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Chocolate Almond Torte

(Makes one 10-inch torte)
Chocolate Almond Torte
Chocolate Almond Torte
Enjoy the combined flavors of rich dark chocolate and almonds in this elegant gluten-free dessert. 
Served with coffee, espresso or a nice dessert wine, it makes a fantastic sweet ending to a dinner menu.  I made the torte with coconut sugar but you can use white granulated sugar.  It's extra special served with some sweetened whipped cream, raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries but for a quicker presentation, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

1 stick (8 tablespoons) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups whole almonds
1 cup coconut sugar, divided
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

To serve (optional):
Sweetened whipped cream
Fresh raspberries
Raspberry coulis 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush 2 tablespoons of melted butter on the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan.  Wrap the bottom on the pan in foil (to catch any leakage) and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.

Combine the almonds and 1/2 cup of sugar in a food processor.  Pulse until the almonds are very finely ground but not uniform.  Transfer to a bowl.

Combine the chopped chocolate and 1/4 cup of sugar in the food processor.  Process until the chocolate is very finely ground but do not allow it to clump together.  Add it to the bowl with the almond mixture and stir to combine.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 of sugar and almond extract in a bowl until the mixture starts to thicken, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate-almond mixture.  Then stir in the remaining 8 tablespoons of melted butter.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt in a clean bowl until stiff peaks begin to form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter, being careful not to overmix and deflate the whites. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the torte to a wire rack to cool.  After 25-30 minutes, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan and carefully release the sides of the pan.  Allow the torte to cool completely before serving. Dust the top of the torte with confectioners' sugar.

Raspberry Coulis:
4 ounces fresh raspberres
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Place the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook and stir the mixture, crushing the raspberries slightly with a wooden spoon just until the mixture comes to a boil.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth.  Place a strainer over a small bowl and add the raspberry mixture to the strainer.  With a spoon, stir the puree in the strainer until all of the smooth fruit pulp transfers to the bowl and only the seeds remain in the strainer.  Discard the seeds and pour the coulis (fruit pulp) into a squeeze bottle.  Refrigerate until serving time.

To serve:
Cut the torte into wedges.  Decorate individual plates with some raspberry coulis.  Place a wedge of the cake on each plate.  Add a dollop of whipped cream and a few raspberries on the side.
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Wholesome! Organic Coconut Palm Sugar is a rich, unrefined brown sugar with a deep caramel flavor.  It is produced by tapping the sweet nectar from the tropical coconut palm tree flower and drying the nutrient rich juice in a large open kettle drum.  The juice condenses into a delicious, handmade whole brown sugar that adds warm color and a depth of flavor to baking.
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