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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Monday, May 01, 2006

Low-fat!! Chocolate torte!!

This has to be the best low-fat chocolate cake I've ever tasted. It's no surprise that the recipe comes from Alice Medrich's "Chocolate & the art of low-fat desserts". I can't understand why this incredible book is out of print. I bought mine second-hand on eBay or Amazon, and it was a Very Good Decision. If you don't know much about Medrich or this book, do a bit of Google research - you'll probably end up placing an order yourself. I wrote a bit about her in my post about her low-fat chocolate birthday cake, and I've also tried her chocolate souffles and lemon blueberry cake (fabulous!).
A friend was having a girls night and asked if I could make something that was Weight Watchers compatible. I knew just the book to go to, and the recipe that I'd been wanting to try. Unlike the other Medrich low-fat recipes I've made, this one isn't too pedantic and tedious or involves 12 mixing bowls. I had it made and in the oven in about 10 minutes.

I think this recipe is just amazing. Basically it's a low-fat version of the flourless Chocolate Cloud Cake I made last year. But that one is WAY high in butter and eggs and calories. This one is butter-free and only contains 2 egg yolks. It's almost wheat-free too. And the taste and texture are just incredible. There is no way this tastes low-fat.
Medrich's recipe suggests serving this with her "enlightened whipped cream". Intrigued, I looked this up. Did you know that you can "extend" whipped cream by adding merinuge to it? What a great idea! Just beat up one egg white and 2 tablespoons of sugar and add it to your whipped cream. The amount you see on the cake is only 2/3 of a cup in total. The cream has a slightly different texture - lighter and more airy - but that was seen as a good thing by a few people who find plain whipped cream a bit too rich. Medrich has a concern about raw egg whites and includes a pretty tedious recipe for cooking them and making a cooked meringue, that frankly looked way too much work. We have a lower concern about salmonella and eggs here in Australia, so I ignored that and did a standard raw egg meringue. Nobody seemed to get sick...

Look at that texture! Melt in the mouth chocolate decadence, without the decadence. Ok, so we're not talking the fat count of a plate of steamed asparagus here, but as gooey chocolate cakes go, this is pretty damn good. There are 179 calories in each serve of cake (not sure how big that is) and 6.4g of fat. The enlightened whipped cream has 15.6 calories per tablespoon, and 1.38g of fat. I hate to think how many are in the full-fat version....
Read on for the recipe:

Fallen Chocolate Souffle Torte
Adapted from 'Chocolate & the art of Low-Fat Desserts'

1/4 cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 ounces (90 grams) dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoons brandy
4 egg whites
~1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Serves 10
1: Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Grease and line an 8 inch/20cm sprinform cake tin.
2: Combine chopped chocolate, cocoa and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Whisk until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted. Make sure any cocoa lumps are dissolved. Whisk in the egg yolks and brandy. Set aside.
3: Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a smaller mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining sugar and beat on high speed until stiff. Whisk the flour and almonds into the chocolate. Fold about 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it then fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into the cake pan.
4: Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Cool in the pan. The torte will sink - it's supposed to.

Medrich likes the look of the torte with just a dusting of icing sugar on top and enlightened whipped cream on the side. I chose to cover it in cream. Whatever your choice, here's the recipe:
Enlightened Whipped Cream
Adapted from "Chocolate & the art of Low Fat Desserts"

Pinch cream of tartar
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup cream
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat the egg white and cream of tartar until soft peaks form then add the sugar. Beat until fairly stiff.
In another bowl beat the cream with the vanilla until fairly stiff. Add the meringue to the cream or vice versa. Easy!


  • Oh wow, this looks so great and I can't believe it's low fat! What a great idea with the egg whites in the whipped cream- I will have to try that.


    By Blogger Dianka, at 5/02/2006 05:01:00 am  

  • Yummmmm.. are you bringing it to rehearsal?

    We ran out of time to bake a cake for T for tonight!

    By Blogger Belinda, at 5/02/2006 02:33:00 pm  

  • Looks great Niki. Like the idea of extending the cream with the meringue.

    By Anonymous Barbara, at 5/02/2006 03:04:00 pm  

  • This is funny - I saw a sumptuous Chocolate Fudge Cake on the weekend and was flicking through Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts last night for something similiar. Unfotunately after some internet research, it seems the texture of the cake I saw was from CREAM! But this looks great and you've already done the conversions for us. Excellent!

    By Blogger plum, at 5/02/2006 05:41:00 pm  

  • This sounds amazing, which is not surprising as it comes from Alice Medrich. I so want that cookbook now!

    By Anonymous Tania, at 5/03/2006 04:12:00 am  

  • Looks great! I've been putting off making one of AM's recipes, but I think I'll have to indulge sooner.

    By Blogger Marilyn, at 5/03/2006 08:49:00 am  

  • Wow, that does remind me of the chocolate cloud cake - my husband will be disappointed that I NEED to have yet another cook book.

    By Blogger Lushlife, at 5/03/2006 08:13:00 pm  

  • You can take this recipe GF very easily by just using 3 tbps extra of almond meal or using 3 tbps of rice flour.

    Looks good.

    By Anonymous Anna V, at 5/04/2006 10:45:00 am  

  • This looks absolutely luscious. I have tried a few lowfat dessert recipes by substituting applesauce for the fat. Seems to work out fine in some recipes. I have a recipe for date squares that are to die for, which call for very little flour and fat. Check out my blog and see what you think. And if you are feeling generous-link me? :)

    By Blogger Annie, at 5/04/2006 12:38:00 pm  

  • Dianka & Barbara - Isn't it a great idea? Love it!

    Belinda - Sadly no, but you can try one of my 3 million muffins on Saturday...

    Plum - I reckon you'd love this one. Cream INSIDE a cake batter?? Interesting....

    Tania - It is SUCH a great book. And it's full of useful tips you can use in your own baking from other books. I love it, and I'm no fan of American bookbooks.

    Marilyn - They can be a bit pedantic, but some surprise you, like this one.

    Lushlife - Not only does it look like the Chocolate Cloud Cake, but it tastes like it too. It's amazing!

    Anna v - Great point. I was thinking about that. I think the flour is used to absorb a bit more liquid that the almond might not do. You might need to give it another few minutes in the oven otherwise it could be a bit wetter, but it's a great idea.

    Annie - Dates are a great thing to use in baking. They taste rich and decadent without being so. I'm posting soon about an incredible date, chocolate & almond cake.
    I've tried the applesauce idea once or twice, but I need to do it again. I'll check out your blog soon. I'm hopeless at keeing my blogroll up to date.

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/04/2006 02:02:00 pm  

  • ahh!! i so gotta have that book now but i can't find it in any of my bookstores. sob.

    By Blogger diva., at 5/07/2006 08:49:00 pm  

  • You can always substitute semolina + almond extract for ground almonds to get the calories down, this is a constant concern for a piggy like me!

    By Anonymous Alex, at 5/09/2006 07:26:00 am  

  • I was wondering when you add the brandy and egg yolks because they are in the ingredients list, but no where else . . .

    By Anonymous Janet, at 5/09/2006 09:38:00 pm  

  • Janet - Oops! When I have the book, later today, I'll update the recipe to include it. Sorry!

    Diva - you should be able to find it 2nd hand on ebay or Amazon.

    Alex - what a brilliant idea! Thanks so much!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/10/2006 10:29:00 am  

  • Janet - the missing sentence has been added. Apologies!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/10/2006 07:48:00 pm  

  • Thanks for posting this recipe. I made it this morning and three women and 3 small children demolished it (leaving one tiny piece for my husband).
    It was scrumptious. I left out the egg yolks as I didn't know what to do with them. It didn't seem to matter, so made the cake even lower in fat! Of course, I chucked the brandy in though.

    By Blogger Lazy cow, at 5/10/2006 09:44:00 pm  

  • Fantastic cake, I made it for my mum on mothers day and she loved it to bits! Very decadent though, you wouldn't want to eat too much of it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/15/2006 11:03:00 am  

  • hi niki, do u think this could be done without the brandy and cream of tartar?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/18/2006 02:04:00 am  

  • Anon - I think the cream of tartar is used to stabilise the egg whites and make them more capable of holding a stiff meringue, but I've made meringue before without it so perhaps you could. Re: brandy. It's only a tablespoon but gives quite a nice flavour. Any other type of alcohol would work too. Or perhaps some coffee or orange juice?

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/18/2006 12:28:00 pm  

  • This looks wonderful, Nikki! I always keep meaning to buy that book but whenever I look the second hand prices are terrifying. One day!!

    By Anonymous Angela, at 6/23/2006 03:29:00 am  

  • Hi ,I just made this chocolate torte for Thanksgiving dinner.My mother in law and her husband are in there eighties and they thought it was fabulous.After making a Thanksgiving dinner ,this dessert is so light and delicious ,I will make it again .I served this cake with Kraft cool whip 95% fat free topping on the top with chocolate shavings .SOOOO good.

    By Anonymous Donna, at 10/11/2006 08:37:00 pm  

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  • Years ago, I purchased a low fat recipe magazine (the name eludes me and I no longer have it) and in this mag were two recipes that I absolutely loved! I think this was was one of them. It is delicious! But the recipe that I am really looking for is a torte, low fat chocolate torte. It was made with dark chocolate and Hershey chocolate powder. I remember folding in egg whites. The torte was baked in the oven double boiler style. Served with raspberry sauce. Absolutely, by far, the most decadent low fat chocolate torte ever. It was always a big hit a dinner parties.

    If anyone out there has this recipe, I would be very grateful I you would post it!

    By Blogger LindaLou, at 6/08/2010 01:45:00 am  

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