This very quick torte is unusually light and smooth, with the ground walnuts being barely discernible. It is covered with my favorite icing a heavenly chocolate ganache and the entire torte can be assembled up to 3 days before serving with no noticeable loss in texture or appearance.

SERVES 6 TO 8

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup walnuts

Вј cup unbleached white flour

2ВЅ teaspoons baking powder

ICING

1ВЅ cups heavy or whipping cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee

Chocolate curls for decoration (see Note) (I use a Baker’s German’s sweet chocolate bar)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with wax paper, then butter the wax paper.
  2. Blend the eggs and sugar very well in a blender or food processor. Add the walnuts and blend until they are very fine. Mix the flour with the baking powder, add to the batter, and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 17 to 19 minutes, or until golden on top and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert the pans and peel away the wax paper. Cool the cakes completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile make the icing. Combine the cream, chocolate, sugar, and coffee in a medium-size saucepan, and whisking steadily, bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture begins to boil and continue to whisk until the chocolate is melted. Pour into a large bowl (metal is best for quick cooling) and chill, uncovered, until ice cold, or cover and chill up to 24 hours. Occasionally stir the mixture for even cooling and to prevent hard chocolate from developing along the sides. It is a good idea to chill your beaters at this time also.
  5. Whip the frosting with the chilled beaters until very stiff. To ice the torte: Spread 4 strips of wax paper around the edges of your cake plate or platter. Place the first layer top side down and adjust the wax paper so it will protect the plate from icing. Spread some icing over the top of this layer. Place the second layer on top so the bottom side is up, then spread the remaining icing over the entire torte and smooth as evenly as you can. Garnish with the chocolate curls, then remove the wax paper strips. Insert a few toothpicks into the top of the torte to prevent the icing from getting messy, then cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.

NOTE: To make chocolate curls place a semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar over a flame or hot electric burner for a few seconds, or just long enough to slightly warm the surface. Do not let the flame get near it. With a vegetable peeler peel off a few curls onto the top of the torte. Repeat until the torte is nicely decorated.