Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Torte with Rosewater and Black Pepper

As a professional pastry chef one of my failsafe desserts for special occasions was a flourless chocolate torte (FCT). Most chefs turn their nose up at the FCT because they believe that it should have died with grunge music in the '90s. However, just like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, it will always hold a dear place in my heart

Laden with butter, cream and eggs, it was difficult to know where to start in "veganizing" this classic, but I discovered a decent and workable recipe that uses tofu and pumpkin puree in place of the eggs and dairy, and coconut oil (or canola oil if you can't find it) to replace the fat.

The recipe was a good start, but after the first taste test I knew it needed some changes to make it truly shine when pitted against a classic FCT.

This tote takes time and patience, but is very simple to make. If you think you "can't bake" try just this once. If you follow every single step as closely as possible, I can all but guarantee that you will succeed.

The first step in a successful baking project is to make sure your oven is at the proper temperature. Not having the proper oven temp is one of the biggest mistakes people make when they bake. Most ovens bake either 10 degrees hotter or 10 degrees colder, so buy yourself an oven thermometer.

The second step for a successful cake: Don't try to make it without a springform pan. It will NOT work in a regular cake pan. If you only have a cake pan, you can still attempt to make it, but it won't come out in one clean piece.

Third step: Add salt. It might seem strange to add salt to a dessert recipe, but trust me, salt is a key ingredient to every sweet. It works as a flavor enhancer, and will take your desserts to the next level. You don't want to overdo it, but a pinch or two will forever change the way you bake.

Espresso is key in chocolate recipes because it bring out some of the wonderful bitterness and robust quality of the chocolate, adding another depth of flavor.

The rose water and black pepper are optional, but if you can find rose I highly recommend using it. The flavor adds a subtle, exotic note to the chocolate. Black pepper adds an unexpected jolt of spiciness.

Let me know how your baking adventure turns out. I am always open for suggestions or modifications to make these recipes better.

Happy baking!

Makes 12 servings

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand)
1 cup coconut oil or canola oil
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, drained
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup pumpkin pureƩ
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon espresso or strong coffee (You can find Medaglia D'Oro at Wal-Mart!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp rose extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and line a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine chocolate and margarine. Cook, whisking to prevent the bottom from burning until melted and smooth. Cool chocolate a little. You want it to be slightly warm.
3. In a food processor combine tofu and melted chocolate mixture. Process until combined, about 2 minutes. The mixture will look curdled at first, but let it process until smooth. Add sugar, cocoa powder and pumpkin puree and process for about 1.5 minutes or until smooth. You will need to scrape down the sides.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together baking power and soda. Add vinegar and water and whisk until smooth.
5. Add mixture to the chocolate batter and process until completely smooth. Add rose extract and ground black pepper.
6. Pour batter into springform pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Place on a sheet pan in the middle of the oven and bake for about 55-65 minutes or until the cake has risen, the top is set and the edges look a little dry. You want it to jiggle in the middle a little like Jello.
7. Cool cake in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the top to loosen so the sides don't stick and then cool completely at room temp.
8. Cover the cake with plastic wrap, put into the refrigerator overnight. This is important because the cake needs to set up properly.
9. Remove cake from fridge, run a knife around sides of the pan pan, remove sides, and invert cake onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper and slice cake into 12 servings. Top with fresh raspberries and coconut whipped cream.



  1. Mmmm, I love dense, flour-less chocolate cake but have yet to find a vegan version that lives up to trend! Will have to try this one

  2. This one is pretty darn good :). My dad, who is very discerning on his desserts and not a vegan loved it. He said that "usually these types of desserts have a weird aftertaste" but all he could taste "was chocolate". The espresso powder makes it rich and the cocoa powder helps mask any tofu aftertaste. Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!

  3. oooh hell yess.. this needs to be made! with all that chocolate!