For the birthday girl, I did a riff off a Martha Stewart recipe, using bittersweet chocolate and pecans in my recipe instead. I also had no heavy cream, so I made do with milk and melted butter (1/2 cup milk, 4 tablespoons butter, 4 ounces chocolate equals the ganache recipe below).
The end result is a decadently rich, fudgy cake.
Chocolate Pecan Torte
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 generous cup of bittersweet chocolate morsels
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch round cake pan. Sprinkle in good quality cocoa to flour the pan.
Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate over simmering water. Remove from heat and mix in sugar and vanilla. Add in eggs and buttermilk. Stir in pecans and then mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Let cool completely (about 3 hours) before frosting.
To make the ganache, bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Pour ganache in center of the cake, spread evenly over the top and down the sides. Let set, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with toasted pecans.