This torte had my name written on it; I was destined to make this beauty. Why?… listen to this. One hot, lazy afternoon I walk into a nearby Ross store and start browsing the baking aisle, where they have the baking pans and stuff. I immediately spot this set of 4 baby loaf pans. I had never seen those babies before and although pretty sure I would not have much use for them, I thought I would buy it. Heck, they were so cute, and for $3.99 for four of them, it seemed like a pretty good deal. Anyway, let’s just say I bought it. The next day, at the library, I come across this book, Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers and take it home with me. Now, I like to read cook books, specially those dealing with desserts, in bed at night before I go to sleep (hmmm..kinda weird, I know). I mean, I dream of desserts at night anyway…might as well have some new recipes to dream of :-). Coming back to the story; reading the book, I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find that most of the recipes in the book called for, guess what?…mini loaf pans…YAY! Isn’t that crazy…or is it just me? Either way, I had no problems deciding on what I wanted to bake first…cashew, crunchy toffee, dark ganache and brownie cake?…Oh yes, that’s the one! And for once, I had everything in my pantry, even cashews. And thus, I came to the above-mentioned conclusion. Well…!
Here I have to say a few words about this book, Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers – it is AMAZING. Authored by Debby Maugans, it has recipes for chocolate cakes, cookies, pies, muffins, puddings, even drinks…for two servings (one, in my case.. ;-)..). Other than the loaf pans, soup cans and mini tart pans are also used to bake the goodies in. And yes, you can expect many more recipes from the book on this blog. There…you are warned.
Now, about the cake, it has three thin layers of dense, fudgy brownie cake with a cashew, toffee and ganache mixture filling in between. It is rich, it is crunchy and it melts in your mouth. I was afraid the cashew and the toffee would soften when mixed with the ganache, but nothing happened, it remained nice and crunchy. Make sure you use good quality chocolate, it definitely makes a difference.
Cashew Toffee Crunch Chocolate Torte
Recipe source: Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers by Debby Maugans
1 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
11/2 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
11/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing the pan
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Ganache ( recipe follows at the end)
1/2 cup dry-roasted, unsalted cashews, finely chopped
2 tbsp. toffee bits
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Lightly butter a petite loaf pan ( 2- cup capacity, about 5 by 3 inches); line the bottom of the pan lengthwise and up the short ends with a strip of aluminium foil, allowing the ends to extend 11/2 inches above the edges. Lightly butter the foil and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. (I just used Baker’s Joy.) Set the pan aside.
Place the chocolates and butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl; microwave on medium power until soft. Stir until smooth. Let cool.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place the egg, sugar, cream, and vanilla in a small, deep mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until the mixture has lightened, about 30 seconds. Add the cooled, melted chocolate mixture, and beat on medium speed until blended, about 5 sec. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 mins. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 20 mins; unmold the cake. Clean the loaf pan, and line it lengthwise with a piece of foil, extending the edges 11/2 inches over the sides of the pan.
Prepare the ganache. ( Recipe at the end)
Measure out 1/3 cup of the ganache and set aside. Stir the cashews and toffee bits into the remaining 1/2 cup ganache.
Cut the cake horizontally into three thin layers using a sharp knife. Place the bottom layer of the cake, cut side up, in the bottom of the lined pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread half of the cashew ganache mixture on the layer. Place the center cake layer on top and press down gently. Spread the remaining cashew ganache mixture. Place the top cake layer, cut side down, on top of the cashew ganache mixture, pressing down gently. Refrigerate to set the ganache, about 1 hour.
Using the ends of the foil, lift the cake out of the pan and place on a plate. Spread the reserved 1/3 cup of ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with whole cashews. Refrigerate to set the ganache, about 1 hour. Cut into slices while cold, and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
4 oz premium-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. sugar
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
Place the cream, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar melts. Remove from heat, and pour over the chocolate in the bowl. Let stand 1 min, then stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.