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Delicious chocolate torte
Torta Tenerina

The holiday season is here, and UH News is asking members of the University of Hawaiʻi ʻohana to share their favorite recipes. The hope is these recipes and the short stories that accompany them will give everyone some recipe ideas for the holidays.

Chiara Logli, an institutional assessment specialist at Honolulu Community College, shared her recipe for torta tenerina (moist chocolate cake). She said it is a traditional dessert from the city of Ferrara, her dad’s hometown in Italy.

“It is the classic dessert for all festivities but also for any dinners out with friends,” Logli said. “It’s a simple recipe: quick to make, popular among chocolate lovers, and now with delicious gluten-free variations. It can be served with mascarpone, whipped cream, gelato or berries!”


People sitting around a table in a restaurant
Chiara Logli, fourth from left, in Bologna (capital city of the region Emilia-Romagna, where Ferrara is located), 2022
  • 1 2/3 cup, dark chocolate (200 grams)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 ½ tablespoons flour 00 (50 grams)
  • ½ cup butter, chopped (100 grams)
  • .65 cup sugar (150 grams)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


To prepare the cake, finely chop the chocolate, then transfer it to a bowl in a pan with water (the water should not come into contact with the bottom of the bowl or pot in which you poured your chocolate) and melt in a bain-marie, stirring continuously.

See more UH-mazing holiday recipes

When the chocolate has melted, but is not too hot, add the chopped butter and let it melt while continuing to stir. Since the exact melting temperature of chocolate is around 120° F (50° C), the butter should only be added when the chocolate has melted, making sure that it does not exceed its melting point (which is about 90° F, or 32° C), and thus preventing it from separating.

Let the chocolate and butter mixture cool, stirring occasionally. In the meantime separate the yolks from the egg whites in two separate large bowls.

Add the sugar to the egg whites and beat them until a firm, frothy mixture is obtained.

Set the beaten egg whites aside and pour the remaining sugar into the yolks, then beat them at a moderate speed until you obtain a clear, frothy mixture.

While continuing to blend, pour in the now lukewarm chocolate and butter mixture, and keep mixing until a uniform texture is obtained.

Add the whipped egg whites in several stages: initially add about 1/3 of the egg whites stirring with a spatula or whisk. Then incorporate the remaining egg whites by gently stirring from the bottom up.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a spatula, using gentle movements from bottom to top until smooth and uniform.

Grease with butter and sprinkle some flour in a 9-inch (23 cm) springform cake pan (this will make it easier to remove the soft cake), and pour in the freshly prepared batter.

Bake in an oven preheated to 355° F (180° C) for 30–35 minutes.

Once out of the oven, let your moist chocolate cake cool before removing it from the pan and sprinkling with powdered sugar.

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