Chocolate Walnut Tweed Torte

  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Loads of ground bittersweet chocolate and walnuts held together with meringue produce a moist, deceptively light cake with a speckled (tweedy) appearance and intense chocolate flavor—without flour or even egg yolks.


1cup (3.5 ounces) walnut pieces
1/2cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
9ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
-- Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange (optional)
1/8teaspoon salt
1cup egg whites (from 7 to 8 large eggs)
1/4teaspoon cream of tartar
-- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
-- 9-inch springform pan
-- Food processor
-- Electric mixer


  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan.
  2. Pulse the walnuts with 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the food processor until finely ground. Scrape the nuts into another bowl. Use a paper towel to wipe excess oil from the sides of the processor bowl, add the chocolate with 1 tablespoon sugar, and pulse until it forms crumbs ranging in size from coarse meal to ¼-inch bits. Add the chocolate to the nuts, along with the orange zest, if using, and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Using the electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a large clean, dry bowl at medium speed until the egg whites are creamy white and soft peaks are formed when the beaters are lifted. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar, beating at medium-high speed until the egg whites are glossy and stiff but not dry.
  4. Pour half of the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and fold in with a large rubber spatula until nearly incorporated. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture, folding just until evenly incorporated.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the torte is puffed and golden brown on top and springs back when gently pressed with your fingers; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out moist and possibly stained with melted chocolate, but not coated with raw batter.
  6. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Slide a thin knife or a small metal spatula around the sides of the torte to release it from the pan. Remove the pan sides and transfer the cake to a serving platter. The torte can be kept at room temperature, covered or under a cake dome, for up to 3 days, or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 3 months; bring to room temperature before serving.
  7. Serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream.

Excerpted from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012.