Recipe: Peta Mathias’ chocolate and almond torte that almost sent her down the aisle

Article by Simply You

In her book Eat Your Heart Out: Love Stories from Around the World saucy gourmet chef Peta Mathias finds that food can be a healing force for good. Here she shares the wonders of her most popular chocolate torte.

“Few foods inspire passion and loyalty on the scale of chocolate, and it has long been associated with love,” writes Peta Mathias in her latest tome.

“This recipe is an adaption of a flat chocolate torte I learned from the chef at the first Parisian restaurant I worked in, back in 1981. It is a very old French recipe. I have published it many times and it has been copied many times, which I take as a compliment.

“In this version I have doubled the recipe and baked it in a high cake tin rather than a tart tin. It has no flour.

“I almost married someone after having been given this cake. As I said in my very first book, it’s as rich as I’d like to be, and has the same effect on the body as an orgasm, due to the small amounts of theobromine it contains, which release endorphins and serotonin.”

Serves: 10


  • 260g Valrhona chocolate (with at least 60 percent cocoa solids)
  • 200g butter
  • 2 Tbsp cognac or rum
  • 2 tsp liquid coffee (make a cup, use the 2 teaspoons, then drink the rest)
  • 200g white granulated sugar
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 6 eggs
  • A generous pinch of salt

To serve

  • Extra chocolate and a splash of milk, for drizzling


  1. Grease and flour a 22cm cake tin with a removable base, and line the base with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
  2. In a double boiler or bain-marie (i.e. a heat-proof container sitting over a pan of boiling water, which prevents the chocolate from burning), stir together the chocolate, butter, cognac and coffee. As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar and almonds.
  3. Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to the chocolate mixture.
  4. In a separate and very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture; a spatula
    is handy for this job.
  6. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake (for about an hour) until the cake pulls away a little from the sides and doesn’t wobble when you shake it.
  7. When cool, melt a little chocolate with milk in a bain-marie to make a pourable icing, then splash it onto the cake. For a delicious accompaniment, serve with berries and mint custard.

This recipe is from Eat Your Heart Out: Love Stories from Around the World by Peta Mathias (Random House, $35).