Chocolate “Saddle of Venison” Cake

Rehrücken

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    one

    12 inch -long cake

Appears in

In its savory form, saddle of venison (Rehrücken in German) is often threaded with long strips of lard to moisten the lean meat as it roasts. But to dessert lovers, Rehrücken is chocolate cake baked in a long, half-cylinder-shaped pan to resemble the roast saddle of venison. The trompe-l’oeil effect is completed by studs of slivered almonds, which are supposed to look like the lard strips sticking out of the meat. Rehrücken is always made with cake crumbs and almonds, never flour, and is gently spiced. If you have a stash of frozen crumbs in the freezer, use them, or buy unfrosted vanilla- or chocolate-flavored muffins to turn into crumbs.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • cup (2 ounces) cake crumbs
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • cup Red Currant Glaze, warm Small-Batch Chocolate Glaze, hot ½ cup slivered blanched almonds, as needed, for garnish

Method

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Using a cylinder-shaped pastry brush, butter a 12-inch Rehrücken mold (see Note). Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water, or in a microwave oven at medium power. Cool slightly.
  3. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the cake crumbs and almonds until the almonds are very finely ground and almost powdery. Add the cinnamon and lemon zest and pulse to combine.
  4. Beat the yolks and cup of the sugar in a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer at high speed, until thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Mix in the melted chocolate and butter, then the almond and crumb mixture.
  5. Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining cup of sugar, until the whites are shiny. Stir one fourth of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. Pour into the pan.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. (The cake will fall slightly.) Invert onto the rack and cool completely (the cake will even itself out).
  7. Place the cake on the rack on a jelly-roll pan. Brush the cake with the warm red currant glaze. Cool completely to set the glaze.
  8. Pour the warm chocolate glaze over the cake, using a metal spatula to smooth it over the sides, coating the cake completely. Stud the cake with the almonds. Don’t overdo it or the cake will be too crunchy to eat easily—two parallel rows of almonds, running just above the long sides of the cake, spaced about ½ inch apart, should be enough. Refrigerate the cake to firm the glaze. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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