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Flourless Chocolate-Almond Torte with Cherry Preserves and Kirsch Meringue

Almonds add texture to this rich chocolate dessert, while a cloud of meringue adds an ethereal element to each dense bite. Cherries figure in at every level, thanks to kirsch liqueur in the cake and the meringue and a smear of preserves layered in between.

  • prep: 25 mins
    total time: 2 hours 25 mins
  • servings: 8
Photography: Maura Mcevoy




For the Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch or other cherry-flavored liqueur (optional)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated (whites kept at room temperature)
  • 1 2/3 cups finely ground almonds
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup cherry preserves

For the Meringue

  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kirsch or other cherry-flavored liqueur (optional)

Cook's Note

Top with jarred cherries.


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk together cocoa and boiling water until cocoa dissolves and mixture is smooth. Stir in kirsch.

  2. Step 2

    Beat butter and 1 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Add cocoa mixture and almonds, and beat until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.

  3. Step 3

    Whisk egg whites and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the clean bowl of a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With machine running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold one-quarter of the whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites.

  4. Step 4

    Pour batter into pan, and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and cover cake with parchment-lined foil. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 45 minutes. Run a knife or an offset spatula around edge of cake to loosen, and release sides of pan to remove.

  5. Step 5

    Make the meringue: Whisk egg whites and sugar in a clean heatproof bowl of a mixer set over a pan of simmering water until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Whisk in kirsch. Whisk until stiff peaks form.

  6. Step 6

    Spread cherry preserves on top of cake. Spread meringue over preserves using an offset spatula, making decorative swirls. Caramelize peaks of meringue using a handheld kitchen torch or under the broiler.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2011