Italian Chocolate Nut Torte (Torta Cioccolata)

Italian Chocolate Nut Torte (Torta Cioccolata)

I adapted this cake recipe from Alice Medrich’s “Pure Dessert” who, in her turn, borrowed the idea from Claudia Roden. I substituted a half of almonds for the hazelnuts, I think they make the flavor more interesting. The cake was delicious and so easy to make! It’s rich but not heavy or dense, it’s also quite moist. Unsweetened chocolate (and there’s plenty of it) cuts the meringue sweetness down very well. But the recipe does require a good quality unsweetened chocolate. And I’m afraid, it means to find something better that the Baker’s unsweetened squares.

I baked the batter in the mini-cake pans. But the cake originally designed to fit into a regular 9-inch springform pan. Serve it cut in slices and plated with unsweetened whipped cream and/or Baci ice cream, and some cocoa nib brittle for garnish.

Makes about 10-12 servings


  • ½ cup unblanched or blanched whole toasted almonds
  • ½ cup toasted and skinned whole hazelnuts
  • 7 oz good-quality unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 large egg whites (1 cup)
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • Unsweetened cocoa for dusting
  • Unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
  • Baci ice cream for serving
  • Cocoa nib brittle for serving (use this recipe but substitute the hazelnuts for crushed nibs)


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the sides of the 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine the almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate, ½ cup of the sugar, and the salt in a food processor and pulse until the nuts and chocolate are very finely chopped but not completely pulverized. Set aside.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed and gradually add the remaining ½ up sugar, then beat until the meringue forms stiff but not dry peaks. Add one-third of the nut mixture to the meringue, and fold in with a large rubber spatula just until nearly incorporated. Fold in half of the remaining nuts, then fold in the rest of the nuts.

Scrape the batter into the lined pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the cake has risen and is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a little melted chocolate, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then unmold. Cool completely on a rack. Cover or wrap tightly, and store for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Italian Chocolate Nut Torte (Torta Cioccolata) Inside

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30 Responses to “Italian Chocolate Nut Torte (Torta Cioccolata)”

  1. OMG, that refined dessert looks fantastic! Very well presented and extremely tempting!



  2. Impresionante!!!


  3. Oh it’s so pretty! I have yet to try that particular recipe from her book. Now you’ve just shown me what I’ve been missing out on :)

  4. what an elegant way to serve a torte. i really like italian tortas! they are without all that frosting etx. and taste heavenly!

  5. Oh, this looks awesome! I’d love a piece with my coffee, can I, please? :)

  6. Wow, what a beautiful photograph and stunning presentation. I love your idea of adding almonds. They always add such a great flavor! I think Ms. Medrich would be proud!

  7. YOur creations and photos always amaze me!!

  8. This looks beautiful. I love anything hazelnut related. I am literally a fanatic, unfortunately I can never find any. Everything looks so beautiful though, you’re a real artist.

  9. What a gorgeous presentation! Almost too beautiful to eat!

  10. The presentation is beautiful. I’ve been wanting to make this cake for a while now but every time I look at the recipe, I keep thinking it will be dry (egg whites, no butter or oil, etc) so I didn’t bother. Thank you for your post. It changed my mind. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend? :o)

    Happy baking!

  11. Rosa, thank you very much!

    Ana, muchos gracias :)

    Y, thank you very much! I think all her recipes are attention worthy. Everything I tried always turned out delicious.

    Meeta, thank you! Itaian dolche is my old and never fading love :)

    Miri, thank you so much! I’d be so happy to have you over for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake :) Maybe, one day?!

    Andrea, thank you very much for the compliment! I added the hazelnuts :) But either way, I’m sure, the cake will be good.

    Leslie, dear, thank you very much ! You are too kind :)

    Gabriela, thank you! You can’t find any?! Where are you? Let me know if you want some.

    Rita, thanks a lot! We didn’t hesitate before digging in :)

    Hanaa, thank you very much! And good luck with the weekend baking :) Please, let me know your opinion on this, if you don’t mind.

  12. The presentation looks so elegant! I don’t think I could make something so refined-looking, but I would love to try!

  13. Vera, as usual, this presentation is just beautiful! I love anything Alice Medrich.

  14. Wow Vera.. that looks so elegant! I have been seeing many chocolate torte recipes lately!

  15. I love the idea of making little cakes. I really should purchase some. Sounds delicious. I always love an Italian dessert.

  16. Stunning! The torte cioccolata is a work of art and I’m sure they taste wonderful.

  17. delicious vera!

  18. Vera,
    I made the cake yesterday. I cut the recipe in half and baked it in a 6″ springform pan instead. I used all almonds (like the original recipe calls for, since I’m allergic to hazelnuts). I also used Ghirardelli’s unsweetened chocolate. I found that the heavy chocolate and nut mixture deflated the egg whites quite a bit, even though I was very gentle in my folding motions. The cake baked for 30 minutes in my oven. It turned out pretty good. I would classify it as fudgy (like a brownie), not too rich like most flourless tortes containing butter and egg yolks. I wasn’t overly sweet which I liked but hubby preferred it to be sweeter. I think for those who like it sweeter, matching a slice of this cake with sweetened whipped cream or even ice cream would enhance the experience of this cake. I think next time, I would slightly toast the almonds first to bring out their flavor even more. Even a small amount of almond extract would be nice. I took pictures too. I’ll try to post them on my blog soon. This is probably way more feedback than you would have liked :o) but there it is. Thanks again for sharing the recipe.

    - Hanaa

  19. Cate, thank you! There’s nothing complicating in assembling this thing :)

    Eileen, thank you very much! I so agree about Medrich! Her recipes are a wonderful combination of simplicity, great flavors, and clear instructions.

    Laurie, thank you! I guess, the berries time is over :)

    Abby, thank you! You always can cut out the small cakes from a big one :)

    Camille, thank you very much! We loved the taste :)

    Aran, thank you very much!

    Hanaa, thank you so much for coming back and leaving the comment! And I love the details! I’m happy you liked the torte. I’ll check your blog for the pictures :)

  20. Gorgeous presentation! Your quenelle of whipped cream is perfect, mine always look weird :)
    Love the flavors combination and also the cocoa nib brittle!

  21. Helen, thank you! Your quenelle look weired?! I refuse to believe :)

  22. Looks amazing. Mmm Baci ice cream on a plated dessert.

  23. Jude, thank you very much!

  24. Wow how did I miss this one. It looks incredible and very edible! Ever since I started macarons and then the Opera Cake of DBakers, I fell in love with nut flours in baked goods. So much more substantial.

  25. Hi Vera

    I baked this torte over the weekend for a dinner with friends and it was fantastic! I loved the way that it was fudgy and comforting but not sickly or too rich.

    Another successful recipe – thank you for sharing it!!


  26. Vera,

    It took a while but I finally had a chance to upload pictures of the Italian Almond Torte I made. If you have a chance, please check it out. Thanks!


  27. Leah, thank YOU for coming back and letting me know! I’m so glad you liked it!

    Hanaa, your cake looks yummy!

  28. Vera, we had your luscious cake today. It was incredible! Melt in your mouth, delicious.

  29. Lori, I’m so glad!

  30. WOW! Looks really professional! Love it<3

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