Monday, June 11, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Maryann Cake

This cake is dangerously delicious.  Consider yourself warned.  It's a match made in heaven, dark chocolate and raspberry, definitely rich, but not too sweet.  It was the perfect cake to celebrate the engagement of my daughter Melissa and my soon to be son-in-law, Mike, another match made in heaven.  Let me digress for a moment.  You may have noticed that I've neglected my blog for a while.  It's not that I haven't wanted to blog, I've just been busy.  Last month Paul and I headed west and toured the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Monument Valley and Lake Powell.  We had a fantastic time and when we returned home, I intended to sort though my 2000 new photos, do some inspired cooking and blog about some wonderful southwestern food.  But you can see by the large gap since my last posting, that never happened.
A few days after we returned home, Melissa and Mike announced their engagement.  Not only did they announce their engagement, but they also announced that the did not want a long engagement and planned to get married this September.  Yes, I said THIS SEPTEMBER...time to kick it in gear.  They are young, they are in love, and they have energy.  They will make this happen even if it kills them!  All wedding craziness aside, I couldn't be happier for them.  Melissa found her soulmate and we are so pleased to welcome Mike into our family.  They complement each other...just like chocolate and raspberry.
Saturday night, Mike's mother hosted a dinner in celebration of Mike and Melissa's engagement.  My job was to bring dessert.  After much consideration I decided to make a Chocolate Raspberry Maryann Cake and this tart.  If you are not familiar with a Maryann pan, take a look at it here.   I've read that Crate and Barrel also carries them.  It's sort of an old fashioned cake pan, so maybe your grandma has one buried in the cupboard.

This recipe was originally posted on the Williams Sonoma Recipe site.  It is no longer there (maybe because they no longer sell Maryann pans).  It originally was garnished with almonds.  I adore raspberries and dark chocolate, so I decided to adapt the recipe - doubling the ganache and adding a layer of seedless raspberry preserves, and topped with a fresh raspberry garnish.  This makes a big cake folks.  It can easily feed 16 chocoholics.  It is simple to make, but follow the directions carefully.  You can't just throw everything in the mixer and's a little bit different, not hard, just different.  I mixed it using my KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment.  You can easily mix it by hand if you have a good sized whisk.

Chocolate Raspberry Maryann Cake
... aka...Mike and Melissa Cake
Serves 16
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Recipes

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, plus 2 teaspoons for dusting the pan
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Hershey's mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or combo of semi sweet and dark (I used 4 ounces of mini chips with an additional 2 ounces of 85% dark chocolate)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries, or more if you want to cover the the top of the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place rack in lower third of oven.
  2. Spray pan with cooking spray and dust with cocoa.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the cocoa, sugar and boiling water together.
  4. On a sheet of wax paper, sift the flour, salt and baking soda together.
  5. In a small bowl (use the bowl that you melted the butter in) whisk the eggs and vanilla into the butter.
  6. Pour the egg-butter mixture into the cocoa-sugar mixture and whisk just until combined.
  7. Whisk the flour mixture into the liquid mixture in two additions.  
  8. Using a fine sieve, strain the batter as you pour it into the prepared pan.  This is a thin batter.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.  Since you are dealing with warm butter, eggs and boiling water, there may be a few solids that collect.  Discard any solids. ( I had very few)
  9. Sprinkle top of batter with mini chips.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  The cake springs back when touched lightly and cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.  
  11. Cool on a rack in the pan for 15 minutes.
  12. After 15 minutes, give the bottom of the pan a good tap or two or three on the counter top (to loosen it up).  Invert pan on a cooling rack, gently lift off pan making sure cake has released.  Cool on rack for at least an hour.
  13. When cake is cool, spread 1/2 cup of raspberry preserves in the well of the cake.
  14. Prepare the ganache...In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just begins to bubble.  Remove pan from stove and add the chopped chocolate.   Let it melt for 1 minute.  Gently whisk chocolate and cream until smooth.  Cool for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  15. Pour the ganache over the raspberry preserves and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
  16. Put the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes so the ganache can begin to set.  
  17. Remove cake from fridge and decorate with raspberries.  
  18. Chill in fridge for an additional hour to set the ganache.  
  19. Serve at room temperature.  

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