My Carolina Kitchen is celebrating its 5th blog anniversary and I wanted to make something rich and decadent to thank all of you for your support along my journey. It’s been a wonderful and rewarding five years. Meakin and I have been fortunate enough to meet many of you and your families in person and look forward to meeting more of you in the coming year. Blogging has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, other than marrying the love of my life forty-four years ago tomorrow.
What better way to celebrate than with a cake. But this isn’t just any old cake – its Ina Garten’s rich, decadent, dark chocolate cassis cake, glazed with a dark chocolate ganache spiked with crème de cassis, and served with bright red, sweet berries on the side.
Many of you that know me well know that I’m not a baker. The funny part of it is that my mother was an excellent baker, baked bread daily, and was best known for her luscious angel food cakes and rich brownies. Somehow I didn’t inherit her sweet tooth and I don’t make desserts very often. If the truth be told, this is only the second cake I’ve ever made. The first was another rich and decadent cake - an almond Limoncello cake, featured on the blog a couple of years ago, link here. I make it only on special occasions or for very dear friends.
I was surprised how easily this cake came together because most of the work is done by your stand mixer. You can make this cake ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. The main flavoring ingredient besides dark chocolate is crème de cassis, a black current liqueur that is used in the popular French aperitif Kir and Kir Royal. A Kir is made with a dash of crème de cassis topped with white wine and the Kir Royal is made the same way but topped with bubbling champagne.
I read the reviews of the cake before we prepared it and made a few small changes. A couple of people remarked that the cake was sticky to cut because it was so moist, so we added a couple of tablespoons of flour to the batter. I would also recommend that you clean your knife between slices because of the stickiness of the cake. You can see how moist the cake is below.
Several people suggested cutting back on the amount of sugar and cassis in the berries, so we took their advice. If you don’t like or don’t have crème de cassis, one reviewer substituted cherry liqueur for the cassis and used cherries in place of the berries. I think that sounds like a marvelous idea when fresh cherries are in season.
For the presentation of this cake, fresh mint sprigs are essential. We did this photo shoot twice. Once without the mint and the cake was dark and uninteresting. When we added the mint sprig it changed everything and the appearance improved dramatically. So please don't forget the mint.
The cake is very impressive and was a very big hit. I would definitely make it again, especially if you love dark chocolate as much as I do. It will absolutely satisfy those cravings. Be careful with left-over’s though. If you are a chocoholic, it’s very tempting to stand at the kitchen counter and eat the whole thing with a spoon.
Chocolate Cassis Cake
Adapted slightly from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa & The Food Network – serves 10 to 12
For the cake:
Baking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons crème de cassis liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the glaze:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons crème de cassis liqueur
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 (1/2 pint) boxes fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons crème de cassis liqueur
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round spring form pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again with baking spray.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder, flour, cassis, and vanilla and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar, and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow and triple in volume. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.
For the glaze, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.
Fifteen minutes before serving, toss the berries gently with the sugar and cassis. Cut the cake in wedges and serve with the berries on the side and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Food on Friday at Carol's Chatter, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.
Have a great weekend everyone.