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Zen and the Art of Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding

Ultra-Rich Almond Torte


I had great fun being a part of Dove Chocolate's TasteMakers program, mostly because Santa Maria did the baking and I got to do the eating. But, as if in a testament to the impermanence of the Universe, this, like all good things, must come to an end. This is the final recipe. Not to worry, though, for it's a doozy: Ultra-Rich Almond Torte. Check it out: 

This is an old Austrian recipe, adapted from Camilla Way, the mother of my childhood best friend, Erica. Camilla is a renowned baker in my little central Pennsylvania hometown, and this golden, rich cake is perfectly complimented by the impossibly fluffy chocolate frosting. It is my brother, Hal's, very favorite, and a treat he used to regularly request for his birthday.

It is not difficult to make, but it does require patience and precision -- it's a lovely gift to offer friends and family for a special occasion.

You'll need over a dozen eggs (14 to be exact), and 4 sticks of butter, so plan accordingly so you don't run out later in the week! 

Sometimes I forget to get the butter out of the refrigerator an hour or so in advance so that it is easy to cream -- here's your reminder to do this too!

Ultra-Rich Almond Torte


For cake:

  • 3 ½ cups blanched almonds
  • ¾ cup pastry flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 eggs, separated


For frosting:

  • 4 oz. DOVE dark chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 egg yolks (you can freeze the whites and make meringues on another occasion!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and parchment paper two 8 ½ inch cake pans.  (This is a fun activity for kids.)

Grind almonds in a blender until they look like coarse flour.  Mix with pastry flour.  Set aside.

Cream butter until pale and fluffy.  Add sugar gradually. 

Separate eggs.  8 egg whites in one bowl, 8 egg yolks in another bowl.  Make sure that the bowl with the egg whites is very clean.

Mix the egg yolks together gently.

Gradually add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture.

Gently fold the flour/almond mixture into the butter/sugar mixture.

Beat the egg whites until they are rounded peaks (not stiff peaks).  The egg whites should slide when you tilt the bowl.

Gently fold the egg whites into the butter/sugar/egg yolk batter.

Carefully scoop the batter into the pans and spread it to the edges with a spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cool cakes before frosting.

For frosting:

Melt chocolate and mix into the softened butter.  **Watch your chocolate carefully on the lowest ‘melt’ setting to ensure that it doesn’t burn.

Add vanilla.

Mix the sugar and water and boil about 5 minutes (til it spins a thread).  Cool.

Add the 6 egg yolks to the chocolate/butter mixture and beat with an egg beater for 3 minutes.

After the sugar water mixture is cool, add to the chocolate/butter mixture and beat for 1 minute.


If you are not going to eat the cake immediately, refrigerate it so that the frosting won’t melt;  allow 30 minutes to soften outside the refrigerator before eating.

This cake freezes well.  Cover with aluminum foil and allow 2 hours to defrost outside the freezer before eating.

Makes: 1 beautiful layer cake, serves 20.

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