Chocolate and walnut torte: only for those who are not afraid of the “dark”


I started to like dark chocolate quite late in life; as a child, I remember the disappointment of receiving dark chocolate eggs for Easter, the merriment of my relatives, and the wonder “who on earth would like to eat that”? I have always identified dark chocolate as the chocolate “for adults”, as something with an acquired taste, that does not go down well with children. That is, of course, until my child showed me how little kids too can go crazy for it.

Somehow, the beginning of my real passion for baking is associated, in my mind, to when I started to love chocolate and now I cannot even remember why it has not always been like that. Chocolate is the ultimate baking and patisserie ingredient: master working with chocolate and you can call yourself a pastry expert. And dark chocolate is the king.

I cannot really claim to be there yet, but I always try new recipes or work out some of my own. This torte is the results of a few experiments of mine with my favourite chocolate; so dark it is sometimes difficult to find in shops; so dark that once the cake is in the oven you need to be extremely careful, because you will not be able to check from the colour whether the cake has burnt.

One of the first people who tried this said that “this is how a chocolate cake worthy of that name should be”; which, for me, is as good as it gets, in terms of appreciation to my baking. Try it if you like bitter intense chocolate, the roasted smell of the walnuts give it an extra kick, or even if you are not a great fan of dark chocolate: you may start loving it.



200gr 90% dark chocolate (if you cannot find 90%, 80% would do almost the same job)

200gr 50-70% dark chocolate in small pieces

300gr butter

250gr brown sugar

5 large eggs

100gr plain flour

50gr corn starch

50gr cocoa powder

350gr roasted and ground walnuts

1 level tsp of salt

1 heaped spoon of baking powder

13-15 walnut halves for decoration

Melt the 90% chocolate and butter and let cool slightly. Mix eggs and sugar with a whisker at high speed to obtain a foamy and light mix. In the meantime, mix all the powder ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder).

Add the chocolate and butter to the eggs and sugar mix and whisk gently. Add the powders in 3-4 batches mixing very gently with a metallic spoon from the bottom to the top. Add the walnuts and the chocolate in pieces, mix a little more.

Butter and cover with some cocoa powder a cake tin, add the cake batter, decorate with the walnut halves, and bake at 180°C for about 45 minutes, the centre of the cake has to be still wobbly when taken out of the oven, and not properly cooked (check with a knife or a stick, they should come out dirty). Once cooled down, the centre will collapse slightly, don’t worry, it means it is cooked perfectly.



Mini-muffins: baking as a gift


Two weeks ago, I started a 42 weeks long sugar-strike: no added sugar or sweets of any kind until the 26th of February. I don’t want to bother you with the details and the “whys” and the “hows” of this decision, but one thing I was a bit worried taking this step was my blog. Not being able to taste and try and eat what I make will be surely a big challenge, but then I thought: well, OK, baking is more like Science, so the really important thing is not to taste but to follow the recipe. And in all truth, if I want to develop something new or make my own adaptations and try new things there will always be a number of people willing to make the “sacrifice” of tasting my concoctions on my behalf, my husband, for example, has already signed up very happily.

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Chocolate and Guinness naked cake: baking back to grown-up world


I come back to this blog after an excessively long break. A break that was needed but that was never planned to be this long. A break because when a little ball of cuteness of 52 cm x 4kg literally bursts into your life your priority list doesn’t just need to be readjusted, it pretty much disappears in front of you, you don’t even remember there ever was a priority list.

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Pistachio, Orange e chocolate Runeberg Cakes, or Dante’s Peaks


Last week on Friday Finland celebrated Johan Runeberg, national poet and namesake of one the most popular and loved sweets, the Runeber Cake. As most things in Finland people stick to the traditional recipe in q almost religious way: a tall tower of almonds and breadcrumbs sponge and a shiny topping of raspberry jam glaze surrounded by a layer of sweet icing.

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Pear and chocolate Pavlova: when something doesn’t need to be perfect to be delicious.

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Midsummer (Juhannus, in the local language) is a pretty big deal her in Finland. Despite the fact that the weather is normally as crappy as it’s get (and this year was no exception) it marks the beginning of the “hot” season, the days are the longest and the nights are pretty much only a virtual concept. People head to their summer cabins by the lake, enjoy the nature, the mosquitoes and, in many case, a copious amount of alcohol.

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Chocolate and marmalade bread and butter pudding


Imagine of being in charge of breakfast on Easter Monday and the cupboard in the house is empty. If you take a trip to the local a patisserie before 9am you might even find and buy croissant and local sweets, but considering time and day it is quite likely that what you bought is at least one day old, dry, not at its prime. If then, on top of that, you go to a supermarket and buy some freshly made still warm bread you can be practically sure that the stale pastry will not even make its way out of the bag.

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