What's unique about this recipe is that it's nearly flour-free. It called for 1/4 cup of melba toast crumbs, which I didn’t have. I did have a couple of almond biscotti. Once pulverized in a food processor, they did the job just fine as crumbs. Unfortunately, all I had was a 10-inch cake pan, so the cake turned out a bit thinner than if I had an 8-inch pan (which is what the recipe called for).
The real find, though, was the chocolate honey frosting. It was more delicious than buttercream, and so much easier to make. Once it cools, the frosting hardens on the cake, which is good if you’re transporting the dessert. I’m definitely going to make it again.
Chocolate almond torte with chocolate honey frosting
Adapted from The California Heritage Cookbook (Doubleday, 1976)
Makes 1 cake
1 cup almonds
2 large biscotti or 4 small biscotti
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Honey Frosting
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 teaspoons honey
1. To make the cake: Butter an 8-inch round cake pan (or a 10-inch pan if you don’t mind a thinner cake) and line the base of the pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a food processor, grind the almonds finely and set aside. In the same food processor, grind the biscotti and measure out 1/4 cup. (If you have extra biscotti crumbs, you can save them for dusting the top of the cake.)
3. In a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Mix in the almonds, 1/4 cup biscotti crumbs, chocolate, vanilla, and salt.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake batter gradually, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake for about 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate and peel away the parchment paper.
6. To make the frosting: In a heat-proof mixing bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water (ensuring that the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water, melt the chocolates, butter, and honey. Transfer the bowl to an ice bath and whisk vigorously by hand or with a handheld electric mixer until the frosting just barely starts to set up and is spreadable (it will harden if left in the ice too long). Quickly spread the frosting over the cake; it will start to set up as it cools.