September has brought clear days of high winds, the sort of wind that seems to be rolling and sweeping in the air above us, almost unnoticed, but will take you by surprise with the flick of a tree branch or the lift of a hat. See the blossom, dusky pink, before it is blown off the trees.

There have been mild days with warmth in the sun. There has been a grey wet day, a freezing cold day, a torrential rain day. It’s only day 7 of September. Welcome to Spring in Wellington.
This chocolate berry torte is rich, dense and the chocolate sits squarely in the front row, so to speak. It is perhaps more appropriate to dark winter nights, maybe in front of a fire, with a glass of dessert wine or a citrus-y bourbon. But here we have it in Spring and I’m sure you won’t complain.
Like I said this torte is rich, dense and deliciously fudgey. It’s brownie meets ganache truffle. The sort of cake where you take a bite, smile in delight at how good it is, and you may very well have chocolate on your teeth. Every second spoonful or so there is a berry tartness, a smash of raspberry or blackberry or blueberry. It adds a freshness to the cake, but not a lot of sweet. The bitter-sweet of the chocolate is the leading flavour here.
This cake is gluten free, taken from the same book as this recipe. I’ve realised that in our house we often make gluten free desserts not because we fool ourselves that they are healthier, or because we are dangerously gluten intolerant, but because the understated disc of a cake that these recipes produce suit us perfectly. They are clean and simple to look at, nothing much really, but the flavours, whether citrus or chocolate, hold their own.

Chocolate Berry Torte

Any berries would be fine in this cake, fresh or frozen. We used frozen mixed berries which lend a bumpy texture and add more colour.

200 grams dark chocolate
50 grams butter
3 eggs, separated
50 grams caster sugar
50ml cream
110 ground almonds plus extra for dusting tin
150-200 grams berries

20cm spring form tin

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Line the base of the tin with baking paper and brush the sides with melted butter. Dust with ground almonds.

Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, until melted and smooth.

In a large bowl beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and mix well to combine. Stir in the cream and ground almonds.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites, a third at a time, into the chocolate almond mixture. Next fold through the berries. Pour into the prepared tin.

Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The sides should be cooked but the centre slightly underdone. Leave the cake to cool completely before removing from tin.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream and more berries.

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