Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Whiskey Cake


Let's face it, I'm a fan of pretty much anything chocolate. So when I heard we were making a chocolate cake this week for Tuesdays with Dorie, I was pretty excited. Until I read over the ingredients and saw... alcohol. And prunes. Prunes? Really?


Well, who am I to argue with the great Dorie Greenspan's tastebuds? If she says prunes will be good in a chocolate cake, then I'll take her word for it. The picture in the cookbook sure looked great, and I couldn't spot a single prune in the cake in that picture. So I put my faith in Ms. Greenspan and went for it.

She instructed us to cut the prunes into "bits" so I chopped them up, a little unsure how big "bits" are. I think I left them too big, but more on that later. I heated them on the stove with water, then threw in some scotch whiskey (substituted for the Armagnac that she suggests), stood back, and set it ablaze. The flames weren't anything like what I expected. They lasted about 2 seconds - not even long enough to get a picture.


My husband later saw the bottle of scotch whiskey sitting out on the counter and said, "You used this stuff? This is the cheapest, nastiest whiskey ever and it's been in the cupboard for about 10 years." Information I could have used about 20 minutes earlier. Well, all I could hope for was that it got better with age.

Next came the ground nuts. The recipe calls for pecans, but allows for a walnut substitution, which I took. I discovered that I had an abundance of walnuts in the cupboard, and just had to grind them myself. It took me a while to get them perfect. Right about the time I finished, it occurred to me that it would have been faster and a heck of a lot easier to throw them into the food processor. Why does my brain work so slow?


Then I whisked the nuts together with flour and salt and set it aside.


Seven whole, wonderful ounces of bittersweet chocolate are coarsely chopped. Ghirardelli - the absolute best (it was on sale... ssshhhh...).


The chocolate is melted with butter. Have I ever mentioned my love for melted chocolate? I could eat it with a spoon.


I wasn't a big fan of the next step. Egg yolks and sugar were to be whisked together for about 2 minutes in order to make them thick and pale. This mixture was already thick to begin with, I didn't need to whisk them for 2 minutes to make it thick. And oh my goodness, my arm hurt after whisking for 2 minutes. It would be a stretch to imagine Miss Dorie Greenspan doing this step. I wonder if she has a whisk-er to do the hard work for her. Hmmm... is that a job I can post on Craigslist?


Then the prunes, the nut mixture, and the melted chocolate are mixed together. And you fold in the egg whites, and pour it all into your springform pan.


Bake for about 28 minutes or until the batter is still wet, but not too wet. Don't you love it when the directions are vague? Fortunately, I think I got it just right.


After it cools, you spread on the rich chocolate frosting made up of bittersweet chocolate, butter and confectioners' sugar. Dorie said it would be a self spreader, and would run down the sides. But mine was rather thick and I had to spread it myself. It was really delicious.


The end result was an absolutely gorgeous chocolate cake. And it was to die for. I couldn't taste the alcohol at all, which was great for me. I could, however, taste the prunes. I think if I had chopped them finer they would have blended a little better. But there was just something about those big chunks of prunes that was a turnoff. I ate a few and picked a few out. I think next time I'd figure out a way to make the cake without the prunes.


And it was sooooo good with ice cream. I literally ate over half of this cake. I made it on Friday and it got finished on Monday. It was just my husband and I eating it... and I'm sure I had more of it than he did. I reeeally don't want to step on a scale anytime soon.


Many thanks to Lyb of And Then I Do The Dishes for making this week's selection. Very fitting selection Lyb, considering the outrageous number of dishes I dirtied while making this cake.

29 comments:

Elyse said...

I think it's a universal agreement that this cake involved too many dishes! That said, your cake is absolutely beautiful. Sorry the prunes added a weird texture, but seems like aside from that, the cake was a huge hit. I love chocolate cake and ice cream...that picture is really making me hungry!

LyB said...

Hee, hee! Yes, so many dishes! But it was worth it, right? Your cake looks fantastic. :) Thanks for baking along with me this week!

Amanda said...

Totally too many dishes! LOL I had to grind my nuts too, used my blender and that left them moist. Had to dry them out in the oven. It was quite a process to make his cake but all in all it was delish!

Jessica said...

Your cake looks beautiful and I love the picture of the slice of cake with the ice cream, perfection!

Maria said...

Lots of dishes, but it looks like it was well worth it. The cake looks outstanding!

Pamela said...

Yes, there sure were a number of dishes that ended up dirty with this one. It was a good cake, though. I only had a couple of prune bites in my cake, and I was happy that most of them seemed to melt away. Fantastic job.

Corrie said...

Looks delicious - yet, everything you make looks delicious! Your posts make me hungry! You know, your stand mixer should have a wisk attachment...

Melissa said...

Corrie, you're totally right about the whisk attachment. I questioned myself as I was doing it by hand... but Dorie always instructs us to use the stand mixer and she didn't this time... so I didn't use it. I will re-think that next time!

chocolatechic said...

I ran out of bowls too.

Fortunately for me, I have a dishwasher, and she (the daughter) wasn't please with all the dishes I dirtied.

Jen said...

I don't think I would have enough bowls to make it! It does look very good though. Particularly with ice cream.

Teanna said...

Wow!!!! I am so glad you loved this cake! Finishing it in three days! Sounds like it was a hit! It looks delicious!

And I love that you pounded those walnuts by hand! It just means it was made with a little more love!

Karen said...

Funny! I almost took a picture of my dishes as well.
Looks like it turned out beautifully though! :)

Megan said...

I made mine without the fruit, and it was chocolatey perfection.

Just in case you wanted to know :)

pinkstripes said...

I love the last picture of all the dishes. Your cake looks great! I'm glad you both enjoyed it.

Erin said...

What a pretty cake! It looks great with the ice cream!

CookingCourtney said...

THAT LOOKS SO GOOD. YUMM chocolate and nuts have got to be the best combo ever.

I HATE DISHES! But the result makes it worth it!

Jaime said...

i didn't dirty too many dishes, i don't think? the bowl w/the egg whites, the one w/the yolks, the one w/the flour/nut mixture and then the chocolate - just four! ;)

your cake looks fabulous! i didn't mind the prunes

farah said...

Great success, i'm glad you enjoyed it despite the prunes ;)

Madam Chow said...

My favorite picture? ALL THE DISHES! And I loved the part about your husband and the whiskey. We really liked this cake, too!

CB said...

Ok after seeing your pile of dishes maybe I am glad I slacked this week! Love that last picture. Cracked me up! I am not a prune fan but the cake+frosting sounds tasty by itself. If you make it sans prunes next time, definitely let me know what you did. I'd be down to try... sans prunes. ;)
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

margot said...

The photo progression is fantastic, especially the dishes!

Cathy said...

Ha ha -- your last picture of your dishes made me laugh out loud. This really did involve a ridiculous amount of dishes. Good thing the cake was worth it! I agree -- it was only my trust in Dorie that made me make this cake; it did not sound good to me. But oh my! It's amazing! Yours looks gorgeous! Oh, and the ice cream had to cap it off perfectly!

Jill said...

I'm glad that your whiskey didn't ruin the cake! It looks like it turned out great.

HappyTummy said...

your cake slice looks beautiful! i'm glad you trusted dorie and at least tried it with the prunes, even if you didn't love it in the end. the chocolate part of it really was delicious, no? mmm. i love it!

Allie said...

My husband always says "how come when you cook 1 thing we have to run the dishwasher?" I'm glad I'm not the only one doing recipes that use so many items. I was caught off guard with the prunes in there I wouldn't have guessed it. Your cake looks really good!

Linda said...

That last photo with all of the bowls, pots and pans had me laughing --- I guess I wasn't the only grumbling about the amount of dirty dishes. Great job on your cake!

Tracey said...

Haha great post! Love the photos of the stack of dishes at the end :) That's what my kitchen looked like too. Your cake looks amazing!

Reeni♥ said...

When I heard prunes I thought maybe they were going to be pureed in. I bet they would add a lot of moistness that way. Not that it needs it. It looks scrumptious!

Kastina said...

Ooooh those look good!