Friday, June 5, 2009
Chocolate Cake with Spiced Cherry Compote
Cherry season is here! Cherries are now everywhere and their bright red color beckons. They’re so beautiful, juicy and delicious, it’s impossible to resist them. Time to make all those incredible cherry desserts we’ve been waiting so patiently to create and consume.
I love this cherry compote. It’s got lots of cherry richness, just enough red wine and just enough spice to make it an incomparably superb accompaniment to ice cream, panna cotta, cheesecake or chocolate cake. Since I had some Devil’s Food Cake left over from another experiment, I decided to use it to dress up the cherries along with some gooey dark chocolate sauce.
This is an incredible dessert with a great combination of complementary flavors. The Devil’s Food Cake comes from Flo Braker and is one of the most delicious and tender cakes you’ll ever bake. All of the ingredients are in perfect balance so the flavor and moisture are supreme. Once you bake this cake it will become part of your permanent repertoire. The deep dark Chocolate Sauce delivers an interesting sensory contrast to the light delicate cake and the rich fruit of the Cherry Compote. I hope you have the chance to make this soon while cherries are dancing across our shelves.
- I used a cabernet sauvignon for the Cherry Compote. You can also go with a fruity zinfandel.
- If you don’t have crème de cassis for the compote, you can substitute your favorite tawny or ruby port.
- The high ratio of sugar to butter in the cake recipe requires you to cream the mixture for about 6 to 7 minutes until it is light in color and fluffy in texture. At first you’ll wonder how it’s going to come together but it will. Honest!
- Double the recipe for the Devil’s Food Cake, add your favorite frosting and you have a fabulous layer cake.
- The Chocolate Sauce will keep refrigerated for several days.
Chocolate Cake with Spiced Cherry Compote
Makes 8 servings
Devils’s Food Cake
adapted from The Simple Art of Perfect Baking by Flo Braker
Makes 1 8” cake
1 C cake flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/4 C cocoa powder
1/4 C lukewarm water
2 oz (4 T) butter @ room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg @ room temperature
1/4 C buttermilk @ room temperature
1 t vanilla
1/4 C water
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8” x 3" cake pan with butter, parchment and a light dusting of flour.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
Whisk cocoa and water together until thoroughly blended.
Combine buttermilk, vanilla and water.
Cream butter and slowly add sugars. Cream mixture until light and fluffy, about 6 to 7 minutes on a stand mixer. Stop and scrape down the bowl at regular intervals.
Add egg and blend well. Scrape down the bowl.
Add cocoa mixture and combine thoroughly.
Gently add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stop mixing just before it is fully blended and finish by folding gently with a rubber spatula until there are no streaks. Be careful not to overmix. Pour into prepared pan and smooth batter evenly.
Bake @ 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick tests with a few moist crumbs adhering. Cool 10 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the edges to loosen and turn out the cake. Cool completely.
Spiced Cherry Compote
3 C red wine
3 T crème de cassis
1 C + 3 T sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 star anise
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 lbs fresh cherries, pitted
Combine all the ingredients except for the cherries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Add the cherries and simmer on low heat until the liquid is syrupy and has reduced, about 30 minutes. Remove star anise, vanilla bean, bay leaf and peppercorns. Cool.
1 C water
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C cocoa
1/4 t salt, to taste
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 C heavy cream
Bring water and sugar to a boil to dissolve. Add cocoa and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly to prevent scorching. Once it has thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and cream. Add salt to taste. Cool.
Serve the cake with a glaze of Chocolate Sauce and garnish with Cherry Compote.