Rose Levy Beranbaum is no stranger to a particularly delicious, decadent dessert. She is a masterful baker, a prolific cookbook author, and a James Beard Award–winning writer. We’ve featured her recipe for bright and fresh blueberry pie on our site, along with some of her expert tips for crafting a perfect pie. But just last year, as part of our Genius Recipes series, we added to the mix a showstopper of a cake: a sumptuous yet simple Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte; it took our site by storm.
Because it’s winter and because we love the cake so much and because we have nothing more than a deep desire to delve headfirst into the fudgy goodness that is this cake, we’ve blessed you all with a recipe video. The brilliance of this recipe—besides the way it tastes—is its three-ingredient simplicity (no flour included!).
There were two places where I had truffle tortes of this type. One was actually called a truffle torte—it was from Bonnie Stern, Toronto's top cooking school teacher. When I went to meet her—it was a lot of years ago—she had this cake that she'd made, and I really loved it. And then I started investigating, and Narsai David also had a truffle-type torte—but it had one tablespoon of flour in it.
I made it and I thought it was really wonderful, but what was that one tablespoon necessary for? I think what he was doing was what so many people used to do in those days—they would put one unnecessary ingredient in something, so that if somebody imitated it, that person would know that it was being ripped off without credit. Isn't that interesting?
I love giving credit, because I think giving credit has to do with the kind of food history that interests me. And it's so nice to give credit—it doesn't take anything away from you!
And then I came up with the idea—because I had been working on cheesecakes and I always hated the drier outside edge, I was using a water bath to keep the edges from drying. I thought if I apply that to this cake, then it will maybe have the same moistness on the outside as it does in the center.
That was my starting point, having experienced these two. And they were called truffle tortes because they're really like a truffle—although truffle is just heavy cream, some people add egg yolk or butter. But it's basically ganache—this is like a ganache cake.
I love a good cake etymology. Whether or not you've given this recipe a go, there's no better time than now.
Have you tried Beranbaum’s Oblivion Torte? Tell us what you thought in the comments.
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.