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Author Notes: “Pumpernickel…what?” This cake usually elicits some confusion. I'd had a version with rum and walnuts, but my spin borrows the flavor trifecta of my favorite tiramisu recipe: chocolate, coffee and Marsala. That combination marries well, if unexpectedly, with pumpernickel’s own slightly coffee/chocolate-ish notes.
Picking up on the tiramisu inspiration, I usually serve a dollop of Mascarpone whipped cream with each slice (but regular whipped cream is fine too.)
- 2 cups fresh pumpernickel bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup dry Marsala
- 1/3 cup pecans (alternately, walnuts)
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- small pinch salt
- butter and cocoa powder for pan
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- 4 ounces Mascarpone
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- For the torte: Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9” or 10” tube or Bundt pan very well and coat lightly with cocoa powder; alternately, butter a 9” or 10”spring form pan, and line its bottom with parchment or wax paper.
- Make the pumpernickel breadcrumbs in a food processor or blender. Put them in a small bowl and toss with the Marsala. Let soak while you do the rest.
- Finely chop the chocolate and pecans in a food processor or blender.
- Separate the eggs. Put the egg whites in a large mixer bowl, and the yolks in a smaller one. Whisk the yolks well with the espresso powder, vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt.
- Beat the egg whites until they begin to form peaks, then gradually beat in the sugar, until stiff peaks form.
- Fold 2 or 3 big dollops of the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture, then put that mixture back into the egg white bowl. Add the chopped nut/chocolate and pumpernickel/Marsala mixtures. Fold everything together gently, until well combined but not deflated (it’s okay if some small white streaks remain.)
- Gently turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (start checking at 30 min – my dark Bundt pan takes about 35.)
- Let cool on a rack before removing the cake from the pan. (It will pull away from the sides and sink in the center a bit as it cools.)
- Serve with a dollop of Mascarpone whipped cream.
- Mascarpone Whipped Cream: combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and beat until well combined. Keep beating, adding sugar gradually, until it's light a fluffy. (Having all ingredients at the same temp will avoid curdling.)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Made with Coffee