Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (GF)

Sorry for the slightly long title, but I really needed to include all the key elements of this cake so you know what we’re talking about.

First up, I lied – it’s not a cake. It it deliciously dense and squidgy, it sinks in the middle – it’s definitely a torte.

It’s chocolate. Super chocolate. But it also has probably the weirdest vegetable I’ve baked with replacing any butter or oil – aubergine.

And then there’s the salted caramel. What dessert isn’t improved by salted caramel?!

This is really a hybrid of two recipes from Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes – Harry Eastwood’s Heartache Cake, which I’ve made before, and a Velvet Salted Caramel Torte.

To make sure the caramel layer would stay in place and not mix in with the cake batter, I tweaked Harry’s recipe to whisk the egg whites separately and fold them into the mix last, so it would hold the weight of the caramel.

It worked – you can’t see too clearly in the photos, but there was a definite layer of caramel, and it took a great chocolate torte to another level – so, so good!

Seriously, don’t be put off by the aubergine, or the hassle of making caramel, it really is worth it – if only I could have another slice now…

Salted caramel aubergine chocolate torte (adapted from the Heartache Cake and Velvet Salted Caramel Torte in Green and Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes)

For the caramel:

  • 90g caster sugar
  • 45ml water
  • 60g butter
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or more if you’re a salt fiend like me)

For the cake:

  • 1 medium aubergine (around 220g)
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 medium eggs, separated
  • 100g clear honey
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For the caramel, heat the sugar and water in a saucepan stirring until the sugar dissolves, then leave to simmer until the syrup thickens and turns a rich amber colour. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, cream and salt. Pour into a bowl or jug and set aside to cool.

Pierce the aubergine with a skewer or sharp knife all over, microwave for about 8 minutes on high, then leave until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin, then puree the flesh in a food processor until no lumps remain. Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted – you might need to give it another quick blast in the microwave.

Beat the egg yolks, honey, cocoa powder, almonds and baking powder for about a minute, then add the aubergine chocolate mixture and beat again until well combined. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl, then fold these into the cake batter a third at a time.

Spread two thirds of the mixture into a greased and lined 6″ round tin. Pour the caramel on top and spread to within 1cm of the edge of the tin. Top with the remaining cake mix and try to spread it as evenly as you can to cover the caramel.

Bake on a low shelf at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about half an hour, until the cake has risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely – it will sink in the middle, but that’s what you want. Remove from the tin, then slice and serve.

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Chocolate, hazelnut and marzipan torte

Chocolate, hazelnut and marzipan torte

My ‘to-blog’ list is just ridiculous at the minute, I have such a backlog to get through!

I don’t want to complain too much, because I’m glad to have lots of successful bakes to share as well as a couple of reviews which I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to carry out, but it does mean that I’m somewhat behind on posting and only just on time for entering two of this month’s blogging challenges.

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This month’s Random Recipes challenge, set by Dom at Belleau Kitchen, was a little different to usual – the choice of book was completely down to us.

I had a little moment of panic at the thought of such freedom, but quickly decided it would make sense to choose something from my most recently purchased recipe book, Boutique Baking by Peggy Porschen.

I handed it over to the pony for the random selection, and was very pleased with his choice as it was one that had stood out to me the very first time I flicked through the book – a chocolate hazelnut torte, topped with a layer of marzipan and chocolate ganache.

Which brings me nicely onto the second challenge I’m entering this for – Classic French, hosted by Jen at Blue Kitchen Bakes. Ganache is the theme so this torte works perfectly!

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The cake itself is delicious and went down very well with all my taste testers – a really moist yet light textured sponge with a great balance of flavours – it sounds like quite a lot going on with chocolate, hazelnut, rum and the marzipan, but they all complement each other perfectly.

I had heard good things about Boutique Baking and based on this recipe I’m not disappointed – I can’t wait to try some of Peggy’s signature pretty cupcakes and triple-layer cakes as part of my mission to improve my decorating skills this year.

Chocolate, hazelnut and marzipan torte (from Boutique Baking by Peggy Porschen)

  • 150g whole hazelnuts
  • 75g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 150g butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, seperated
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 20g caster sugar

To finish:

  • 200g marzipan
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 60ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp liquid glucose

Start by blitzing the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground, then add in the chopped chocolate, cinnamon and flour and blitz again until the mixture has a sand-like texture. Beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, then add in the egg yolks and rum and beat again to combine. Fold in the chocolate and hazelnut mixture, then whisk the egg whites and caster sugar into stiff peaks and fold in, a third at a time. Spread the mixture into a greased and lined 8″ round cake tin and bake at 150 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until risen, springy to the touch and starting to crack around the edges. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

To make the ganache, heat the cream until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Stir to melt the chocolate, then add in the liquid glucose and leave to cool. Roll out the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar, to a little larger than an 8″ circle. Spread the ganache on top (saving about 2 tbsp) and chill in the fridge until completely set.

Use the cake tin to cut out a perfect 8″ circle from the marzipan. Turn the cake upside down onto a serving plate so the perfectly flat bottom is on top, warm the remaining ganache and spread a thin layer on top of the cake for the marzipan to stick to. Carefully lift the marzipan circle and place on top of the cake – then you’re ready to serve, enjoy!

A celebration chocolate torte

This week we were celebrating – the pony has a new job!

The only possible way this could be celebrated was with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, in the form of this quadruple chocolate torte.

Chocolate brownie base, creamy chocolate topping, chocolate truffles and chocolate shavings – what more could a pony want?

I was inspired to make this when I saw Jac at Tinned Tomatoes’ deep chocolate cheesecake. The pictures just look so tempting!

I didn’t think there was enough cream cheese involved to be a proper cheesecake though, which is why I’m calling it a torte, but cheesecake or torte, biscuit base or brownie base, it’s delicious and a must-bake if you too have a chocolate lover in your life.

Celebration chocolate torte (adapted from Tinned Tomatoes)

  • 1 x 9″ round brownie base – I used this recipe, and just baked it in a round tin rather than square
  • 100g light cream cheese
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250ml toffee flavoured yoghurt (low fat works fine)
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 250ml double cream
  • chocolate truffles (recipe below) and chocolate shavings to decorate

Beat the caster sugar into the cream cheese until smooth, then fold in the yoghurt and then cocoa powder, making sure everything is well mixed. Whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold into the chocolate mixture, until everything is just combined. Pour over the base (still in the tin!) and spread evenly. Leave in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours, then top with the chocolate truffles and shavings.

Simple chocolate truffles

  • 65g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g double cream
  • cocoa powder to coat

Heat the cream in a saucepan or in a jug in the microwave, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Leave for a minute then stir to melt all the chocolate. Leave in the fridge until the mixture has set hard. Use a spoon to scoop the mixture out into 8 small balls, then, working quickly, roll each between your hands and then roll in the cocoa powder to coat. This is a basic truffle recipe that’s infinitely adaptable – addition of any form of liqueur usually goes down well, as does coating in more melted chocolate, rolling in chopped nuts etc…

Chilli-chocolate-orange torte

I had quite a lot of difficulty deciding what to name this cake. Firstly, the ingredients – chilli-chocolate-orange? chilli-orange-chocolate? chocolate-chilli-orange? Such dilemmas.

Then there’s the fact that what started out as a truffle torte deviated from the recipe quite a bit – my slightly over enthusiastic whipping of the cream turned the texture more mouse-like, and my fears about it setting prompted me to make a sponge base so I knew I’d actually be able to serve it.

I’m sticking with torte, as ‘chilli-chocolate-orange-sort-of-torte-mouse-cake’ would be a bit too much of a mouthful – but forget that, because what really matters here is the flavour.

This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by Choclette at the Chocolate Log Blog, features chilli, and was the push I needed to experiment with the classic combination.

I considered quite a few options, but didn’t really fancy a sponge cake so settled on a torte. Although chilli and chocolate is great as a flavour combination on it’s own, I decided to add orange to try and recreate the ‘Mayan’ flavour of a certain brand of chocolate bar – and it really worked!

Seriously, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you try this recipe – it’s one of the best chocolate recipes I’ve made in ages!

Chilli-chocolate-orange torte (loosely based on this one):

For the base:

  • 60g butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
Beat together all the ingredients then spread into a greased and lined 9″ round tin. Bake at 180 degreed for about 15 minutes, then remove the sponge from the tin and leave to cool.

For the filling:

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 568ml double cream
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • zest of 1 orange

Put the sponge base back in the tin, upside down with the baking paper removed. Gently heat the chocolate, golden syrup and a quarter of the cream over a pan of hot water, the once the chocolate has melted remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Whisk the cream, chilli powder and orange zest with a balloon whisk until thick but not stiff. This is where I went wrong as I was so excited that I’d managed to whisk it by hand that I went a bit too far and ended up with thick cream – oh well!

Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the cream until well combined and no white streaks are left. Spread onto the base and leave to chill overnight. Dust with cocoa powder and serve, in very small slices!