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La Bete Noir, The Black Beast


Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, Roberto Martin

Justina made this coffee-chocolate torte for Glenn's birthday and reports: "Glenn says that this is the best chocolate dessert he’s ever had, and he is a true chocoholic."


470 ml2 c. blanched almonds (I used slivered almonds to save time re: blanching to remove skins)
¼ c. organic, unbleached flour
59 ml4 T. vegan butter, melted
¼ c. organic, firmly packed brown sugar OPT FOR SERVING: Fresh Berries

1 ½ c. extra-strong coffee or espresso
½ c. organic white sugar
450 g1 pound chopped bittersweet chocolate (use the best available 70% cocoa vegan)
5 ½ T. vegan butter (1/2 stick plus 1 T) or (1/3 c) – Earth Balance
one 14-oz block silken tofu (I used Firm)
30 ml2 T. cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache
240 ml1 c. unsweetened soy or almond milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
340 g12 oz. semisweet chocolate (Ghirardelli preferred - the Ghirardelli bars in the baking aisle were vegan)


Make the crust: Toast the almonds in a large pan over low heat. Keep moving the almonds around until they begin to darken. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to agitate until the almonds are a uniform light brown. Transfer nuts to a plate to cool.

When the almonds are cool, place them in a food processor and chop them into a fine meal. In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix the ground almonds, flour, butter and brown sugar. Secure the sides of a 9 to 10 inch spring form pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread the crust mixture over the bottom of the pan; the crust does not need to be prebaked.

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F.
Wrap 3 layers of aluminum foil around the bottom outside of the spring form pan. Be sure the foil covers the entire outside of the pan; this is to prevent water from penetrating the cake. (I used 2 sheets of extra wide aluminum foil.)

In the top of a double boiler, whisk the coffee and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until the mixture is combined and the chocolate melted.

In a food processor, puree the tofu, cornstarch, and chocolate mixture until smooth. Pour the batter over the crust in the pan.

Place the aluminum foil-wrapped spring form pan in a large roasting pan or hotel pan. Place the two pans inside the oven. Using a pitcher, carefully add enough water to the pan to come half way up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake the cake for 45 minutes. (Ii used the extra large pan from the tiered 3 pan cake set.)

After 45 minutes, test the cake for doneness. Using a wooden spoon or wearing an oven mitt, carefully push the cake pan. When the center of the cake is no longer wobbly, the cake is done. Carefully remove both pans from the oven. Then remove the cake in the spring form pan from the water bath, and carefully remove the foil. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. (I cooked it for about 55 or 60 minutes, which may have been a bit too long.) NOTE: this cake takes a long time to cool as it is so dense!

Make the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Remove the milk from the heat. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until they are melted and the ganache is smooth.

With the cake still in the pan, pour the ganache over the top. Refrigerate the cake in the pan until the ganache has set, about 2 hours.

Cut the cake: Run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then release the sides.

Score the cake in half and then into quarters. Warm a thin knife under hot water and dry the blade with a towel. Cut one quarter of the cake into 4 equal pieces. Serve with fresh berries.

Note: the cake can be made up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated. The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (yeah, right, like it would still be there!)
If a nut allergy, omit the crust and line the pan with parchment paper.

Major Ingredients: