Torta Morbidina: the Italian comfort-cake par excellence


This moist, soft chocolate cake is an Italian all-time favourite. Time to see for yourself why that is!




A traditional dessert from the city of Ferrara, a beautiful city in Emilia-Romagna (northern Italy), the Torta Morbidina has fragrant external crust, an intense chocolate flavour and a melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes each bite... definitely not the last one! This cake is without yeast, which allows it to remain moist inside. Just as the name suggests ("morbido" means soft in Italian), the extraordinary quality of this cake is its soft texture. It is a simple dessert to make, and success is guaranteed. I love serving it with a side of home-made Fiordilatte ice-cream or a delicate mascarpone cream to enhance its rich chocolate flavour.


Ingredients (metric system):


The following are for a 23cm cake pan.

  • 200 gr dark chocolate

  • 100 gr butter

  • 4 regular eggs

  • 150 gr sugar

  • 50 gr flour

  • powdered sugar for dusting


Ingredients (US):


The following are for a 9-inch cake pan.

  • 1 2/3 cup dark chocolate

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 4 regular eggs

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons flour

  • powdered sugar for dusting


Procedure:


Start by finely chopping the dark chocolate, then transfer it to a bowl. Add the chopped butter and put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and let sit for about a minute, then put in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Let the two ingredients melt together while you continue to stir. You don't want to give the mixture too much heat all at the same time; the ingredients should melt slowly, so take your time stirring gently. Once you've finished, let the chocolate and butter mixture cool down; put the bowl aside.


In the meantime separate the yolks from the egg whites in two separate large bowls. Beat the egg whites until they become firm and frothy. Set the beaten egg whites aside and pour the sugar into the yolks. Beat them at a moderate speed until you obtain a milky-orange mixture. While continuing to blend the sugar and yolks, pour in the chocolate and butter mixture (which should now be lukewarm), and keep mixing until they become of a uniform texture. Add the whipped egg whites in several stages: initially add about 1/3 of the egg whites by stirring them in with a spatula or whisk. Then incorporate the remaining egg whites by gently stirring from the bottom up. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a spatula, using gentle movements from bottom to top, until the mixture becomes smooth and uniform. Grease with butter and sprinkle with flour a 9-inch (23 cm) springform cake pan and pour in the dough. You may also use a regular cake pan but I recommend a springform one as it will make it easier to remove the cake, especially since this Italian specialty remains so moist inside. Bake in a static oven preheated to 355° F (180° C) for 30-35 minutes. You'll know the cake is ready once a beautiful, thin crackle-crust forms on top.


Once out of the oven, let your Morbidina cake cool before removing it from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve as you prefer.