Monday, 15 February 2010

a slice of the action: torta caprese

torta caprese 1

I'm aware that some people out there in the vast space that is the interwebby think that my blog is, or should be, all about Italian food.

Er, no. It's not.

There are flashes of it on occasion, but this blog was actually named after my very first gastro-memory, and not for my expertise in all things Italian.

Nevertheless, it's certainly the case that Italian food remains high on my list of all-time culinary preferences, not least because - if done properly - it brings back wonderful memories of happy holidays and of several months spent living and working in central and southern Italy in my early twenties.

Those days are sadly long since behind me, but that doesn't stop me trotting out a few old favourites from time to time.

Torta caprese is one of them. Frankly, what's not to love? Chocolate and ground almonds and a few minor supporting ingredients all whisked together to make a light, moist cake which is chocolatey, but far from overwhelmingly so. I've known many a professed non-chocolate eater to tuck into this, pronounce it to be delicious, and to come back for more. I think that says it all, really.

I whirled it out again this last weekend, for a rather indulgent Sunday lunch, and served it together with lightly caramelised blood oranges, which rather livened things up from the aesthetic point of view.

OK, enough yabbering - let's get to the pointy end.

torta caprese 2

There are numerous recipes for torta caprese - but they vary little. Here's one, a Sophie Grigson recipe taken from 101 Best Loved Chocolate Recipes.

Sophie Grigson's Torta Caprese (serves 8-10)
200g butter, melted and cooled until tepid, plus extra to grease
200g dark chocolate, in pieces
4 large eggs
170g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g ground almonds

Line the base of a 24cm cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Whizz the chocolate in a food processor until finely chopped, but still retaining a little texture.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar and vanilla extract until the sugar has dissolved. Mix in the chocolate, ground almonds, and butter until evenly combined. Spoon mixture into the tin.

Bake for 50-60 mins, until the cake is just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out.

Dust with icing sugar.

torta caprese 3

Serve, eat, enjoy! (I usually serve it with creme fraiche or double cream.) If it doesn't become one of your favourites, then too bad. All the more for me. ;-)


things we make said...

That looks divine, and very moorish. I hope you have recovered from your special meal and tiny bit of wine!

The Caked Crusader said...

oh my! I'm drooling. Have bookmarked this and intend on making it very soon! Yum

Choclette said...

Sounds pretty damn good and looks good too. Trouble is I've acquired rather a lot of favourites recently - it's not easy being a chocolate bakeaholic. You've now alerted me to another potential chocolate book I might need to acquire - not sure whether to thank you or not!

Graphic Foodie said...

Oh I love, love, love, love this cake! It's brilliant becasue it isn't a sickly sweet cake which means you can eat loads of it :)

Heather said...

Oh, how I love the pointy end. Why can't all the ends be pointy?

Beth said...

I bet the ground almonds make it lovely and moist. It looks really delicate

LexEat! said...

heheh - pointy end - i get it.

Cake looks so pretty and sounds delicious too! Blood oranges are gorgeous at the moment aren't they!

Jacqueline said...

Nom, Nom! That looks so good!

Bellini Valli said...

What a cool photoghraph and I will have a nice hefty slice please.

Manggy said...

This looks different from the torta caprese I've seen in other sources - they were homogenously chocolatey. But it appears no less delicious, and I'm sure I'd polish it in no time :)
Hm, maybe I should backtrack in your blog and read about your early adventures in Italy! That sounds exciting!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Claire - me? tiny bit of wine? *coughs*

Cakey - you must, you'll love it

Choclette - er, sorry ;)

Fran - exactement!

Heather - let's start a campaign for pointy ends

Beth - yes, they do

Lex - they certainly are. I've already eaten a fair few kilos ;)

Jacqueline - thanks!

Val - one slice coming up...

Mark - yep, the homogenously chocolate versions don't (to me) have quite the same appeal. This is more subtle, but just as - if not more - moreish

Anonymous said...

It looks like the perfect alternative to pancakes, I love the idea!

scandilicious said...

Oh yeah! I've seen you tweet about torta caprese before, and keep meaning to try making it. This looks divine, who needs pancakes indeed? :)

Greedy Diva said...

Looks delicious! Might even inspire me to bake (shock, horror)

Anonymous said...

This looks lovely and you make it sound so easy too. I already have the blood oranges so no excuses really!

Catherine said...

Mmmmmmmm this looks so delicious! I'm usually a "caked in chocolate then drizzled with chocolate sauce" kind of girl, but I would soo make an exception for this! :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Mathilde - a good alternative to most things, actually ;)

Sig - I know. Thought it was about time I got around to actually blogging it...

Greedy Diva - go on, you know you want to! Well worth the effort, I can assure you

Ginger - it's not that I make it sound so easy, it IS easy!

Catherine - I know what you mean. I'm a member of that club, too, but this is always the exception

Anonymous said...

This looks like something I'd so happily carve slivers off and finally finish like half! I love homely looking tortes, especially flourless ones (gluten intolerant). BIIGGG THANK YOU for sharing!

ABowlOfMush said...

Sounds like a really delicious recipe!
Looks lovely :)

Lizzie said...

That looks utterly delicious, and fairly straightforward too - I must make this soon.

Johanna GGG said...

oh yes this looks just my sort of italian food - delicioso I think is what I might say if I really got in the mood - must try this one!

Foodycat said...

It never occurred to me that this "should" be an Italian food blog! But that is a lovely looking cake. I like Italian desserts - they usually aren't too sweet.

Pia K said...

gorgeous looking thing! waiting for lunchtime/going home time and thinking a slice or two or... of this one would be very, very nice now...

The Happiness Project London said...

The wierdest thing just happened - while looking at this just wonderful cake, I thought I could actually SMELL it!! Wierd. Anyway, looks fantastic and I like the idea of using ground almonds. I'm trying gluten free at the moment so I think it will be perfect. Am going to try soon thanks!

Sasha @ The Happiness Project London

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