Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake: Brandied Fruit Day

Tomorrow is Brandied Fruit Day, so I thought I'd post my favorite recipe for Brandied Cherry Chocolate Cake. This recipe appeared in the Washington Post several years ago. You can buy brandied cherries -- or you can make your own. It's so easy, and soooo good!!!

Brandied Cherries

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds dark, sweet cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 small cinnamon stick
1/4 cup good brandy

Directions
Combine sugar, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium. Add cherries and simmer for five minutes.
Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick. Stir in brandy.
Cool completely before placing in jar.

BRANDIED CHERRY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Tip: When processing nuts and chocolate, be careful not to make chocolate almond butter. Chill both ingredients -- and even the flour, if you want to be careful.

Ingredients
6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, chilled (about 1-1/3 cups)
6 ounces (1-1/2 cups) chopped almonds, chilled
6 1/2 Tbsp flour
12 Tbsp sweet butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
16 ounces drained brandied cherries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch cake pan with nonstick oil-and-flour spray and line bottom with circle of parchment paper.
Pulse chocolate, almonds, and flour in a food processor to grind them into fine meal, being careful not to turn them into a paste.
Beat butter and sugar together at high speed in bowl of stand mixer or held-held electric mixer until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, then vanilla and almond extracts, and beat well to combine. Add chocolate-nut mixture and beat until incorporated.
Beat egg whites in separate, clean bowl of stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Use flexible spatula to fold them into chocolate-sugar mixture.
Spread half of batter in bottom of prepared pan. Top with brandied cherries, which should fit evenly in 1 layer. Spread remaining batter over cherries, using flexible spatula to lightly level top.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until cake is puffed and set.
Cool on rack and turn out of pan.
Dust top generously with confectioners' sugar.
Serve warm or cool.

Original recipe adapted from Peter Brett, pastry chef at Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.

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