When the man asked me for a chocolate torte, I said "Sure" without a second thought, nevermind I'd never made one before. Fortunately, I decided I had to try out some recipes before I delivered the final product. This is recipe number one, from Williams-Sonoma.
15 oz Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped. (I used semisweet, and wasn't entirely pleased with the results.)
2 1/4 sticks butter, cut into small pieces
7 egg yolks
9 T sugar
1.5 T dark rum or espresso (I used rum)
1.5 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt
5 egg whites, room temp
raspberries, for serving
Preheat oven to 300. Grease a cake pan or springform, and dust with sugar or cocoa powder
Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler. Stir often. (See my make-shift double boiler below. Apparently, the water isn't supposed to touch the bottom of the bowl when melting chocolate). Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks, 6 T sugar, rum, vanilla and salt on medium high speed using a hand or stand mixer. Beat until very thick and pale, 3-5 minutes. Gradually pour in the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended.
In a large, clean bowl, beat egg whites using hand or stand mixer. (It's important that there is no oil or grease or yolk in the bowl, because if there is, the whites won't whip up to full capacity). Whip for about a minute, then gradually add the remaining 3 T of sugar and continue to mix until stiff peaks form; about 2 minutes.
Scoop half of the egg whites into the chocolate, and stir until combined. Then stir in the second half, trying not to lose too much air from the egg whites. Fold just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake at 300 until the center is moist, but not liquid, about 40 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for half an hour,then remove from pan. Let chill for at least four hours.
Now, this is what the bottom of my torte looked like, because it puffed up really big while baking, then settled down into cracks and cracks. I actually thought this looked nice, but wouldn't sell at the restaurant so I turned it upside-down and added ganache on top.
If I made this again, I would run a knife around the edges when it came out of the oven so that it could settle without cracking quite so much. I would also serve it at room temp, right side up and I would use better chocolate.