Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cherry Chocolate Cream Torte

My husband says, "It's not dessert, if it's not chocolate!" Personally, I like fruit flavors best but, occasionally, I'll make a special dessert for him and find myself being swayed by his conviction because chocolate is so rich, decadent and utterly delicious. No wonder cocoa was once used as currency and was reserved only for royalty. There is something about the creamy, smooth texture that satisfies like nothing else in the world!

This cake is very quick to prepare, taking only minutes to bake and cool. I was able to whip up this spectacular dessert in less than 1 hour from start to finish. Essentially, it is a thin chocolate angel food cake with four layers of creamy, gooey goodness! The success to whipping egg whites is to allow your eggs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes and be certain to use a very clean bowl and beaters, then the magic just happens. It's easy, so don't be afraid to give this fabulous recipe a try. The chocoholic in your family will love you for it.

Cherry Chocolate Cream Torte
(Makes 10 servings)

Cake Ingredients:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup almond flour (or finely ground blanched almonds)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or 1 teaspoon strong cold coffee)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
½ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend), divided

Filling Ingredients:
1¼ cups skim milk, cold
2 oz. mascarpone cheese (can be purchased in specialty cheese section of grocery)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Splenda granular
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pkg. sugar-free, fat-free instant chocolate pudding (the size that makes 4 servings)
1½ cups canned lite cherry pie filling (I use Lucky Leaf brand)
2 tablespoons chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line a 15" x 10" jellyroll pan with parchment paper. (Batter will not spread, so any baking sheet with low sides will do. If yours is larger than recommended pan size, fold edges of parchment paper to create the proper size space for batter.)

2. In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Stir with a fork, breaking up any clumps in the mixture or sift through a fine sieve; set aside.

3. Separate eggs by placing the yolks into a small mixing bowl and whites into a clean, dry large mixing bowl. Set yolks aside. Using clean beaters, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons Splenda and continue beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.

4. Add chocolate extract to yolks and beat with a handheld or standing mixer at high speed for 4-5 minutes until thick and yellow. Gradually add 1 tablespoon sugar and 6 tablespoons Splenda to yolk mixture and continue beating until sugars are dissolved.

5. With a rubber spatula, take about 1/5 of egg whites and stir into yolk mixture to lighten. Pour ½ of yolk mixture into egg whites and gently fold to incorporate. Repeat with remaining yolk mixture until fully incorporated, being careful not to deflate egg whites. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and fold until just blended and cocoa is evenly distributed.

6. Quickly pour into prepared pan and spread to create an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool in pan for 5 minutes, and then move to wire rack and remove parchment paper from bottom.

7. Meanwhile make filling: Place milk, mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder, Splenda and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk until cheese and cocoa powder are blended into the milk. Add the entire package of pudding mix into the milk mixture and beat until well blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. Place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, until thick and set.

8. Cut cake in half, and then cut each piece in half again to create four equal slices. Be certain that cake is cooled completely before proceeding. To assemble, place one slice of cake on a serving platter. Spread 1/3 cup of cherry filling on top, breaking up cherries to more easily distribute them. Top with 1/3 of the thickened pudding mixture and spread to edges. Place second layer of cake on top of pudding and repeat with 1/3 cup cherry filling and half of the remaining pudding. Repeat procedure with third layer, 1/3 cup cherry filling and the remaining pudding. Top with final cake slice and dollop ½ cup of cherry filling evenly over top of cake and gently spread to cover. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving (1/10th of cake, not including shaved chocolate garnish): 145.6 calories, 17.8 g carbohydrate, 5.8 g total fat, 2.3 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 5.8 g protein.

Original Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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