Torte reform
Monday July 28th 2008, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Recipes

I make a chocolate torte, a takeoff from what was originally in a Hershey’s cookbook but made even more decadent, that has become my signature dessert and part of my children’s childhood memories.

And I have a daughter who now is terribly allergic to anything dairy.  Not lactose intolerant but truly allergic.  She’s adjusted pretty well, but she misses that torte.

coconut ganache, take oneSo every now and then we experiment, although we have a long way to go yet.  Hazelnut oil with chocolate is wonderful.  Her sibling’s using soy milk for the cream and substituting the butter in the cake with extra virgin olive oil, not so much.  (I shouldn’t type that. I really shouldn’t type that.  Not out loud.)

Saturday, Michelle came home from Whole Foods with a can of high-fat coconut milk–she figured the low fat version wasn’t going to cut it.  (True!)  I use super-heavy manufacturing cream in my ganache that I cover my cakes with; could one make a ganache with this?

So she gave it a go and melted the chocolate into it.  It tasted like a Mounds bar gone to heaven.  Then she added vanilla, which covered up the coconut somewhat.  I can just hear my dad, who emphatically does not care for coconut, exclaiming, Well, thank GOODNESS.  Heh.

I got a note last night from our friend Paul.  His daughters had doorbell-ditched nectarines from their tree at our door last week; I’d returned the favor a few days later by knocking on their door and handing his wife one of my tortes (my version).  Paul was emailing to ask about it and about the chocolate, and wondered whether we kept some bars of that Trader Joe’s chocolate on hand as a staple, then?  And just which of their bars did I use?

I had to think about it, and the answer was yes.  I do always have at least one of their Pound Plus Bittersweets on hand so I can easily pull together a pair of tortes (I always make two) as the need arises.

As for Michelle, though, I’d have to say, hum a few bars and she’ll fake it.

23 Comments so far
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That chocolate torte is FANTASTIC, and those you give it to are quite lucky to get it. Any chance you want to share the recipe? 😛

(Speaking of which… can you tell Michelle that I still have your plate, and we need to get together so I can return it before I leave in two weeks?)

Comment by Jenny 07.28.08 @ 5:35 pm

Alison Hyde’s chocolate torte–makes two

Snap out the bottoms of two 8″ springform pans (flat bottomed preferred). Cover bottoms with foil, snap them back in, butter the sides and the foil-covered bottoms.


Melt 1 lb. butter, beat with 3 c. sugar and 2 tsp bourbon vanilla
Add in 1/2 c. manufacturing cream, 6 egg yolks

Add in: 1 1/3 c. cocoa that has been mixed with 1 c. flour till smooth. Dutch process cocoa will give you a different flavor from that of Hershey cocoa; my favorite is Bergenfield’s Colonial Rosewood cocoa. The non-dutched cocoas are healthier.

Beat separately: 6 egg whites and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar. Underbeating is better than overbeating.

Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. Put in the two pans and bake at 350 for 42-45 minutes. Center will not be solid and cracking should appear. Run a knife carefully around outer edges; cake will fall, and you want the top to fall in one piece.

Cool at least an hour. Loosen springform sides and remove. Put a plate on bottom of cake and flip over. Peel off bottoms of pans, then the foil. Glaze when cool.


Chop one Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Belgian bittersweet chocolate bar (500 g) and melt with 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 c. manufacturing cream. Double boiler or microwave. Try not to incorporate extra air in as you stir. Also, it is important that every edge of every piece of chocolate be fully dunked down in the cream before heating or that piece of chocolate could possibly seize into a hardened, unmeltable lump with the combination of liquid and heat.

When glazing, I make a backwards J from the center, turn the cake slightly, and repeat all the way around. If you use the smaller amount of cream it holds the indentations better.

Glazes two cakes.


Comment by AlisonH 07.28.08 @ 5:42 pm

If anybody printed that out in the first three minutes before I caught the mistake, that’s a pound, not a cup of butter.

Comment by AlisonH 07.28.08 @ 5:51 pm

Hmm, chocolate as emergency supplies. I like it!

Comment by Carol 07.28.08 @ 7:12 pm

Ah! I feel for your daughter!!! I’ve been allergic to milk most of my life, and my worst “substitute” was apple juice on Rice Krispies. It’s worse than it sounds!!!

Take heart–I developed a bit of a tolerance later in life and can now handle small amounts of milk or dairy.

Comment by Toni 07.28.08 @ 8:22 pm

That sounds scrumptous! I cannot stand coconut either.

Comment by Sonya 07.28.08 @ 8:25 pm

Wow. I want that cake! Full fat coconut milk, hmmmm. I love coconut. Absolutely love it. As for chocolate as a staple, next time you’re up here you have got to go to the Scharfenberger factory and pick up a kilo or so. Sort of freaks people out that I buy chocolate by the kilo, but, there it is.

Comment by Laura in Alameda, CA 07.28.08 @ 9:35 pm

It sounds fabulous! But what is manufacturing cream?

Comment by Joyce 07.29.08 @ 4:31 am

Oh, yum! I love coconut and chocolate..I shall have to bookmark for the next party (when I can spread the calories around!)

Comment by RobinH 07.29.08 @ 4:34 am

I’ll be over at five for coffee and dessert :>)

Comment by Joansie 07.29.08 @ 4:54 am

Thank you for posting the recipe! I was going to ask if youi’d share… No dairy allergies in this family – we are going to enjoy this fully!

Comment by Sandra 07.29.08 @ 5:59 am

The dogs WERE going to get baths tonight. Sissy REALLY needs one to be pretty for her first day of school (so they’ll be sucked in by the cuteness factor as I was and overlook her lack of boundaries), but *I* really need to make that torte!

Comment by Channon 07.29.08 @ 6:17 am

Oh my slobberin’ goodness!! Thank you!! 🙂

Chocolate is not a treat here, it’s a necessity. Otherwise, we’d be unbearable. 😉

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 07.29.08 @ 6:28 am

MMMMMMMMM Chocolate, am gonna write down that recipe and have Brian pick up the ingredients that we dont have. Hes gonna love it! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 07.29.08 @ 7:55 am

Yes, what is manufactured cream? How is manufactured?!? I’ve come up with all sorts of substitutes for milk over the years. Vegan margarine (earth balance is one brand) is a very good substitute for butter. I use it because it’s pareve (neither meat nor milk) but it works for the lactose intolerant folks, too. Some soy milk works better than others, and almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, goat’s milk? All good substitutes for the lactose intolerant folks. All but the last work for the kosher/vegan folks. Probably more than you wanted to know!

Comment by Joanne 07.29.08 @ 9:27 am

I shared an award with you today…

Comment by Channon 07.29.08 @ 9:54 am

Manufacturing cream is of somewhat varying butterfat content depending on the cow and the season, from what I understand, averaging over 40%, and is what they dilute with milk to make standardized 32% heavy whipping cream; where I buy it, it is pasteurized but not homogenized and has the shorter shelf life of milk. The Milk Pail, a small market here, sells it, our Costco briefly did, and Nob Hill Foods, a California chain, sold it for awhile; I don’t know if they still do. If you can’t get it, heavy whipping cream will do, though it won’t be quite as rich.

Bourbon vanilla extract goes particularly well with chocolate and makes a noticeable difference over the other varieties of vanilla.

Joanne, Earth Balance is what Michelle uses; I’ve made almond cake by using almond milk, almond oil, and almond extract, and it was very good. Don’t apologize for sharing information, I do want to know anything helpful–Michelle’s allergic enough to have gotten sick once from a friend using the same cutting board to cut both cheese and the food she was serving Michelle.

Comment by AlisonH 07.29.08 @ 10:39 am

Oh, I wish you hadn’t told me that you make chocolate torte. See, I already have enough reasons to stalk you and I have a sort of ‘history’ of becoming an instant fan of chocolate torte makers (the stomach starts growling just thinking about it). Ahhhh…..I have no choice but to follow you around, now!

Comment by farm-witch 07.29.08 @ 11:18 am

I have tasted Alison’s wonderful torte and look forward to every sinful bite! It’s Awesome! I have been known (caught?) to lick my plate when people aren’t around!

Comment by Nancy 07.29.08 @ 8:14 pm

Just thought I’d let you know that we tried the recipe yesterday and it was WONDERFUL! We made an apricot topping (pureed apricots + a little sugar, cooked briefly on the stove) to go with it, and the chocolate/apricot combination was fantastic with this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

Comment by JennyL 08.15.08 @ 4:06 pm

Thanks for the cake recipe it sounds yummy!

Comment by Eileen 03.29.09 @ 7:17 pm

A closed mouth gathers no foot. A closed mind gathers no ideas. A closed heart gathers no love.

Now, if I could just close my eyes and gather no recipes that cause me to gather so many calories! Guess I’ll have to just roll on outta here! *smirk*

Thanks for telling us what manufacturing cream is. I can get heavy whipping cream, so I’ll have to try the recipe that way!

Comment by Karen 03.30.09 @ 4:52 pm

We did make the entire torte later using coconut cream from Whole Foods to substitute for the manufacturing cream in both the cake and in mixing with the bittersweet in the glaze, and it was absurdly good. It totally worked.

(I originally typed that “Whole Fats” without realizing it. Okay, now, that was funny!)

Comment by AlisonH 10.16.09 @ 12:30 pm

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