Flourless Chocolate Torte

by Jenn on April 8, 2010

in Desserts,Gluten Free

_PAG5120torte

The ultimate gluten free chocolate cake doesn’t come from a flour mix.  It doesn’t come from a complicated recipe, and it doesn’t include xanthan gum.  No, the richest, most flavorful gluten free chocolate cake I have ever tried has astonishingly few ingredients, no required substitutions, and relatively simple instructions.  That’s because the richest, most flavorful gluten free chocolate cake is a completely flourless chocolate torte.

Torte is just a fancy (or rather, French) word for cake.  I have been making this recipe for at least more than the better half of the past ten years.  I could make it in my sleep probably.

I love this recipe because I break the rules.  I eat it warm, after only about 20 minutes coming out of the oven.  Traditional tortes like this are chilled overnight, and it even says so in the recipe.  But when you eat it right out of the oven, it is much fluffier.  I love when a flavor is so intensely rich and yet its texture is deceptively delicate.  That’s how this torte is if you don’t wait.  Ok, truth be told, I figured this out completely by accident one day because I was in grad school during a crazy stressful time, freaking out about my candidacy exam, pulling my hair out, hyped up on way too much caffeine than should be considered sane, causing my husband to wonder if I really was going to be this much of a mess for the next forever that we were going to know each other, and I just did not have the willpower to let chocolate sit in the fridge overnight.  I have my weaknesses.

But trust me, it’s still awesome even if you let it sit overnight.  But it won’t be as fluffy.  It will be the rich dense chocolate torte you probably already have conjured up in your head.

I know it sounds a little cliché to look up a chocolate company for recipes, but my mother subscribed to Godiva’s Chocolatier magazine for years.  I grew up thinking of that magazine as the authority on all things chocolate.  My mother, in one of her past lives, used to be a phenomenal cake baker/decorator – I tell you my birthday cakes as a child were the envy of any kid who came to one of my birthday parties – from fairy tale castles to romantic gardens – but she not only made great cakes, she worked real magic with chocolate.

So when I first went away to college (strangely knowing very little about how to cook), I wanted to make something chocolately that felt extravagant.  We found the recipe, and she walked me through it.  On the phone.  I can’t tell you how many recipes I have made with my mother on the other line guiding me through each step.  Too many to count.  “Never be intimidated by a recipe no matter how complicated it looks,” she always tells me, “It’s like everything else.  Just follow the directions and be conscientious about it.”  It’s because of her that I didn’t even bat an eye at trying a chocolate soufflé for the first time, or white chocolate pumpkin ganache.

I’m a little sad that while cooking and enjoying real, made-from-scratch-food was such a large part of our family culture growing up, somehow it did not occur to me to take the time to acquire enough knowledge of how to do it myself until I was away.  And then I was a like a child, learning from the beginning, and eating a lot of really poorly created mess-ups because I was too poor to throw them away and start over.  Maybe it was better that way, because I now feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment when I make something for the first time that turns out well.

The first time I ever made this torte I said a thousand prayers while it baked.  Then I totally doused the thing in powdered sugar because I had no idea that I should fill a shaker haha.  I probably screamed a little when it first came out all those years ago, because I felt that only some arcane witchcraft would actually make this work.

Now, it is easy.  Routine, comfortable, and yet always satisfying.  Yet that is just what I wanted on my birthday – something easy that I didn’t have to think about, that would bring me great joy.  Making this torte reminds me of how far I’ve come, and who helped get me here.

I am not changing the recipe really, but I wanted to rewrite it, because if you are new to cooking, Godiva’s directions are not the most obvious.  So I’ve included a couple tips and tricks to help.

Also Linked to – Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Charli April 8, 2010 at 7:10 pm

It got you through your candidacy exam? Then I’ll have to remember this one for my qualifier this summer…

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Jenn April 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Yes, chocolate is a great cure for grad school stresses!!

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Rosa April 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm

What a delightful chocolate torte! I love that moist and fudgy texture!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn April 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Thanks! Me too – it’s one of my favorite tortes to bake!

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lisa April 9, 2010 at 12:54 am

This is gorgeous! Super moist, looks incredible!

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Jenn April 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

Thanks! Yes this recipe makes for a very moist torte – it’s really good with ice cream too :)

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Hannah April 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I have to try this recipe this year!

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Jenn April 10, 2010 at 11:54 am

cool! you certainly can’t go wrong with this recipe!

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Melanie April 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Aww what a sweet story about your mom! I have been craving a salad of mixed greens, strawberries and blue cheese ever since your last post – salad cravings I can take but this one is going to put me over the edge! Seriously though – looks and sounds delicious, and I am definitely going to try it – I LOVE a simple list of ingredients : )

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Jenn April 10, 2010 at 11:54 am

Oh thanks! I love when such a decadent dessert can be made with so few ingredients and steps too – it makes the recipe a lot more approachable :)

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GFree_Miel April 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

That cake looks so amazing!!! And with strawberries…I think you just made my life. It looks really dense and filled with chocolatey goodness. I can’t wait to try this one!

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Jenn April 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

Thanks! I love strawberries with chocolate. Maybe even more than raspberries….

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Valérie April 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

What a luscious torte! I’ve made a similar kind of flourless torte, and it takes all my willpower to let it rest for several hours before eating it!

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Jenn April 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

Then you have more willpower than I for sure! I’ve given up waiting :)

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Spicy Green Mango April 10, 2010 at 12:56 am

OMG…such lovely photos! I can’t wait to try this!

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Jenn April 10, 2010 at 11:56 am

Thank you so much! If you make it I’ll be curious how it turns out for you!

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kamran siddiqi April 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Jenn, I am having a “YES PLEASE!” moment right now. I tried 3 times to take a bite out of my screen. Didn’t work. Now I’ll have to try this chocolate-y goodness! Yumm! Great post!

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Jenn April 14, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Oh thanks!!! Maybe one day someone will make a screen you can taste – that would make for some awesome food blogging for sure!

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Beverly April 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm

This is such a find! Thank you! In college, a local patisserie created the most divine flourless chocolate cake. I would savor every bite. Now, I’m engaged to a man whose mother has celiac disease, so this will be of enormous help when she visits.

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Jenn April 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Oh thank you! Hmm that reminds me I should make this again when my in-laws come to visit :)

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talia April 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm

this looks so delicious: I love flourless chocolate cake and will have to give this a try. Great photo!

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Jenn April 14, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Thank you!

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Z's Cup of Tea April 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm

This is one of the simplest, no-fuss recipes for a flourless chocolate cake that I’ve seen. Most other recipes I’ve found make it sound like it’s an overly complicated process when it really isn’t. I’ll have to try yours now! :D Just looking at the photo I can taste it. Beautiful photography, too. That cake just looks decadent!

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Jenn April 14, 2010 at 5:14 pm

You are right, many recipes make it sound really complicated – I think what makes this easy is how few ingredients and steps there really are, I’ve literally memorized it now. Thank you for the lovely compliments!

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gfe--gluten free easily April 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm

What a great post, Jenn! I’ve also walked through many recipes over the phone with my mom, even though she’s only 8 miles away now. ;-) I adore flourless chocolate cakes and warm is best. Even after chilling my sister and I are prone to nuke ours a few seconds. My recipe (Whole Foods really)is very similar except I don’t separate eggs. Luscious photo, dear!

Shirley

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Jenn April 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Good to know I’m not the only one who calls their mom for help! :) I like separating the eggs because I think the beaten whites help with the fluff factor a bit when baking. I’m glad you like to eat it warm too – I totally nuked mine for a few seconds too when I had it the next couple days…

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Linda April 16, 2010 at 3:57 am

I made one of these a couple of weeks ago and it didn’t turn out very well. I’ve made good versions of it before, though, and yours looks terrific. I think I’ll try your recipe next time.

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Jenn June 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

Thanks Linda! I hope it works out well for you!

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Linda May 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Jenn,
I have been searching around for a good easy gluten free flourless chocolate torte like one our very ritzy and very expensive bakery makes. They have that lovely deep fudginess and then add the creamiest, lucious icings on top with chocolate scraps on top. Since both my daughter and I have celiac, these recipies are life savers for us. I also have diabeties, so I really have to watch the sugar content in things. I love the icing on our bakeries version, but I can see your recipe is much healthier with the strawberries. Thanks for the wonderful choices. I am goig to try this today! Wish me luck.

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Jenn June 13, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hi Linda – I hope it worked out! I haven’t tried it, but you may be able to substitute erythritol for the sugar in this to make it sugarless and cut down on the carb count….

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Ariane June 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Jenn – I made this on Friday night and oh man! AMAZING! I don’t think I quite cooked it long enough (or maybe didn’t mix very well, I had a bit of syrupy chocolate at the bottom) since it was a bit runny in the middle, but it tasted amazing! I used a 12 oz bag of semi-sweet ghiradelli chocolate chips and a 3 oz bar of 100% cocoa and then made a rhubarb compote to go with it. Sweet, tangy, and served with champagne for a dessert of kings :-)

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Jenn June 22, 2010 at 5:38 am

Oh nice!! Glad you liked it! LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of your rhubarb compote! We’ll have to chat more about the baking time issues…..I will have to make it again when I have an oven with a more specific temp setting too….

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Violet Crown Kitchens October 13, 2010 at 4:26 am

Hello Jenn–

I’ve just moved into a co-housing community in Santa Fe and am making chocolate torte for forty this Thursday, to serve after shepherd’s pie and green-and-white salad. My old handwritten recipe I’ve used forever is still lurking in a box somewhere, so I thought I’d have a look to see what I might find. Your sensibilities are wonderful–this looks just right! . . . and your photography AMAZING. Thanks for this fine recipe.

Chris

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Jenn October 13, 2010 at 6:43 am

Thank you! I hope it works out well for you!!

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Lisa@bakedinmaine.com November 2, 2010 at 7:53 pm

OMG Jenn!

Gorgeous photo and perfect timing!
I was looking to make a rich dark chocolate torte after eating the rest of my healthy pumpkin cheese cake (almost GF) but YOU could fix that!

I LOVE chocolate and can’t wait to get started!!!

Lisa
xo

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Jenn November 12, 2010 at 10:14 am

haha, thanks so much Lisa, hope you enjoy!

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riga November 12, 2010 at 8:28 am

hi! i noticed that in your recipe, you don’t put the cake pan in the water bath (but have it in the bottom rack). But in the original Godiva recipe, the pan is actually in the water bath. Does it make a difference?

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Jenn November 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

In my opinion it doesn’t matter that much whether the pan is in the water bath or the water bath is just underneath it. The point of the bath is to keep the moisture levels up in the oven to help keep the torte from drying out as it bakes. Maybe it does affect it slightly to have the bath that much closer to the cake by placing the pan directly into the water bath, but for practical purposes I don’t think it really matters that much. For me it’s just easier to have the pan of water on a different shelf so I don’t have to worry about splashing hot water on me when I put the pan in the oven to bake. It is definitely important to have some type of water bath in the oven though, as that steam will influence the moistness of the torte.

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riga November 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm

thank you. i’m baking one today. i will put a water bath underneath in the bottom rack. i’ll let you know how it turns out!

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Lisa@bakedinmaine.com March 13, 2011 at 1:23 am

Jenn~ I have made this cake twice this week. Once for my daughter birthday and it quickly disappeared.

Made another delicious torte today…. I’m in love with it.

Yum!

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Jenn March 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Thanks Lisa!

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Jolene March 14, 2011 at 12:22 am

Hi Jenn~ I’m a personal chef and I also love to bake. I have a friend that has a small wine bar/ restaurant and the only dessert they offer is a flourless chocolate torte. They havent been happy with the consistancy of the tortes they’ve been getting from a local baker so I’ve been asked to give it a try. I’ve been researching different recipes to see what variations there are and what the reviews have been. I am going to try your recipe (Godiva) and another one that I found. Two different techniques but using good quality bittersweet cacoa in both. I’ll be anxious to see how they come out and if the different techniques make a noticable difference.

Thank you
Jolene
P.S. Love your Blog, I need to work on creating one myself one of these days. :)

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Jenn March 14, 2011 at 1:36 am

oh cool! yeah Godiva really created a winner here I think. I’m curious what other technique you want to compare to, I’m always interested in a good chocolate torte experiment!

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Lisa@bakedinmaine.com March 17, 2011 at 3:20 am

I’m eating another slice right now, lol!
Topped with whipped cream and a few raspberries….

just perfect!

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Jenn March 17, 2011 at 8:25 am
Gwen November 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I made this a year ago for our 5th year anniversary, it was amazing! I’m making another one tonight for our 6th year and want to say thank you!! It is truly amazing!

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Jenn November 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Oh I’m so glad – and happy anniversary!!!

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Janet December 11, 2011 at 12:11 am

Just made this….it looks good, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m wondering why you butter the bottom of the pan and then put parchment over that. Also, I didn’t have a 9 inch pan so used a 10 inch one. How should that have affected the cooking time? I looked at lots of flourless chocolate torte recipes and yours looked the best.

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Jenn December 11, 2011 at 12:15 am

Oh thanks! The purpose of buttering the parchment is just so that it stays put in the pan. Your pan being 1″ larger means that your torte won’t be quite as thick, so you may want to check it a few minutes earlier to see when it is actually done – hope you like it!

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marzena March 6, 2012 at 2:40 am

This looks divine! I want to make it this weekend for my dad’s birthday as he is eating gluten free…how many servings in a cake and what size is a serving…could I double the recipe or would it be better to make 2? Thanks for the attention to detail!

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Jenn March 6, 2012 at 6:28 am

Thanks! If you click on the link to Godiva sourced in the recipe, it will tell you the recommended servings – I think I agree with their suggestion as it is pretty rich. If you double the recipe you will need to alter the cook time and use a different sized pan…sorry I have not experimented with that so cannot offer much help there…

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Daniel June 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hi Jenn — sounds amazing! I was wondering… if someone avoids dairy and butter, what could be substituted without totally killing this torte? Nice blog on the history too, I enjoyed reading it.

Thanks!

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Jenn June 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Thanks! I haven’t played much with dairy free recipes as the only food restriction in our home is gluten, but feel free to try it and let me know how it turns out!

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Cristina September 5, 2012 at 4:26 am

I’m so bummed I can’t “Pin” this recipe. As a busy mom, that’s the only way I’m able to keep track of great recipes I find online, but it says this site doesn’t allow Pinning? :(

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Jenn September 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Hi Cristina – I’m sorry but I have blocked pinning until their terms of service change… I’m working with my web developer though to soon provide a way to save recipes in an easy to use system used by several bloggers across the web. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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jason October 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

i would think the recipe would need a lot more sugar in it!!! Is it not too bitter?

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Jenn October 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I don’t think it’s too bitter, it’s not meant to be very sweet… of course that also depends on the quality of chocolate that you use – higher quality dark chocolate will be a bit smoother – if you want you can use a semi-sweet chocolate instead – but if you are the type that likes dark chocolate, you will like this torte. It is very rich too, so serving sizes are going to be a bit smaller than other types of cake, and it can be paired well with whipped cream, or fruit, or both.

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Mimi December 10, 2012 at 11:09 am

■15 oz. 70% dark chocolate, chopped – use the good stuff here, don’t go for the cheapo stuff. You want a good chocolate that melts well.
■10 tbs. room temperature unsalted butter, cubed + some for coating pan

MAAAN wish i could understand the measurements. whats a springform pan? id loooove to make this!

looks delicious, looking for something to serve at a traditional ceremony month end, I love this recipie but its for 200 ppl. :-( so il make it for hubby instead hahaha :-)

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Jenn December 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm

15 oz = 15 ounces, most bars of chocolate or bags of chips will say how many ounces they are on the package.
10 tbs = 10 tablespoons, plus you will need some extra in order to grease the pan.

A springform pan is one that lets you remove the sides without having to flip the cake out, it’s extremely useful for delicate cakes. Below is a link to one on Amazon just to give an example:
http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-AMB-9SP-Nonstick-Bakeware-Springform/dp/B0000ULZYK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355332174&sr=8-1&keywords=springform+pan

Note I have no affiliation with Amazon or anyone…

Hope that helps!

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Mimi December 14, 2012 at 9:44 am

Thank you so much! yes of course it did. will make it soon :-)

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Mariann February 20, 2013 at 4:08 am

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Have you ever tried to substitute coconut oil for the butter in the recipe? I have gluten and dairy intolerances in my family and am always searching for recipes that taste just as good as the full grain and dairy versions.

Many thanks,
Mariann

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Brittany March 3, 2013 at 7:19 am

Oh my god. This cake is so good. Rich, moist and decadent like no other!!! I can’t wait til tomorrow so I can have some more :) Thank you!

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Jenn March 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

So glad you enjoyed it! It continues to be my favorite chocolate cake :)

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Michele May 28, 2013 at 4:38 am

I am trying to make a gluten free chocolate cake for a baby shower but I will be using fondant, Is this recipe still good under fondant? Is it a cake to cover with fondant? It looks delicious, but wouldn’t want to ruin anything!

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Jenn May 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

No, this is definitely not the sort of cake to be covered in fondant. You want something a bit lighter – this is already a very dense rich cake, adding fondant on top would be too much I think – I’d instead recommend Jeanne’s chocolate cake, here – http://www.artofglutenfreebaking.com/2013/05/pink-cake-chocolate-cake-with-berry-buttercream-gluten-free/

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Michele May 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thank you so much! :) I will have to try this recipe in the near future though!

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sam August 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Your recipe rocks —i was pestering my wife to make Torte (flourless/alternate sugar) for long time —she was not sure how it will come out as she is good baker –seeing your recipe she was confident that it will come out —wowoww it was just delicious !!! thank you soooo much

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