Italian Flourless Chocolate Torta | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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Milk Street Recipe

Italian Flourless Chocolate Torta

Appears in July-August 2021

1 hour (30 minutes active), plus cooling

Italian Flourless Chocolate Torta

Pasticceria Gollini in Vignola, Italy, not far from Modena, is home to the sumptuous flourless chocolate cake known as torta Barozzi. Created in 1886 by pastry chef Eugenio Gollini and named for Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, a 16th-century architect, the much-loved sweet continues today to be produced according to a closely guarded secret recipe. Impostor recipes abound, as professional and home bakers alike have attempted to re-create the dessert, and we ourselves set out to devise a formula. It’s well known that torta Barozzi is made without wheat flour (and is therefore gluten free). Instead, a combination of ground peanuts and almonds—along with whipped egg whites—deliver a structure that’s somehow rich and dense yet remarkably light. We found that we could skip the peanuts, as almond flour alone worked well. To achieve a complex chocolatiness, we use both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate (ideally, chocolate with about 70 percent cocoa solids). Instant espresso powder accentuates the deep, roasty, bitter notes and a dose of dark rum lifts the flavors with its fieriness. Serve with lightly sweetened mascarpone or whipped cream, or with vanilla gelato.

8 to 10



Don’t use natural cocoa. The recipe will still work, but the cake will be lighter in color and not quite as deep in flavor as when made with Dutch-processed cocoa. Take care not to overbake the cake. Remove it from the oven when a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with a few sticky crumbs clinging to it. After 30 to 45 minutes of cooling, the cake is inverted out of the pan; don’t worry about re-inverting it. True torta Barozzi is left upside-down for cutting and serving; we do the same with ours.

1 hour (30 minutes active), plus cooling


  • 141

    grams (10 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 10 pieces, plus more for the pan

  • 6

    ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped


  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Butter an 8-inch square pan, line the bottom with a parchment square and butter the parchment.

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