8 oz (1-2/3 cups) of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup of unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
6 extra-large eggs, separated, at room temp.
1-1/2 cups ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, or toasted hazelnuts)
3 cups chocolate ganache
[Bevi's notes: Williams-Sonoma says that the difference between a cake and a torte is that a torte is usually made with ground nuts and only rarely has a small amount of flour.]
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the pan — Butter a 10-inch layer cake or springform pan (dark meal pans are best for baking). Line the pan with a circle of parchment (or wax paper) that's been trimmed to fit the pan. Butter the paper and dust with flour [I use soy, rice or oatmeal flour]. Tap out excess flour.
Melt chocolate — Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler so that it does not touch the simmering water below. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
Prepare batter — Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk or electric mixer (high speed) until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes with a mixer and about 8-10 minutes with a whisk. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the cooled chocolate and the ground nuts.
Beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy, but not dry. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly mixed.
Fill the pan — Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake — Bake about 50 minutes @ 350 degrees, until the top puffs and forms a crust. Do not over bake.
Cooling — Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel off the paper, transfer to a flat plate, and spread the warm chocolate ganache (below) over the top and sides.
Ganache can be kept for up to a month in a covered container in the fridge, up to a year in the freezer. To reheat the ganache, place it in a double boiler for a few minutes, or microwave on full power for 20-30 seconds.
Gently warm 1 cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear at the edges. Remove from heat and stir in 10 oz (2 cups) of chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth. Do not over stir, as this will cause bubbles to form. If lumps form, strain the sauce through a strainer.
You also can flavor the ganache by adding a small amount of kirsch or liquor.