Blueberry Chocolate Torte


Recently, I asked for some baking challenges from friends.  I am a huge fan of trying out new recipes, and getting suggestions allows me to learn some new skills in the kitchen.  The first suggestion I received was for a torte cake.  This term was new to me, and after checking out recipes learned it is a layered cake.  I saw many varieties, some a few layers of cake separated by mousse or filling.  Once I knew what I was dealing with, I was excited about the opportunity to make something seriously delicious!



I used a Double Chocolate Torte recipe to make mine, but swapped out the raspberries for blueberries and made a few other adjustments along the way.

To make the cake, I melted the butter and bittersweet chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat.  I stirred it frequently to prevent burning.  Once everything was melted, I removed it from the heat and set it aside to cool slightly.


In the meantime, I prepared the cake pan by spraying some nonstick baking spray in a springform cake pan, then sprinkled sugar over it.


I waited until the batter was cool to the touch, then used a whisk to mix in the sugar. I added in the eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each. Finally, I stirred in the vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, and flour.



I got the pan in the oven and baked it for 35 minutes, until the center was cooked.  The entire cake puffed up significantly in the oven, but once it cooled down flattened to about half that size.  I set the cake aside to cool down.


Next, it was mousse time.  I melted some butter in a double boiler over simmering water, making sure the bottom of the boiler did not touch the water per the original recipe instructions.


In a small bowl, I whisked together the egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla and almond extracts until combined.


I slowly poured the egg yolk mixture into the double boiler with the melted butter, whisking constantly.  I added in a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.  The mixture looked a bit separated at this point.


Once the mixture had reached 150 degrees F, I removed it from the heat and added in the chocolate.


I stirred in the chocolate chips until the mixture was well combined, then set it aside to cool.


Next, I placed the egg whites with the sugar in my stand mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes.


Once the whites had peaks forming, it was ready. I tested this by removing the beater and seeing if the egg white stood up where I removed it.


I poured the chocolate, butter, and yolk mixture into a bowl.


I first whisked in 1/4 cup of the egg whites, then gently folded in the rest to finish off the mousse.  I finished the mousse before the cake was cooled enough, so I went ahead and set it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.


I spread the mousse over the cooked cake, smoothing out the top so it was flat.  At this point the mousse was still very fluid and needed to solidify a bit.  Despite going in the fridge for a few minutes, the mousse still spread easily over the cake.  I popped in the fridge and let it rest for a few hours to give it a chance to firm up.  The original recipe said to let it sit at least 6 hours; mine was ready after 5.  I got a bit overzealous and removed the springform sides earlier than I should have, but fortunately I noticed the cake slumping a bit and got it back in place before the cake fell apart.  Patience is important with this one!


I made the whipped cream next, following the same steps from the Homemade Whipped Cream recipe I made a while ago, but used powdered sugar rather than granulated.  I gently spread the whipped cream over the mousse, then added some blueberries to the top.


I removed the side if the springform pan to reveal a gorgeous layered cake.


This ended up being the best chocolate cake I have ever made, and the blueberries not only made the cake stunning in appearance but were the perfect companion for the chocolate mousse.  The cake on the bottom was rich, dense, and brownie-like in texture, and the combination with the softness of the mousse made for the perfect contrast.  The sprinkled sugar in the cake pan gave a tiny but of crunch in the middle of the torte.  I gave some of this out and one of my friends described it best with "decadent"--I found that to be the perfect descriptor.  This cake was a little piece of heaven, and now that I've made my first torte I will absolutely be trying other varieties!

Blueberry Chocolate Torte

Ingredients:

For the cake:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the mousse:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup blueberries for topping

Instructions:

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter or spray a springform cake pan with nonstick baking spray, then sprinkle some sugar in the bottom. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm, then whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts, salt, then flour.  Pour cake batter into springform pan and bake about 30-35 minutes, until the center is fully cooked.

For the mousse:
Melt butter in double boiler over simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the pan with the butter. Whisk the yolks, heavy cream, vanilla and almond extracts in a small bowl. Gradually add the yolk mixture into the melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water for a few minutes, until the thermometer shows the temperature at 150 degrees F. Remove the double boiler from the over water, then add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to slightly stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into the warm chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour mousse over cake in pan and smooth out any large bumps. Chill for at least 6 hours, until the mousse is set.

For the whipped cream topping, beat heavy cream for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread the whipped topping over the mousse and top with berries.

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