Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons

*** Top 9 on December 31, 2010***
Thank you everyone!

Check out my Video Tutorial for step by step instructions on how to create this masterpiece!
I've been doing a lot of baking lately and there's even more in the queue but it's the holidays and I've just been in a baking kind of mood. I have to warn you, this cake is not for the faint of heart, both in preparation or consumption. If you have ever been on a diet, are currently on a diet or may ever be on a diet this cake could be disastrous. It also takes a significant amount of time to prepare, but if you are willing to take the time, you will end up with a masterpiece well worth the time and effort.

This recipe was first published by Bon Appetit in 1984 and is their most requested recipe. The spiced chocolate torte is paired perfectly with a light fluffy butter cream frosting and then covered in a rich chocolate glaze. The ribbons complete the cake and really aren't as difficult as they may look. I really haven't done any cake decorating before either, so don't be afraid to try it out. The recipe specifies using a pasta roller for the modeling chocolate but I just rolled it out with a rolling pin and didn't have any issues. I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet and White Chocolate chips and although the bittersweet was pretty stiff, it still rolled out fine and both held their shape very well.

Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons

adapted from Bon Appetit




1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
8 eggs, separated, room temperature
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), melted, lukewarm
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, sifted (measured, then sifted)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 jumbo egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), melted and cooled (but still pourable)


12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 tablespoons honey

Chocolate Ribbons

7 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), broken into pieces 

Test-Kitchen Tips

1. Chill the buttercream for 30 minutes to firm it up before spreading it on the cake layers. This makes the spreading much easier and ensures that the buttercream will hold up when the cake layers are assembled.
2. Dusting the chocolate ribbon dough with powdered sugar before rolling it through the pasta machine helps to prevent it from sticking.
3. If the bittersweet chocolate strips don't stick when you place them atop the white chocolate strips for the ribbon assembly, lightly brush one side of the bittersweet chocolate strips with light corn syrup, then place atop the white chocolate strips, syrup side down, and press lightly to adhere.




Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 11/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each cake pan with waxed paper; butter and flour waxed paper.

Using electric mixer, cream butter in large bowl. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time. Blend in melted chocolate. Slowly mix in pecans, vanilla, and spices. Gently fold in flour in 4 batches (batter will be very thick and dense).

Using electric mixer fitted with clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar in another large bowl until medium peaks form. Gently fold 1/4 of whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining whites. Divide batter among prepared pans, spreading evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Run knife around sides of each cake. Let stand 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks. Cool to room temperature. DO AHEAD Cakes can be made up to 2 weeks ahead. Wrap tightly and freeze.


Stir sugar and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil 1 minute. Meanwhile, using electric mixer, beat egg yolks in medium bowl until pale and thick. Gradually beat in hot sugar syrup; continue beating until mixture is completely cool, about 5 minutes. Beat in butter 1 piece at a time, incorporating each piece completely before adding next. Blend in melted chocolate. (If buttercream looks broken or curdled, place bowl with buttercream over medium heat on stove burner and whisk 5 to 10 seconds to warm mixture slightly, then remove from heat and beat mixture again on medium speed. Repeat warming and beating as many times as needed until buttercream is smooth.)

Reserve 1/2 cup buttercream. Set 1 cake layer, flat side up, on rack; spread with half of remaining buttercream. Top with second cake layer; spread with remaining buttercream. Top with third cake layer; use reserved 1/2 cup buttercream to fill in seam where cake layers meet. Freeze cake until buttercream is firm, about 2 hours.


Stir all ingredients in top of double boiler over gently simmering water until mixture is smooth. Remove from over water. Stir until glaze is thickened, about 5 minutes (do not allow glaze to set).

Pour 3/4 of glaze over top of cake. Carefully and quickly tilt cake back and forth so glaze coats sides; smooth sides with spatula, adding some of remaining glaze where necessary. Chill cake until glaze is set.

Chocolate Ribbons

Melt white chocolate in top of double boiler over gently simmering water; stir until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup corn syrup. Pour onto baking sheet. Chill until firm, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer white chocolate to work surface and knead several minutes. Shape white chocolate dough into ball. Wrap in plastic. Let white chocolate dough stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Repeat with bittersweet chocolate and remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup.

Cut white chocolate dough into 4 pieces. Flatten 1 piece into rectangle. Turn pasta machine to widest setting. Run chocolate through 3 times, folding into thirds before each run. Adjust machine to next narrower setting. Run chocolate through machine without folding. If chocolate is more than 1/16 inch thick, run through next narrower setting. Lay chocolate piece on rimless baking sheet. Repeat flattening, folding, and rolling with remaining chocolate pieces. Repeat process with bittersweet chocolate dough.

Cut four 8x1-inch strips from rolled white chocolate dough and four 8x1/2-inch strips from rolled bittersweet chocolate dough. Center bittersweet chocolate strips atop white chocolate strips to form 4 ribbons. Run 1 ribbon from base of cake to center. Arrange remaining 3 chocolate ribbons equidistant from each other in same fashion so ribbons meet in center (Step 1).

Cut ten 6 1/2x1-inch strips from rolled white chocolate dough and ten 61/2x1/2-inch strips from rolled bittersweet chocolate dough. Center bittersweet chocolate strips atop white chocolate strips to form 10 ribbons. Cut ends off 2 ribbons on diagonal. Starting at center, drape ribbons over top and sides of cake to form trailers. To form loops for bows, fold remaining 8 ribbons in half, layered side out. Cut ends into V shapes (Step 2). Arrange ribbon halves with V shapes at center of cake to form bow (Step 3).

Cut one 3x1-inch strip of white chocolate and one 3x1/2-inch strip of bittersweet chocolate. Center bittersweet chocolate strip atop white chocolate strip. Fold in ends of chocolate strips and pinch to resemble knot; place in center of bow. Carefully transfer cake to serving platter or cake stand. DO AHEAD Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.


  1. Wow! You did a phenomenal job on the cake! I should have hired you for Christmas. I couldn't even get my cupcakes to look good....

  2. Your cake is stunning. It looks even better than the Bon Appetit cover.

  3. I must say I am impressed with your cake decorating skills! Not bad for a first attempt, not bad at all!

  4. Incredible cake, incredible effort! It is so special! By the way I immediately made your Peppermint Patty recipe to rave reviews. Thought of you while eating them for breakfast the morning after making them!

  5. This is so pretty,
    You are so good with cakes!

  6. This is magnificent. Your cake decorating skills certainly blow mine out of the water (hello little bottle of sprinkles!). Great step by step instructions, I could definitely mangle a lot of chocolate ... which as you know, ugly bits get eaten by the baker!

  7. Congratulations on the Top 9! It is such a beautiful cake and more than worthy.


  9. Beautiful! I do a version of this with a triple chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting wrapped in chocolate ribbons!! Always a show stopper!!!

  10. OMG this cakes looks amazing. I've had it up all week and I am hoping to tackle it today. My daughter would like to bring it for a New Year's Eve party she is attending. I don't think mine will turn out so beautiful. Congrats on Top 9!!!!

  11. I can see why you are in the top 9 - wow - this is a fantastic creation! Congratulations!

  12. I made this cake in 1984... with rave reviews from my friends. Last year, I moved heaven and earth to find and buy a copy of that magazine, just to get the recipe. So glad that you have posted it... and that folks will see it on Foodbuzz... it's a fabulous cake!!!

  13. I made this cake too, and while it taste amazing, the chocolate ribbons were not that easy for me. You must have superior decorating skills. I used Ghiradelli white and the chocolate was oily and over pliable while the dark was too stiff, maybe you could give me some tips. Congrats on Top 9. Happy New Years!

  14. Congrats on your Top 9 - well deserved!

  15. Nice work! I saw this recipe in the magazine and was too scared to attempt it myself. You did a great job!

  16. hey, do you glaze the cake while it's still frozen??

  17. Wow! This tort is pretty!!!! Happy 2011!

    1. Mang thai điều thiên nhiên của mỗi người mẹ, việc làm mẹ vô cùng hạnh phúc và thiên liêng. Nhưng trong thời gian mang thai sẽ luôn là nỗi lo cho các mẹ luôn phân vân 3 tháng đầu bà bầu nên ăn gì để an toàn cho thai nhi và mẹ. Việc mang thai trong 3 tháng đầu cuc kì quan trong cho mỗi thai phụ. Vì lúc này là giai đoạn các mẹ tập thích nghi với sự hình thành của bé trong tử cung và chính là thời gian để thai nhi hình thành và phát triển nên cung cấp đầy đủ dinh dưỡng cho 2 mẹ con. Và cũng trong thời gian ấy các mẹ cũng nên chú ý về việc bà bầu không nên ăn gì trong 3 tháng đầu để đảm bảo an toan cho thai nhi không ảnh hưởng tới những việc không vui. Đặc biệt nên tránh các chất kích thích các chất chua cay, chát hạn chế vận động và đi lại nhiều. Đặc biệt trong 3 tháng đầu các mẹ gặp trình trạng ngén ăn cho nên việc ăn uống rát khó khăn nên cần lựa chọn khẩu phần ăn của các mẹ nên thay đổi. Thêm rau vậy những loại rau bà bầu nên ăn để an toàn và tạo cho mẹ không còn ngén ăn nữa. Cùng chúng tôi tìm hiểu nhé:

  18. I am speechless. Not only an amazing work of art, a fabulous recipe AND instructions on how to achieve those incredible ribbons. All I need now is courage!

  19. This cake is just so beautiful I can't keep my eyes off it! Will try it one day for sure. Thanks for sharing =) And congrats on Top 9! Much deserved

  20. oh my goodness....this is a beautiful cake. I am sure it tasted soooo delicious!!! Congrats to you on being in Foodbuzz Top 9!!

  21. Yum, looks delicious! I'd love to have a piece of that cake :)

  22. This is professional work. Fantastic looking. Congratulations!

  23. Very impressive ribbons! I could only get seven of the loops to fit and look pretty but it looks like you managed all eight! I found your blog when I was looking for other posts on the ribbon cake, here's the one I wrote today:

  24. Great job on this. We made this as well and I must say I think yours gets top marks.

  25. I feel so privileged to have been able to try it. It was so delicious, I savored every bite. You are truly a master!

  26. The video tutorial link somehow doesnt seem to work. Anyways, I tried this recipe in the exact way you have mentioned here and it came out fantastic. You are great because you have used a lot of chocolate and still it did not taste sour (as it sometimes does when used in excess). A very good cake recipe for Christmas. Thanks!

  27. Thanks for the informative article.This is one of the best resources I have found in quite some time.


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