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
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.