This chocolate and almond torte is rich and sophisticated; so its perfect for a dinner party dessert. It features macerated red berries which contrasts beautifully against the dark chocolate cake. The icing is optional, but adds an extra edge to this lovely dessert...which tastes even better the next day.
Ingredients for Cake
200g dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
200g milk cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
300ml thickened cream (can be reduced fat)
125g unsalted butter, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, seperated at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
Ingredients for Macerated Red Berries
1 punnet of strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
2 generous scoops of cherries, washed but with stalks in tact
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
Ingredients for Optional Icing
1 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
3-4 tbs cocoa powder, to taste
2 1/2 tbs butter
2 dashes of milk
Preheat oven to 150 degrees (fan-forced) and grease and line a round springform tin. To make the macerated berries, combine the fruits, sugar and juice in a large bowl. Cover and set aside for 1-2 hours to macerate and gently stir every 1/2 hour so all the fruits are covered. Meanwhile, place the chocolates, cream, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring with a metal spoon, for 5 minutes or until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined. Stir in the almond meal. Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Use an electric beater to beat the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks form. Add a large spoonful of egg white to the chocolate mixture. Fold until well bombined. Fold in the remaining egg white and then pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface before baking in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is firm to touch. Set aside in the pan for 20 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the cake with cocoa powder, or alternatively ice with chocolate icing. Either way, serve with macerated berries and cream.
Method for Icing
Sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder; mix in the softened butter and milk and beat until smooth. Add extra milk or cocoa if necessary. Ice the cake and serve with macerated berries, and cream.
When melting chocolate it is best to use a metal spoon as the moisture in wooden spoons can make chocolate seize (harden).