Chocolate Walnut Torte

Chocolate Walnut Torte is a decadent, melt in your mouth cake that will satisfy the biggest chocolate cravings.  This cake has minimal flour, ground walnuts, chopped brandy-soaked dried apricots, which gives it much more than just chocolate flavor.  It’s an elegant dessert that will please everyone!

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I’ve just finished my 7th week of cooking school — SEVENTH!  My post on last week’s adventures in school will be coming soon, but first, I have to share this decadent Chocolate Walnut Torte.  We each made one in school on Friday, and were lucky enough to get to take them home.  I strategically walked 25 minutes to my train, took my 40 minute train ride home, and walked to my car without messing it up too much.  It’s amazing it made it to my house in one piece. 🙂

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This torte isn’t just a cake — it’s very special.  It’s made up mostly of melted chocolate and ground walnuts, and brandy soaked chopped dried apricots, which add a fabulous flavor and slightly chewy texture.  There’s hardly any flour in this cake, and it really reminds me of flour less chocolate cake, which is one of my favorite things ever.

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The treatment of the eggs sets this cake apart as well.  The eggs are separated, so the yolks are whisked in with the sugar, but the whites are whipped separately and folded in.  This cake is not dense whatsoever — it completely melts in your mouth. 🙂

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The cake is topped with a basic chocolate glaze, which only adds to it’s goodness.  This choc-aholic really appreciates that! 😉  The crowning glory on this cake is the caramel dipped walnuts, which look like jewels atop this elegant cake.

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This cake can be changed up to suit your tastes.  Not a walnut fan?  Try almonds or hazelnuts.  No dried apricots?  Try dried cranberries or cherries.  If you prefer not to soak your dried fruit in brandy, another alcohol or even fruit juice will work.  Oh, and you can make this gluten-free by using rice flour instead of flour.  This cake aims to please, and please it does. 🙂

Chocolate Walnut Torte
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Chocolate Walnut Torte is a decadent, melt in your mouth cake that will satisfy the biggest chocolate cravings. This cake has minimal flour, ground walnuts, chopped brandy-soaked dried apricots, which gives it much more than just chocolate flavor. It's an elegant dessert that will please everyone!
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
Chocolate Walnut Torte
  • 3 tablespoons minced dried apricots
  • ¼ cup brandy (another alcohol or fruit juice may be substituted)
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus another 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (may substitute with rice flour)
  • 2¾ ounces ground walnuts
  • pinch of salt
Candied Walnuts:
  • 10 perfect walnut halves
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • drop of lemon juice or pinch of cream of tartar
Chocolate Glaze:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
Instructions
Prepare the torte:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with melted butter. Line the bottom of the cake pan with a parchment round, and brush more melted butter on top of the parchment. Set aside.
  2. Place the dried apricots and brandy in a bowl and soak.
  3. Place the chocolate, water, and butter in a heat proof bowl. Fill a large sauté pan ¾ of the way full with water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn it off. Place the bowl with the chocolate in the hot water. This will melt the chocolate gently. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with the ½ cup sugar until pale yellow and thickened. Whisk in the chocolate mixture with the flour and walnuts. Add the apricots and the brandy and whisk once more.
  5. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar one tablespoon at a time, until firm and glossy. Be careful not to over whip. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the rest quickly but gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted about 1" from the edge of the cake shows moist crumbs. The center of the cake will still test very moist. Cool the cake on a wire rack completely in the pan.
Prepare the candied walnuts:
  1. Poke the tip of a skewer gently into each walnut half. Place waxed paper on the counter to catch drips, and use a potato or styrofoam to poke the bottom of skewer in as the caramel on the walnuts sets after dipping.
  2. Make a caramel by placing the sugar and water in a small saucepan with the lemon juice or cream of tartar. Cover and bring to a boil slowly without stirring. Uncover and cook without stirring until the syrup is a light golden brown. Remove from heat and quickly dip each walnut in the caramel. Press the bottom of the skewer in the potato or styrofoam, careful to avoid any very hot caramel drips! When the nuts have hardened, remove from the skewer and snip off any caramel tails or drops that have formed.
Prepare the Glaze:
  1. Once the cake has cooled completely, prepare the glaze. Place the butter, chocolate, and corn syrup into a heat proof bowl and melt in the same saucepan with hot water that was used for the chocolate for the cake. Allow the glaze to cool until slightly thick but still pourable.
  2. If the cake has cracks on the surface, press down gently around the edges until the top is flat or even. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan. Remove the cake from the pan by inverting over a plate. Remove the parchment paper, then place a cake round over the bottom of the cake that fits exactly, and invert once more. The cake should be placed on an upside down plate placed on top of a baking sheet or waxed paper to catch the chocolate glaze drippings.
  3. Pour the glaze into the center of the cake and tilt in a circular motion until the top of the cake is completely covered. If the sides aren't completely covered, use the glaze that has dripped onto the waxed paper to spread along the sides. When the glaze has set, decorate the cake with the candied walnuts and enjoy!
Notes
Total time above does not include the cooling time for the cake.

Recipe from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA.