Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

I made this for Jim's Second Annual 29th Birthday. I was a little concerned at first because I had to do some on the spot tinkering as I didn't have some of the required ingredients, but overall, it worked out well... at least, that's what everyone's been saying. This cake is very rich and very chocolatey. If you prefer milk chocolate, I suggest a different cake. It is somewhat labor intensive, but the instructions make it look far worse than it really is.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

For the Raspberry Glaze:

You could use 1/2 - 1 cup of seedless raspberry preserves. I didn't have any, so I made a concoction of my own that worked quite well (and that I think I would prefer over the preserves.) This made more than I needed, but had I been plating the slices of cake, it would have been a nice garnish. You could probably use half and have enough for the cake itself depending on how much raspberry flavor you want.

2 6 oz. packages of frozen raspberries
1/4 cup raspberry liquor
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 packet of gelatin
2 Tbsp cornstarch

1- Place raspberries and liquor in a saucepan and heat gently until raspberries are thawed and begin to cook down.
2- Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
3- Continue to simmer the raspberries until most of the solid chunks are gone.
4- Strain through a tight sieve and discard the seeds and any large pieces.
5- Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the gelatin and cornstarch, whisking until completely dissolved.
6- Chill the mixture until you have a spreadable consistency.

For the Ganache:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semisweet morsels so I wouldn't have to chop the chocolate.)

1- In a saucepan, bring the cream, butter and corn syrup to a boil.
2- Add chocolate and remove from heat. Swirl slightly so that the cream mixture covers the chocolate. Let the pan sit for three minutes.
3- Whisk until smooth and chill, covered, for at least two hours.

For the Cake:

1/3 cup sifted Dutch-processed cocoa powder (although in a pinch you could use regular unsweetened)
1/3 cup flour (I would suggest all purpose here as opposed to cake flour based on the final texture of the cake.)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 pinch baking soda
3 whole large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9" round cake pan.
2- In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, cornstarch and baking soda.
3- In a metal bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk until lukewarm. Remove from the heat and mix on high until cooled and doubled in volume. You will also notice that the mixture has paled in color significantly.
4- Fold in the cocoa mixture in thirds.
5- Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 30 minutes (the cake should be pulling away from the sides of the pan and be firm to the touch).
6- Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack.

For the Syrup:

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup raspberry liquor

1- In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
2- Cool the syrup and then stir in the raspberry liquor.

For the Chocolate Glaze:

1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Again, I used semisweet morsels.)

1- In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and remove pan from heat.
2- Add chocolate and swirl until completely covered. Let the pan sit for two minutes.
3- Whisk until smooth and pour through a sieve to remove any lumps.

Cake Assembly:

1- Cut the cake into three rounds and place the first layer on a cardboard cake round. (You can get by with a plate here if you have to, but be aware that it should not be too much bigger than the cake itself.)
2- Brush the layer with the Syrup. Spread half of the Raspberry Glaze on the cake and then 1/3 of the Ganache (be sure to bring it back to room temperature in order to ease spreading) over the Raspberry Glaze.
3- Top with the next layer of Cake and repeat with the Syrup, remaining Raspberry Glaze (reserving a bit for garnish if so desired) and 1/3 of the Ganache.
4- Place the last layer of cake on top, brush with Syrup and spread most of the remaining Ganache on top.
5- Fill any gaps on the sides of the cake with small amounts of Ganache so that the edges are smooth.
6- Chill the cake until the Ganache is set, about 30 minutes.
7- Set the cake on a rack over a pan to make clean-up easier and then pour the Chocolate Glaze over the top of the cake.
8- Spread the Chocolate Glaze over the top and sides of the cake until smooth.
9- Chill the cake (or let stand at cool room temperature) until the Chocolate Glaze is set. (I kept mine in the fridge overnight.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tequila Lime Chicken

I made this for Girls' Night along with my Black Bean Flautas. I made some that were without the topping for me and the rest with it for the other ladies. Fortunately that meant I didn't need to tinker with the basic chicken recipe to avoid onions. Apparently this recipe is based off of a dish at Applebees (I think), but since it is something I'd never order in a restaurant, I can't say for sure.

Tequila Lime Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded cheese (I used the four cheese Mexican blend. Other options would be cheddar, monterey jack, colby jack or some blend of these.)

For the Marinade:

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice (fresh if you can)
1 Tbsp lime zest, chopped (or about one lime's worth)
3 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup tequila

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup mayonnaise (Do NOT use Miracle Whip.)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp milk
3 tsp tomato, chopped
2 tsp green chile pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tsp mined onion
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried dill
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and mix together. Poke holes in the chicken breasts with a fork on both sides. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Refridgerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2- Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients until well combined. Cover the bowl and chill until needed.
3- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick foil for easier clean-up.
4- Grill or broil the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until mostly cooked through (I used my George Foreman grill).
5- Arrange the chicken in the baking dish and pour about a tablespoon of marinade over the top of each breast. Discard the rest of the marinade. Spread a layer of the Dressing on each breast and then top with about 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese.
6- Bake for about 15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and cheese is melted.