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FEBRUARY 1999
RECIPES



Chocolate Port Cake

Hot Chocolate

Cream Cheese Pie

Chocolate-Raspberry Clusters



Sweet Spot

 


Chocolate Port Cake

Tips: This cake, fine-grained but fudgy, calls for ruby port. You needn't use the most expensive brand going, just one of decent quality. You'll need a standard 12-cup bundt pan for this recipe, 10" in diameter. Please do not use one of the very lightweight models so readily available. They give very poor baking results, and it's a shame to have a cake ruined by inferior bakeware. My bundt pan has a black, nonstick finish and a good heft to it. The glaze for this cake is optional, but will make it look dressier. Otherwise, you can serve it plain or dusted with confectioners' sugar. A distinct port flavor means the cake will probably be most appreciated by adults. If you are going to freeze this cake, freeze (and defrost) it before glazing.

Cake:

  • 4 squares (4 ozs.) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, graded "large"
  • 3/4 cup ruby port
  • 2/3 cup water

Optional glaze:

  • 3 squares (3 ozs.) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Few grains salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. ruby port
For Cake:

Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (300 degrees F if pan has a dark or black finish). Grease and lightly flour a 10" diameter, 12-cup bundt pan, knocking out any excess flour (I do this even if the pan has a nonstick finish). Have ready a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil with which you can loosely cover the cake while it bakes.

In small bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), melt chocolate, stirring often until smooth. Remove from heat and hot water; set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer (fitted with paddle beater, if available), cream softened butter and sugar at medium speed for three minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down bowl and beater(s). At a low speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition only until incorporated. When all eggs have been added, scrape bowl and beater(s) well, then increase mixer speed to medium; beat one minute. At a low speed, add melted chocolate, which may still be slightly warm, and beat just until incorporated.

At lowest speed, add about one-third of sifted dry ingredients, beating only until mixed in. GRADUALLY add port wine, again beating just until blended. Add half of remaining dry ingredients, then gradually add water. Follow with remaining dry ingredients. Beat just until each addition is incorporated, and be sure to scrape bowl and beater(s) once or twice during this time. Because this is a thick batter and there's a lot of it, I often have to increase the mixer speed slightly to get the ingredients to combine. If you still have trouble getting the last of the dry ingredients to mix in, remove the bowl from the mixer and use a sturdy whisk to finish the job and make sure the batter is smooth.

Turn batter into prepared pan. Spread smooth, then run batter higher along pan edges and tube, leaving a deep trench in the middle (I use the back of a spoon to do this). Place in preheated oven; cover loosely with foil. Close oven door. Bake 30 minutes; quickly remove foil cover and turn pan back-to-front.

Bake 25 to 35 minutes longer (total baking time is 55 to 65 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in center emerges with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake. If top of cake begins to get too dark, re-cover loosely with foil. Cool in pan about 15 minutes. Gently loosen edges; invert onto cooling rack (a nonstick cooling rack is a great help here, or spray a regular cooling rack very lightly with nonstick cooking spray). Cool completely before glazing or serving.

For Glaze:

Combine chopped chocolate and salt in small heatproof bowl. Heat cream over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot. Pour over chocolate. Place bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir/whisk briefly just until smooth. Remove from heat and hot water. Whisk in port. Allow to stand at cool room temperature about 30 minutes, whisking occasionally, until cooled and slightly thickened. Pour slowly over top of cake so glaze runs down sides unevenly. Allow to stand at room temperature until glaze is set, then serve. If cake is not served within 2 hours, refrigerate. Store leftover cake in refrigerator. Note: once this cake is cold, it becomes less delicate, so I prefer to glaze it shortly before serving.

12 to 16 servings


© Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

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