Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chocolate Cassis Cake to celebrate our 5th Blog Anniversary

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

To serve:
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.

Thank each & every one of you again from both of us for your continued support as we celebrate My Carolina Kitchen's 5th anniversary. This photo was snapped at a party a few years ago. Tomorrow we will be celebrating our 44th wedding anniversary. Life has been good to us.

Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. Congratulations on 5 wonderful years Sam. We have enjoyed every moment so I am happy to hear that you have too. Also happy wedding anniversary tomorrow. Hopefully there will be a little slice of this luscious cake leftover to celebrate.

  2. Such a great pic of you two..happy 2 anniveraries..the 5 yr one and the 44 yr one:)
    I can tell how much you love blogging and it suit you to a t.
    This cake? jacques will love..fudgy..moist..and cassis!
    Have a wonderful celebratory weekend with all these annis~
    I see we both like to wear pearls:)

  3. I do believe that I've known you the entire five years. Happy anniversaries--the blog and the marriage. You've chosen the perfect dessert to celebrate both!!


  4. Happy (Blog)anniversary and to many more! I love visiting your lovely space.

    That cake is indeed decadent!!! Totally irresistible...

    A wonderful picture of you both!



  5. Happy 5th Bloggiversary and Happy 44th Anniversary.

    What a luscious and rich look dessert to celebrate both anniversaries.

    Love and hugs to you both ~ FlowerLady

  6. Happy Blog Anniversary, and happy wedding anniversary, Sam! So many good things to celebrate, and a beautiful chocolate cake is the perfect option! Congratulations!

  7. Happy Blog Anniversary but even more Happy 44th to you two! What a beautiful couple you are! Here is wishing you many more happy years together! That delicious cake is the perfect way to celebrate. Have a slice for me. It looks divine. :-)



  8. Happy Anny Sam!!! Hope you have a great day tomorrow! Your cake is beautiful, you look like a natural baker! I just noticed while mowing the lawn yesterday there is still a little mint outside:@)

  9. First of all, Happy Anniversary to such a dear couple. I feel honored to be one of your blogger friends and having been able to meet you both. Secondly, 5 years of blogging. That is a long road of cooking, research and typing behind you. Great job. And now, one more comment. You really should bake cakes more often. This is fantastic looking...I do love chocolate. Best wishes and enjoy your special day. Susan and Dale

  10. Happy Blog Anniversary, Sam! The chocolate cake looks so moist, almost fudgy, and beautiful!

  11. Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary! This cake may be exactly what Ive been looking for, something delicious for cooks who don't bake, but love chocolate tartened up with berry! Thank you!

  12. Happy Blogging Anniversary! That cake looks sinfully delicious!

  13. Happy anniversaries! The cake looks like a fine way to celebrate.

  14. Wish you happy anniversaries on both your blog and your marriage. Both require hard work and lots of dedication but are worth their weight in gold. 44 years is something to be so proud of! Wishing you both the best. Your cake certainly looks like a special occasion dessert befitting the occasions!

  15. Happy Blog anniversary, Sam. You and Meakin have done such a beautiful job with this site. His pictures of your wonderful recipes make my mouth water. This cake looks fantastic. I'd love a piece right now.
    Happy wedding anniversary! Forty-four years together - and it goes by so swiftly, doesn't it? Celebrate!

  16. congrats and love to you both such a sweet and fun loving couple and a blogging talent

  17. Happy, happy anniversary! I have enjoyed your beautiful recipes and photos, Sam.

  18. I love your photographer! And big congratulations to you, Sam. I love your blog, I read every post, though I don't leave a comment each time. You are an inspiration to me. xx's

  19. Congrats Sam. Lovely pic of you and your Mister. Also thanks for the tip about using mint. I have a difficult time photographing chocolate and orange food.

  20. Congratulations on your your 5th Blogversay and on 44 years of marriage. Well done, love the photo of you both. This cake looks just my type and the added cassis, well. I could eat chocolate all day long but have to curb myself or I would soon break the scales! Keep well and have a great week Diane

  21. Congratulations, I am so glad you have started this blog and I got to meet you. Many more years to come! Cake looks like a dessert I would enjoy.

  22. A belated HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Ours was on the 6th. I love Ina's recipes. I've made this one and it was really rich and yummy.

  23. Congratulations!!! What a decadent cake!! Yummy!

  24. Congratulations on 44 years with your love, that is a great photo, you both look so happy!

    Happy 5 Year Blog Anniversary! The time just fly's by when we are having fun. I love coming to the Carolina Kitchen to enjoy your next creation and it never disappoints. I am grateful that we get to share this journey together, enjoy your celebration with that amazing cake!

    Hope you are having a great day and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  25. Congratulations on your anniversary! My, but that is one gorgeous cake! I say "Yes, please!"

  26. Congratulations on your blogaversary as well as your wedding anniversary - two wonderful milestone events. This gorgeously decadent cake looks like the perfect celebration treat. I'm not much of a baker either, Sam, but I would definitely try this for a special occasion.

  27. It definitely looks decadent and congratulations on your second anniversary of the week. I'll look forward to the next five years.

  28. Happy blogiversary!! This is such a delicious looking dessert to celebrate with - yum!

  29. Two reasons to celebrate, Sam! Happy five years with your blog and, more importantly, Happy Anniversary to you and Meakin! Ina's chocolate cake is a perfect way to celebrate both. It looks divine and decadent!

  30. My 5th year is coming up in January. I am happy to have known you for all of our 5 years, at first through our blogs and then in person. Congratulations on 5 years of a beautiful and thoughtful blog. And happy anniversary to you and Meakin. You make a wonderful team.

    Hugs, Penny and David

  31. Wow, you guys have been married only two years shorter than I have been aliv..........ummm, you guys have been married a LONG time! How do you put up with Meakin that long? ha ha just kidding :)

    Hope you all had a special anniversary!

  32. You and I have so much in common, including our dislike for baking although, unlike you, I have a very sweet tooth. I am only sorry I did not come across your blog until this year. My loss. My 5th anniversary is not until this Spring. I can't believe I've persevered this long. But the people I've met are irreplaceable and a good reason to keep on blogging.

    The cake looks heavenly. You and I were of the same mind this week. And congratulations. You married a fine man and a great photographer. How lucky can one be, although I have a great Sous Chef.

  33. Happy 5th! The same with me Sam. my mother was an excellent baker, always had at least 3 desserts on the counter, pies and cakes. What happened to us? :) Your cake looks awesome Sam, and with Ina behind it, perhaps I could make this also. My 5th anniversary is this coming May, perhaps I'll give this a try and start a tradition.

  34. Happy anniversary to your wonderful blog!!! For a non-baker, you really aced this cake! It looks decadent and delish...and would be a huge hit at my house :)

  35. Congratulations!

    That cake looks so decadent.

    Wonderful to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  36. Happy anniversary and happy blog anniversary, Sam! This looks like a rich and delicious cake, and so beautifully presented as everything you make always is.

  37. Happy Blog anniversary! I don't bake either, but this looks like something I need to try. A chocolate cake so sticky that you have to clean your knife between slices?! That's my kind of cake!

  38. Happy Anniversaries all the way around! I've read your blog ever since I started blogging 4 years ago. You always have interesting posts, and delicious looking food, Sam! We've been married 45 years, and I agree-life is good! Love your cake!

  39. Yes, Happy Anniversaries, Sam!

    Your cake must be so delicious and I always have a bottle of creme de cassis in the house in case I need a kir :) What a delicious combination.

    Thanks again for your support and kind comments recently.

  40. 5 years I am impressed… you are a boundless flow of great cooking. I am so glad you are blogging. I love cassis and have never had a cake made with it. Must try, thank you for sharing this with us on foodie friday. pinning.

  41. Dear Sam, I am very happy for you celebrating both a blog anniversary and your wedding anniversary. Congratulations on both!! and what a beautiful cake to celebrate with. I do love chocolate and a good chocolate cake is such a treat. Blessings dear friend. Catherine xo

  42. Congratulations on your dual anniversary celebration, Sam. I started blogging about the same time you did and am amazed by what a journey it has been. I have learned so much and made so many new friends. Ina's chocolate cake looks decadent and delicious.

  43. what an amazing 5 years! You always make me smile when I come to your site and when you visit mine! You are full of life and your dishes full of flavor! May you have another amazing 5 years!

  44. Happy anniversary! I love to try this beautiful cake.

  45. It looks delicious! Happy anniversary - or anniversaries, I should say. :)

  46. Absolutely stunning cake. Best thing I tried in a long time. Thanks for sharing!


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