Double Chocolate Valentine Cake
February 21, 2011
Margaux says . . .
I always make my sister-in-law a heart-shaped cake for her birthday, since her birthday is on February 16th. When we were in high school and college, it was usually the cake my grandma always made for Valentine’s day, Martha Washington cherry cake, which was basically a white cake with cherry chips and pecans in it, and pink 7-minute frosting. Now I get more sophisticated. This year I made her a cake from my latest favorite cake book, Rose Levy Berenbaum’s “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.” I’m a little obsessed with it, and have made several cakes from it in the past few months, including these.
All the cakes I’ve made from this book are amazing, including this one. The cake is incredibly moist, made even more rich and moist by poking holes in it and brushing glaze over it. It’s best served with chilled whipped cream.
Double Chocolate Valentine
adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Berenbaum
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sifted unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 tbsp water, room temperature
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp sifted cake flour
1 cup superfine sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
9 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
Grease one 9 by 2-inch heart shaped or round cake pan, line bottom with parchment paper, then coat with baking spray and cocoa powder or flour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.
In another bowl, whisk the yolks, the 3 tablespoons of water, and the vanilla just until lightly combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on a medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center.
While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.
the ganache glaze
3 oz. dark chocolate, 60-62% cacao, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
In a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine. In a one cup or larger microwavable cup with a spout (or in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often), scald the cream (heat it to boiling point; small bubbles will form around the edges).
With the motor of the food processor running, pour the cream through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth. Scrape the ganache into a small bowl and set it in a warm spot.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke holes all over the top with a wooden skewer, and use a brush to dabble half of the ganache glaze onto the cake. It will take about 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula around the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake onto a flat surface, such as a cardboard round or plate, covered in plastic wrap (you absolutely must use the plastic wrap…I didn’t and really regretted it!). Peel off and discard the parchment and poke holes all over. Dabble with the remaining glaze, brushing a little onto the sides of the cake as well. Cool completely, for 1 or more hours, or until the chocolate is firm to the touch. Invert the cake onto another cardboard round or completely flat plate covered with plastic wrap. It is now top side up with plastic wrap sticking to it. Peel off the plastic wrap, then reinvert the cake onto a serving plate so that it is bottom side up; remove the remaining plastic wrap.
the raspberry topping
2 pints fresh raspberries
1/4 cup red currant jelly or apple jelly
Starting at the outside border and working in toward the center, place the raspberries closely together to cover the surface of the cake. In a microwave, or small heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the jelly. Use a small clean brush to paint the jelly glaze onto the raspberries.
the whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1 tbsp superfine sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (Chill the mixer’s whisk beater alongside the bowl.) Whip the mixture, starting on low speed, gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens, just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised.