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The Empress Torte - A Royal Dessert

The historic Fairmont Empress has just completed a complete restoration. To celebrate, Executive Pastry Chef A.J. Thalakkat has created a royal dessert, fit for a queen. “Empress Torte is a cake I created to celebrate the beauty and history of the hotel,” says Chef Thalakkat. “A building as iconic and magnificent as the Empress deserved an equally iconic cake.”   

The Process
“I wanted to use a unique chocolate for the cake so I visited OR NOIR™ laboratory in France where artist pastry chefs and chocolatiers can prepare their own custom chocolate recipes. At the lab I had access to many different cocoa pastes from various beans from around the world to find out their properties and understand their aromatic profiles,” explains Chef. “With OR NOIR’S method of analysis, I got to be the architect of our unique chocolate recipe. The recipe then gets produced in the Cocoa Barry factory in France.”

The Cake
“The cake is a decadent, gluten-free chocolate cake that reflects the flavours of the Pacific Northwest. It is made with honey from our own garden, hazelnuts from Oregon and B.C. grown blackcurrants. It’s a 2-day process; a labour of love.” “I used cocoa paste from beans out of Madagascar and Haiti for our dark chocolate. To sweeten the milk chocolate, I use honey from our own bee hives here at the Empress (part of Fairmont’s Bee Sustainable Program). Both chocolates are used in the Torte which makes this cake even more unique,” says Chef. “And finally, a made in-house cassis (a kind of black currant jam), gives the torte a great finish.” The gold dusted chocolate crown gives the Empress Torte a royal touch. Chef carved the first chocolate crown for the cake himself, based on Queen Elizabeth II’s crown, and had a mould made out of it for future cakes.

Let Them Eat Cake
Sweet tooth? You can enjoy the Empress Torte by the slice at The Fairmont Empress or the torte can also be taken to go in a beautiful traditional cake box designed to travel without refrigeration for up to four days. A full Empress torte will serve 10 people and is $100 plus tax. Order the Empress Torte by calling +1 (250) 389-2727 or emailing


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