Ferrara’s Special Chocolate Cake
The recipe for this sinful cake is presented
by Ms. Elena Bertelli,my wife's cousin, who lives
The Torta Tenerina or Tacolenta is a special
cake made in Ferrara. As the name
suggests Tenerina means “delicately soft” and in fact this chocolate cake has a very thin and crispy crust and a
soft and moist chocolate inside.
In the United
States during the 1893 Chicago World Fair, in the bake shop of the
Palmer House Hotel, a brown, chewy, thick, chocolate cake was prepared in large pans; it was about one and half
inchs tall and sliced into two to three inch squares so it would be more convenient to serve, less messy to eat
than a pie or a layer cake, and it was so delicious that it became an instant success.
At the same time on the other side of
the Atlantic, similar cakes were
in France “les brownies” are chocolate cakes
combined with the flavorful raspberry, in Spain beside chocolate, dry fruits and nuts are mixed into the
“pastelito de chocolate y nueces”, in Germany the chocolate brownies are topped with the ‘köstlich’, a rich
syrup enriched with chopped up nuts, in the U.K. coffee granules, vanilla and nuts are added to the recipe for
At the beginning of the 20th Century, on the occasion of the
visit of Vittorio Emanuele III King
of Italy, and his wife Elena Petrovich of Montenegro, the people
of Ferrara dedicated to them this cake made mostly with Theobroma cacao, which means "food of the gods" and christened it Torta Tenerina.
La Torta Tenerina is a great pleasing
dessert: any chocolate lover will be more than thrilled and delighted with, when sampling this luxurious and
It is also called Torta Tacolenta, to
articulate the intense and moist chocolate taste that lingers in the mouth when enjoying each morsel of this
mouth-watering and sumptuous tasting treat.
Elena wrote that this torta is normally
sprinkled with confectionary sugar however at times it is served with custard cream making this cake “una vera
bomba calorica”, literally translated, “ a true caloric bomb”.
- ½ lb. Bitter–sweet
chocolate, chopped into uniform pieces
- ¼ lb. Unsalted butter
at room temperature
lb. Sugar (4
- 3 Tablespoons of flour
- 3 Large eggs
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven at 400
Butter a 10” round cake pan
and line the bottom with parchment paper; butter paper and lightly dust with flour. Use a springform pan if it is
Over low heat or in a double boiler, gently melt togheter the chocolate. Stir it
occasionally with a wood or rubber spatula.
Separate the eggs, place the whites in a bowl ready to be beaten,
and the yolks in a small container.
Combine the sugar, and the butter in a bowl, whisk until
they are well mixed.
Add the yolks one at a time and stir
constantly, after that stir in the flour, pour in the melted chocolate, mix continuously until this cream is
smooth and blended.
In a large glass or metal bowl, beat egg
whites and salt until mixture is foamy and stiff. Gradually pour in the chocolate cream, turning gently in a
circular motion, from top to bottom.
Pour the mixture into
the cake pan and bake for 15 to 20
The Tenerina is ready when a light crispy
brown crust forms on the top, so that the inside is soft and moist.
Cool in the cake pan for 15 minutes, invert
onto a serving plate, remove parchment paper, and when ready to serve sprinkle with confectionary sugar.