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
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.
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.
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.
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.
whole-wheat chocolate layer cake with red currant jam
whole-wheat chocolate layer cake
one 9 inch diameter cake
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 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped at room temperature
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. 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, water, and butter. 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 grainparts 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
approximately 1- 1 1/4 cup
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.
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
approximately 1 cup
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.