Foodie Friday -- Cappuccino Torte

Many, many years ago, I made this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine. It turned out beautifully. I used chocolate covered coffee beans to decorate, but then ate the rest of the chocolate covered coffee beans and wasn't able to drink coffee for over six months. Yep, it burned my stomach up.

 The next time it was made was the year my daughter was born--2000. I managed to finish the nut crust and the fudge layer, but my daughter decided to make an early appearance. My wonderful sis-in-laws tried to finish the torte, but this is one of those recipes that it is important to have a standing mixer (due to the amount of time it must  beat) . . . my SIL only had a hand held one. It wasn't beaten long enough and the cappuccino buttercream went *flop*. It was still wonderfully tasty, but it didn't hold up.

This year I made this dessert. I thought, "Why not? I have all the ingredients. Let's give it a shot." I, too, had some issues with this recipe. My fudge layer wouldn't set. Six hours in the fridge and it still didn't set. It wasn't until I was making the cappuccino buttercream did I figure out what went wrong.

--I had forgotten to add the stick of butter to the fudge. Ack!

So what do you think I did?

I poured the fudge out of the pan, and scraped the crust free of fudge as much as possible. Microwaved the fudge just enough to warm it, AND THEN I beat the missing butter into the mixture. I could tell it would work this time, because it was starting to thicken as I was beating.

Now, I was fighting the clock on this one since I was in the process of making the cappuccino layer. So I put the fudge in the freezer to firm up. The buttercream went into the refrigerator until the fudge was firm enough to hold the weight. I whipped it one last time before spreading it on the fudge layer.

The key item to remember is -- who cares if you mess it up? It still tastes good and no one will know unless you post it on Facebook. ;-0.

Cappuccino Torte
4 whole graham crackers
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (2 ounces)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (2 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 Tbls. butter, melted and cooled
Fudge Layer:
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbls. light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 8 pieces, room temperature
Cappuccino Buttercream Layer:
2 1/2 cups golden brown sugar, firmly packed (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup water
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 Tbls. instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tsp. hot water
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Bakers), chopped, melted, cooled
Coffee Whipped Cream:
1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbls. powdered sugar
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
chocolate shavings
chocolate coffee bean candies
For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 10-inch-springform pan with 2 3/4-inch high sides. Grind graham crackers to crumbs in processor. Add nuts, sugar and salt and chop coarsely using on/off turns. Add butter and process until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumbs into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Cool.
For fudge layer: Bring cream to boil in heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Mix in corn syrup. add butter 1 piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
Pour fudge into cooled crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
For cappuccino buttercream layer: Cook sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and boil 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat yolks in heavy-duty mixer at high speed until thick and pale. With mixer running, gradually pour boiling syrup into yolks (do not scrape saucepan). Continue to beat until yolk mixture is cool, about 15 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Mix in butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add espresso mixture, then melted chocolate.
Spread buttercream over chilled fudge layer. Cover pan loosely with waxed paper. Refrigerate overnight.
For coffee whipped cream: Combine 1 Tbls of whipping cream, espresso powder and vanilla in small bowl; stir until powder dissolves. Beat remaining cream in large bowl until beginning to thicken. Mix in coffee mixture and powdered sugar. Beat whipping cream mixture to firm peaks.
Run small sharp knife around sides of springform pan to loosen torte. Carefully release pan sides. Spread most of Coffee Whipped Cream neatly over tops and sides of torte. Press grated chocolate around sides. Transfer torte to serving platter. Transfer remaining cram to pastry pag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe cream in rosettes around top edge of torte. Garnish with chocolate shavings and coffee bean candies, if desired. Can prepare 6-8 hours ahead; refrigerate). Let stand 1 hour at room temperature and serve.
Tips &Tricks:
  • Though this recipe says it serves 12-14 people. This is a very rich, very dense torte. Each piece will be pretty small, so plan on serving a crowd.
  • If your nuts for the crust seem overly oily, use less butter. BUT if you happen to have a rimmed cheesecake pan all the better to catch the excess oils exuded from the baking process. If you don't have a rimmed pan, then place a piece of foil under the pan when you bake the crust.
  • Watch the cream when you make the fudge layer. If you put it on the stove and walk away, it will boil over.
  • I don't finely chop my chocolate, but the larger chunks take longer to completely melt, which equals more stirring.
  • When you add the soft butter to the fudge layer, it will start to thicken up. . . your clue that you DID remember to add the butter . . . Yeah, even the best cooks get sidetracked!
  • Use a standing mixer . . . unless you want to build up your arms by holding a hand mixer for over 25 minutes total while the cappuccino buttercream is beaten.
  • Start mixing the egg yolks when you heat the sugar. By the time the sugar is ready the egg yolks have thickened and turned a lighter yellow.  
  • Many times recipes will tell you NOT to scrap the sides of the pan while boiling sugar. BUT if you constantly scrape the sides, the sugar is immediately dissolves into solution, which decreases the chance for sugar grains to reform when the solution cools.
  • I DO NOT scrap the pan when I'm adding the sugar solution to the egg yolks simply because it's too awkward with my mixer.  
  • DO let the cappuccino buttercream mix for 15 minutes to cool prior to adding the softened butter.
  • The cappuccino buttercream layer will become the texture of icing when it is close to being finished.
  • I walked away from the whipping cream (oops!), and it had whipped just a couple of seconds too long, going from stiff peaks to chunks, BUT it seemed to spread quite nicely AND hold its shape. So it isn't the end of the world
  • Do not whip cream for too much longer than this or you will make a coffee butter. Just saying.
  • When you cut into this dessert--it has a knockout impact. But you can really make it a feast for the eyes when you decorate it. If you do use grated chocolate on the sides, make sure your hands are ice cold, or you use pastry gloves, or the chocolate will melt all over them and make a mess.  
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans are usually found in candy stores. These are very addictive (caffeine AND chocolate), so only buy as many as you think you'll need.
That's it for now! Enjoy!

If you plan to make this, or any other of my recipes, and I haven't covered your question in my tips or tricks, then feel free to ask your question in the comments section or email me at: Margaret (dot) golla @ gmail.com {remove spaces and make (dot) a .}

Later, Peeps!

1 comment:

Meg said...

Looks fantastic. Bet it is awesome.
You are such a marvel.