Why It Works
- Vanilla and roasted, ground hazelnuts temper the intensity of the dark chocolate.
- A springform pan makes removing the torte a snap.
Hey you. Yeah, you there in the corner, trying to hide behind the big bag of flour. You think you can't bake fancy desserts? I don't believe you. What? You say that none of the cakes you make turn out? Pssh. Let me show you a recipe so easy that I made it when I was eight years old.
Yeah, you heard me. Are you going to let an eight-year-old out-bake you? I didn't think so.
This cake recipe is one of the easiest desserts you can possibly make. It's very low in flour so you don't have to worry about overworking the gluten, and the only part that even remotely smacks of "intermediate level" is melting the chocolate. (And if you've got any idea what a double boiler is, it shouldn't give you any trouble at all.) If the idea of roasting hazelnuts gives you the cold sweats, skip the roasting altogether and use 3/4 cup of pre-ground hazelnut flour instead. You can also use almond flour.
Once you've got the chocolate and nuts squared away, all you have to do is mix a bunch of stuff in a bowl and pour it into a greased pan. That's all there is to it. Despite the lack of complexity involved in this recipe, the end result is still a gorgeously elegant, dense, and decadent chocolate cake that will surely impress whomever you offer it to. A generous dusting of powdered sugar on top completes the presentation.
Guess what? You now look like a baking ninja.
This torte is a classically dense, rich dessert. The darker the chocolate you use, the more intense it will be; I prefer 70% chocolate, though you could use 63% if you like, or semi-sweet, or even milk chocolate if you're of that ilk. The hazelnuts round out this cake with a wonderfully toasty flavor, while a healthy dose of vanilla provides a gently sweet aroma to balance out all that dark chocolate. I add a pinch of cinnamon for a little something-something, and if you like, you could even double that amount for a little something-something extra.
Regardless, it's pretty tough to screw up this cake. It might even survive over-baking, but I wouldn't push it too far.
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70%), chopped
5 ounces of whole hazelnuts (1 heaping cup)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Powdered sugar for garnish
Set oven rack to the middle of your oven, and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Grease an 8-inch round cheesecake pan with butter and set aside. (An 8-inch springform pan will work just fine as well.)
Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Start by setting a small pot of water to boil on the stove. Once water is boiling, reduce heat to low and set a heatproof bowl into the pot so that it rests on top and does not fall in. Add chocolate to the bowl and stir constantly until completely melted. Remove chocolate from heat and allow to cool completely.
Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. When oven is at temperature, slide baking sheet into oven. Roast nuts until they are golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove nuts from oven and allow to cool completely. Lower oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
Using a dry, rough washcloth, rub nuts together to remove most of the skins. Transfer nuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they form a semi-fine powder, about the texture of coarse sand, 10 to 12 short pulses. Do not over chop, or you'll end up with an oily, separated mess. Set aside ground nuts.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until mixed. Add flour, salt, and cinnamon, beating for another 30 seconds. Pour in ground hazelnuts and scoop in chocolate, beating until well mixed, about 1 minute.
Pour batter into the greased pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with just a few streaks of matte-looking chocolate, about 30 minutes. The middle may still look a little underdone, which is fine as long as the toothpick isn't covered with what looks like wet chocolate batter. Once done, remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack.
Once cake is cool, carefully remove the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto a serving platter and remove parchment circle. Let sit for 20 minutes before dusting liberally with powdered sugar for garnish. Serve immediately or seal in plastic before storing in the refrigerator.
8-inch cheesecake pan or springform pan
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 8 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 27g||35%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||56%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|