David Bowie liked the cake -Torta di Cioccolata

The cold spell continues and with it the desire for cake, still warm from the oven.Not tired, but a little blasé about my cake repertoire, I turned to the bookshelf and randomly picked a book entitled "Alastair little´s Italian Kitchen" ,recipes from La Cacciata,his cookery school in Umbria. I bought the book second hand( half price) in 1996 in good condition. Since then its pages have become well thumbed and one recipe in particular, the Chocolate Torte, had its pages stuck together at some point from cake mix spillage. 

This just goes to show how good this cake is and just how many times it has been made.The Chef/Manager of my then concession, a museum cafe in North London, used to make this on a regular basis and the cake was even commended by the late great David Bowie,when visiting the gallery.We don´t have photographic proof of the occasion as I was not on site at the time alas, but you have to trust me on that one as she phoned me in a state of hysteria after he left the building.Well today for nostalgia´s sake I baked the cake, making only one mistake, that it needs to be baked slightly longer than the recipe states.However if you want some warm gloopy chocolate filling from the middle of the cake follow the original recipe.This is another example of store cupboard management.All the ingredients were at hand and no on the spur of the moment visit to the shops was necessary.
How could this delicious recipe have slipped through my fingers all this time and it makes me wonder what else is secreted on my cookery bookshelves crying out for an incarnation.
Torta di Cioccolata
Chocolate torte
for 8 people
150g whole blanched almonds
1x 2cm thick slice of panettone
150g unsalted butter
300g good quality dark chocolate
150g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
150g mascarpone cheese
Pre-heat the oven to180C /350F /Gas4.
Combine the almonds and panettone in afood processor and whizz until it forms a fine meal.Remove from the processor and set aside.Grease a 20cm spring form cake tin generously and sprinkle with some fine breadcrumbs.Roll the tin around to form an even coating then invert the tin to shake out excess breadcrumbs.
Melt the chocolate with 2 tablespoons water in a double boiler or pyrex bowl set over a pan of boiling water.Whilst this is being done cream the butter and the sugar in the processor.Add the eggs,the scraped out vanilla pod,chocolate,remaining almond and panettone mix and the mascarpone.Whizz until just incorporated,no more.Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about 40 minutes, slightly longer if you want the cake firm all the way through.The cake should be just about set:cracks will appear about 2cm in from the rim and when they have spread all around the cake in a circle,this is apretty certain indication it is done.
remove from the oven and leave to sit for 20 minutes to half an hour before unmoulding.It is best served warm when it may be a little runny in the middle.This is not a problem; remember how much you liked raw cake mix as a kid, fighting with your siblings over the bowl!!


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