I cannot believe that I have been writing my stories and sharing recipes with all of you for three years. What a remarkable journey this project has taken me on. It has been a path of self-discovery and personal growth. I am so grateful that you have chosen to join me in this adventure!
And what better way to celebrate than with an extra special Chocolate Monday! Today I am featuring a chocolate cake that includes the incredible liqueur from Dijon, France, Crème de Cassis, full of the flavor of blackcurrants. This is a cake that is worthy of any celebration and one that will have you wishing you had kept some hidden just for yourself!
If you ask people what the flavor profile of cassis is, you will probably get a bunch of different answers. People in this country are confused because blackcurrant berries were banned in the United States in the early 1900s because it was believed they were a carrier of white pine blister rust, a tree blight that threatened the logging industry at the time. It is a shame that we don’t get to enjoy this lovely berry that is so popular in Europe and around the world.
The Artist and I were given a bottle of L’Heritier-Guyot Crème de Cassis by a friend who lives in the Dijon region of France. He wanted us to experience the best his country has to offer (besides his wonderful friendship), and I was thrilled. He had no way of knowing that my favorite cocktail is a Kir Royale, a combination of champagne and crème de cassis. Now I could make the same cocktails myself at home with liqueur brought from France.
L’Heritier-Guyot, founded in 1845, is one of the oldest producers of crème de cassis in France and the undisputed prized producer. Crème de cassis is an excellent digestif and is often served after meals. Thank you Tarek for your friendship, generosity and this delectable elixir!
The moment I saw the bottle I knew that in addition to sipping it and using it to make my own Kir Royales, I wanted to make a chocolate dessert with it. I just wasn’t sure what form it would take. Then I saw this recipe from Ina Garten, one of my culinary heroines. Being a flourless cake I didn’t have to worry about converting it for my gluten-intolerance and with the amount of chocolate in it, I knew all my chocoholic friends would be swooning … Score!
Because there is no gluten to support the rising cake, you are dependent on eggs for the lift. Make sure you beat the eggs as long as the recipe calls for or until at least tripled in volume. The freshness of your eggs will affect the volume so note the initial depth before beating and make sure the eggs are beautifully fluffy and voluminous before combining with the melted chocolate. We were given a dozen fresh eggs laid by the hens that belong to a college friend of mine. The eggs were beautiful and whipped up perfectly.
I tried to take a short cut and it didn’t work – make sure you learn from my mistakes, LOL! Instead of folding the chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs, I poured it into the mixer and whipped it in. I gave the batter a good stir with a flexible spatula but didn’t follow the recipe directions for folding it in. As I poured the batter into my cake pans I ran into a huge puddle of chocolate down at the bottom of the bowl. So the last two pans I poured the batter into were much more intensely chocolatey because a large portion of the chocolate landed at the bottom of the bowl. Make sure you follow the directions and fold it into the beaten eggs. They will remain fluffier and the chocolate will not puddle in the bottom like mine did.
Despite my mix-up, all of our mini cakes turned out beautifully. The ones I baked in the metal springform pans were the easiest to get out of their containers (by far!) and cooked within the suggested timeframe. The cakes baked in the ceramic ramekins (needed because the four mini springforms hold less than a regular 9-inch springform pan) took about 5 minutes longer. I removed each mini cake as it was done. Watch them carefully because unless they are all filled with the exact same amount of batter, they will finish baking at different times.
I chose not to serve our cake with macerated berries and just topped it with the glaze. It was rich and completely decadent, especially with a glass of crème de cassis alongside!
Help me celebrate The Heritage Cook’s birthday – go get some cassis and champagne, make a Kir Royale and then sip it as you eat this beautiful cake. Happy Chocolate Monday and thank you for being part of The Heritage Cook Family!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
I did not have any 60% chocolate in the house (I know, blasphemous!) so I used half Guittard chocolate chips (which are 43%) and half Guittard Bittersweet chocolate (72%) for a lovely, intense chocolate flavor.
Beware of using floured cooking sprays if you are gluten free. Always read all labels before using any ingredients. Gluten-free baked goods are often better the day after they are baked. You can bake these a day or two in advance of serving them.
Kitchen Skill: Folding in Ingredients
Folding is often called for when you are combining one mixture with another that has been whipped, such as egg whites. You spent a lot of time beating air into the mixture, and folding lets you maintain as much of the volume as possible. Using a large, wide bowl and big rubber spatula will help make this easier.
Starting in the center of the bowl, cut straight down to the bottom and pull the batter from the bottom of the bowl up and over the mixture on the top. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat. Continue folding until completely blended.
Rich Chocolate-Cassis Souffle Cake
Slightly adapted recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Butter, for greasing baking pan
All-purpose flour or gluten-free flour, for dusting baking pan
12 tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
10 oz bittersweet chocolate (about 60% chocolate liquor), chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, gluten-free if needed
6 tbsp crème de cassis liqueur
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large (6 large) eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tbsp crème de cassis liqueur
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 (1/2 pints) fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup crème de cassis liqueur
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round springform pan*. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter that as well. Sprinkle the pan with about 1 tbsp of flour or gluten-free flour blend.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder, 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, spinning from front to back halfway through, until just barely set in the center. The cake will rise high and get a crusty top on it looking done, but looks can be deceiving. Make sure you use a toothpick to judge when they are done. There should be a little resistance when you stick the toothpick in the cake and when you pull it out look for clinging crumbs that are very moist, but not liquid.
Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, carefully run a knife around the edge and then release the sides of the pan. As the cake cools, the top will sink. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper and cool completely. Alternately you can slip a thin spatula between the parchment and the cake and slide it onto a plate, serving it right side up if you prefer.
For the Glaze: Melt the chocolate and cream together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla. Cool for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.
To Serve: 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
*Note: If you are using individual springform pans like I did, the easiest way to handle them is to place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and use this to transfer them in the oven.
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