Thursday, September 09, 2010

Orange-Scented Bittersweet Chocolate Cake

Obviously dessert for the Valentine dinner had to involve chocolate. That was a given. And the theme was “pairings”, so it had to be chocolate-something. I considered chocolate-raspberry, but raspberries aren’t in season now, so I decided on chocolate-orange instead. This recipe sounded good, but not difficult to put together. Frankly, after the Buche de Noel, I wanted something simple. (The original recipe includes a blood orange compote served on the side, but I skipped that.)

The ingredients don’t require comment, except for the chocolate. The recipe specifically states that the chocolate should not exceed 61% cacao. After perusing the available options at the grocery, I decided to go all out and get the Ghirardelli 60% cacao. Unfortunately, I had written on my shopping list the one pound of chocolate required for the cake, but forgot to add to that the additional 6 oz needed for the glaze. Realizing this on the morning of the dinner, I opted to make the glaze out of ordinary chocolate chips. Oh, and light rather than dark corn syrup. I don’t use corn syrup very often as it is, and really can’t see keeping two bottles of the stuff.

This recipe goes together really easily. You don’t even need a mixer, just a couple bowls and a spoon or whisk. Also you can just melt the chocolate/butter mixture in the microwave.

The recipe calls for a 10” cake pan with 2” high sides. I just used my 9” springform pan. You do want high sides because this recipe makes quite a bit; my pan was full. I’m wondering whether a 10” pan may be essential in this case. I did bake it until the tester came out with “moist crumbs attached”, which turned out to be over an hour (although I have doubts about my oven’s thermostat). But the cake was dry on the outer edges and maybe a little bit underdone in the middle. Which is not entirely a bad thing, because the middle was moist and fudgy.

I’m not sure why the recipe suggests applying the glaze only in the center. I would apply it all over, like a frosting.

The flavor was absolutely out of this world. It totally blew me away. It also blew away my coworkers, when I took the leftovers in the next week. Cut the pieces small, because it is heavy and rich. Very chocolatey without being too sweet. It also freezes beautifully. I don’t see anything wrong with making the glaze from regular semisweet chocolate chips. Whether the cake itself would be as good made with regular chocolate chips, I don’t know. I may have to do some research on this point…

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Orange-Scented Bittersweet Chocolate Cake


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Lightly butter 10-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; butter parchment.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate and butter in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate-butter mixture is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; add both sugars, orange liqueur, and orange peel and whisk until blended (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs, 2 at a time, and whisk until just blended after each addition. Whisk in sour cream. Add flour mixture and stir in with rubber spatula just until incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan; spread evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto rack; peel off parchment. Cool cake completely (center may sink slightly).

For glaze:
Combine chocolate and butter in small metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate-butter mixture is melted and smooth. Whisk in corn syrup. Cool glaze until barely warm but still pourable, about 10 minutes.

Pour glaze onto center of cake. Using small offset spatula, spread glaze over top of cake, leaving 1/2-inch plain border around top edge. Let stand at room temperature until glaze sets, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.

Recycle: liqueur bottle, sour cream carton, corn syrup bottle

Compost: eggshells

1 comment:

OldRoses said...

I've been waiting for this recipe to be posted. This is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. Can't to make it myself.