I set my timer to clock whether I could indeed have the cake in the oven in 15 minutes. I didn't count the time it took me to measure the butter (mine comes in a 1 lb block), nor, of course, the time it took for the butter and eggs to come to room temp (speeded by the microwave and a bowl of warm water respectively), and for the melted chocolate to cool (aided by the fridge).
Everything else really was very quick, and the timer rang just as I was scraping the last of the cake batter off of the food processor blade. If I'd sprayed the pan instead of rubbing it with butter, the cake would have actually made it into the oven within the 15 minutes! Nice as that was, the real magic would have been if the dishes had cleaned themselves!!
- The TWD bakers had quite a lively discussion about the amaretti/amarettini cookies that are used in this recipe. They are not particularly easy to find, especially at a reasonable price. Back in January I was going to bake a recipe that called for these cookies as an ingredient. I searched several stores with no luck, and then finally located some. But, (and this makes me sound hopelessly clueless) not only can I not remember where I finally found the cookies, I can't remember which recipe I was going to make! Luckily I did remember where I'd put them... Anyway, my best guess is that they came from World Market. The are called Amaretti Cookie Snaps, and the brand is Lazzaroni (although the writing on the package looks like it spells "Larzaroni"). This is the brand that Dorie says she prefers. Just for comparison purposes I picked up a pack of amaretti cookies from my neighborhood Starbucks - these "Amaretti del Chiostro Autentici" claim to be the original almond cookie from the Cloister of Saronno, Italy. The two brands of cookie are similar in texture and ingredient list, although I will say that the Lazzaroni ones have a pronounced almond flavor (although neither almonds nor almond flavoring are on the list of ingredients).
A major ingredient in both is - surprisingly - apricot kernels! I would not hesitate to use either one, or a combination of the two, for this torte (this time I used the Lazzaroni). The key is to use 2.75 oz of the ground up cookie.
Amaretti Autentici (bought from Starbucks) on the left
Lazzaroni Amaretti Cookie Snaps on the right
both: imported from Italy
- I baked my torte for 26 min - it was, as Dorie describes it: dry, puffed up, and a bit cracked. When I tested for doneness, the knife deflated the cake and it ended up flat, and yes, very thin.
- And here's where I have a confession to make:
I knew that I wanted to freeze this cake, and that it would be easier to freeze without the ganache glaze on it. At the same time, I had a whole bowl of leftover ganache in the fridge from Sweet Melissa's Brooklyn Brownout Cake. Sooo, I cut a little slice of Dorie's torte, spooned a bit of Melissa's ganache on top of the slice, whipped up a bit of cream, and barely eked out a photo in the last light of the day. Then I tasted the cake slice and froze the rest unglazed.
- When I thaw this cake and serve it, I plan to make the glaze that is supposed to go with it - I promise! I really love Dorie's bittersweet-based ganache glazes (The one I used, Melissa's, is a semisweet-based ganache). I will come back to this post and update it with a full report on how the cake tastes with its intended finishing touches.
This is a slim and sophisticated European-type torte. I love the technique of using crushed cookies and almonds in place of flour in this torte, and I equally love that the whole thing can be made in a matter of, well, 16 minutes. As for the taste, the almond flavor really comes through, along with the slightly crunchy texture of the cookies and the nuts. There's plenty of chocolate richness, so a little piece packs a powerful flavor payoff.
If I had to choose just one slim chocolate cake/torte from Dorie's book I'd have to give the edge to the Chocolate Armagnac Cake (that I baked with Grand Marnier), but this almond torte is also a keeper. Its lovely elegance is impressive and its chocolate + almond flavor is memorable. The 16 minute preparation time is a bonus, and if the dishes did magically wash themselves, it would be the clear winner! (I actually typed that "the clean winner"!! Guess who still has a sinkful of dirty dishes from this cake?)
Thanks to Holly of Phe/MOM/enon- for choosing this week's delicious cake. If you'd like to bake this yourself, the recipe is on pages 276-277 of Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours, or you can check out Holly's post where you will find the recipe online.