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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:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

Photography: Maura Mcevoy

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2011


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)


  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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Cook's Notes

Top with jarred cherries.

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