The Torta Tenerina, literally meaning 'tender cake' was created in the early 1900s by Ferrara’s gourmands in honor of Elena Petrovich, queen of Montenegro, who married the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III (she was a sweet queen with a tender heart).

Its delicate crust gives way effortlessly to a silky, buttery centre that melts in the mouth. Make sure to use the finest dark chocolate you can find, and serve with a sweet dusting of icing sugar. If you really want to go decadent, you can serve your Torta Tenerina with a generous spoon of mascarpone cream.


Difficulty: Easy
Preparation time: 15-20 mins
Cooking Time: 40-45 mins
Quantity: Serves 10
Cost: Low


200g butter, softened
180g caster sugar
50g plain flour
5 medium eggs
400g dark chocolate (60-70%)
Salt (a pinch)
Icing sugar to serve


  1. Melt the chocolate in a water bath (heat a pan with a little water in the bottom, place a glass bowl on top and melt the chocolate inside. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water).
  2. Seperate the egg yolks from the egg whites. 
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, flour, sugar and egg yolks. 
  4. In another bowl, using an electric hand whisk, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. 
  5. Add the melted chocolate and the 3 beaten egg whites into the yolk mix, mixing from top to bottom so that they do not lose volume. It's important to keep the air inside, so don't overmix. Stir until just combined. 
  6. Heat the oven to 150°C, grease a round cake tin with butter and flour, and pour the cake mix inside. 
  7. Bake your tenerina for 45 minutes. You can tell it's cooked when the top has formed a light crust, and the centre has a circle of bubbles. 

Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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