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.
Prep Time: 30 min, to bring butter up to temperature and chop chocolate
Total Time (not including chilling, because I often eat it right out of the oven): 1.5 hours
- 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
- 5 room temperature eggs, separated
- 2 drops lemon juice (not a drop more!)
- 2 tbs. granulated sugar + some for coating pan
- Preheat to 325F. Place jelly roll pan filled with water on bottom rack. Grease a 9” springform pan with butter on the bottom and sides. Cut a round of parchment paper to fit your pan and place in the bottom. Dust the sides of the pan with sugar, it will stick to the butter.
- I find it’s easier to do this step next. Beat your egg yolks a bit with a whisk until they start to foam a little. In a separate large DRY bowl, add your egg whites and 2 drops of lemon juice. Beat with a whisk or hand mixer until it becomes foamy, then gradually add in the 2 tbs. sugar as you continue to beat to stiff peaks. Remember to stop beating when you *just* get to stiff peaks.
- In a double boiler (it can be a makeshift one, I just use a bowl on top of a pot right now) on med-low heat, melt chocolate and butter together. Stir pretty constantly as soon as the chocolate shows signs of melting. When completely melted, take off heat and whisk in egg yolks.
- Fold about 25% of egg whites into the chocolate to “loosen” it up a bit, and then gently fold all of the chocolate back into the big bowl of egg whites. Fold until it just blends together, there will be some white streaks still. If you fold until all the color is exactly the same it will be too much.
- Pour into springform pan, smooth out with a spatula, and tap to get rid of any big air bubbles, then bake in the oven on middle rack for 40 min. Take out and cool on a cooling rack. Eat or then refrigerate overnight.
I highly recommend serving with fruit of some kind. Here, I just used some fresh strawberries (the garnish on top is a gold chocolate covered hazelnut), but I would also suggest that this strawberry chocolate port wine sauce is great, and so is this strawberry compote.
Disclosure note – while a company/name brand is mentioned in this post, I was NOT compensated nor was I sponsored in any way. All mentions are from utmost sincerity as they pertain to the subject being written and I received no benefits or income for any brand mentions.
Also Linked to – Gluten Free Wednesdays