I met nine year old, self-assured, beautiful Ashley for the first time when I brought my Chocolate Orange Torte to a dinner party.  Upon being introduced to Ashley, she looked me square in the eyes and coolly informed me, “I am a Chocolate Expert and I will let you know if your chocolate cake meets my expectations.”

Somewhat surprised, I managed to reply with equal seriousness, “I will appreciate your true evaluation.”  

To that, she replied, “I will  not spare your feelings if I don’t like it.  I have very high standards for chocolate and I don’t like just any old chocolate dessert.”  

Her parents looked absolutely mortified at their precocious daughter, but I just smiled at Ashley and said sincerely, “I hope my chocolate cake meets your expectations.”

She responded with absolute firmness, “Me, too.”  Then turned on her heel and went out of the room.  

I laughed out loud at her audaciousness; but her mother smiled ruefully, “Well, Ashley is…” Her voice trailed off, but Ashley’s father finished the sentence, “Blunt and to the point.  She knows what she wants and she goes after it.”  Then he added,  “I think she takes after her mother.”  (Her mother is a successful lawyer and a very lovely lady, so that was actually a nice compliment.)

Well, well… this was going to be fascinating.  Kids can be refreshingly, yet ruthlessly honest.  I could hardly wait for dessert and hear what this real-live “Chocolate Expert” would have to say about my Chocolate Orange Torte.

After dinner, Ashley came over to us adults, then looked at me intently, “I’m ready for dessert.  Are you ready for me to evaluate your chocolate cake?”

I  burst out laughing again.  I simply LOVED this girl – she was so amazingly focused.   But, she just looked at me inquiringly, so I replied as I got up, “Yes, yes, I’m ready and I am honored to hear your opinion.”

I cut a slice of the Chocolate Orange Torte and handed it to Ashley who immediately began appraising the cake,  “It slices nicely.  Looks moist.”  She sniffed the cake.  “Good chocolate aroma.”  

I watched with amazement as Ashley expertly put a small bite of cake in her mouth, then closed her eyes and began to roll it over her tongue, much like a wine expert that was evaluating the flavor, aroma and texture of a fine wine.    

“Well?”  I asked her.  But Ashley said nothing, just kept her eyes closed.  “Well?”  I asked her again. “What do you think?”  But she didn’t move a muscle and kept her eyes closed!  Mercy!  What was going on?  

Finally, she spoke.  “I almost fainted.”  


I was completely confused, but finally she said, “It was so good, I almost fainted.  It’s the best Chocolate Cake I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

I started screaming and Ashley and I threw our arms around each other and danced around the kitchen!  Then everyone began laughing and we all had a slice of this delicious gluten-free Chocolate Orange Cake, ahhh, it was a perfect evening!

Chocolate Orange Cake (Torte)
Chocolate Orange Torte is quite possibly the most delicious chocolate cake in the world.  It is made with semi-sweet chocolate and cocoa, ground almond flour, fresh eggs, butter, grated orange rind and orange extract; then covered with a rich, smooth chocolate glaze.  But, beware; this gluten-free chocolate cake is so delicious you just might faint!

Makes TWO Cakes

Ingredients & GimmeGlutenFree Method:
Line two – 8” x 2” round cake pans with parchment paper.  Set aside.  
Preheat oven to 300°F  (Yes, this is correct ~ 300°F!)
Chocolate Mixture:
Melt together in a saucepan over very low heat, then set aside:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups butter (3 cubes) softened
Grated rind (zest) of two oranges
1 teaspoon orange extract

Dry Mix:   

Stir together in a medium size bowl; set aside: 
1/3 cup cocoa
2/3 cup ground almond meal/flour

Eggs & Sugar:
8 large eggs
1 cup very fine, bakers sugar

1.  Prepare the Chocolate Mixture and Dry Mix as directed.

2.  Separate eggs, put whites in a large, grease-free mixing bowl.  Put yolks in a small bowl and set aside.  Beat whites, 1 minute on high speed with an electric mixer or until thickened and puffy.  Slowly, pour in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time while beating on high speed until light and fluffy.

3.  Turn mixer speed to medium and add egg yolks one at a time, beating just until mixed in.

4.  On low speed add the cooled Chocolate Mixture.  Using a wire whisk gently fold in the Dry Mix, just until mixed.  (A whisk really is the best tool for this!)  Pour into prepared pans.

5.  Bake approximately 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted two inches off-center comes out clean.  The top will be cracked, this is normal; the cake will also fall slightly.  Cool cakes on a wire rack.  When cooled, run a knife around the edges and loosen cakes.

6.  Put an 8 inch cake cardboard round on top of each cake (or you can use a regular plate).  Flip the cake over and slightly “bang” the cake to loosen onto the cake round or plate.   Freeze the cake then cover it with Intense Chocolate Cream Glaze.

Intense Chocolate Cream Glaze
Melt together over very low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

If you wish you can press grated dark Chocolate along the edges.  It looks really pretty and it covers up any ragged edges; plus more chocolate is always a good thing!

Each Torte serves 12-16.  Note:  It’s important to serve this cake at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.

  • Make Ahead Tip:  I always put my Chocolate Orange Cake in a glass dome-covered cake plate to keep it fresh.  I like to make this cake the day before since it tastes even better the next day!  
Ashley’s mom told me the other day, “your Chocolate Orange Torte changed Ashley’s life.”  I laughed so much when she said that, but…
Hey, who knows?  A cake this good CAN change a person’s life!  ENJOY! 


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