Emily Luchetti’s “Torta Regina” is not photogenic (in my kitchen, anyway, with the lack of fancy china) but is so delicious and different that it deserves a post. It has only four main ingredients (chocolate, hazelnuts, eggs, sugar) and two flavorings (orange and lemon zest).
Although it is a “flourless cake,” it is not at all like the archetypal gooey chocolate bomb. This one is light and has an interesting texture.
Luchetti recommends serving the cake with orange custard sauce and caramel or hazelnut ice cream.
- 5 1/2 ounces hazelnuts toasted and skinned (156 grams)
- 5 1/2 ounces dark chocolate chopped (156 grams)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 6 large eggs separated
- 1/2 cup sugar divided -- half for the yolks, half for the whites (120 mL)
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
- Combine the hazelnuts, chocolate and zests in a food processor. Use pulses to grind the mixture to a fine powder.
- Place the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar into the bowl of a mixer, with the whisk attached.
- Whip the mixture on high speed for about 3 minutes (probably longer with a hand-held mixer), until the volume of the egg-sugar mixture has increased a bit. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Set the mixer to low speed, and add the ground nut-chocolate mixture. The batter will be stiff.
- If you have only one bowl for your stand mixer, transfer the yolk-nut-chocolate mixture to a bowl big enough to hold the entire batter (the egg whites will added to the yolk-nut-chocolate mixture later on). Clean your mixing bowl very well (a tiny speck of fat can interfere with the egg white foam process, as explained thoroughly in McGee's On Food and Cooking).
- If you have a second bowl, use that for the egg whites.
- Pour the egg whites into the clean mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment, and whip on medium speed until frothy, then increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. With the mixer running at high, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Whip the mixture until stiff peaks form.
- Fold one third of the egg whites into the yolk-nut-chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in half of the remaining egg whites, then fold in the rest. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.
- Bake the cake for about 25 minutes.
- A cake tester should come out clean when the cake is done.
- Cool the cake in the pan.
Adapted from Emily Luchetti's Classic Stars Desserts