by Stephanie Zonis
12 to 16 servings
A fine-grained but dense pound cake, this combines the wonderful flavors of chocolate and orange (although you could use another flavor of liqueur, if you wish). The syrup keeps the cake moist, so it will last for at least four days at room temperature (if stored airtight), and it freezes nicely, too. Note that the syrup has to cool completely before it is used, so you might want to start it while the cake bakes. Ideal for dessert or tea-time.
2-2/3 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch
process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
Grated rind of 1/2 large, deep-colored orange
1 tsp. vanilla
6 eggs, graded "large", separated
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
3 Tbsp. orange liqueur
Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 10" by 4" one-piece tube pan with vegetable shortening. Line the bottom with a circle of wax paper cut to fit, grease the paper, then dust the pan lightly with flour, knocking out any excess (don't forget to grease and flour the center tube right up to the top). Set aside. Into large bowl, sift together the cake flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer (fitted with paddle beater, if available), beat together the softened butter, 1 cup granulated sugar (reserve remainder), brown sugar, orange rind, and vanilla at a low speed until well-combined. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes, stopping halfway through to scrape down bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula. At a low speed, add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each until incorporated thoroughly. Again, scrape down bowl and beaters; beat mixture one minute at medium speed.
At lowest speed, alternately add sifted dry ingredients in four additions and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with sifted dry ingredients and beating after each addition just until incorporated. It might be necessary to increase speed slightly to incorporate ingredients toward the end of the mixing process, as this is a stiff batter; alternatively, a sturdy whisk can be used to blend in the last of the sifted dry ingredients just until combined. Remove from mixer.
In clean medium bowl with clean whisk beater(s), combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat at high speed until very frothy. Gradually add reserved 2/3 cup granulated sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat at high speed until mixture just holds a stiff peak but is not dry.
With large rubber spatula, fold a large spoonful of the meringue into the chocolate batter to lighten it (don't fold in the meringue too thoroughly now). Fold in another large spoonful of meringue, again, not too thoroughly. Fold remaining meringue into chocolate batter in two additions, folding after each addition just until no white streaks remain.
Turn batter into prepared pan, which will be rather full. With pan on level surface, hold one side with either hand; twist back-and-forth on surface to level batter. Now, with back of large spoon, form a deep trench in the middle of the batter, all the way around the top.
Bake in preheated oven for 70 to 80 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. While the cake bakes, prepare the syrup (see below). Do not overbake. Remove pan to cooling rack.
Let cake stand in pan 15 minutes. CAREFULLY loosen cake from tube and sides of pan with thin, stiff-bladed spatula (preferably a plastic one that won't scratch your pan). Invert pan onto cooling rack; remove pan. Gently peel wax paper by outer edges from bottom of cake.
Now, look at the cake sides. Sometimes, the sides of the cake have a tendecy to "peel" slightly. If your cake is doing this, leave it to cool completely, upside down (you can mask any peeling on the sides later). If the sides are OK, you can decide whether you want to serve the cake inverted, as it is now, or right side up. If the former, leave it to cool completely; if the answer is the latter; re-invert the cake onto another cooling rack and leave it to cool completely.
Combine granulated sugar and water in small, heavy-bottomed saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Place over medium-high heat; stir almost constantly to dissolve sugar. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat; cover tightly. Cool completely at room temperature. Add liqueur just before using.
When the cake has cooled and the syrup is completed, transfer the cake to a serving plate. Use a toothpick to prick many holes (that go about halfway down) in the current top surface of the cake. Using a pastry brush, slowly and carefully brush the syrup all over the top of the cake. This will seem like a lot of syrup, but the cake will absorb it all. Try to make sure that not too much of the syrup runs down the sides or into the tube of the cake--you'll get some that does, though--OK. When all of the syrup has been added, cover the cake airtight; allow to stand at room temperature at least 6 hours before serving.
Just before serving, if desired, sift a light dusting of confectioners sugar all over the top and/or sides of the cake (this will mask any peeling on the sides). To serve, cut slices with a large, sharp, serrated knife. Store cake airtight at room temperature.
Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created March 1999
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