Thursday, March 4, 2010


Baking from Seattle local Fran's Pure Chocolate today.

Fran describes this tort as one of the most accessible in her book for new bakers and I would agree. It was very simple to make and the result, a rich Viennese style fruit and nut torte that is intensely fragrant. As Fran puts it: "...When you slice into it the room fills with the most remarkable orange essence."

The tort is dense, pebbly with almonds and moist with a total twenty tablespoons of butter. Did that get your attention? Yea, this is one of those 'yum... oh no, what have I done' desserts.

In other 'Oh no, what have I done' news. Ms. Humble ordered a new ice cream maker last night. No, not the pricey gelato machine I wanted, I settled on a much more reasonable Cuisinart. I figure having it around will prevent me from buying the gelato maker and then quickly spiraling out of control on a month long gelati binge.

Fran's L'Orange
from Pure Chocolate
6 ounces (170g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 large navel oranges
12 tablespoons (169g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups (188g) almond meal

Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 300°F.

Lightly butter a 9-inch metal pie or cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate over low heat. Set the chocolate aside to cool, keeping the water simmering in case the chocolate thickens while you're preparing the cake.

Wash the oranges thoroughly and then zest them with a microplane directly into the mixing bowl you will be using. This ensures that none of the wonderful orange oil will escape.

Add the butter and sugar to the orange zest and beat on medium high speed using the paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes. When the butter and sugar is fully creamed (light and fluffy) scrape down the bowl. Continue to beat on medium high adding the eggs to the mixture one at a time. Beat this mixture for three minutes on medium high until it has lightened in color and increased in volume.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the almond meal with a rubber spatula. When the flour is incorporated, fold in the melted chocolate.

Pour this mixture into your prepared pan and baked for 40-45 minutes until puffed and domed in the center with slight cracks near the edge of the pan. A cake tester inserted with have a few moist crumbs attached.

Allow to cool at room temperature in the pan for 15 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the pan. Invert the cake onto a flat dish lined with a piece of parchment.

Allow the cake to completely cool then you're ready to glaze.

Fran's Chocolate Butter Glaze

from Pure Chocolate
4 ounces (113g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature

In a double boiler melt the chocolate over low heat. Remove the chocolate when nearly melted and continue to stir until smooth. Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time stirring until no traces of butter remain. If the butter melts and turns greasy, stop and allow the chocolate to cool slightly before adding the remaining butter.

When done, the graze should be glossy and smooth. At about 80-85°F the glaze is ready to use (when stirred it will hold a line on the surface for about 10 seconds before disappearing).

Transfer the cool tort from the plate using the parchment and then place it (minus the parchment) onto a wire rack. Set the rack over a jelly roll pan to catch excess glaze. Trim any uneven edges on the tort and then you can pour the glaze.

Start by pouring the glaze around the tort, about 1 1/2 inches from the edge letting it coat the sides. Pour the remaining glaze into the center of the cake. Spread the glaze with a offset spatula to smooth and touch up any missed spots. Allow to set at room temperature until firm. In about 30 minutes the glaze will be firm enough that you can transfer it gently from the rack to a serving dish.

The tort will keep quite well at room temperature for roughly three days. You may store it in the fridge, but the glaze will lose its glossy finish.

Sorry I don't have many photos for today's post. I was having a wretched time getting the exposure right and most of my photos look freakish.


  1. And here you present another dessert I have to try. Reading your blog is bad for my diet.

  2. Oh my God, this looks and sounds so good!!! Now if only I wasn't allergic to almonds.... What do you think, can this be made without adding any? Would it taste equally good?

  3. I'm pretty sure the recipe needs the almonds, as they make up most of the torte's density. Without them the cake would be more like a souffle. A poorly balanced souffle (ingredients wise).

  4. group treadmill anyone??

    this looks DIVINE! I am baking for a shower in a couple of weeks & this will be on the top of the list!

  5. Oh this looks so beautiful!!

  6. I'm meant to be laying off the cakes but... I'm tempted.

  7. Yummmmm!!!! Can I please have this for breakfast?


  8. Mmmmm...I agree with the're deadly to diet.But I'm certain the tight pants rewarded with this torte would be well worth it

  9. I am so happy you quote weights as well as tablespoons! Our (Down Under) tablespoon measurments are different to US. Great torte!Cheers Robyn

  10. Do you think this would work with almond flour? I've got a ton I need to use up!

  11. I'm pretty sure almond flour will work just fine.

  12. This looks sooo good. I miss being in Seattle--it's like Emerald City for Foodies.

    Ha ha...I just realized I made a huge joke, and I didn't even mean to!

    I think I've been watching too much Wizard of Oz...

  13. Julia, are you allergic to just almonds or most nuts? Because this would be lovely if you subbed in hazelnut meal - make it yourself by whizzing them up in a processor.

  14. Does that mean I have to share my recipe for gelato with you? The one from the bar in Rome?

  15. This looks divine! Orange, chocolate, and almond meal? I am definitely going to have to make this...eventually! :)

  16. I just made this today. It's amazing! Thank you so much. :)

    Do you think the glaze would be OK with a little less butter or would it set too hard?

    On a fangirlish note, I'm already wishing my friend hadn't linked me to your blog a few days ago. So many awesome things to make!

  17. The glaze would probably work fine with less butter. However you're right that it will set harder. You'll also need to be a little more mindful of the consistency/temperature so you can glaze the cake easily.

    I will say one thing about that cake and all the butter on top, it stays moist for ages.

  18. Well, I took half of it into work today (it was a wrench, but I couldn't let myself eat the whole thing) and it was gone within ten minutes.

    Unanimous decision: glaze is fine just the way it is. :)


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