Chocolate and raspberry is perhaps my favourite dessert combination. I particularly like the two in cake or ice cream. For a seven-person dinner we hosted on Saturday, I decided to make a chocolate raspberry torte, something that I could do ahead of time, and that looked elegant enough for company.
The recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated’s Nov/Dec 2010 issue. Gabe and I made the cake on Friday night. First, we melted chopped chocolate and butter in the microwave, instead of the cumbersome double boiler. Cooling the mixture down to room temperature was easy, given the -10°C temperatures outside.
We took another shortcut by using 4 ounces of ground almonds instead of processing sliced almonds. The rest of the recipe was straightforward, although the volume of my whipped eggs seemed high, making the final batter quite light in colour, compared with the version in the CI video. My cakes needed the full 16 minutes of baking and turned out fine.
After resting overnight, I inverted the cakes the next morning onto some makeshift “cardboard” rounds: cork trivets wrapped in wax paper. Unfortunately, one cake developed a crack as I was peeling off the parchment.
The raspberry fruit and jam filling was easy, and my only tip here is to not spread it all the way to the edge, as it will naturally spread when you stack the other cake layer on top.
Getting the ganache glaze to be even is simple as long as your cake is level, or else gravity will cause the chocolate to slope to one side. My wrapped trivet caused it to tilt a little bit, so my ganache started to drip off of one side. And that crack in the cake was visible, as the glaze wasn’t thick enough to fill it in.
I had more trouble than expected applying the nuts to the side. My hands couldn’t quite get the hang of rotating the cake, and I contorted myself awkwardly trying to get the entire circumference covered. As a final garnish, I sprinkled the top with strawberry Crispearls. Their pink colour was a nod towards Valentine’s Day.
This cake was a winner. Even though the layers are nearly flourless, they weren’t too rich and dense, and the ground nuts provided a bit of texture. Using fresh raspberries in the filling and garnish brought welcome tart flavours, and the nuts and crispy pearls really made for a great contrast.