Chocolate. Yes, chocolate is my very favorite of all sweet indulgences. Yours too? I already knew that. That’s why I’m sharing with you my latest creation, Chocolate Decadence Torte, naturally gluten free because it is a flourless cake, of sorts. In fact, it only has a handful of ingredients. My inspiration for this recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s, The Cake Bible. She uses just three ingredients: chocolate, butter and eggs. Because we are dairy free, I opted for organic palm fruit shortening and I add in a nice dose of pure vanilla extract and a sprinkling of espresso powder to heighten the chocolate factor and mask any “interesting” flavors our non-butter butter substitute may contribute. Face it, butter brings fabulous flavor. But when we try to create yummy dairy free desserts that utilize butter as a key ingredient, you have to add a little extra pizazz to adjust for the flavor that the butter would have provided. Keep that tip in mind when adjusting your old recipes to accommodate your new dietary restrictions. Sometimes a few extra herbs, spices, or natural flavoring/extracts are all that are needed to bring the oomph back to your old favorites.
To create the torte, I first chopped up some high quality bittersweet chocolate into small pieces and placed it in the top of my vintage double boiler (along with palm fruit shortening for the fat). The one that my husband’s parents passed down to us when we were married. If you don’t have a fancy schmancy set up like this, simply fill a small saucepan with an inch of water and bring it to the boil. Turn the heat down on the water until it is almost simmering. Place your chocolate in a stainless steel or pyrex bowl larger than the pot containing the water. Place the bowl over the water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water (or the chocolate could scorch) and that steam is not escaping around the bowl (or the water from the steam could cause your chocolate to seize). Voila, you’ve just created a water bath or as the French call it, a bain marie (Mary’s bath).
Next I whisked some eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer over the simmering water in the water bath until the eggs were just warm to the touch. The eggs were then beaten in the mixer until tripled in volume and soft peaks formed. Lastly, I folded the eggs gradually into the chocolate mixture before pouring the batter into a springform pan.
What I love about this cake (torte), aside from being chocolate, is that it can either be dense and fudgy served chilled straight from the refrigerator or the softest and creamiest truffle-like bliss you’d ever want to slip your fork into if let to sit at room temperature a few hours before serving. Topped with ganache, drizzled with a berry coulis or creme anglaise, or accompanied by a scoop of sorbet, this dessert would find perfect company onto your fanciest of dinner party menus. And since there is no added sugar (aside from what might exist in the chocolate you choose to use) your child might just pick up a slice at 7 a.m. after you ask ‘what do you want for breakfast?’ because he knows his mommy made him a sugar free and gluten free and dairy free treat that he thinks he can eat any time of day. This particular boy has been (mostly) contentedly and unarguably accepting homemade sweet treats for the last six months that include only dates, bananas, or apples. Certainly, he was elated to enjoy a more “normal” tasting dessert that elicited memories of too frequent sweet treats created by mom the chef and baker before we began this exciting dietary journey. I hope your fans enjoy it as much as mine did. As for me, I’ll be making this one again soon.