Lora Brody’s Chocolate Cherry Torte

April 1, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, sweet things | 14 Comments
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lora brody's chocolate cherry torte

I know that it’s technically spring, but the weather here seems to have missed the memo.  I was hoping that the light snow called for in this morning’s forecast was just an April fool’s joke, but, alas, it was for real.  Rhubarb and ramps have gotta be just around the corner, though, so I’m going to take these (hopefully) final chilly days to squeeze in some of the heavier desserts I won’t be in the mood for soon.  Things like this dense, rich Chocolate-Cherry Torte.

I think this was my husband’s dream cake….chocolate, almonds and cherries…all his favorite things together in one.  I loved the fudgy texture of the cake itself, and, of course, the chocolate ganache glaze.  The thin layer of marzipan in between the cake and glaze was a nice flavor touch.  This isn’t a difficult cake (in fact, you can make the batter in the food processor), but there are a few steps from start to finish.  A fun project for a chilly day spent inside!

lora brody's chocolate cherry torte

Lora Brody’s Chocolate Cherry Torte- makes 8 to 12 servings
adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser

Steph’s Note:  You can use semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, depending on how sweet you’d like the cake to be.  I found jarred Morello cherries at Trader Joe’s.  I used marzipan in lieu of almond paste here.

for the cake:
3 T finely ground fresh bread crumbs
one 24 oz jar pitted Morello or sour cherries
6 oz dark chocolate
12 T softened unsalted butter, plus some for greasing pan
2/3 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c ground almonds
2/3 c flour

2 T confectioner’s sugar
8 oz almond paste (or marzipan)

for the glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
8 oz. dark chocolate

-Preheat oven to 350°F; put rack in center of oven.  Butter a 9″ or 10″ springform pan.  Add the breadcrumbs and shake pan to coat bottom and sides.  Shake out the excess.  Drain cherries well and set aside.

-Melt chocolate in double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.

-Put the butter and sugar into a mixer or food processor and blend until light and creamy. Add one egg and mix well.  Then add second egg and mix well.  Add the extracts. Add the melted chocolate and mix gently or process in a few quick pulses.  Mix in the almonds and the flour, and finally, the remaining egg.

-Pour and scrape the batter into prepared pan. Smooth top with a spatula.  Arrange cherries in close concentric circles on top (the entire surface should be covered) and press them gently into batter so just the tops are showing. If the surface is uneven, smooth it out with a wet spatula.  There may be a few cherries leftover.

-Bake for 50 minutes to one hour. Don’t overbake. The cake may look dry on top, but will be moist inside. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

-Put a length of waxed paper on flat surface and sprinkle with confectioner’s’ sugar.  Work the almond paste into a flat round and turn it in the sugar. Cover with the second sheet of waxed paper and roll out into a circle the diameter of the cake.  It should be quite thin (about 1/16th”). Take off top layer of waxed paper.

-Using the cake pan as a guide, cut out a circle that will fit the top of the cake exactly.  Save extra pieces to patch any torn part or use for decorations. Cover the cake with the almond-paste round.

-To make the glaze, bring cream and coffee to a slow boil in heavy sauce pan.  Take it off the heat and add the chocolate; stir gently until the chocolate is melted with no lumps (you can strain it if lumpy). Let the glaze cool briefly, until spreadable.  Thin it with 1-2 t hot water if it’s too thick.

-Place cake on a rack over a sheet of waxed paper to catch drippings. Pour a thin layer chocolate glaze over the cake spreading it with a spatula. It should cover the top and sides of cake. Chill the cake briefly and and a second coat.  Decorate if you wish (you can make roses or cut-outs from any almond paste scraps).

-This cake will keep unrefrigerated in a cool place for 2 days. It can be refrigerated, but the glaze will lose shine.

Please note that the publisher, W.W. Norton, sent me a copy of this book…but I would have bought it anyway!


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  1. This looks so decadent! I love the color of the cherries within the chocolate cake!

  2. Nothing like any kind of chocolate cake for warming the heart, if not the body! This is an unusual flavour combination I don’t think I’ve seen before and it looks really lovely – great photo!

  3. This cake looks amazing! Marzipan and chocolate are delicious together, so I can only imagine the ensuing magic that occurs when cherries and almonds are added to the mix.

  4. What a delicious recipe! Chocolate & cherries on a snowy spring day is definitely a comfort food. Looking forward to this torte.
    Thanks and Regards

    blenders and food processors

  5. delicious!!!!

  6. Stunning! I am sure that Lora, Craig & Pierre could never have imagined how gorgeous this torte could be. Beautifully done! Love that book–a true treasure!

  7. This looks divine! I have a weakness for sour cherries and almond paste.

  8. Oh wow this combination sounds amazing. Dark cherries and chocolate are always good, but throw in some almond flavor in there? I’m sold.

  9. Chocolate and cherries are a great combo – this delicious cake proves that 😀

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Rich Sticky Date Pudding w/ Butterscotch Sauce

  10. Fell I. Love with. This recipe hers ago she. It wAs published in NY. Times magazine. What else could you ask for-Dark chocolate, tart cherries. And coffee with. Almonds throw. In for good measure. Absolutely decadently. Delicious🤪

    • Yes! I found it in the NYTimes cookbook, so I knew it had been published in the paper or magazine at some point. It certainly was delicious– thanks for commenting!!

  11. I tore this sublime recipe from the NYT Sunday magazine 40 years ago and have been making it since. One tip: Undercook just a bit. (Overcooking ruins it.) Better a little gooey than dry. I learned that when I bought a slice at a roadside shop in Maine decades ago. It was a tad gooey–and brilliant. Odd oversight by the NYT: You can’t search this recipe out on the wonderful NYT Cooking site. It does appear in a Brody cookbook.

    • thanks for the comment— yes, i found it in the NYT cookbook, not on the site. i remember it being very fudgy and good.

  12. Tore this sublime recipe out of NYT Sunday magazine four decades ago and been making it since. One tip: undercook just a bit as overcooking ruins it. Better gooey than dry. Discovered the secret when I bought a slice at a shop in Maine in the 1980s. It was a tad undercooked and brilliant. Oddly, you can’t search this recipe out on the NYT Cooking site.

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