I first learned about this luscious chocolate cake on Lidia Bastianich’s PBS show. Like all flourless chocolate cakes, this torta from the island of Capri is rich and moist and leavened by whipped egg whites. But the addition of finely ground almond meal gives this version more of a crumb than the other fudge-like cakes of this ilk. It has a really spectacular texture. The almond flavor also pairs well with the warm caramel notes of rum and the brightness of fresh orange zest. This is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had, and it would be the perfect ending to any Valentine’s Day meal.
8 oz good quality dark chocolate around 65 – 80 %
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 tblsp rum
1 tsp almond extract
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tblsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 or 10-inch springform. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and butter again. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a medium glass bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until completely incorporated. Let cool. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the two sugars, and then add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir in the orange zest, rum, and almond extract.
3. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs until stiff peaks form.
4. In a large bowl combine the almond meal, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt and use a fork to incorporate. Use a rubber spatula to fold the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Finally, gently fold the whipped egg whites in, until it is a homogenous mixture.
5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center is just firm. Let the cake cool completely. The center will sink in slightly, giving it a rustic feel. Remove the sides of the pan, and use a long spatula to slide the cake onto a platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with orange segments, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.