Torte is a rich dessert cake made with little or no flour. The ingredients tend to be very simple, using copious amounts of eggs for leavening and body, along with unsalted butter and sugar, and sometimes ground nuts for a flour substitute.
Chocolate torte is probably the most famous of the tortes, and when well made a chocolate torte is a rich, intense chocolate dessert which tastes superb on its own, without any icing or glaze. Another well known chocolate torte is Linzer torte, which uses ground hazelnuts in addition to chocolate.
The word torte is German, borrowed from the Italian torta, for a type of bread. To make a chocolate torte, start by assembling very high quality ingredients. You do not need many, so do not stint on any part of the process. If possible, use farm-fresh locally collected eggs, very high quality baking chocolate, and very good sweet butter. Plain granulated sugar is best, and brown sugar should be avoided, as it will alter the flavor of the chocolate torte.
To assemble a chocolate torte, you will need a lightly oiled springform pan, two mixing bowls, a double boiler, a spatula, a wooden spoon, and an egg beater or electric mixer. You will also require 12 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate, nine eggs, 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and three quarters of a cup of granulated sugar. If desired, add up to one quarter cup finely ground nuts or cocoa powder.
Start by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring until it has completely liquefied. Next, cream the butter with the sugar in a mixing bowl, using the wooden spoon or an electric mixer. Add the yolks of the eggs two at a time, separating the whites into the other mixing bowl, which should be spotlessly clean and free of grease. Once all the egg yolks are beaten in, slowly add the melted chocolate, stirring with the spatula to combine well.
Beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold them into the chocolate mixture with the assistance of the spatula. Integrate the egg whites fully, but try to avoid smashing or overblending, as you want the chocolate torte batter to stay light and fluffy. Pour the batter into the oiled pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) before pulling the chocolate torte out to cool, and unmolding to serve. This recipe is gluten free, and is a great thing to serve to gluten intolerant guests.
If chilled overnight, a chocolate torte will become dense and almost fudgy. Fresh chocolate torte is still very rich, with a lightly crackled top. It can be served plain, glazed with a flavored ganache, dressed with whipped cream, or decorated with fresh fruit. Try not to go overboard with toppings, and allow the rich chocolate flavor to come through. Since you have spent time and money on the body of the torte, also avoid cheap toppings which might detract from the flavor.