4.16.2009

Chocolate Fudge Torte For Passover


My boyfriend invited me to his parents' house for Passover this year. I rarely show up anywhere empty-handed and I'd never celebrated Passover before, so I immediately began researching dessert recipes. When my boyfriend found out I wanted to make a dessert, he tried to discourage me, saying that Passover desserts just aren't good (meaning given the choice between a Passover dessert and a non-Passover dessert, he'd pick a non-Passover one). I'm not one to give up easily when it comes to making great-tasting food -- especially dessert -- so this sounded like a challenge to me.

I asked friends for their favorites, and I checked the many food sites and blogs I always turn to for inspiration. I finally decided to tackle Bon Appetit's chocolate fudge torte. It's a three-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. How could I go wrong? Besides that my frosting had a fear of thickening, this cake turned out wonderfully. It was moist and even a bit gooey -- in a good way, of course.

Chocolate Fudge Torte (from Bon Appetit, April 1996)

Frosting
10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I went with semisweet, as the flavor usually goes over better with kids.)3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted pareve margarine, diced
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup liquid nondairy creamer
Pinch of coarse salt

Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons matzo cake meal
2 tablespoons potato starch
5 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup liquid nondairy creamer

For Frosting:
Combine all ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth and just begins to bubble, about 8 minutes. Refrigerate until just thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. (I refrigerated the frosting for about 2 hours, and it only thickened slightly. Then I put it in the freezer for another couple of hours. It still didn't get as thick as I think it should have. It came out more glaze-like than frosting-like, but it tasted good.)



Meanwhile, prepare cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 15 1/2x10 1/2x1-inch baking sheet with foil, leaving overhang. Grease foil. Sift 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, cake meal and potato starch into medium bowl.



Combine egg whites and salt in large bowl. Using handheld electric mixer, beat whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar; beat until stiff but not dry. Using same beaters, beat yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in another large bowl until thick, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in oil, then nondairy creamer. Add dry ingredients; beat just until blended. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions.




Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out dry and cake feels firm to touch, about 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Freeze cake just until firm, about 30 minutes.



Using foil as aid, lift cake onto work surface. Cut cake crosswise into 3 rectangles, each about 5x10 inches. Slide large spatula under 1 cake rectangle; transfer to platter. Spread 2/3 cup frosting over. Top with second layer. Spread 2/3 cup frosting over. Top with third layer. Spread very thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake to coat thinly and anchor crumbs. Refrigerate 15 minutes to set thin coat of frosting. Spread remaining frosting decoratively over cake. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover loosely with foil; keep refrigerated.)

(Bon Appetit recommends decorating the top of the cake with chocolate shavings and mint leaves. I simply chopped some walnuts and tossed them on top for decoration.) Cut crosswise into slices and serve.


One of the usual problems that occurs when making a cake is that you're not able to taste the finished product before serving it to others. Well with the shape of this cake, it's easy to just trim the layers a little short and make a mini-cake for two. Perfect for night-before taste testing.

I cut a small rectangle from the end of each layer before I frosted the cake. No one can even tell any cake is missing once you coat the cut end with frosting.


Despite being disappointed with the frosting, I was pleased with this cake, and so was everyone who tried it!


4 comments:

Eliana said...

Yummy. This looks great and it didn't even seem like it was that big of a challenge ;)

Rachel said...

Your boyfriend is right, passover sweets as a rule *are* difficult and you've done an amazing job. Your cake looks fantastic. I'll have to give it a go next year!

My grandmother used to make a kind of matzo tiramisu - layers of matzo soaked in coffee and then sandwiched with coffee cream. I think. It still shows up in my dreams sometime.. I should chase down the recipe!

(Although the best part of passover is definitely matzo brei drenched in pure maple syrup - I'm quite willing to play at being kosher at breakfast time!)

Megan said...

Thanks, Eliana!

Rachel - That tiramisu sounds delcicious! If you ever track down the recipe, I hope you'll post it! Maybe I can make that next year. :o)

Meghan said...

This torte sounds delicious! It looks so pretty all decorated!