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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bittersweet Chocolate Torte With Apricot Filling

6 large eggs
3/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Frosting and filling:
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup apricot all-fruit spread
Strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set at high speed, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until thick and tripled in volume, about 7 minutes. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a large rubber spatula, quickly and gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, until smooth. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool completely in the pans set on racks. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, in a food processor or blender, process the ricotta cheese, cocoa powder, espresso powder, sugar, vanilla, and salt, until smooth. Cover and chill the frosting until ready to use. When the cake is cool, turn it out of the pans. With a long serrated knife, split each layer in half horizontally and spread the bottom half of each layer with half of the apricot all-fruit spread. Carefully replace the top halves. Spread half of the frosting evenly over the top of one of the filled layers. Stack the second filled layer on top of the first. Swirl the remaining frosting evenly over the top of cake. Garnish with whole strawberries, if desired.

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