Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte Recipe

Rose Beranbaum's Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte Recipe creates the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted.

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

According to the guest book inside the back door of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker the two people who visited before me were named Shorty and Fatty. This struck me as particularly funny as I kept grazing my way through sample after sample waiting for the tour to begin.

The Scharffen Berger factory is made from a million red bricks, and is a beauty. Just the right size too - not at all a sprawler like many factories. It has a modest footprint and a few of the rooms are illuminated by natural light spilling in through windows that bump up against sky-high ceilings. The floor of the factory is punctuated by vintage chocolate making machinery including an impressive cherry-red roaster, and a melangeur that I believe the guide said was found in Serbia.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker - big roaster

Talk of the recent acquisition was kept to a minimum. Business-as-usual seemed to be the message to the public. But you could tell people were curious and for a minute or two the direction of the classroom part of our tour turned from 'bean to bar' lecture into a 'bean to business' q+a - people were curious about how the factory would expand and grow under different ownership. The guide said they would be part of an entrepreneurial arm of Hershey, and added they were considering expanding operations and capacity by building a replica factory in one of two places - New York, or Pennsylvania.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker - bean origins

The timing of our visit was not at all a fluke, at a party recently a friend made a chocolate cake that floored me. It sat at the center of a big buffet table throughout the birthday party, pretty - but at the same time simple and unassuming. It was low-rise cake that she had stacked two high for a tiered effect, with a sheen of chocolate glaze. When the time was right, songs were sung, Jennifer meticulously cut the cake into tiny, thumb-size wedges and began to shuttle plates into eager hands. I swear to you a hush fell across the room as people blissed out on the chocolate. I've had chocolate on the brain ever since.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker - me at the end of the line

Jennifer was nice enough to tell me where to track down the magic recipe. I kid you not - if there is only one chocolate cake in my life from this day forward, let this be it. Imagine a rich, creamy, crumb-less, dense chocolate mouse and you are on the right track. It is flourless, and made from just three main ingredients - bittersweet chocolate, butter, and floppy beaten eggs - with a touch of sugar depending on the chocolate you choose. I wasn't at all surprise when she told me the source was Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible.

Cake makers of the world unite under the flag of Beranbaum's Cake Bible - it is a cornerstone of many cake baking libraries. From the cover and title alone there is no mistaking that the author aimed big - you don't put the word bible on your cover unless you are serious. The book delivered and won the 1988 IACP Cookbook of the Year award. One of the fantastic things it does is give ingredient lists by both measure, and more accurately, by weight. It also offers up plenty of variation suggestions for each of the cakes. For those of you who are new generation of bakers, or just new to cake making in general it is well worth your time to look for this book - many libraries have copies of it in their collections, so you can look for it there as well.

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Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte Recipe

Beranbaum says this is her favorite way to eat chocolate. It is baked at a high temperature for a short time in a water bath delivering what she calls a result that is like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse. Be sure to serve it a room temperature, not chilled. I used Sharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet chocolate. Read through the recipe before starting, it is an easy cake to make, but there are lots of side notes that are important to the success of the cake.

Ingredients (all at room temperature):

bittersweet chocolate: 1 pound or 5 1/3 (3-ounce) bars or 454 grams

unsalted butter: 1 cup or 1/2 pound or 227 grams

6 large eggs: 1 1/4 scant cups or 10.5 ounces or 300 grams (weighed without shells)

* Beranbaum note: Two of my favorites are Lindt Courante and Tobler extra bittersweet. If using Courante chocolate, add 1/3 cup (2.25 ounces/66 grams) sugar to the eggs while beating. If using extra bittersweet, add 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/37 grams) sugar. Heidi note: I added 3 tablespoons superfine sugar to the eggs when using the 70% Sharffen Berger.

Prepare pan: One 8-inch springform pan at least 2 1/2 inches high, buttered and bottom lined with buttered parchment or wax paper; outside of pan wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duly foil to prevent seepage. One 10-inch cake pan or roasting pan to serve as a water bath.

Finished height: 1 1/2 inches.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In large metal bowl set over a pan of hot, not simmering, water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) combine the chocolate and butter and let stand, stirring occasionally, until smooth and melted. (The mixture can be melted in the microwave on high power, stirring every 15 seconds. Remove when there are still a few lumps of chocolate and stir until fully melted.)

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water heat the eggs, stirring constantly to prevent curdling, until just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and beat, using the whisk beater, until triple in volume and soft peaks form when the beater is raised, about 5 minutes. (To insure maximum volume if using a hand mixer, beat the eggs over simmering water until they are hot to the touch, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat until cool.)

Using a large wire whisk or rubber spatula, fold 1/2 the eggs into the chocolate mixture until almost incorporated. Fold in the remaining eggs until just blended and no streaks remain. Finish by using a rubber spatula to ensure that the heavier mixture at the bottom is incorporated. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth with the spatula. Set the pan in the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch very hot water. Bake 5 minutes. Cover loosely with a piece of buttered foil and bake 10 minutes. (The cake will look soft, but this is as it should be.)

Let the cake cool on a rack 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours.

To unmold: Have ready a serving plate and a flat plate at least 8 inches in diameter, covered with plastic wrap. Wipe the sides of the pan with a hot, damp towel.

Run a thin metal spatula around the sides of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Place the plastic-wrapped plate on top and invert. Wipe the bottom of the pan with a hot, damp towel. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment. Reinvert onto the serving plate.

Tip: If you have an oven with a pilot light, it can save you a lot of time. The night before baking, place the chocolate and butter in the oven along with the eggs still in their shells in another mixing bowl. (Eggs should weigh about 12 ounces/340 grams.) The next morning, the chocolate and butter will be fully melted and the eggs the perfect temper- ature. Stir the chocolate and butter until smooth and be sure to remove it and the eggs from the oven before preheating oven!

Store: 2 weeks refrigerated. Do not freeze because freezing changes the texture.

Serve: Room temperature. Cut into narrow wedges with a thin sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water.

Pointers for success: For a moist airy texture, be sure to add beaten eggs to chocolate mixture and not the chocolate to the eggs. Wrapping the pan with foil keeps it watertight. Chill thoroughly before unmolding. Use the plastic-wrapped plate when unmolding to protect the surface of cake if you're not planning to use a topping.

Another note from Beranbaum: An 8- by 2-inch solid cake pan can be used instead of a springform-or an 8- by 3-inch pan if adding other ingredients from the variation section (pages 86 and 87). Once in San Francisco I made this cake for my newly married brother and his wife using a straight-sided Calphalon saucepan because they had no cake pans. The handle worked well to unmold the cake! To unmold, run a thin spatula around the sides, place the pan on a heated burner for 10 to 20 seconds, moving it back and forth, and then invert. If the cake does not release, return it to the hot burner for a few more seconds.

Understanding: Just as for cheesecake, baking the Oblivion in a water bath keeps the texture creamy throughout. When this cake is served at room temperature, you get a rush of chocolate from the moment it enters your mouth. The full flavor of chocolate can best be appreciated only in a softened state. (A chocolate bar, for example, has to start melting in the mouth before the flavor comes through.) The butter and eggs do not distract. Instead they contribute structure and the desired creamy texture.

Serves 16.

from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Morrow Cookbooks, September, 1988) - reprinted with permission

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I just tried this, and it came out SO good. Amazing, really! And it was so easy! I have no idea how it’ll keep 2 weeks in the fridge though – I doubt it’ll get to last two days in mine. 🙂 Now I’m awfully curious about variations though. Any ideas on that? Oh – and I used a 9-inch springform. Seemed to work out just fine.


I just made this very same cake last night, my source was the “river cafe cookbook”, the recipe is called “the 15 minutes cake”, with exactly the same instructions etc. Who was first?
Oh, and of course, it is delicious. Good to know it keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge…


I’ll third the raspberry coulis suggestion with a slight dollop of homemade whipped-cream; they’re both fantastic additions.
This is one of my favorite recipes from _The Cake Bible_. I also suggest the bouche de noel.


The tip about an oven with a pilot light leaves it ambiguous about what temperature to warm the eggs and butter–is it 200F? Or am I missing something?


a factory in New York or Pennsylvania? YESSSS!!!!!!


Wow – the site looks a lot better and with forums!

Miss Sally

The plates in this shot are from a vintage British picnic/driving set. It looks like a blue-checked hard-shell suitcase and inside it holds service for two (plates, cups, silver), a matching thermos, and little box for snacks and sandwiches. For that occasional drive in the country-side 😉
Fanny, I found a small snippet of code somewhere on the Moveable Type discussion boards, and popped that into my template. It automatically adds names to the MT backend -v. convenient.
You might want to ask on the Food Blog S’cool site too – people always have good responses to tech questions there as well. Glad you like the cookbook Fanny – thanks for the nice review 🙂
NOTICE: I’m going to turn off the comments for a bit. I’m moving to a new site host, and need to freeze the site while the DNS switches over. Lots of new features on the new site are coming too, so watch for changes over the next couple of days. -h


What kind of china are you using to plate the chocolate cake?


Hi Heidi, this is me again; i was wondering if you could tell me how to create a newsletter box like the one you’ve got in the upper right corner.


A chocoholic treat!


Hi Heidi, i’ve just received your cookbook and wanted to tell that i already love it. Tha pictures are amazing – as usual and the recipes are great.
Here is a link to my review :
PS you’re so lucky to have visited a chocolate factory; when i was 14 we had to find a work at school and i chose a chocolate maker. I loved making ganache and truffes and everything (actually i loved to taste…)


yup, they’re amazingly good. for the cherry topping, i just cooked down 2lbs super-ripe cherries (they’re almost black) with 1/2c sugar and then a little arrowroot (i know, it’s cheating… but it was late and i was tired) and then just after taking it off the heat spiked it with a shot of grand marnier and 4 drops of good balsamic vinegar, and it pairs with the chocolate really, really well.


A chocoholics favorite


i just made two of these cakes to bring into the office tomorrow for a little celebration. i work right near the scharffen berger factory so i bought a big box of chocolate there: i used the 70% and followed your modifications.
one cake is in the fridge now and the other is on the rack cooling, and both look to have come out quite well. hand-whipping those eggs for 2 cakes back-to-back is no joke!
i had a couple pounds of fresh washington cherries around, so i’m cooking those down into a topping, too.
i cannot wait to taste this! lulu forwarded me the recipe and i couldn’t stop looking at those photos. if i’m lucky maybe mine’ll even rival tartine’s flourless chocolate cake.


love your site, found through chocolate & zucchini! i have to ask, where on earth did you find those georgeous dishes? the cake looks quite delicious…


First time to this site, and apparently on a good day too. The Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte looks absolutely mouth watering. I can’t wait to try it!
I love cooking, and I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try. And I love working with chocolate especially. I love the photos of the food, makes it look all that more delicious that you cant resist! Can’t wait to see more recipes!


I sort of half made that once, I was actually going for the chocolate cake on the next page but the page turned accidentally about halfway through me gathering of my ingredients. It was not a successful experiment


This could not have come at a better time! My brother and his girlfriend are coming for a visit and said girlfriend’s birthday lands right smack in the middle. She’s a chocolate purist so this should dazzle her. Thank you, thank you!


Your photography is so inspiring. I want to make and eat everything up. Encouraged by your yogurt post a little while back I made a batch of my own. I had great success, enjoyed the best yogurt ever, and promptly went off and bought a yogurt machine.


You owe me a new keyboard. This one has drool in it.
I like the Logitech USB models.
I *HAVE* to make this. If I can just find my springform pan…


Lovely post. The cake looks delectable, and glad you made it to the ScharffenBerger factory. It’s so rare to be able to see a small-scale chocolate production facility…luckily it’s in your own backyard!


GORGEOUS photograph at the top!!


Scharffen Berger! I was just there the other day having lunch at Cafe Cacao! My friend and I are gonna go back for the tour soon. Did you get to try the cafe? It’s wonderful, and you must most definitely order dessert. We had a slice of divine chocolate cake.


heidi –
thanks for leaving some of this torte in my fridge. it made my night! this was the richest best tasting flourless cake i’ve ever had:-) yummmmmmm


WOW this is a definite-must-make! Looks great 🙂


I worked at a restaurant last year and made this truffle cake for guests around Christmas. Needless to say, the requests came pouring in and I was still making this when summer arrived!
This recipe is a keeper.
Three suggestions: One, I like to serve this over a cool raspberry coulis – or – this cake is beautiful with fresh raspberries crowning the entire surface of the cake. Melt some raspberry jelly and lightly brush the tops of the raspberries to give them a “jeweled” effect. Lastly, I would sometimes lightly swirl some raspberry fruit spread into the batter right before baking.
Oh – and there’s the ginger thing…and the cinnamon thing, and the chipotle pepper thing too. I guess e-mail me if you want specifics!


Heidi, Just wanted to thank you for all the good recipes and comments from other readers. I am sure I am not alone in just appreciating receiving them.


A Scharffen-Berger tour? That’s my dream come true–not only do I love their chocolate, but I’ve been baking with it exclusively ever since I called them up one Christmas Eve with a chocolate crisis. Not only was someone there, but they were extremely, extremely kind and helpful. I agree with Lisa’s assesment of Berenbaum–I love her and am tortured by the work involved in her recipes (although The Cake Bible isn’t nearly as obsessive as her Pie and Pastry Bible). Even Christopher Kimball of Cooks Illustrated thinks she’s a little nutty, and that has to give one pause.


Rose Levy Beranbaum is a blessing and a curse to me. I have made several things from The Pie and Pastry Bible and without fail they are stunning and garner oohs and aahs. But heavens! One needs at least two days and a detailed map with numbered post-its to navigate through a single recipe as she sends you to a minimum of five different pages in completely different parts of the book to construct the most basic dessert. All that being said, I may now have to go get the Cake Bible on your recommendation. This cake looks outstanding!


I never used to be a “chocaholic”. Never craved the stuff or even thought about it much. Now I do, especially when faced with such lusciousness…. oh dear …
I guess I better just go with the flow and get me some chocolate very soon…


excuse me while i drool! im going to have to find some excuse to make this, so that i dont eat the whole thing myself. lovely photos, heidi, as usual 🙂


excuse me while i drool! im going to have to find some excuse to make this, so that i dont eat the whole thing myself. lovely photos, heidi, as usual 🙂


Heidi, I always love visiting your site but you have really outdone yourself this time.
I’m definitely adding the cookbook to my wish list and will be trying your version very soon. So much for the brown rice diet I was on to break my sugar habit.


I made this cake with a friend once and it was a hit. We served it with a bit of raspberry coulis – because bittersweet chocolate goes so well with a bit of raspberry – and it was heavenly!


Oh, that sounds amazing! I have to try it! But first, I have to find an 8-inch springform. All of mine are 9-inch – and there doesn’t seem to be a single 8-inch to be found in all of Sweden! I really can’t imagine why.
Although, I have a couple of tiny springforms (5-inch or so) and I’m tempted to half the recipe and try it out in one or two of them. Have to adjust time, probably – but it could work!


This is my ultimate favorite cake to make, easy to make, quick to make and always looks beautiful. If you want to up the ante, a glaze is gorgeous on it, or just a drizzle of white chocolate across the top looks cool as well. If you are feeling adventerous, cover the cake in fondant. Looks fabulous covered in white fondant!


This IS the best flourless chocolate cake (who am I kidding, cake of any kind) you will ever make or eat…


looks so good!!
may have to try making this very soon!


Hi Heidi, those *drop-dead gorgeous* photos and your luscious description have me moving this cake up to the top of the must-make chocolate cake list. I must have dozens of recipes for flourless chocolate cakes, but none baked in a water bath. This may be just the ticket to everlasting chocolate fame (or infamy?)… Thanks for the recipe!


I’ll be right back – – Gotsda go make me a Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte…my boyfriend will be soooo surprised! Besides, it definately beats studying : )




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