April is cruel on dessert lovers.
Citrus fruits are past their prime.
Apples and pears, in cold storage since last autumn, are mealy.
Local strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries are a distant glimmer on the horizon.
Waiting is difficult.
But, fortunately, chocolate is perennial.
A Chocolate Torte with Cappuccino Cream in the freezer makes the time until strawberries just a bit sweeter.
Frozen Chocolate Torte with Cappuccino Cream
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 sticks (1/2 cup each) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso or regular instant coffee
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Bittersweet chocolate shavings for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch round springform pan with no-stick
Put the chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir. If lumps remain, microwave for about 20 seconds. Stir and set aside. On a sheet of waxed paper, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to mix; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat, and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the reserved dry ingredients. Mix just to incorporate. Spoon into the prepared pan. Spread evenly.
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the torte from the oven. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the outer ring of the pan. Place a freezerproof serving dish over the torte. Invert the torte onto the dish. Run the blade of a long thin knife between the top of the torte and the pan bottom to separate. Allow to cool.
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, stir instant espresso or regular instant coffee with 1 teaspoon cold water to dissolve. Add cream. Whip on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar. Whip for 1 to 2 minutes, or until peaks hold their shape. Spread, swirling into peaks, over the top and sides of the cooled torte.
Place in the freezer, uncovered, for 2 hours. For longer storage, cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 week. To serve, unwrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Bittersweet chocolate shavings may be scattered on top for decoration.
Makes 12 servings
©Cooking Up an Italian Life, PergolaWest, Inc.