Double Chocolate Sweetheart Cake (Really the Final Word in Chocolate Cake)

As a chocolate consultant for a major food company, I was once asked how I would make a cake taste the most chocolatey possible if I had no limitations. This question, delightful to contemplate, was particularly interesting because cocoa makes the most chocolatey-tasting layer cake but chocolate mixed only with cream offers the fullest chocolate sensation. My answer was that I would make a cocoa layer cake with all yolks (which give the best flavor) and then inject it with my favorite eating chocolate. To further enhance the experience, I would have people eat it in a room filled with chocolate because what you smell while you’re eating has a powerful effect on what you taste.

Soon after, I had a visit from Linda Foster Gomé, who had been head of the test kitchen at Ladies’ Home Journal when 1 worked there. Linda has a marvelous sense of taste so I decided to try out part of my theory on her (the injecting part). I baked my favorite chocolate cocoa cake and as soon as it was done, poked holes in it and infused it with melted chocolate thinned with heavy cream. The result was this fabulously simple cake which is at once fudgey- moist and soft within, encased by a thin glaze of chocolate. For Valentine’s Day I like to bake the cake in a heart-shaped pan and top it with fresh red raspberries, brightened with a gilding of currant jelly.

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Preheat the oven to: 350°F.
Baking time: 30 to 40 minutes

FINISHED HEIGHT: inches

INGREDIENTS MEASURE WEIGHT
room temperature volume ounces/pounds grams
unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-processed) ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons 1.5 ounces 42 grams
boiling water liquid cup
4 large egg yolks 2 full fluid ounces 2.5 ounces 74 grams
pure vanilla extract ¾ teaspoon
sifted cake flour cups + 1 tablespoon (sifted into the cup and leveled off) 5.5 ounces 156 grams
superfine sugar 1 cup 7 ounces 200 grams
baking powder teaspoons 12 grams
salt ½ teaspoon 3.5 grams
unsalted butter (must be softened) 9 tablespoons 4.5 ounces 128 grams
Chocolate Glaze
bittersweet chocolate, preferably Lindt Excellence or Valrhona extra bittersweet* 1 3-ounce bar 3 ounces 85 grams
heavy cream ¾ liquid cup
fresh raspberries 2 pints 1 pound 454 grams
red currant jelly ¼ cup 2.6 ounces 77 grams
Whipped Cream Décor (optional)
heavy cream 1 liquid cup
sugar 1 tablespoon
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon

*Available from Williams-Sonoma (415-421-4242).

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover and cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, lightly combine the yolks, one quarter of the cocoa mixture and the vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix, preferably with the spade beater of a heavy-duty mixer, on a low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and the remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1½ minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. (The pan will be about half full.) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze: Break the chocolate into pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Scald the cream and, with the motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth. (Alternatively, grate the chocolate, place it in a small bowl and stir in the scalded cream until uniform in color.) Transfer the chocolate glaze to a small bowl and keep warm.

Heat just to the boiling point (small bubbles will appear around the edges).

When the cake is baked, place it, still in the pan, on a rack and with a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the top. Use a brush to dab half of the chocolate glaze onto the cake, letting each application soak in before adding the next. (This should take about 10 minutes.) Cover a cardboard round or a flat plate with plastic wrap or waxed paper and invert the cake onto it. Peel off and discard the parchment and poke holes all over the bottom of the cake. Dab with the remaining glaze, brushing a little onto the sides of the cake as well. Cool completely, for at least 1 hour, until the chocolate is firm to touch.

Invert the cake onto a 10-inch cardboard round or flat plate covered with plastic wrap. Peel off the plastic wrap from the cake, then reinvert onto a serving plate.

Place the raspberries close together to cover the surface of the cake, starting at the outside border and working in toward the center. You will actually need only about pints of raspberries but it’s best to have extra so you can choose the most attractive ones.

In a small heavy saucepan, melt the currant jelly over low heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. Use a small brush to paint the currant glaze onto the raspberries.

If desired, whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use a number 5 large star tube and a pastry bag to pipe a shell border around the base of the cake.

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