dark and rich

Chocolate is a year round food but certain times of the year scream more chocolate than others. February is one of those times.

Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate offers 13 chocolate flavors, ranging from light to dark chocolate.  Traditional varieties include Milk, Dark 70%, Dark 85%, and White, while the more unique flavors are Maya Gold, Hazelnut and Currant, Ginger, and the newest flavor, Peanut & Sea Salt.  In addition to its lineup, Green & Black’s also makes hot chocolate and baking bars, perfect for making a romantic Valentine’s Day dessert.

The people at Green & Black’s Organic have just the right idea with their new Green & Black’s Organic  Ultimate Chocolate Recipes: The New Collection (Hardcover; Kyle Books)  which is the follow-up to their internationally bestselling Green  & Black’s Chocolate Recipes.

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with  decadent, rich, velvety chocolate and an ultimate collection of tempting cakes and confections, pies and tarts, cookies and  cupcakes, cheescakes, and souffles. How does velvet salted caramel chocolate torte sound? Or what about heartache chocolate cake? Or dark chocolate brandy cherry cake?

I can picture a beautiful chocolate cake in the middle of an elegant buffet table.

Here’s a recipe from the book:

Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake
Serves 16
3 1/2 oz dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, broken into pieces
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup ground almonds
14 tablespoons unsalted
butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 extra-large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk

For the icing
7 oz dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate, broken into pieces
7 oz milk chocolate, broken into pieces
18 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Confectioners sugar, for dusting (optional)

Natalie Seldon runs a gorgeous miniature cake company, but here used one of her own special chocolate recipes to create what can only be described as the “Ultimate” chocolate fudge cake! Deliciously addictive and chocolatey, yet a triumph with it’s beautifully light texture, comprised of four layers with a glossy elegant chocolate icing—truly making a beautiful centerpiece and treat for any special occasion.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch pans with sides about 1 1/2-inch deep and line each with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt, then stir in the ground almonds. Using an electric stand or hand-held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract to the eggs. With the beaters running, very slowly add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar, adding 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture during the process to prevent curdling, then add the melted chocolate and buttermilk. Very gently fold in the remaining flour and divide the mixture between the pans.

Bake on the center shelf for 30 to 35 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the pan before turning on to cooling racks. Once cold, remove the papers and slice each cake in half horizontally through the middle.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate following the method above. Set aside to cool slightly, then beat together with the butter. Using an offset spatula, spread evenly to sandwich the layers together and cover the top of the cake Decorate with a dusting of confectioners sugar if you wish.

Excerpted from Green & Black’s Organic Ultimate  Chocolate Recipes: The New Collection, Edited by Micah Carr-Hill (Kyle Books;  2010).  Photo Credit: Jenny Zarins


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