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Dark Chocolate Cake With Dark Chocolate-Cherry Ganache Recipe

This recipe is from a recent article in the New York Times about dolling up Plain-Jane short bread cookies into something gooey and extra chocolately.
Dark Chocolate Cake With Dark Chocolate-Cherry Ganache
Recipe Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cake

  •     42 g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  •     18 to 24 g (2 to 3 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa, for dusting baking tin
  •     72 g (¾ cup) Dutch process cocoa
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     ½ teaspoon salt
  •     250 g (1¼ cups) golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar)
  •     225 g (1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  •     240 ml (1 cup) freshly brewed strong coffee (or water)
  •     250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  •     180 ml (¾ cup) canola oil
  •     2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •     3 large eggs, room temperature
  •     1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  •     120 ml (½ cup) buttermilk

Cherry Ganache

  •     135 ml (½ cup + 1 tablespoon) heavy (whipping) cream, 35%
  •     170 g (¾ cup) cherry purée
  •     30 ml (2 tablespoons) honey
  •     1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
  •     300 g (10½ ounces) good quality dark chocolate, bittersweet, 60% or extra bittersweet, 70%
  •     2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 equal pieces, softened

To prepare Cherry Purée

  •     54 g (about 1 cup) frozen, pitted Bing cherries
  •     16 g (1 heaping tablespoon) caster (superfine) sugar
  •     1 to 2 tablespoons water or liqueur (optional)

Glazed Cherries

  •    480 ml (2 cups) water    300 g (1 1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  •     240 ml (1 cup) Crème de Cassis, or non-alcoholic option-black currant juice, orange juice or apricot nectar
  •     ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •     650 g (about 4½ cups) fresh Bing cherries, washed and pitted (see header)
Recipe Method
Dark Chocolate Cake

  1.  Using large pastry brush, grease 25-cm (10-inch) baking tin with softened butter. Line base and sides of tin with non-stick baking paper and grease paper. Dust tin with unsweetened cocoa powder tapping out any excess.
  2.     Using fine mesh sieve, sift Dutch process cocoa, baking soda, salt and brown sugar onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Transfer to heavy saucepan and add caster sugar. Whisk to well combine.
  3.     In small saucepan bring brewed coffee to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and while whisking constantly gradually add the boiling coffee to the cocoa mixture. (It will bubble up at first and then get dark and start to thicken.) Whisk the mixture quickly, return to medium heat and bring back to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow mixture to stand in the saucepan for at least 10 minutes.
  4.     Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F). Using fine mesh sieve, sift the flour onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper.
  5.     Pour the hot cocoa mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and attach the paddle. Add the oil and vanilla; beat at low speed, about 10 seconds.
  6.     Gradually add the flour, beating at low speed to just combine.
  7.     Beat in the whole eggs, egg yolk and buttermilk just to combine, do not over mix.
  8.     Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin, tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have formed.
  9.     Bake until the centre feels springy and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes.
  10.     Transfer to wire rack and allow the cake to cool in the tin, 10 minutes.
  11.     Remove the cake from the baking tin, transfer to wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely.

Cherry Ganache

  1. In a small saucepan, bring cream, cherry purée, honey, vanilla bean and seeds just to a simmer over medium heat, stirring continuously until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat, cover and let stand at room temperature, 20 minutes.
  2.     Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate and transfer to the bowl of a food processor.
  3.     Return the cream mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the vanilla bean.
  4.     Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand, 2 minutes.
  5.     Process until smooth. Add butter and continue to process, scraping down sides, until smooth.
  6.     To ensure a smooth ganache, strain through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl (to catch any bits of skin from the cherries). Let stand allowing the ganache to cool to room temperature and thicken, about 2 hours.

To prepare Cherry Purée

  1. Place cherries in a small saucepan. Let stand until thawed.
  2.     Stir in sugar and water (or liqueur). (If the cherries give off a lot of juice I would refrain from adding the water but if you would like to flavour with liqueur add 1 to 2 tablespoons to taste (remember 2 tablespoons may appear to be a lot in this small amount of purée but the purée will be used to prepare the ganache). Place over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  3.     Transfer cherry mixture to blender jar and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Process to a purée. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into small saucepan and proceed with preparation for ganache.

Glazed Cherries

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook (at a boil) until syrup is thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. (The syrup should be thick enough to coat the cherries but still fluid.) Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature, about 5 minutes.
  2.     Place the cherries in a deep, heatproof bowl. Pour the syrup over the cherries and carefully stir (be careful not to bruise the cherries) with a large spoon. If the cherries are not completely submerged, stir occasionally to coat. Chill, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator until syrup is completely cooled.

Decorating Cake

  1. Transfer cake-to-cake stand or plate.
  2.     Spoon ganache onto centre of cake. Spread evenly to the sides of the cake with an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon.
  3.     Drain cherries (reserve syrup for other uses, cocktails, compotes, sauces, to flavour sponge cake or to drizzle over cake). Place whole cherries, standing upright, on a sheet of paper towel (to dab off the excess syrup). Decorate cake with fresh cherries.
  4.     Buon Appetito!

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