This simple chocolate torte is a dinner party stand-by in our house. You can flavour it with a variety of things from coffee to whisky to orange zest to a pinch of chilli, or you can just leave it as a plain but intense dark chocolate torte. It’s surprisingly light because of the absence of flour, and for that reason is also suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
200g good quality dark chocolate (at least 72% cocoa)
4 large eggs, separated
60g caster sugar
Flavourings (or not) of your choice.
Cocoa for dusting plus any gold sugarcraft lustre powder/stars/baubles you may or may not want to use (it looks just as good simply dusted with cocoa powder).
9 inch spring form cake tin, greased and lined.
Break up the chocolate, cube the butter and melt them slowly in a bowl set over a gently simmering pan of water (don’t let the bowl touch the water).
Whisk the eggs whites with half the sugar until they form soft peaks and beat the other half of the sugar with the egg yolks until pale and creamy.
At this stage, add any flavourings if you’re using them. For coffee, finely grind a good tablespoon of cafetiere coffee and and mix it to a paste with whisky, water, brandy or whatever and add it to the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Ditto with grated orange zest or a pinch of chilli, sea salt, etc.
The next bit is all about being patient for a few minutes. First of all gently combine the egg yolk and egg white mixture, turning it over and over slowly with a large spoon until mostly combined – the name of the game is to keep as much air in it as possible. Next, pour the chocolate and butter mixture in and, again, slowly combine until the mixture is an even colour.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake at gas mark 3, 170 celcius or 325 fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin, then decorate as you like.
NB: The torte will be quite puffed up when it comes out of the oven and will then fall back. This is supposed to happen!