Ever wonder how the French Get their kids to eat their vegetables? They cover them…
Chocolate Torte Au Naturel a cake so naked it’s gluten free and made with 100% organic, fair trade chocolate, sugar and coffee. Hell, even the butter is organic! Happy Earth Day from the Gypsy Kitchen, let us eat cake.
Sometimes my tree huggin’/modern day hippie/socially conscious food chain principals pay off. Oh sure it means I’m not a talking head for big buckets of margarine. There’s no “I’m a WalMart Mom” banner in my blog footer and no associated cheques in my mailbox, but that’s an end result I can live with. Instead, on occasion, we receive delightful packages from like minded folks who believe that what we put in our carts are the grocery store makes a difference.
Our household is Ocean Wise, Green Palm, Fair Trade, and as GMO-Free, Organic, free-range, humane, and local as possible. We compost and our little garden is pesticide and herbicide-free. We currently boycott all Nestle products due to their stance on water rights. This week I started researching Shade Grown options that eliminate the need to level rain forests and destroy habitat for the creatures who dwell in them, in particular birds. I try not to get on my high horse about the ethics behind what we eat, but on this day I think it’s an important conversation to have. Every little bit counts. The decisions we make about our food effects everyone down the supply chain, so I do my best to make wise choices.
When Ottawa’s Camino offered to send “a box of Camino love” I had no idea how deep their product list has become in just a few short years. Gorgeous chocolate products in its many forms, including the baking chocolate we used in this recipe, cocoa, hot chocolate mixes, chocolate bars, coconut, sugar, and now coffee. Chocolate, sugar, and coffee are often referred to as ‘the dirty three’ due to the unfair pricing structure traditionally associated with these products that keep those who grow and harvest the product, largely in 3rd world countries, in poverty. Thanks to ethically-minded folks like Camino, that is slowly changing and every dollar you put behind that effort makes a difference.
Why do I go to all this trouble? Two reasons: First, as an industry professional I believe it’s my job to be educated and help make a difference. I take a stand and I share the information I find useful with others. This speaks to the principles of living I believe in and my core ethics. The other reason is my six-year-old step-daughter, Camille. We spend a great deal of time together in the kitchen, she is endlessly curious about food and nutrition, hell one day she might even eat a fruit… or a vegetable! (Don’t’ get me started.) So I make the effort and do the research and change as conditions change because I know the choices I make affect her future.
This Chocolate Torte Au Naturel was her birthday cake this weekend as we celebrated the landmark of turning six. When given the choice of a bakery cake loaded with frosting and Disney characters or baking a cake at home, she chose to make a cake of her own. After spending hours over recipe books she selected this sexy little torte, heavy on the chocolate but surprisingly icing-free. Made with whipped egg whites it has a light, frothy texture and a deep, rich chocolaty taste. Just because it’s ethical and organic doesn’t mean it has to taste like cardboard!
I don’t think it mattered to her that it was ethically wise, but it mattered to me on her behalf. She did her part with all the measuring, mixing, and tasting until voila: organic, fair-trade, gluten-free chocolate-laden birthday magic. OK, so in reality, I did most of the work, but she (happily) took ALL of the credit. Another end result I can live with.
Think Earth Happy.
Chocolate Torte Au Naturel
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 30 – 35 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10
10 ounces bitter sweet chocolate
1/2 cup (salted) butter
1 tablespoon leftover espresso
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cocoa nibs or chopped semi-sweet baking chocolate (optional)
non-stick spray + parchment// butter + 2 tablespoons cocoa
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and prepare your 8 inch spring-form pan by coating well with non-stick spay and lining the bottom with a round of parchment. Or, if you want to go old-school French – smear liberally with butter then add 2 tablespoons of cocoa, tap distribute and coat well and discard any residual cocoa.
2. Chop chocolate and butter into smallish pieces, add both butter and chocolate along with the espresso into a large sized heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water and melt both, stir until smooth and liquid. Remove from heat, add vanilla and mix then reserve until needed.
3. While chocolate melts separate eggs. In a fresh bowl whisk together egg yokes and 1/4 cup of sugar for about a minute, until golden and creamy.
4. Add egg whites to your dry, clean mixer bowl with whisk attachment in place. Whisk on medium-low speed until whites begin to foam and hold slightly. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and switch speed to high until whites form stiff peaks.
5. Now let’s mix the batter; add warm chocolate to egg mixture, one third at a time, folding with a spatula as you go. Once combined, fold in egg whites in the same manner being careful not to over mix. Fold gently, just until you can see no more white streaks then pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake at 350°F (175°C) until center is just set, about 30 – 35 minutes.
Gypsy Note: If you’re topping with cocoa nibs, sprinkle them to the top of the cake before going in the oven. If using chopped chocolate (above) remove the naked cake at the 25 minute mark, sprinkle with chocolate bits and return to the oven to finish.
Want to fancy it up a bit? Add toasted coconut ice cream, try whipping cream flavoured with a hint of orange blossom water or a splash of raspberry coulis for a bit of colour on the plate. At our house we went… au naturel!
Disclaimer: Products for review provided by Camino. My participation is voluntary and as always, the opinions herein are my own. Peace, love & chocolate.