Saturday, December 22, 2007

Torta di mandorle

I love nuts of every kind, and this month seems to be dedicated to nuts and dried fruits in the food blogsphere! I'm very happy, I just have to decide which of my treats goes to which event. So here is one of them:
Torta di mandorle e cioccolato a conchiglia / Shell-like almond and chocolate cake

The recipe for this cake is a mixture between a traditional recipe that I found on my piemontese cookbook and another that I found online. Both of them actually used hazelnuts, which are common in Italy, but I decided to use almonds instead, as hazelnuts here are way too expensive. The thing that inspired me in these recipes was that they required NO flour. One of them required no butter at all either, but I decided to use half of the dose suggested by the second one. What makes this cake is really just the mixture of almond flour and eggs. You wouldn't believe it, but it turns out extremely moist and soft. I think this is one of the best nut cakes I ever had. I strongly recommend trying it. So here is the recipe that in the end I came up with by combining these two that I found:
200 g ground almonds (I have a scale that I used; if you use cups, you have to have about 1 and 1/4 cup of ground almonds)
100 g dark chocolate, ground (after you grind it, it should be ~ 1/2 cup)
4 eggs
100 g sugar (1/2 cup)
50 g butter (1/2 small stick)
Mix butter, egg yolks and sugar. Add the ground almonds and ground chocolate. Whip the egg whites very firmly and fold into the mixture, till no more white is visible. Pour this batter in a small (8 inches or less) buttered and floured pan, and bake at 320F for 45 min.

As you see, it's really easy. In the most traditional version, there's no butter and six eggs instead of four, 250 g of almonds instead of 200 and no chocolate. I'm going to try that next time.

Now maybe you're wondering why my cake has that shell shape. Well. Ehrm. When I took my cake out of the oven, I had the unpleasant surprise of noticing that the rack I was using was slanted. My cake had cooked crooked!! So of course, it was sort of triangular, if you will, in section. I was really sad at first when I saw it. Then Lucas suggested cutting it like a fan... I thought it was a good idea, and I decided to add whipped cream between the slices and at the border, to make it seem like a seashell. Would you have thought it was an accident? :) :)
Well, next time I will probably make sure the rack is flat before I bake something, and I'll double the doses of this cake, as it was anyway too little batter for the big baking pan I had.

This cake will go to the Yum blog for this month's 'A fruit a month' event, centered on dried fruits! And I've now decided that it will also go to this month 'Click - nuts' event! I kind of like the picture of this unusually shaped cake :)


Simona Carini said...

Making a sea shell with the cake was a grand idea: it looks lovely.

Namratha said...

Looks very nice Marta, I bet it tastes gr8 too! :)

Nora B. said...

Merry Christmas, Marta. I hope that you and your family will have a wonderful day and also best wishes for 2008.

x Nora