June was channelling her inner Italian for The Chocolate Moment on this week’s show – and with no fewer than five guests in the studio ready and willing to sample the results, it wasn’t long before her Torta Caprese was little more than a memory!
This simple but delicious dessert was first made in the 1920s or 1930s on the beautiful island of Capri, from which it takes its name. According to one of the many legends surrounding it, when an Austrian princess who was married to the King of Naples wanted a Viennese sachertorte to remind her of home, the Neopolitan chefs used almonds instead of flour in their cake. And so the torta was born…
The almonds give the cake a dense moistness, while the finely chopped chocolate ensures there’s a big hit of cocoa flavour in every bite. And although it’s not the prettiest looking confection when it comes out of the oven, serving it Caprese-style with a generous dusting of icing sugar soon takes care of that…
There are lots of variations of the recipe online and in cookery books – this is one of the simplest, both in ingredients and method, but even so it’s chocolate heaven.
Or to put it another way, è buonissima!
- 200g dark chocolate
- 4 medium eggs
- 170g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g ground almonds
- 200g butter, melted and cooled until tepid
- Icing sugar, to serve
- Line the base of a 24cm-diameter round cake tin with non-stick baking parchment and grease the sides.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
- Blitz the chocolate in a food processor until it is finely chopped, though still retaining a little texture. If you don’t have a processor, chop the chocolate finely with a large knife.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until the mixture is pale and thick enough to hold a trail on its surface when you lift the beaters (about 10 minutes).
- Fold in the chocolate, ground almonds and melted butter.
- Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until just firm to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out – dust with icing sugar when ready to serve.