High Country Baking: Raspberry Brownie Torte
June 28, 2017
High altitudes make cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips that make baking in the mountains successful.
Rave reviews—I get them every time I serve this raspberry brownie torte. It's an undemanding little dessert, combining fresh raspberries with a rich, fudgy brownie. Serve it in slices, with a few of the berries scattered on the plate and a drizzle of either raspberry or chocolate sauce, and it's as tasty for the eyes as it is for the palate.
If that isn't enough to win your favor, this pretty little thing also travels well…perfect for picnics or potlucks. It can be made the day before you plan to eat it, so you're spared the hassle of last-minute preparations. No wonder I treasure this recipe! You can add half a cup of chopped nuts if you want; stir them into the batter with the flour.
Raspberry Brownie Torte
Make in a 9 inch springform pan
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (one stick)
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3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/3 cups superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker's
2 large eggs
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon bleached all-purpose flour (spoon and level)
2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center. Flip the bottom of the springform pan over, so the lip faces down, and lock it in place (this makes removing the baked torte easier) Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper or waxed paper (the cake, which is moist and dense, can stick to the bottom of the pan without the paper circle). Grease the pan and the paper circle with a vegetable oil-flour spray.
2. Cut the butter and chocolate into small pieces and place them in a large saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. On the stovetop, melt them over very low heat, stirring, until smooth and liquid and then remove from the heat. Make sure not to boil the mixture. In the microwave, heat at low temperature (I use No. 4 out of 10) for about 1 minute, check, then continue at 15 minute intervals until almost melted. Remove and stir until fully melted and smooth.
3. If the butter-chocolate mixture is very hot, let it cool until it is slightly warm. Add the sugar to it and stir until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until incorporated into the batter after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour in two additions, mixing gently after each until it is absorbed into the batter. Don't overbeat.
4. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing and leveling the top. Place about 1 cup of the fresh raspberries in two circles around the rim. Space them evenly, starting about 1/2 inch from the side of the pan. Gently press the berries about half way into the batter; they shouldn't be fully immersed. Bake until the top is set and feels firm to the touch. Little cracks may start to form around the outside edge. Start checking when the cake has been in the oven for about 40 minutes.
5. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. When cool, slide a knife around the edges of the cake and carefully remove the rim of the springform pan. Invert the cake onto a rack or a plate, gently remove the parchment/waxed paper circle, and reinvert the cake. If made a day ahead, cover airtight with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about an hour or so before serving. When ready to serve, dust the cake with confectioners' sugar and mound the remaining fresh raspberries in its center. If you want to glaze the berries (like the ones in the photo), stir about 3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry preserves until smooth and soft. Thin it with a teaspoon or two of water or crème de cassis, and brush over the mounded berries. Cut the torte into wedges, cleaning the knife after each cut, and serve with some of the berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Vera Dawson is a baking instructor and author of the high-altitude cookbooks Cookies in the Clouds and Baking Above It All, (available at The Bookworm in Edwards, and Next Page Bookstore in Frisco). Her recipes have been tested in her Summit County kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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