Rich Chocolate Cake and Raspberry Whipped Cream

The title of this blog post pretty much describes my taste buds. Cream+ raspberries+chocolate (not the guilt-free, light and fluffy kind) = best dessert PERIOD. I was going to make it in the form of cupcakes, which make this girl happier than a monkey eating a banana. But seeing the shelves cupcake-liner-free and my hands being less than willing to scrub hole after hole of the muffin tin, I resorted to a cake. It proved itself; if it had been anything less than what I expected, I would now be signing a paper shunning the idea of ever making a cake again. Fortunately, the cake will be given more chances. Anyway, the cake recipe follows, and I just topped it with a homemade whipped cream which I mixed with a small bit of liquid raspberry jam (got the idea from my Food Network Magazine).

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 10-inch round cake pan by greasing it with cooking spray and then lining the bottom with parchment paper.

2. To make the cake, pour the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Whisk thoroughly to ensure that all of the ingredients are incorporated.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed until light-yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. With the mixer running on low speed, mix in a third of the flour mixture and half of the milk. Scrape down the bowl. Add another third of the flour mixture and all the remaining milk. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the pan in the oven and bake for 20 more minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then turn the cake out onto a clean plate, remove the parchment, and turn the cake back over onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely.

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Chocolate Cheesecake

I had a sudden urge to cook today. What could be a better recipe than chocolate cheesecake?!?! Though I’ve made mini cheesecakes, I’m not sure if I’ve ever made an actual single cheesecake, much less a chocolate one. I always feel guilty for getting Food Network magazines and oooh-ing and drooling over every picture, but never actually making the stuff in there. The March magazine was the ultimate chocolate issue, and, having already gotten the April issue, I almost missed cooking anything ultra-chocolate. That problem has been sitting in the back of my brain, so in my spare time today, my little brother and I flipped through the pages until we found Nigella’s chocolate cheesecake. We made it. It’s a keeper.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Prep Time:
35 min
Cook Time:
1 hr
Serves:
10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped small
  • 2 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Bird’s custard powder (available at baking supply stores)
  • 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

For the glaze:

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup

Directions

To make the base, process the graham cracker crumbs, butter and cocoa powder in a food processor until it makes damp, clumping crumbs. Tip them into a 9-inch pie pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese to soften it, and then add the sugar and custard powder, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks and the sour cream. Finally, add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate and mix to make a smooth batter.

Take the pie pan out of the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling into the pan. Bake in the oven 50 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

Let it slightly cool. Put in the fridge once it is no longer hot and leave to set, covered with plastic, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the glaze, very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and corn syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take it off the heat and whisk until smooth. Let it cool a little, then Jackson Pollock it over the cheesecake. Use the remaining glaze as an accompanying sauce.