Serbia: Torta Cokolada

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Next up: Serbia! This cake might be a contender for my favorite thing I’ve made so far on this baking adventure. Right up there with the Prinsesstarta from Sweden. I mean, it’s chocolate cake. How can you go wrong?? 😉 It was also deemed one of the favorites by my friends at the weekly potluck I go to, so that’s good!

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This cake, typically eaten at Christmas and Easter, consisted of three layers of chocolate cake, filled with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. The whole thing gets covered in chocolate glaze and then topped with ground walnuts. Noms. If I could change anything about this, I’d make more frosting, so there could be more filling, and make a little more of the glaze to make sure the cake was covered fully and easily. I found that there was nothing to spare in this recipe! I used every last bit of the frosting, and glaze, and was left wishing for just a little more! I used a spatula to spread the drippings around the sides to make sure it all got covered cuz there wasn’t enough to cover it just pouring it on.

The method of making this cake is similar to making a sponge cake, where you fold in whipped egg whites to make the batter/cake lighter. I was a little surprised then when the cakes didn’t turn out as light as I expected. They kind of deflated during cooling, and I’m not sure if that was supposed to happen or if that was a fault of my own. Though the cake batter does also have ground walnuts mixed into it, so maybe that added some extra weight? I don’t know enough about the sciencey make up of cake batters to know the exact causes of what happens with various cake batters…

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This frosting was really interesting to make. It had a similar consistency to a very smooth buttercream, but it wasn’t really buttercream. It did have butter in it, but a big part of the consistency was thanks to a kind of custard that took forever to make. The custard, consisting of powdered sugar, flour, egg yolks, milk and vanilla, and requires being cooked over a double boiler until thickened. I didn’t time how long it actually took for that mixture to thicken, but…it was at least 45 minutes. 45 minutes of standing by the stove, whisking stuff. I hope you have a good playlist to listen to! Then you have to let it sit in an ice bath until it cools down. Its a bit of a hassle to make but when whipped with the butter and melted chocolate, the result is a super smooth, rich and chocolaty frosting. If I were to make this again, I’d probably just settle for a chocolate meringue buttercream, since that would take less time, and would have a similar consistency I think. Side note: I also added some chocolate extract for more chocolaty flavor cuz I’m a chocoholic.

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Frosting ingredients!

 

The recipe also called for some maraschino cherry liquor. It was an optional addition, and had I remembered to find some, I would have absolutely added it, cuz that’d be gooood! Even if I’d had some maraschino cherry juice, I feel like that’d have been a nice flavor addition as well!

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There was no specification on how to decorate it, other than the ground walnuts stuck on the sides, but wanted it to look nicer, so I put chocolate shavings on top for kicks. 🙂 Chocolate cake, filled with chocolate frosting, covered in chocolate glaze, topped with chocolate shavings. And yet it wasn’t too chocolaty! Those who tasted it at the potluck all commented on how it was flavorful, but not overly sweet. So even those of you who are not a fan of too much chocolate, you may still like this. Its surprisingly light for the amount of chocolate in it, and it’s not overpowering. Just delicious!

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cake ingredients

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All the frosting was supposed to be put in between the layers, but I wanted to ensure a smooth surface for the glaze to lay over, so I reserved a bit so I could basically put a crumb coat around the whole thing.

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Instead of current events, I’m going to do fun facts instead:
-Serbia has two flags, the offical flag is the tricolor with the coat of arms, and the national flag is just the tricolor.
-Serbia’s agricultural land area is approximately 58%, while forests cover 31.6% of its total land area
-Apparently earthquakes are pretty common in Serbia, there were 11 in the past year :O!
-The majority of Serbian last names end with ‘ic.’
-“Vampire” is a Serbian word.
-Serbia is the largest exporter of raspberries in the world, contributing 30% of the international market.
-Apparently Serbians are some of the most hospitable people in the world, believing they won’t gain favor from the gods if they are not hospitable towards their guests. Well that’s good to know! *goes to look at plane tickets*

Ok, and here’s the recipe for this delectable dessert, gotten from HERE

Torta Cokolada

  • Cake:
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 5 ounces melted and slightly cooled semisweet chocolate
  • 2 cups ground (not chopped) walnuts
  • 1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 large beaten egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry liqueur (optional)
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) softened butter
  • 3 ounces melted and slightly cooled semisweet chocolate
  • Glaze:
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-4 tablespoons boiling water
  • Chopped walnuts for garnish
  1. To Make the Cake: Coat 3 (8-inch) round baking pans with cooking spray. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and 2/3 cup sugar. Add egg yolks and beat until smooth. Add melted, cooled chocolate, again beating until smooth. Stir in nuts, bread crumbs, and milk.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/3 egg whites into chocolate batter to lighten the mixture. Then fold in remaining 2/3 egg whites trying not to deflate the volume. Divide equally among the 3 prepared pans and bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
  1. To Make the Filling: Whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with flour and combine it with 4 egg yolks and 1/4 cup milk in the top of a double boiler. Place over heat and stir constantly until mixture is thick. This can take some time. Add vanilla and liqueur, if using. Remove from heat and place in an ice-water bath to cool completely, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream 4 ounces softened butter with 3 ounces melted, cooled chocolate. Add cooled egg mixture to chocolate and whip until smooth. To assemble, place a cooling rack over a sheet pan to catch any drips from the glaze. Place 1 cake layer on the rack and spread top with 1/2 the filling. Place a second cake layer over this and spread the top with remaining filling. Place last cake layer on top.
  3. To Make the Glaze: In a microwave-safe bowl, melt unsweetened chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter. Mix in 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until crumbly. Add enough boiling water to form a pourable glaze. Immediately pour over the assembled torte, making sure the sides are covered. Press chopped walnuts into the sides of the torte. Let torte set completely before transferring with two metal spatulas to a serving plate.
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