A special for Life of Spice readers for the upcoming holidays. I rarely post desserts.. what can I say.. I dont need to eat them! But I LOVE this recipe that makes just enough to satisfy a craving but not take over my life. I hope you will try it. I am sure you will enjoy it. You will love that this fun recipe using empty soup cans!! My kids love vanilla which really shines in this recipe.

Chocolate Walnut Tortes

Adapted from “Small-Batch Baking” by Debby Maugans Nakos (Workman, 2005)

Makes 3 tortes

These delectable chocolate desserts are cooked in empty soup cans—just be sure to wash them thoroughly before using.

2 ounces premium-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ cup walnut pieces

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the cans

¼ cup sugar

2 large eggs, separated

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cream of tartar

Rich Ganache (recipe follows)

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease the insides of three soup cans. Place the cans on a piece of parchment paper and trace around the circumference. Cut out 3 rounds of parchment and line the cans with them. Place the prepared cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium power until the chocolate is glossy and beginning to melt, about 1 minute. Then stir until smooth. Let cool.
  3. Place the walnuts and the flour in a food processor and process until the walnuts are finely ground but not oily, about 10 -15 seconds.
  4. Place the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed until creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla with the last yolk. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the melted chocolate until blended, 10 to 15 seconds. Using a wooden spatula, gently stir in the ground walnut mixture.
  5. Wash the mixer beaters and dry them thoroughly. Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in a small bowl and beat on high speed until the whites are shiny and hold stiff peaks, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Fold the egg whites thoroughly but gently into the chocolate mixture in two batches.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly among them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake; the cake should remain soft and moist in the center.
  7. Remove the cans from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool.
  8. When the cakes have cooled, invert the cans over the wire rack to release the cakes. Peel off the parchment paper and place the cakes upright on the racks. Pour about 3 tablespoons of lukewarm ganache over each cake, using a spatula to smooth the icing all over. Let the cakes stand until the ganache is firm, about an hour. The tortes will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Rich Ganache

Makes about ½ cup

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

5 ounces imported bittersweet chocolate (such as Lindt), finely chopped

  1. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, swirling to submerge the chocolate in the hot cream
  3. Let the mixture stand until the chocolate softens, about 1 minute, then stir with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Allow the ganache to cool slightly, then pour over cooled tortes.

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  1. The tortes look decadent. I’d love a couple right now!

  2. This recipe is mouthwatering! Diet what?

  3. Oh no! This looks too darn good! What excuse do I have to make it? None. Help – I need an excuse!


  5. These are so cute, and I love the used soup can idea. Yum!

  6. I’m not that much of a sweets maker (eater, yes) but these look perfect for me, especially the “makes 3” part — two for my husband, one for me. And I get to use the empty cans I’ve been saving (one day, I’ll punch holes in them in pretty designs for rustic andle holders.)

  7. Wow–I am definitely making this for my book group.

  8. That is the most divine sounding torte I’ve ever read about. Wow. I’m hungry now!

  9. awesome site and lovely pictures…looking fwd to spending a lot of time reading and trying out new eats 🙂

  10. This look absolutely decadent!!!

  11. I love your beautiful Tortes. You have an amazing talent. Photos are marvelous. I should show your website to my chefs.

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