He even volunteered to fold in the egg whites...which I have to turn him down. It was better to have him sulk over it than to take the risk. After 'dolling-up' the cake a little, I asked my better half for his opinion...as I was quite happy with it, I was expecting to hear some nice comments. He took a look and commented matter-of-factly, "The cake cracked leh."


Yes, I had to agree happily that the cake was all craggy, to make things 'worst', it came with a well sunken centre too! and this is how it should be! As this sort of cake uses only a little amount of flour, even though it will rise in the oven, without flour to hold its structure, it will start to crack and collapse. Don't be fooled by the crusty exterior...I promise you, the inside is very smooth and moist. Hop over here to learn more about this kind of cakes.


I am sure you can spot those two tiny holes there...it was evident that I had checked the cake twice...once at 30mins and another, about 2 mins later, before I took out the cake. The cake should be done when a skewer inserted into the centre still comes out with a little moist crumb clinging onto it. You really wouldn't want to over bake it.

You see, my not-so-reliable oven, has got hot spots which can be rather annoying. The cake was over browned at one particular spot...as I didn't want to open the oven door to turn it around, halfway into baking...for fear that the cake would not crack!I believe the timing, and oven temperature is quite critical when baking this cake.


Compared to my previous attempts, I must say this latest version has cracked most beautifully.


The other cake I baked a week earlier was a far cry from this...Shiyan, if you are reading this, my apologies for not doing a good job. The cake didn't rise as high too. I suspect the main reason was the way the egg whites were whipped.

For the earlier cake, I had beaten the whites with just a pinch of salt...and nothing else. This is actually the recommended method stated in the recipe. It took a longer time to beat the whites to stiff peak...and the texture was not that silky and smooth...it looked more like foams...very porous...and I was quite sure I didn't over beat it. Whereas for this birthday cake version, I revert to the same way as I'd made the cake for the very first time. I took half the amount of sugar and added it a little at a time while beating the whites. It only took about 5mins or so to reach stiff form. The mixture was smooth and glossy, something which I am familiar with.


I didn't want to add any other cream or frosting to this cake, as I believe it tastes really good on it's own. I have used a dark chocolate with a 64% cocoa content...a Carrefour house brand. Even though it is cheap (compared to other brands), I thought it is considered quite a good quality chocolate.


So, for this plain looking cake, I dress it up with a good dusting of icing sugar and wrapped a ribbon around it.


I was very satisfied with how it looked...

...hmmm...until...


I found this ribbon in my cupboard!

Not unlike a girl who decided to change her outfit when she was just about to step out of her house...I just had to change the ribbon! and so, another round of dressing up and photo taking! I'll have to practice a lot more on how to tie a pretty knot though...the one that I did really cannot make it...so I had it well hidden in the photo ;')


Note: I have updated the recipe a little...hop over if you are interested to give this a try.

16 comments:

  1. Looks beautiful!

    I really like the pink ribbon. But then again, the red one is pretty too... hehe

    xox Sarah

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  2. Hi,

    I'm a little confused here. In your blog, you wrote that this is a flourless cake. But in the recipe, cake flour is added. Can you clarify?

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  3. Yours cracked more artistically than the video even!!!

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  4. Hi Sarah, I prefer the red one :)

    Hi Wendy, sorry for the confusion. Most of the time this sort of cake is made without flour...some recipes will use ground almonds or hazelnuts. Whereas for this recipe that I am using, it is almost flourless, as the amount of flour used is quite little. Once again my apologies for the confusion.

    Thanks vb!

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  5. both ribbons are nice leh, i wud have spent a long time just to decide which one to use... hehe...

    okie i confess... I very often will change my outfit again before I step out of the house.. I wud even make my way back into the house from the carpark to change my shoes... hehe....

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  6. What a lovely rich choccy cake looks divine :)

    Rosie x

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  7. Hi, I have baked this cake 3 times so far, thanks to you ! One silly question I need to ask you - how should I line the parchment paper ia a round pan to lift the cake out, so far I always invert it and of course, this destroys the appearance of the cake :(

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  8. Hi Anonymous, I usually cut one long strip of paper...the length is about a few cm longer than the circumference of the pan, and the width is about 4cm broader than the height of the pan. Make a fold, lenghthwise, about 2cm on one side of the strip. Use a scissor, cut slits about 2-3cm intervals for the entire length of the strip. Fit it inside the pan with the slits at the bottom. The slits will help the paper to fit better. Grease the pan a little to help stick the paper to the pan. Then line the bottom with a piece of round parchment paper. This way, when the cake is ready to umold, u can lift up the cake gently by holding onto the parchment paper. Do take note that the parchment paper should not come up too high above the cake rim, it may hinder proper heat circulation. Hope you understand what I mean.

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  9. Beautiful cake!!! My sister was beside me and she kept asking me to make the same cake. Only shows how appealing yours are!!! =D

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  10. It is beautiful plain as it is :)

    If you want to sift confectioners sugar over it use the bottom part as your top portion since the surface is more even (",)

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  11. Beautiful. Sorry to be frank, I think the red ribbonn is more classy. I dare not try this "high level" cake yet. hehe

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  12. Nice cake. My wife is also able to make cake like this.

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  13. Hi Ning's Mummy, I won't be surprised that every woman is guilty of this, lolz!

    Thanks Rosie!

    Bernice, you should bake one for your sis :)

    dear Anne, I very much like the cracky top ;)

    Sherlyn, I like the red ribbon too...somehow it matches the dark brown cake better :D

    Schufafrei, that's nice!

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  14. Dear HHB, thank you so much for taking the time to explain to me about lining the cake tin. I do appreciate it very much and will try it the next time i bake this cake cos my family and friends love this cake :) cheers !

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  15. Hi,

    Thanks for clarifyinhg. Your cake looks so nice, I thought of giving it a try.

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  16. This looks so sinfully rich. But I like anything that is chocolate. I must say I like the cracked look, gives it a very rustic, unpretentious feel.

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