Mar 6, 2013

Amaretti torta

I was rearranging contents of my drawers in the kitchen, when I stumbled again upon the bag of amaretti cookies I got last year in Italy. These cookies have been here too long taking too much space.
OK, so the cookies were the reason (not the only one) to make the cake. But how much of them...was a big question. The recipe by Giada called for 20 pieces (she meant the original Amaretti Sardi). I spend about 1h (or maybe it was 15 minutes) to find the weight of one help from the web. I know my amaretti cookies are smaller than the original ones packed separately in beautiful wraps.  I decided to add 50 of my small, commercial version cookies. 

The rest of the recipe was straightforward, I added dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. And I added orange zest instead of orange liqueur.

This cake is similar to some that I have made before, also Italian. They don't use chemical raising  agents, instead - eggs. And almonds or cookies instead of flour. This recipe calls for only 1/2 cup of flour. It calls for 5 beaten egg whites, but only 1/3 of them you mix in, the rest - fold in. Maybe, that's why the cake didn't look like a souffl√© in the oven. 

The cake is full of taste, amaretto, chocolate, not much orange. It's rich and sweet. Light to the bite (amaretti) and melting in your mouth (butter). Giada recommended to spread orange jam on top. I would have done if I had any, but the cake is moist and tasty without it. Very easy to make. Just watch the baking time closely and do the toothpick test correctly. 

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

time: 30 min preparation + 55 min baking + 20 min cooling = 1h 45min


150 g (5 oz) amaretti cookies
90 g (3.2 oz) dark chocolate (50% cocoa)
230 g (1 cup) butter room temperature + extra for the form
200 g (1 cup) sugar
5 eggs separated
zest from 1 orange
70 g (1/2 cup) flour


Preheat oven to 350F/180C (static function). Butter a 10 inch/25 cm round cake form. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a food processor, blend cookies and chocolate till very fine. Prepare zest from one orange.

In a bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter with sugar till fluffy for about 2 minutes. Add yolks, one at the time. Beat the mix (with all the yolks) for about 4 minutes till creamy. Add zest. Lower the speed, add flour and cookie/chocolate mix.

In a medium/large bowl, beat the whites till glossy and smooth (not grainy and dull = overbeating). Mix in 1/3 of the beaten whites to the batter. Stop the mixer. Fold in with a rubber spatula the rest of the beaten whites till just combined and not any longer. I counted my folding moves, I made 30). It helps to tilt the bowl. Fold from bottom to top, slowly and gently.

Pour in the batter into the prepared form and place it in the hot oven for 50-55 minutes till the toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and dry. The toothpick should look the same inserted in the middle and in the sides of the cake. Cool the cake in the form or on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Flip it up side down with a help of a platter, remove paper, and let it cool to room temperature.

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