Chocolate cake

The Italian chocolate cake that speaks to everyone’s molten heart

The category is… chocolate cake.

It’s a universal cake that celebrates children’s birthdays, a glass of sweet sherry and Roald Dahl’s Mathilde. It’s safe to say everyone has a recipe and this go-to covers a few pantry staples and is usually made with cocoa and / or chocolate as a building block.

This is the base but there are a lot of iterations. Viennese sacher torte, consisting of a chocolate sponge sandwiched with apricot jam, Sweden’s favorite kladdkaka during the fika era, which literally translates to “sticky cake”, a dense beauty and deliberately undercooked , up to the Argentinian chocotorta, the no-bake dessert of chocolate cookies soaked in cocoa milk before being covered with dulce de leche and cream cheese filling … come back right now, I need a slice of cake to finish writing this.

The chocolate cake has certainly earned its Universal Passport and Tupperware royalties.

On a trip to Emilia Romagna in Italy many years ago, I remember scribbling a recipe on the back of a napkin. I had bought the torta tenerina, a sticky brownie song cake from this little bakery / cafe around the corner where I was staying. The thin, light and crispy outer shell encompasses a soft and rich center.

Back the next day for another, then on the third day there was a mutual smile and recognition that I was there to buy that exact chocolate torta in her window, except this time she would share the know-how with me. In the time it took to grab the cake, wrap it, and pay for it, she swept through the ingredients and the process and I remember leaving with a cake in one hand and a chocolate-stained napkin in it. other. He was reading, dark chocolate, eggs (separated), a little sugar and a little butter and only two tablespoons of flour. Bake for less than 30 minutes and I had strict instructions to be patient and not serve it hot.

It wasn’t until Silvia Colloca’s torta Montenegro landed on our SBS Food desk that I realized it was actually the same cake; torta tenerina is torta Montenegro. “I forgot how good it is [recipe] it’s because I never succeed, it’s my brother’s job, ”laughs Silvia. The origins of the cake are said to honor the wife of King Vittorio Emmanuel III, the soft and tender heart of Elena of Montenegro, her molten center. ‘A tender cake’ because the flour is just enough to bind it so that it remains soft in the middle.

While I certainly never imply parting with your beloved loved one, torta tenerina is worth making into your baking at home.

Cook it at home

Preheat your oven to 180 ° C.

In a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt 200 g of dark chocolate (70%). Make sure the bowl does not touch the water, otherwise your chocolate will seize up and clump together (code to start over), making it “the only technical thing you need to know”, according to Silvia and She is not wrong. When your chocolate is melted, add 100g unsalted butter (or a vegetable or oil-based butter if you want to make this product dairy-free) and a pinch of salt. Stir until shiny, then set aside to cool completely.

Separate your 5 egg yolks from your whites in 2 medium-sized bowls. Whisk your whites with ⅓ cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk ⅓ cup of the sugar in your yolks until they turn white. Incorporate the cooled chocolate into the yolks mixture.

Stir in the beaten egg whites in three separate batches, making sure you don’t overwork and mix the air in the cake – you’ll be thankful for this “less is more” approach.

Sift two heaped tablespoons of flour, then stir a few times before pouring the dough into a 23 cm diameter cake mold. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Make sure to cool it completely in the pan. Don’t worry if it runs lightly, you can fix it by covering it with fresh berries, cream and / or icing sugar.

Otherwise, a fun game is to cut a slice every time you get up from your desk and walk around the house. A proven method, all in the name of looking from me to you.

Do you like history? Follow the author here: Instagram @farahceljo.

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