A fan favorite among chocolate lovers

Hardcore chocolate lovers will probably be no strangers to “torta tenerina”, whose soft and creamy consistency will make their mouth water just thinking about it. As a matter of fact, this cake is a favorite among gourmands, but very few will know that this Italian delicacy was once dedicated to a queen – spoiler: NOT an Italian one! – and has even earned the name of “cake of lovers”. So, what is the “regal” curiosity behind this beloved dessert, and to which culinary tradition do we owe it?

A queen (and a cake) with a tender heart

The Torta Tenerina is also known as “Montenegrina”, in reference to the Balkan countries, but this has nothing to do with its origins, but rather with a happy marriage! We are talking about the love story between the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III and Elena Petrovich of Montenegro. The two met at La Fenice theatre in Venice and it was love at first sight, resulting in their marriage in 1896. Queen Elena soon became known for being a very sweet woman with a tender heart, just like the cake… as a result, the king decided to dedicate her a dessert that was just like her: the Tenerina (tenerina is a term of endearment for “tender”)! The latter was in fact also called Montenegrin Cake or Queen of Montenegro Cake precisely in her honour and today has become one of the symbols of love as to be defined as “the cake of lovers”.

 

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Un post condiviso da Enrico Merlino (@enrico.merlino)

The classic Emilian recipe

As previously stated, this cake has nothing Balkan about it, but finds its roots in Emilia Romagna and more precisely in the city of Ferrara! It is in fact in this Emilian city that it was created for the first time and it is here that its typical features are preserved: the slightly crunchy crust and the soft and tender heart. Such characteristics have earned it the name (yes, it is indeed a cake of many names) of “Torta Tacolenta”, which in the Ferrara dialect means “sticky cake” precisely in reference to the consistency of the inside.

As for how to enjoy it you have several alternatives: you can taste it au nature or dust with powdered sugar, accompany it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, mascarpone, or whipped cream. But now let’s have a look at the original recipe from Ferrara, whose roots go all the way back to 1900 and which is characterized by little flour and NO baking powder.

Recipe

Ingredients:

• 200 g of dark chocolate
• 125 g of butter
• 100 g of sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 scoops of 00 flour
• q.s. powdered sugar (or bitter cocoa powder)

Preparation:

The first thing to do is to melt the dark chocolate with the butter in a bain-marie. In a bowl then mix the eggs’ yolks (keep the egg whites aside) with the sugar and after that add the milk to obtain a smooth and homogeneous cream.
Then mix it with the melted chocolate and butter and add the spoons of 00 flour. Whip the egg whites until stiff and add them to the cream. Butter a cake pan, flour it lightly and pour in the mixture.
Then bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C for about 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the cake and remove it from the oven when the first surface cracks form. Let sprinkle with powdered sugar… et voilà, let the cake melt in your mouth!

Cover photo from YouTube.