Torta Tenerina is a very tasty Italian Dessert for chocolate lovers, born in Ferrara, a beautiful ancient city of Emilia Romagna region. It’s a little thick chocolate cake, made with little flour, butter, milk, lots of dark chocolate and no yeast! It has a moist consistency and a tender heart, hence the name “tenerina”, but on the surface it has a crunchy and thin crust.
Tenerina cake is an easy-to-make dessert. Serve it together with Mascarpone Cream or with whipped cream. Torta tenerina is excellent for breakfast, as a snack or for an after dinner dessert. You can make it ahead of time because it’s delicious even in the following days.
So now let’s see how to make Italian torta tenerina.
Torta Tenerina Recipe
Note about chocolate: the recipe calls for a 70/80% high concentration dark chocolate. If you prefer a less bitter and more delicate taste, you can use a less concentrated dark chocolate, but in this case it is better to reduce the amount of sugar (100 g/3,5 oz).
- 200 g (7 oz) of 72% dark chocolate
- 100 g (3,5 oz) of unsalted butter
- 150 g ( 5,3 0z) of sugar
- 3 medium whole eggs
- 60 g (2 oz) of “00” flour
- 25 ml of whole milk
- Powdered sugar for decoration
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
To cook Torta Tenerina it’s better to use a Springform Pan with Removable Bottom because it’s easier to remove the cake without the risk of breaking it. Tenerina Cake is very delicate and even when cold it’s impossible to take it out without making cracks; so absolutely don’t turn it over!
Another tool that will be very useful for this recipe is a double boilerfor melting chocolate and butter.
How to Make Torta Tenerina Recipe
Step 1) – To prepare Torta Tenerina, first break the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a double boiler together with the butter. It’s very important that the heat is low and that the chocolate does not stick to the pot. For this reason it’s better to mix often. Once melted and combined, set aside the mixture of chocolate and butter and let it cool.
Step 2) – Separate the yolks from the whites. Then with the electric mixer, whip the egg yolks with half a dose of sugar for at least 5 minutes until they double in volume.
Step 3) – Pour the melted chocolate into the egg yolk cream and mix well. Then add the milk and the sifted flour. Mix always with the mixer on low speed.
Step 4) – Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff.
Step 5) – Combine the whipped egg whites with the chocolate cream by hand and very slowly. Always mix from top to bottom to avoid deflate the egg whites. The whipped egg whites in this recipe are very important, because they form the delicious crust on Tenerina cake, with a consistency similar to meringue.
Step 6) – Cover with parchment paper a 25 cm (10 inch) springform pan with removable bottom. Pour the mixture and level it. Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C (350 F) for about 25 minutes. The cooking time depends a lot on the type of oven, however with these doses not less than 25 minutes. After this time, if the cake has a crusty surface with some typical crepes, then the cake is ready, otherwise leave it for another 2/3 minutes. You can also check the baking of the cake with a toothpick: remember that the center of the Tenerina Cake must remain moist and soft, so if the toothpick comes out moist and a crunchy crust has formed, that’s fine!
Step 7) – Remove the edge of the pan and let the cake cool. Sprinkle Torta Tenerina with plenty of icing sugar and enjoy! Torta Tenerina is also excellent matched with mascarpone cream or whipped cream.
Keep Tenerina Cake for 3-4 days under a glass dome cover for cakes. It can be frozen.
Torta Tenerina: Variations and Suggestions
Flourless Torta Tenerina (gluten-free recipe):
The main characteristics of Torta Tenerina is that it has no yeast and very little flour. The particular consistency is given by melted chocolate with butter and whipped eggs. However, if you want to make a Flourless Tenerina Cake, you can use the same doses of rice flour or potato starch.
If you want a Double Chocolate Tenerina Cake without flour, you can replace the flour with bitter cocoa (70 g/2,50 oz)
Another cake very similar to the Tenerina cake, both in terms of process and consistency, is the famous and delicious Torta Caprese. The Caprese of Neapolitan origins is a flourless Italian chocolate cake: it wants ground almonds so is gluten-free.
Spicy Hot Torta Tenerina
Dark chocolate and red hot chili pepper is a perfect combination! If you love the spicy taste of red hot chili pepper and want to give the Tenerina Cake a special touch, try adding a level teaspoon of spicy red pepper powder to the melted chocolate and the result will certainly be fantastic! “Tenerina al Peperoncino” could be a perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day: a cake born for two lovers (look next paragraph), with a tender heart but … spicy!
Torta Tenerina: History and Curiosities
The origin of the Torta Tenerina has long been disputed between Ferrara and Bologna, but history says that the city of Este was the birthplace of this cake.
It seems that the Tenerina Cake was prepared for the first time at the beginning of the last century in Ferrara, in honor of the Queen of Montenegro, wife of King Vittorio Emanuele III.
Elena Petrovich of Montenegro and the King of Italy met at the La Fenice theater in Venice and married on October 24, 1896. It seems that they were very much in love.
Queen Elena seemed a haughty woman but in truth she was sweet and tender, just like Torta Tenerina, which the beloved Vittorio Emanuele III wanted to dedicate to her. For this reason the Tenerina Cake is also called “Queen of Montenegro Cake” or “Montenegrin Cake”.
Torta Tenerina in Ferrara is also called ” Torta Taclenta”. In the Ferrara dialect “Taclenta” means “sticky”, due to its consistency. It remains extremely moist inside even after cooking, with its sugary crunchy surface.