Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake 16.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dec 5, 2012

This isn't a traditional fruitcake, but the brandied cherries put it in the same family. One admirer remarked that this cake tastes like the chocolate-covered cherries of his youth, but with a sublime adult kick.

The recipe calls for brandied cherries, which aren't the same as maraschino cherries. They can be found at gourmet stores and online; we found several brands on Amazon.com. They're also very easy (and much cheaper) to make; recipes abound on the Internet.

When you process the nuts and chocolate, take care that you don't turn them into chocolate almond butter. Chilling both ingredients -- and even the flour, if you want to be really careful -- makes that unlikely to happen.

This cake is excellent on its own, but it wouldn't suffer if you chose to accompany it with whipped cream.

Make Ahead: The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freezing is not recommended.


Servings: 16
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, chilled (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) chopped almonds, chilled
  • 2 ounces (about 6 1/2 tablespoons) flour
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 16 ounces drained brandied cherries (see headnote)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick oil-and-flour spray and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Pulse the chocolate, almonds and flour in a food processor to grind them into a fine meal, being careful not to turn them into a paste.

Beat the butter and sugar together at high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer or held-held electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, then the vanilla and almond extracts, and beat well to combine. Add the chocolate-nut mixture and beat until incorporated.

Beat the egg whites in the separate, clean bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Use a flexible spatula to fold them into the chocolate-sugar mixture.

Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with the brandied cherries, which should fit evenly in 1 layer. Spread the remaining batter over the cherries, using a flexible spatula to lightly level the top. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the cake is puffed and set. Cool it on a rack and turn it out of the pan. Dust the top generously with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or cool.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Peter Brett, pastry chef at Blue Duck Tavern in Washington's West End.

Tested by Jane Touzalin.

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