Tags: baking, cake, chocolate
I know that it’s technically spring, but the weather here seems to have missed the memo. I was hoping that the light snow called for in this morning’s forecast was just an April fool’s joke, but, alas, it was for real. Rhubarb and ramps have gotta be just around the corner, though, so I’m going to take these (hopefully) final chilly days to squeeze in some of the heavier desserts I won’t be in the mood for soon. Things like this dense, rich Chocolate-Cherry Torte.
I think this was my husband’s dream cake….chocolate, almonds and cherries…all his favorite things together in one. I loved the fudgy texture of the cake itself, and, of course, the chocolate ganache glaze. The thin layer of marzipan in between the cake and glaze was a nice flavor touch. This isn’t a difficult cake (in fact, you can make the batter in the food processor), but there are a few steps from start to finish. A fun project for a chilly day spent inside!
Lora Brody’s Chocolate Cherry Torte- makes 8 to 12 servings
adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
Steph’s Note: You can use semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, depending on how sweet you’d like the cake to be. I found jarred Morello cherries at Trader Joe’s. I used marzipan in lieu of almond paste here.
for the cake:
3 T finely ground fresh bread crumbs
one 24 oz jar pitted Morello or sour cherries
6 oz dark chocolate
12 T softened unsalted butter, plus some for greasing pan
2/3 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 c ground almonds
2/3 c flour
2 T confectioner’s sugar
8 oz almond paste (or marzipan)
for the glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
8 oz. dark chocolate
-Preheat oven to 350°F; put rack in center of oven. Butter a 9″ or 10″ springform pan. Add the breadcrumbs and shake pan to coat bottom and sides. Shake out the excess. Drain cherries well and set aside.
-Melt chocolate in double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.
-Put the butter and sugar into a mixer or food processor and blend until light and creamy. Add one egg and mix well. Then add second egg and mix well. Add the extracts. Add the melted chocolate and mix gently or process in a few quick pulses. Mix in the almonds and the flour, and finally, the remaining egg.
-Pour and scrape the batter into prepared pan. Smooth top with a spatula. Arrange cherries in close concentric circles on top (the entire surface should be covered) and press them gently into batter so just the tops are showing. If the surface is uneven, smooth it out with a wet spatula. There may be a few cherries leftover.
-Bake for 50 minutes to one hour. Don’t overbake. The cake may look dry on top, but will be moist inside. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.
-Put a length of waxed paper on flat surface and sprinkle with confectioner’s’ sugar. Work the almond paste into a flat round and turn it in the sugar. Cover with the second sheet of waxed paper and roll out into a circle the diameter of the cake. It should be quite thin (about 1/16th”). Take off top layer of waxed paper.
-Using the cake pan as a guide, cut out a circle that will fit the top of the cake exactly. Save extra pieces to patch any torn part or use for decorations. Cover the cake with the almond-paste round.
-To make the glaze, bring cream and coffee to a slow boil in heavy sauce pan. Take it off the heat and add the chocolate; stir gently until the chocolate is melted with no lumps (you can strain it if lumpy). Let the glaze cool briefly, until spreadable. Thin it with 1-2 t hot water if it’s too thick.
-Place cake on a rack over a sheet of waxed paper to catch drippings. Pour a thin layer chocolate glaze over the cake spreading it with a spatula. It should cover the top and sides of cake. Chill the cake briefly and and a second coat. Decorate if you wish (you can make roses or cut-outs from any almond paste scraps).
-This cake will keep unrefrigerated in a cool place for 2 days. It can be refrigerated, but the glaze will lose shine.
Please note that the publisher, W.W. Norton, sent me a copy of this book…but I would have bought it anyway!
Tags: baking, cake, chocolate
I’m not an Irish girl (although with my reddish hair and fair skin, you can’t imagine how often I’m asked), but I’m still up for celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m long done with the overcrowed pub thing though, so this year I’m going to get my booze on with Melissa Clarke’s Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt instead. It is loaded with a whole cup of whiskey, Jameson Irish in this case, and if you like this sort of thing, it is amazingly good. The crumb is tight and not fluffy, but instead of being a dense chocolate cake, the texture is soft as velvet.
If you read through the recipe, you’ll notice that the cake isn’t meant to be frosted. It truly doesn’t need it, but my cake needed it. You see, I decided to ignore the direction to flour my Bundt pan. Usually a good spray is all I need to get a clean release, but when I went to turn this cake out the entire outer layer stuck to the pan. Crappola. I patched back what I could (and ate what I couldn’t!), and then whipped up a quick gancahe to spackle and hide my goof. I think I did a good job with the reconstructive surgery– I can barely tell.
Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake- makes 10 to 12 servings
adapted from Melissa Clark’s fabulous book In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional)
-Grease and flour a 10-cup-capacity Bundt pan (or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 325° F. In microwave oven or double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate. Let cool.
-Put espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to come up to the 1 cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Add whiskey and salt; let cool.
-Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
-On low speed, beat in a third of the whiskey mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat additions, ending with whiskey mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for Bundt pan (loaf pans will take less time, start checking them after 55 minutes).
-Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake with more whiskey. Let cool before serving, garnished with confectioners’ sugar if you like.