While recently perusing Pinterest for recipes involving chestnuts, I ran across a few recipes for Torta Morbida al Cioccolato e Castagne. Too perfect! I thought. Halloween is right around the corner! I can make this dark, morbid cake AND use a bunch of the chestnuts in my freezer! Imagine my surprise & disappointment when I found out that a Torta Morbida is a “soft cake”.
Alas, it was a still a delicious cake. Nearly flourless, very rich, and SO SOFT! Molto morbida indeed!
Torta Morbida al Cioccolato e Castagne
(soft cake of chocolate and chestnuts)
makes a 9 inch round cake
- 1 C roasted, shelled and skinned chestnuts
- 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of Kosher salt
- 11 tbsp unsalted butter
- 12 oz semisweet chocolate
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (GF flour of your choice could be easily used here, if desired.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-1/2-inch deep fluted tart pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan. **Hint: I highly recommend the use of a springform pan here if at all possible. This is a very soft cake that will not withstand being turned out from a non-springform pan very well.
- Place chestnuts, 3/4 C of the sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large saucepan and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 45 mins. Remove from heat and let chestnuts cool in syrup, then drain. **HINT: Do not stir chestnuts while they are in the hot syrup, as they will break. Still delicious, but much less attractive in your cake.
- Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water. For ease, I recommend that you use chips or morsels if possible.
- Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk mixture until cooled to lukewarm. This will take about 5-8mins. Whisk in egg yolks and flour.
- Beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold whites into batter half at a time. **Hint: My preferred method for beating egg whites most effectively is my hand blender fitted with a whip attachment.
- Pour batter into greased pan. Gently lay chestnuts on top of batter and poke them in gently.
- Bake for about 40 mins or until the edges of the cake have formed a crust. Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 mins, then release from pan and let it cool completely.