Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quark Chocolate Cake

The Altitude Adjustment Section
This cake required very little adjustment besides the softer whipping of the egg whites, a slight reduction of sugar, and the addition of some espresso powder. The cake recipe is huge and made three giant layers, I really think 2 is enough so save the third (freeze it for another time).

1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (not dutch process), plus extra for dusting the pans
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 Sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups Sugar
1 whole egg
5 large eggs, separated
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup quark

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Cut a piece of waxed paper to fit the bottom of each pan and place inside the pans. Grease the waxed paper, and dust the pans with cocoa powder until well coated. Set aside.

In a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the 1/2 cup cocoa and the espresso powder. Stir until the mixture is very smooth, and set aside to cool. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in a stainless-steel bowl set over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat.

Into a medium-size bowl, sift together both flours, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the sugar and beat until well blended, about 5 minutes. Beat in the whole egg and egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the cooled cocoa mixture until very smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the melted chocolate, beating until well incorporated. Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add half the dry ingredients. Then add the quark, mix well, and add the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the egg whites at high speed. When frothy, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the egg whites form soft peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, fold about 1 cup of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Then gently fold that mixture back into the chocolate mixture, just until the egg whites are well incorporated. Do not overmix.

Distribute the batter evenly among the pans, and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Cakes are done when the tops are just beginning to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with your favorite frosting. Or put some raspberry jam between the layers and top with whipped cream. Yum !