This rich low carb torte is deceptively light and airy and worthy of any celebration. Chocolate and espresso are simply made for each other and the sugar-free chocolate curls are the icing on the cake!
Everybody loves quick, easy recipes. Just look around the internet and you will see it, thousands of recipes being billed as “easy”, “quick”, “Under 30 Minutes!”, “only 5 ingredients”. And I get it, I really do. When you have a busy life and a family to feed, when you’re shuttling kids from school to activities to home, when you’re commuting to and from work, you need quick easy recipes in your arsenal. You need things for which you always have the ingredients on hand, that taste great, and that don’t take much effort to prepare. And sometimes when a craving hits, you need recipes you can whip up quickly to soothe the beast without straying from your healthy, low carb diet. I have plenty of these recipes, because I need them too. Who doesn’t?
But sometimes you also need complicated recipes, the sort that have multiple stages and steps and a long ingredient list. Because if you love cooking and baking like I do, you just enjoy the process, that feeling of being in the kitchen for hours to create a masterpieces. Better yet, you enjoy the outcome, knowing that it was a labor of love. And if you are looking to impress your friends and family, you need something that takes a little more effort than the usual work-a-day recipe. You want them to KNOW you worked hard at this.
That’s what this low carb torte is and that’s exactly how I felt about it. It was a labor of love for my husband’s birthday and I wanted him to know I put a little elbow grease into it. My husband often gets the short end of the stick, being a late December baby. Everyone is just done with all the cooking, baking and eating for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are still looming. He’s old enough now not to feel the sting of having his birthday take a backseat to the rest of the holidays, but I still like to try and come up with something nice for him. And food is one of the ways I show my affections. Taking the extra time to make chocolate curls to top a birthday cake means “I love you” in foodese, don’t you know?
I had a lot of fun coming up with this one. I had multiple ideas for his cake and they all kind of came together to form the final product. I wanted light, wafer-like chocolate layers rather than heavy, cakey layers. And I wanted it to be filled with whipped cream instead of frosting. And then I just had to coat the whole cake in rich chocolate ganache. Oh and those pretty chocolate curls to say “I love you”. It honestly came together better than I expected. It’s a somewhat deceptive cake because the texture is so light and airy but it’s also intensely rich. You don’t need more than a sliver for a serving.
Chocolate Espresso Torte
- Preheat oven to 300F and line an 11x17 rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, confectioner's sweetener, and cocoa powder, breaking up clumps as much as possible.
- Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until frothy. Slowly add granulated Swerve and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Mixture should be glossy and not dry.
- Gently fold almond flour mixture into egg whites until just combined. Spread evenly onto prepared pan into a 10x15 inch rectangle.
- Bake 20 minutes, until just firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on pan. Cake will shrink, this is okay. When cool, cut into 3 rectangles, 5 inches wide each.
- In a large bowl, beat whipping cream with confectioner's Swerve, espresso powder, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
- Lay one cake layer on a platter and spread with half of the espresso cream. Top with another cake layer and spread with remaining espresso cream. Top with final cake layer.
- Place cake in freezer until firm, about 1 hour.
- Whisk together whipping cream and powdered sweetener in a medium pot over medium heat. Bring to just a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let sit 5 min and whisk to combine, then whisk in vanilla extract. Let sit 10 minutes to thicken.
- Remove cake from freezer and pour ganache over the top of the cake, spreading to the edges. Spread carefully over sides of cake (this will become easier as ganache continues to thicken up). Alternatively, you can simply pour over the top and allow the ganache to drip down the sides of the cake.
- Combine coconut oil and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk until melted and smooth.
- Pour the chocolate over the underside of a clean cookie sheet and use a knife or offset spatula to spread it into a very thin layer.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for a few minutes until chocolate firms up. It should not be tacky when you touch it but you should be able to leave a fingerprint.
- Use a sharp knife to scrape the chocolate from the pan - if it's the right temperature, it will curl up. If it's too cold, it will break so let it sit out a few minutes. If it's too warm, it will come away from the pan without curling, so return it to the fridge for a few minutes.
- Place finished curls on a plate and place them in the freezer until firm.
- Place chocolate curls on finished cake and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. To serve, run a sharp knife under hot water to make nice clean slices.