Discovering an unfamiliar word sends me right to the kitchen where I keep at least a couple of paperback copies of Webster’s Dictionary. If I can’t find a pair of readers, I go to the computer and google it. Anyway, I love looking for definitions. Just one of my (many) quirks. I’ve been thinking about this recipe and about the sort of frou frou name “Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake.” Perception can entice or repel. Words and definitions both fascinate and entertain. So why would the name Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake attract little old me?
1. Chocolate – the other food group, the food of the Gods, a cure for PMS, an aphrodisiac, some say. Of course, chocolate is almost always my first choice.
2. Then there is the other descriptive word, ”dressy.” It reminds me of way, way back to childhood. I grew up in Oklahoma. Is that the south? Well, either way. Somehow every Easter, Mom and Dad managed to provide my brother and me new clothes, complete with shoes and hat (for me, no hat for him, hehe) for church Easter Sunday. It was special and the shopping was much anticipated. I remember standing in the backyard while Mom or Dad stood with the Brownie Hawkeye camera to take photographs. Yep, in black and white. All of this is a comforting and happy memory.
This just had to be a happy recipe, right? Hope you think so too.
Back to the Dressy Cake
Now here is the fun.
For the Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup best-quality red raspberry or cherry jam-for filling
1 teaspoon water
For the Frosting
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 1/2 x 5 inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on the top of one another.
To Make the Cake: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each one goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream. Still working on a low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until they disappear into the batter, Give the batter a last stir with a sturdy rubber spatula and scrape the batter into the pan.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. If, after about 45 minutes, the cake looks as if its browning too quickly, cover it losely with a foil tent. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for about 5 minutes before turning it out on the to rack. Cool to room temperature upside down.
To Fill The Cake: Bring the jam and water to a boil over low heat or in a microwave oven. Stir to smooth it, and keep at hand.
The top of the cake will become the bottom layer, so if it is uneven and your cake rocks a bit on the counter, turn it right side up and use a long serrated knife to level it. Using the serrated knife, cut the cake into 3 even layers. Put the first layer (originally the top of the cake) cut side up on a long serving plate and spread half of the jam over it. Cover with the middle layer and spread that layer with the remaining jam. Lift the top layer into place, cut side down. Use a small pastry brush to chase away any crumbs on the top or sides of the cake.
To Make The Frosting: Fit a heatproof bowl into a pan of gently simmering water, add the chocolate and warm, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Still working over the hot water, stir in the sour cream. Don’t be concerned if the cream tightens-just keep stirring gently and the frosting will become smooth and glossy.
Remove from the heat and cover the sides and top of the cake with the still warm frosting.
Dorie says its ready to serve as soon as it is frosted, but likes to wait about an hour, until the frosting develops the slightest little crust; the frosting underneath the crust will still be soft and velvety. Serve with a bit of whipped cream and if you’d like a pitcher of the Smooth & Tangy Chocolate Sauce.
Playing Around If you want to serve the cake with a sauce that is perfectly matched to it, double the frosting recipe and use half for the frosting and the other half to make a sauce.
for the sauce: bring about 1 cup whole milk (amount is your preference of consistency) almost to a boil. Put the bowl of extra frosting back over the pan of hot water and gently whisk in the hot milk a little at a time, adding as much as you want to get the desired consistency. The sauce is ready to use when it is as thick or thin as you’d like and perfectly smooth. You can make the sauce in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; just warm it gently before serving.
This “Dressy” recipe is brought to you by the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group’s beloved inspiration, Dorie Greenspan. It is from her wonderful book entitled Baking From My Home to Yours. Thank you Dorie for giving all the joy of your kitchen to all of us. Your book has really enriched many lives. Just think of all the sharing that goes around. What Fun!
Be sure and check out all the Tuesday With Dorie bakers and see the phenomenal display of Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cakes. I assure you there will be some decked out cakes! hehe
Corbin and I enjoyed taking a lot of photographs for this special occasion of Tuesdays with Dorie. It was my turn among the over 300 bakers to choose the recipe. I know you’ll love checking them out. Here they are. Thank you for visiting and baking with me.
Just a note: Please don’t tell my “gym-rat” friends, this chocolate cake is totally worth the calories, meaning I am willing to work out a little extra just to eat this. Its that good. Yum!