This cake won't arrive at your next holiday party a-wassailing.
Or jingling its bells.
Or reeking of booze.
It might even get sat next to a croquembouche or a trifle and end up looking mopey and meager all night.
But its assemblage--a stirring choir of chocolate, amaretti, almonds, and butter--is far from Scrooge-like.
Strategically under-sweet (because when there's eggnog around), with a dusting of snowy white sugar that manages to suggest the season without whooping it, this cake's bound to be invited onto Santa's lap every year.
Use the leftover amaretti to make this naughty-but-nice little number and you'll be too.
Chocolate amaretti torte
Adapted from The New York Times
- 4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate
- 18 small amaretti
- 3/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
- a cheerful pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with waxed paper and butter the paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour, tapping out the excess to the tune of Good King Wenceslas.
Melt the chocolates in a bowl set atop hot water. Set aside to cool.
Place the amaretti, almonds, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times (Jingle Bells makes sense), until the mixture is evenly ground. Tip mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper.
Put the butter, sugar, and eggs into the processor bowl and whirl until the mixture is no longer grainy, but satiny smooth--about 3 minutes, or until "Fiiiiive, golden rings!" Scrape the sides of the bowl after the turtle doves and the calling birds.
Add back the ground amaretti and almonds, plus the melted chocolate. Pulse until combined and all is calm and all is bright.
Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven, on the center rack, for 25 minutes. The top may look dry and cracked, like your lips, but the center will be soft and fudgy.
Cool on a cake rack for 30 minutes before running a blunt knife around the edge of the pan and flipping it over to coax it on out. Peel off the wax paper, turn right side up again, and allow it some solitude before party time. Gussy it up with confectioners' sugar just before leaving the house.