Italian Torte Caprese
* Paleo & Primal Approved
If you haven’t tried the two together you’re up for a wonderful surprise. The richness of dark chocolate coupled with the salty, smokiness of bacon creates a tantalizing combination. I adapted this torte recipe from a friend whose aunt taught her how to make a traditional torte caprese as a young girl. I exchanged a few items to keep it Paleolithic and added the chocolate-dipped bacon. It screams to be served on any special occasion, so Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
Prep time: 60 min • Cook time: 60 min • Yield: 9-inch cake (about 16 or more servings)
- 9-inch cake pan or spring form pan
- 2 cups whole raw organic almonds
- 1 ¼ cups coconut sugar, divided and optionally sifted through a fine mesh sieve
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about ¾ cup) 70% cacoa or darker
- 1 cup unsalted pasture-raised butter (2 sticks)
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature and separated
- 2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee
- Coconut oil spray or butter for the pan
- 8 – 16 slices depending on how many you are serving
Chocolate Glaze for cake and bacon: (enough to glaze cake and coat 8 – 10 strips of bacon)
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted pasture-raised butter
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 325ºF and place rack in center or oven. Butter pan or spray with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment.
- Grind almonds in food processor in two or three batches and add 1/3 cup coconut sugar in one of the batches. Combine all ground nuts in a large bowl.
- Using a microwave-safe bowl (or a double boiler with simmering water) melt butter. When butter is melted, remove from microwave and stir in chocolate until it melts. If you need to put it back in the microwave, do so in 20 to 30 second intervals until all chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
- In a stand mixer beat the egg yolks for about 5 minutes gradually adding 2/3 cups sugar. Beat until mixture is lemon colored and looks like creamy lemon pudding. Stir egg yolk mixture into chocolate in several batches. Add espresso and mix until fully combined. (I stirred the eggs yolks and chocolate mixture by hand. It is extremely dense.)
- In a clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites with remaining ¼ sugar to firm peaks. Gently fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and level the top. Place cake pan on a sheet pan and bake for 55 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick. When it comes out clean, the cake is ready. You may need to bake it for a few minutes more.
- Let cake cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to completely cool before glazing.
For the Bacon
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cook bacon for 15 – 20 minutes until crispy. Although optional, you can make bacon ribbons by placing raw bacon on a cooking rack and pushing it down between the metal strips of the rack (see photo). Let drain on paper towels and cool before dipping in chocolate.
For the Glaze
- Using a microwave-safe bowl (or a double boiler with simmering water) melt butter. When butter is melted remove from microwave and stir in chocolate until melted. If you need to put it back in the microwave, do so in 20 second intervals until all chocolate is melted. Set aside to slightly cool before glazing cake and dipping bacon.
- To glaze cake, spoon chocolate onto top of cake and use an offset spatula to smooth to about ¼ -inch from the edge of the cake. Let it drip down the sides.
- To coat bacon, dip in bowl of chocolate and place on a wire rack over a piece of parchment to catch the drips. Let cool before decorating cake or serving.
- Optionally, place bacon ribbons on top of cake just as you would if you were decorating with chocolate curls. Refrigerate finished cake until 30 minutes before serving. Best served at room temperature.
I suspect my friend’s aunt would roll over in her grave if she knew what I did to her recipe. Bacon! Really?
But it certainly makes for a fun Father’s Day cake. Traditionally the cake is dusted with powdered sugar, not glazed with chocolate. An Italian liqueur called Strega is used instead of espresso. Over 70 herbs and spices go into the making of Strega, including mint, cinnamon, Florentine iris, juniper, fennel, and saffron. The saffron gives Strega its signature yellow color and mint and juniper are the most prevalent flavors. I suspect you could substitute any liqueur for the espresso/Strega. Gran Mariner might be good.
The cake is very dense and rich and should be served in thin slices. To easily slice, wet knife under hot water, dry, and slice.
I don’t have an espresso machine so I made mine with 2 tablespoons of water and a heaping tablespoon of Medaglia D’oro brand instant espresso. Dark coffee or your favorite liqueur is also fine.
I did not test the recipe with a “Paleo” chocolate such as Enjoy Life, but the results should be the same.
My instruction about sifting the coconut sugar through a fine mesh sieve, is optional. Because coconut sugar is grainier than white sugar, I usually sift it.