September 1, 2013

whole-wheat chocolate cake with red currant jam

Whole wheat chocolate cake with red currant jam


The past few weeks have been filled with way too many farewells with two of my close friends moving away to warmer regions of the country which simultaneously makes me happy and envious. I made each one of them something different before they left, Javi got the black peppercorn, cardamom and raspberry sauce ice cream while Matt loves chocolate chips. Chocolate chip cookies kept cropping up in my head but I really didn't feel like sending him off with cookies, I wanted to give him something a little more special, something he might have never tried before but every bit as chocolatey as possible.

handful of currants

A short farewell boat ride trip on the Potomac with a little bit of champagne and this cake seemed fitting, since farewells like chocolate are bittersweet. Luck was on my side, I was fortunate to run into some fresh juicy red currants in my neighborhood grocery store and pairing the dark chocolate against the tartness of the currants, turned out to be a match made in heaven. The red currant jam is delicious by itself and would be perfect as an appetizer with cheese or at breakfast on buttered bread. 

baking scene

The base of this cake is whole-wheat, make sure to use whole-wheat pastry flour and not regular whole-wheat flour to prepare this cake. I was happy with this cake recipe because the surface of the cake did not crack during baking and because I finally got it right after  a couple of trials to get the  ingredients and ratios worked out. The dash of instant coffee in the batter intensifies the dark chocolate taste giving it a richer flavor without imparting a coffee taste. 

chocolate bar

Make sure the cake is cooled in the refrigerator before slicing it to get a clean cut through the ganache glaze. I like to wash my serrated knife in running hot water before cutting each wedge, it always gives me a clean cut and without making a mess with the cake crumbs. This cake is rich and decadent and in my opinion, a chocolate lover's dream. At the end of the trip, Matt was happy with his cake and so was everyone else on the boat judging by the visible look of the food-induced coma in our faces that was to hit us that evening. 

Sifting

whole-wheat chocolate layer cake with red currant jam

whole-wheat chocolate layer cake 

yields: one 9 inch diameter cake

ingredients

1 teaspoon melted butter or a non-stick oil spray (canola oil)
5 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped 
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant dark roast coffee powder
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped at room temperature

1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325F. Line the base of a round 9 inch circular baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the pan with a little butter or a non-stick neutral tasting oil spray (like canola oil). 
2. In a thick bottomed saucepan, add the dark chocolate, 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder,1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee, and water. Place the saucepan on a boiling water bath and stir till the chocolate is melted and the mixture completely combined. Add and stir 1/2 cup sugar to this mixture until completely smooth. Remove the saucepan from the water bath and keep aside to cool. 
3. Sift the flour, baking soda, 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder three times onto a clean sheet of parchment paper. If any husk or grain  parts are left behind the sieve add them back to the sifted dry ingredients. Keep aside.
4. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and the rest of the sugar for 5 minutes on medium high speed until completely pale yellow and light and fluffy. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment and add half of the cooled chocolate mixture from step 2. Combine the batter completely at medium speed and then add the rest of the melted chocolate mixture. 
5. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients from step 3 to the batter and beat the batter on medium speed until combined. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract to the batter with the rest of the sifted dry ingredients and beat the batter until completely combined. 
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking tin and smoothen out the surface with an offset spatula. Place the tin in the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 45 minutes or until the center is firm to touch or a skewer comes out clean from the center. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the baking tin and then remove it from the pan by running a butter knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool to room temperature completely before use. At this point you can wrap the cake airtight with cling film and store it in the refrigerator or freeze it. Bring the cake to room temperature before frosting. 

red currant jam

yields: approximately 1- 1 1/4 cup 

ingredients

12 ounces red currants
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons pectin powder

1. Mix the red currants with the sugar and lime juice in a thick bottomed saucepan. Heat on a medium high flame and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring continuously. 
2. Stir in the pectin powder and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the jam begins to thicken. Remove the jam from the stove. 
3. Pass the hot jam through a sieve placed over a clean bowl. Press the pulp through the sieve to squeeze most of the fruit out. Discard the left over residue and seeds from the jam. Stir the jam in the bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature before using it to layer the cake. 

Note: You can also can this jam by processing the jam in a sealed jar. Place the sealed filled jar in a water bath and bring the water to boil, allow the water to boil for 10 minutes, switch the flame off and let the jar sit in the water for 5 minutes before removing it out. Cool to room temperature completely. Adjust canning conditions as per local altitude. 

chocolate ganache glaze/icing

yields: approximately 1 cup

ingredients

2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate chips

1. On a medium high flame heat the corn syrup and cream in a thick bottomed saucepan and bring the contents to boil. Remove from the flame and immediately add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted and silky smooth. 
2. Preferably, use immediately within the next 4-5 minutes while warm to glaze the cake.

assembling the cake

1. Slice the cooled cake in half on a turn table using a sharp serrated knife. Place the lower half of the sliced cake on a wire rack. 
2. Using an offset spatula, spread the red currant jam in a thick layer on the lower half of the cake. Carefully center the upper half of the cake on top of the jam layered cake. 
3. Pour the chocolate ganache glaze on top of the center of the upper layer of the cake and with the offset spatula push the excess chocolate glaze towards the outer edges of the cake and allow it to drip from the sides. Do not over do this step, you want to coat the upper layer of the cake in an even smooth layer with the chocolate glaze while allowing it to drip naturally from the sides. The glaze will begin to solidify immediately as it cools down against the cooled cake. Allow the cake to cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving. 

71 comments:

  1. Gorgeous pictures and recipe! Can I have a slice of that cake, please?

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Oh, how I adore redcurrants! I should use them more in baking, this cake looks delightful, I can't wait to make it and some redcurrant jam!

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  3. This cake looks absolutely amazing, Nik. And the photos: Wow! While the cake is clear and crisp, I especially love the photo of the cocoa powder. I am sure goodbyes are bittersweet (no pun intended). Your amazing dessert had to have helped and will surely be remembered.

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    1. Thanks so much, Dena, I am glad you like the photographs. I was hoping the cake would help them change their minds :)

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  4. Oh Nik. I have to, must make this. Just waiting for a special occasion to celebrate. I could make it now, but then I'd have to eat it all by myself :)

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    1. Haha, I am glad you like it and I do hope you get to make it for a special occasion.

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  5. Oh my goodness, that is one fine looking cake! Beautiful photo's as always Nik.

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  6. Pretty photos of currants! :) I love red currants, they are very hard to find in the U.S., but not so sure about Spain here...

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    1. Thank so much, I was rather surprised to find out that they grow locally around DC.

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  7. Beautiful photos!! I can't find red currants in Orlando. Force to live vicariously through this lovely photos.

    Pinned!

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    1. Thanks, Kiran. I learned recently that I could grow them here in DC too since we fall into the Zone.

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  8. Stunning photography! We had a very short season of red currants in Colorado. Absolutely love the combo of dark chocolate and coffee in a cake!

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    1. Thank you Ansh. You won't taste the coffee but it does help amplify the flavor of the chocolate.

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  9. I love the colour, texture and presentation in these photos. That cake looks so decadent, a chocolate lovers delight!

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  10. Replies
    1. I love using whole-wheat pastry flour.

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  11. This looks so tasty and unique. And the photos? Wow. They are absolutely stunning!

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  12. I know how it feels for friends to move away, so many of our close friends have recently moved either across the country or across a ocean, it makes me so sad. Your kindness to make friends something yummy really shows a great friendship! This cake is beautiful!

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    1. Yeah, even though the memories remain it still sucks a little.

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  13. Your photos are so stunning, and this cake is as well! It looks so chocolatey and the gorgeous color of that filling offsets that dark chocolate so beautifully. I'm sure it tastes even better! I love that there's whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt in the cake so there's not as much guilt!

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    1. Thank you so much, Marcie. Haha, my guilt was a little less than usual with this cake, though once in a while it is good to treat yourself to something decadent.

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  14. how can anyone leave when you make them a cake like that. That alone is reason to stay. I love chocolate and raspberry combination - I have a feeling, red currant is a few notches above that.. I'd love to try it.

    Those pics invoke a visceral reaction in me! So breathtaking!

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    1. Thanks Archana. I was hoping they'd stay just for weekly cake sessions. I am glad you like the photos.

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  15. That cake looks divine! And it's great that it has whole wheat flour in it!

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  16. Holy moly, Nik! What a decadent, mouthwatering treat...Gorgeous pics as always!

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    1. Thank you, Denise. I am glad you like it.

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  17. Damn i love your photograph scene, very professional!
    i think who could regret tangy currant with bitter sweet chicolate...
    btw, i've never use greek yoghurt on cake, tempting to try!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, I am glad you liked the photographs and the cake. I hope you try it sometime.

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  18. Lovely photos! The colour of the red currants just pops so much against the beautifully dark chocolate :D

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  19. I am crazy for chocolate so this is just the thing that appeals to me! Looks absolutely divine. I've had a lot of friends move in recent years, too...so sad. But I'm glad we'll always share a love of chocolate and cake, preferably the two together. : )

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    1. Thanks, Monica. I love chocolate on cakes and in cakes :)

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  20. I love that you used whole wheat flour for this gorgeous cake, Nik! It's just stunning, and your photos truly do it justice. I'd love a big slice for dessert... or breakfast!

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    1. Thanks so much Georgia! You are always so kind.

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  21. what a thoughtful thing to do for your friend. this cake looks marvelous and kudos for using whole wheat and perfecting it :)

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    1. Thanks Dixya, it was a challenge but definitely worth the effort.

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  22. Your friends are so lucky to have a wonderful cooking/baking friend like you to send them off. And what a marvelous treat this is - perfection!

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  23. Terrific pictures! Loads of imagination in them. And great recipe, too. I don't often see fresh currants - what a lucky find! Good stuff - thanks.

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    1. Thank so much, it was indeed a lucky find!

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  24. What a stunning cake and photos! I love the pairing of red currant jam with chocolate...how lucky you were to find fresh currants :)

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    1. Thank you Liz. I hope, I get to find some black currants one day.

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  25. Currant jam? Lovely! So delicious :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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  26. I never know what to do with currants but the next time I get my hands on some, this cake is so happening! WHat a lovely parting gift for your friends!

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  27. You are so generous and sweet to do this! I've always been scared of whole wheat cakes but you've convinced me otherwise! This looks so decadent and divine!

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    1. Thanks, Angela. It does take a little bit of tweaking but it's pretty easy to work with.

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  28. Chocolate and red currants are a wonderful combination. This is a gorgeous looking cake xx

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, I am glad you liked it.

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  29. I love everything photographed here.....they are such a eye candy pics....in deep love with the cake....

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    1. Thank you Lubna, I am glad you like what you see here. Thanks for stopping by and it is good to meet you.

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  30. The whole wheat is awesome! I am loving your sweet photography, too! I'm wanting to make this cake right now!

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    1. Thank you so much, I hope you make it.

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  31. This cake looks fabulous! And your photography is so beautiful, I love it ;)

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  33. It's always sad when friends and family move away. This cake looks splendid and moist and your photographs are glorious.

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    1. Thank you so much, Suzanne, you are always so kind.

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  34. Das hört sich gut an. Werde mal schauen, was ich damit machen kann.

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  35. Generous pictures and I love chocolate cake.

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