Monday, February 4, 2008

I would rather bake tortes than study torts

And sometimes I do.

The mad hippie engineers have struck again. Last night I baked an eighteen-inch flourless chocolate torte in a cake pan liberated from a giant Tesla coil.

(They're mad hippie engineers. They built it in their basement.)

Said flourless chocolate torte is my favorite cake. As I've already explained, I'm not much of a baker, and the dessert recipes I love best are the ones that are easily memorized. This torte has just three ingredients: eggs, butter, and chocolate. It is relatively simple. And it is far more than the mere sum of its parts.

My favorite torte is officially named the "Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte," and is the work of Rose Levy Berenbaum, author of the much-lauded Cake Bible. I'm not a fan of the official name. I usually refer to it as either the "Killer Chocolate Cake" or the "Murderous Chocolate Torte."

Why murderous? Well, you'll understand perfectly five or ten minutes after eating too much of it. Just ask the mad hippie engineers.

Murderous Chocolate Torte

Rose Levy Berenbaum's recipe provides exquisitely detailed instructions. I am not so precise. Follow my directions at your own risk.

(Serves one, if one has a death wish. Better to round up eight or nine more people with which to share it.)

1/2 pound butter (preferably at room temperature)
1 pound dark chocolate chips
6 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)

Preheat oven to 425F.

Melt the butter in a big mixing bowl set over simmering water. Add the chocolate chips and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Set aside.

Beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk over simmering water until the mixture is warm. Remove from heat and resume beating until they're enormously foamy and form soft peaks.

Pour half the eggs into the chocolate mixture and fold in very gently.

Fold in the rest of the eggs. Stir very gently until all the eggs are fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a nonstick eight-inch cake tin. Place the cake tin in a baking tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the tin. Transfer the baking tray to the oven.

Bake the cake for five minutes, uncovered. After five minutes, cover with a piece of tinfoil and bake for an additional ten minutes. Remove the cake from the oven. It will probably still look soft and wobbly - that's normal. Leave the cake on a rack to cool, then chill in the fridge.

To unmold the cake, set the cake tin in another hot water bath for two to three minutes. Turn it out on a platter. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving. For the final lethal touch, you can serve it with whipped cream, raspberry coulis, or candied orange peel.

Note: Should you wish to bake an eighteen-inch Murderous Chocolate Torte, you'll need to triple the quantities and give it an additional five minutes of baking time.


Katy said...

Much more fun than torts! Seriously, that sounds incredible. I've never made a flourless chocolate cake, but I am putting it on my "list"!

Alex said...

Notice the propane canisters in the background.

Ann said...

Excellent! I like this scientist-geek approach your blog has been taking of late. ;-)

adele said...

The mad scientists like it too. :)

laurel said...

my roommate makes this same recipe. we call it the death cake.