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7. To assemble torte, using the bottom of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan as a pattern, cut chocolate cake into three 9 by 5-inch rectangles; use leftover cake trimmings for snacking. Line the inside of the loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 2 inches to extend over the sides so assembled torte can be easily removed from pan. 8. Place one cake rectangle in bottom of pan; brush generously with some Coffee Syrup. Spread half of cheese filling on top of cake in pan. Place another cake rectangle atop filling; brush with Coffee Syrup and top with cherry filling. Place remaining cake atop cherry filling; brush with remaining Coffee Syrup and top with remaining cheese filling, spreading smoothly as this will be top of torte. Cover torte with overhanging plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Prepare Chocolate Meringue Twigs. 9. To serve, remove torte from pan by pulling up plastic wrap on all sides. Place torte on serving plate and gently pull plastic wrap to remove from underneath. Gently press flat sides of chocolate twigs upright onto sides of torte to cover completely. If desired, tie ribbon around sides of torte, ending in a bow in the center of one long side. Top torte with fresh cherries, if desired, and serve. Or refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving. (Twigs will eventually soften with refrigeration.) Chocolate Meringue Twigs: Heat oven to 275F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (if not available, use aluminum foil and grease lightly). Place 1/2 C sugar and 2 large egg whites in medium-size bowl. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of very hot, not boiling, water. With portable electric mixer at high speed, beat mixture until thick and nearly double in volume. Remove bowl from hot water and continue beating egg whites until very stiff peaks form-about 4 minutes. Sift 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder over meringue and fold in until blended. Transfer chocolate meringue to pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip. Making narrow rows, pipe 3 to 4-inch long "twigs" of meringue onto baking sheets. Bake meringue twigs 1 1/2 hours or until dry and firm. Cool twigs completely on baking sheets on wire racks. Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate in microwave or in bowl set over simmering water. Dip fork in melted chocolate and quickly move it back and forth across twigs, creating thin chocolate stripes. Refrigerate twigs just until chocolate stripes harden-about 5 minutes. Gently remove twigs from parchment and store in airtight container, unrefrigerated, until ready to use. Note: Dried cherries are available by mail from American Spoon Foods, 1668 Clarion Ave., P.O. Box 566, Petosky, Mich. 49770-0566; (800) 222-5886. Country Living/December/92 Scanned & fixed by Di Pahl &
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