Try this easy technique for a cake just right for Valentine’s Day. No specialty cake pan is needed! All it takes is one 9-inch round layer, baked, cooled, chilled and few cuts with a knife.
Here is the Step by Step:
- Bake a Chocolate Torte to Live For. (Recipe follows)
- Cool, wrap and refrigerate the layer until it is very cold. (You can freeze the cake too.)
- Either cut a piece of parchment paper into a heart to use as a guide, or cut the round freehand into a heart shape. Save the pieces you’ve cut from the top and sides. Nibbling is definitely ok– resistance is futile–but save some of the cut pieces to use crumble for the alternative topping, if you decide on that option.
- Lightly sweep a dry pastry brush across the sides and top of the cake to remove some loose crumbs. Don’t worry though, since the first coating of Bittersweet Ganache Glaze (recipe follows) will glue any loose crumbs down.
- Add a second coating of Bittersweet Ganache Glaze. Refrigerate until the glaze is set.
Alternatively, you can add a coating of crumbs made from the reserved pieces of cake you cut, to the glazed cake. In this case, sprinkle the crumbs over the ganache before it sets. Refrigerate the cake until you are ready to slice and serve. Again, wait for the cake to return to room temperature before savoring each bite. (That said, I know some like it chilled. You made it, try both!)
To serve: For the neatest slices, cut the cake when it is still cold using a good sized knife dipped in very hot water and then wipe the blade dry (carefully). Set the slices on plates and wait until the cake is at room temperature for the best flavor.
Chocolate Torte to Live For
Makes One (9-Inch / 23-Cm) Torte, 8 to 10 Servings
- 1/2 cup / 70 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup / 64 grams organic all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon / 31 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup / 50 grams organic granulated sugar, finely ground in a blender
- 1 teaspoon / 5 grams aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon / 5 grams baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 grams fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or organic neutral vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup / 120 ml pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 210 ml any nondairy milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1 recipe Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze (recipe follows)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F / 180°C. Oil the sides and bottom of the cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment circle or paper cut to fit. Do not oil the paper.
Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the strainer and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
Whisk the oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla, chocolate extract (if using), and vinegar in a separate medium bowl until completely combined. Immediately pour into the dry mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into pan. Rotate the pan to level the batter and tap it lightly on the counter to get rid of some of the air bubbles.
Bake the cake on the center rack for 28 to 32 minutes, or until the top of the cake is set, the sides have started to pull away from the pan, and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Run a thin spatula around the sides of the cake to release the sides of the cake from the pan. Invert the layer onto the rack, remove the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Invert again, top side up on the rack, to cool completely. When the cake is completely cool, slide a cardboard circle or a flat plate underneath. Cover the cake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold before glazing.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Makes 2 cups/ 480ml
- 8 ounces / 227 grams dark chocolate (70 to 72%), finely chopped
- 1 1⁄4 cups / 300 ml organic almond milk, soymilk or coconut milk beverage (more as needed to adjust consistency)
- 2 tablespoons / 18 grams organic granulated sugar
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons / 6.25 ml pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons / 10 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil
Add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl and set aside while you heat the milk.
Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking a few times to a low boil.
Immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the hot milk over the chopped chocolate all at once. Rotate the bowl so the chocolate is completely submerged. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand undisturbed for 4 minutes.
Add the vanilla and olive oil (if using) and whisk from the center out only until smooth and glossy.
Keep the bowl of ganache at room temperature while you test the final consistency. Dip a teaspoon into the ganache, set the coated spoon on a small plate, and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. After chilling, the ganache on the spoon should be smooth and firm, but should still taste creamy. It is unlikely, but if the glaze is too firm, add a tablespoon of room temperature milk, and repeat the test. Add a second tablespoon if needed.
Pass the ganache through a strainer into a bowl. Whisking slowly will speed the process.
Allow the ganache to thicken at room temperature for 15 to 25 minutes, or until it will coat a spoon thickly with minimal dripping, but remain pourable. Stir a few times from the outside into the center before glazing.
Keeping: The glaze can be refrigerated in a tightly closed container for up to five days and frozen for up to one month. The glaze hardens when it is cold and will need to be reheated. To reheat, spoon the glaze into a heatproof bowl that fits over a saucepan of barely simmering water. When about two-thirds of the glaze is melted, stir gently until it is smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed by stirring warm nondairy milk into the glaze a little at a time.
Recipes from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky