Growing up, the van Food family didn’t buy cakes for birthdays or other celebrations. Mutter van Food is a darn good baker of pies and cakes and takes pride in using her experience as a show of love for her family. Of all her cakes, I requested this recipe most often for birthdays, and it is now a favorite for my children, too.
No one seems to know the source of this recipe, and the earliest version we can recall was one of those “outline” formats. You know, “Step 1, Make batter with whipped egg white and add chocolate. Bake. Step 2, Make icing with butter and egg yolks. Step 3, top with some melted chocolate.” Easy, right?
No, this is not the easiest of cakes to get right. Ludwig has delivered some pretty dense cakes during his apprenticeship with Mutter as well as for his own family. Frau van Food and a couple of their children definitely perform this number with more consistent excellence than Ludwig, meaning the Chocolate Chip Torte is now in its fourth generation of being the family’s favorite addiction.
Before you ask, yes, this recipe is complete and accurate, and yes, the frosting has raw egg yolks. Get over it. Not one of us, through 4 generations, have gotten ill from eating this cake. It is ridiculously delicious, so use fresh eggs, common sense and good kitchen hygiene.
It is no misrepresentation to note this cake is, um, butter forward. The light sponge and unsweetened chocolate cut through the richness, though, and few of us ever remain satisfied with one piece at a sitting.
Equipment and Supplies
- 1 9×13-inch Cake Pan , or 2 8-inch Round Cake Pans
- 1 double boiler
- 1 grater , or vegetable peeler
- 1 beater
- Paper Towel
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, room temperature, plus a little for buttering pans
- 1½ cups castor sugar, (superfine) sugar, divided
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, Baker’s , divided
- 2¼ cups cake flour, plus a little for pan preparation
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, seperated
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
Prepare the pan
- If you are confident in the non-stick properties of your baking dishes, skip this step.
- Otherwise, grease a 9” x 11” cake pan or 2 8” round cake pans by scooping up some butter with a paper towel and smearing it all over the inside of) the pan(s), paying particular attention to the corners.1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Put some flour in the greased pan and shake it to spread the flour all around the pan’s bottom and sides. Discard any flour that remains unstuck.2¼ cups cake flour, 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Make the cake
- Make ½ cup of shaved chocolate using a vegetable peeler or one of a box grater’s larger holes.8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- Cream ½ cup of the butter with 1 cup of the sugar with a hand beater or in a stand mixer.1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1½ cups castor sugar
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt by using a sifter or sifting through a mesh sieve. Add a little at a time, alternating with a little milk, to the creamed butter mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract and shaved chocolate.1½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 2¼ cups cake flour, 1 cup whole milk, 3 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the egg whites until very stiff, slowly add ½ cup sugar, and beat again to re-form stiff peaks. Fold gently into the flour mixture.3 eggs, 1½ cups castor sugar
- Turn the batter out into the floured pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.
- Let It cool on a rack. This means that it is no longer warm to the touch. You are about to put nearly a stick of room-temperature butter on this sponge. Impatience here will be punished with all that butter soaking into the sponge.
- Beat the egg yolks until frothy. Cut 7 tablespoons of butter into pats and blend them into the yolks one at a time until all are incorporated. Add 1½ cup of powdered sugar and blend until creamy. Frost cake.1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 eggs, 1½ cups powdered sugar
- Break the rest of the chocolate bar into chunks. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a double boiler. Slowly add the remaining chocolate, stirring to ensure it doesn’t scorch. Drizzle over the frosting in streaks.1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 8 ounces unsweetened chocolate