Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Williams Sonoma Chocolate Cake


Williams Sonoma Chocolate Cake
Source: Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2011 ed.), pg. 77.

Whenever I visit a shopping complex with a Williams Sonoma store, I have to go inside even though I find most of their things outrageously expensive. We have a friend who used to do cooking demonstrations in a WS store and she was always bringing us neat kitchen items that she could get with her discount. Thanks to her, I think I have everything I could possibly need in the kitchen. 

It turns out that WS recipes are not that bad either. This cake has an unusual item - port wine. This is the first cake I have ever made with wine in the batter. It is rather simple, with only a few ingredients, and it is impossibly good. This is a very thin cake with no frosting and it looks very elegant. It can be served warm, right out of the oven, or it is fine later. Immediately out of the oven, the cake has a very soft, custard-like quality. Serve it with whipped cream, chocolate syrup or fruit. 

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup port wine
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 325 (use the center rack). Butter a 10" springform pan and line the bottom with wax or parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust with flour.

Combine the butter, port wine and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat
until the chocolate has melted.
 
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Add the remaining sugar to the egg yolks and beat at high speed for a few minutes until they are pale in color.

Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture.
Gradually add the flour.
In a separate bowl (preferably chilled), beat the egg whites until they hold a soft shape. Continue to beat, adding the 2 tablespoons of reserved sugar, until the whites are stiff but not dry.
Fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then transfer this mixture to the egg whites in the other bowl and fold together.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake stand on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes then gently cut around the edges and bottom and release the cake from the pan. Can be served immediately or later.

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