Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chocolate Mint Torte (gluten, grain, corn free with dairy free option)

One of the big holiday traditions when I was a child might seem sort of some people.  Every year my family would order from the Swiss Colony catalog.  And every single year the biggest thing we'd order from Swiss Colony was the Dobosh Mint Torte.  The holidays just were NOT the holidays without the addition of this layered cake with it's sandwiched layers of mint goodness. 

When I started my own family, I was determined to continue this tradition and I did.

Well, until the last couple of years when life got a lot more complicated.  Everything changed with the addition of the peanut allergy (not to mention my gluten issues) and then with the addition of the corn allergy...well the Dobosh Mint Torte was out of the tradition list.

Until this year when I decided that after the Christmas holidays were such a fiasco around here that I was going to make myself a mint torte for a late birthday gift to me.  And it turned out not only lovely, but also grain free (unless you count the potato starch in the confectioner's sugar...if you do count potatoes as a grain...well I'm not as brilliant as I thought ;).

Just to warn you.  DO NOT forget the parchment paper in this recipe or the cake will stick and never come out of the pan without fork help (and it'll fall apart as you do it).  It'll be yummy, but definitely not torte fodder.  And part of the wonderfullness that is a torte is that layered yumminess :).

Chocolate Mint Torte (gluten, grain, corn free with dairy free option)
  • 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used regular sugar for this, but you could try palm sugar...I'd go with 1/4 cup of that though as it's more powerful than regular sugar to me)
  • 4 ounces Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, melted (you can also use 4, 1 ounce blocks of semi-sweet Baker's Chocolate if you aren't allergic to corn)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Peppermint Butter Cream Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Mint Chocolate (recipe follows)

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease two 8x8 square pans and line each pan with a sheet of parchment paper over the bottom and up 2 sides of the pan so that the paper extends over the edges and you end up with a parchment "cradle" in your pans.  Grease the paper with non-stick cooking spray too (just to be me on this).

2.  Beat egg whites until frothy, add salt, and then beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugar VERY slowly (like 1 TBS at a time type of slow) until all the sugar is incorporated and then continue to beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

3.  In another bowl beat egg yolks and stir in chocolate and vanilla. 

4.  Take 1/3 of the egg whites and stir well into the egg yolk mixture.  This step is just to lighten the consistency of the egg yolk mixture, so don't worry about being careful here...just stir it up until everything is combined.

5.  Take another 1/3 of the egg white mixture and fold carefully into the egg yolk mixture until just combined.  Take last 1/3 and fold it into mixture until just combined.  The batter should now be nice a light.  If there are little chunks of egg whites floating around in the batter don't worry about it as that's showing that you haven't over  mixed your batter.

6.  Split batter between the two 8x8 pans.  Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until the top of the cakes are firm and the batter is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Let cakes cool in pans for about 5 minutes to set and then take edges of parchment paper and lift the cakes from the pans one at a time and turn them onto a tea towel that is sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar.  Peel parchment paper off of cakes and let cool completely.

7.  Take each cake and cut in 1/2 so that you have two rectangles from each cake.

To construct torte:

Take 1 rectangle of cake and place on a parchment lined plate.  Spread with a layer of peppermint butter cream frosting and then place another layer of cake carefully on top of the butter cream layer.  Spread with another layer of butter cream and place another cake layer on top of that.  Spread with butter cream and top with remaining cake layer (do NOT ice the top layer of cake).

Spread mint chocolate all over torte with an icing spreader and then place entire thing in fridge until well set (at least 2 hours).  Take a spatula and remove the torte from the plate to a serving platter (if you want it to look pretty).  Slice with a serrated knife and enjoy thoroughly!

Peppermint Butter Cream Frosting
  • 1/3 cup soft butter or palm shortening
  • 2 tsp. pure peppermint extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar, unsifted
  • 2 to 3 TBS milk of choice (rice, almond milk...whatever you normally use)
Cream together butter/palm shortening, peppermint extract and salt (if using palm shortening you might want to add 1/2 tsp. imitation butter flavoring if you want it to taste more like butter cream frosting). 

Gradually add 1 cup of sugar and beat until blended. 

Add 2 TBS of milk and the remaining sugar.  Beat until frosting is smooth spreadable consistency.  Add the last of the milk if needed (if the frosting is too thick to spread).

Mint Chocolate
  • 8 ounces Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or 8 ounces Unsweeted Baker's Chocolate, melted (if using unsweetened chocolate sweeten with honey until it tastes like semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 1/2 tsp. Creme De Menthe Candy Flavoring (if soy allergic use 1 tsp. peppermint extract instead)
Combine melted chocolate (I melt mine in the microwave, but you can also use a double boiler on your stovetop) and candy flavoring/peppermint extract.   Pour over torte and spread with an icing spreader.  It makes a hard chocolate shell over the torte when set.

Store in fridge.  Will last probably one week, but I doubt it'll go that long without being devoured.

I know that it's sort of a long and fussy type of recipe, but really really tasty and is a great one to make on a special occasion!


No comments: