September 20th, 2012
If you love chocolate, this blog is for you – it’s all about chocolate! The Northwest Chocolate Festival is almost here! Taking place Saturday, September 29th and Sunday the 30th at the Washington State Convention Center, it is sure to be a d’lish time for all!
Make sure you check out this tasty event!
There’ll be two-days’ worth of demos, tastings and vendors abound each centered on the delectable treat – chocolate! Learn about where chocolate comes from, how it is made, the social issues surrounding its production – and even how the differences percentages of cacao (ka – cow) differ in taste.
Whether you’re a die-hard chocolate lover or a casual nibbler, make sure you buy your tickets in advanced. Yum!
And if you just can’t wait to get there – try my recipe for Chocolate-Cherry Pound Cake! I love to top it with a scoop of chocolate cherry ice cream, and drunken cherries. Chocolates and cherries are such a classic combo. And dried Northwest cherries are available in both dark sweet and tart red varieties. I like to use the tare ones in this cake to contrast with the richness of the chocolate. Check out the Chukar Cherry Company – they have been producing all-natural choice dried cherries since 1988!
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite chocolate recipes are. – Kathy
Chocolate-Cherry Pound Cake à la mode with Drunken Tart Cherries
Makes 8 servings
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular, not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/4 cup heavy cream
Chocolate cherry ice cream or other ice cream of your choice
Drunken Tart Cherries (recipe follows)
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 5-by-9 1/4-inch nonstick loaf pan and set aside.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until very fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the vanilla.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, in three parts, to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until well combined; do not overmix.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, filling evenly. Rap the pan sharply on a counter several times to release any air bubbles, then smooth the surface of the batter.
Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 30 minutes of baking.
Unmold the cake and turn it right side up. Let cool thoroughly on a wire rack before glazing.
To make the glaze, in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven, gently heat the chocolate and cream until the chocolate is just melting. Remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool to almost room temperature but still liquid. Pour over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for 15 minutes before serving.
To serve, slice the cake into 16 slices and serve 2 slices, shingled, per serving. Top with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of cherries with their syrup.
Drunken Tart Cherries
Makes 1 cup
1 cup pitted dried tart cherries
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
Mix the cherries, amaretto, and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cherries and stir well. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours before using. Store, refrigerated, for up to 2 months.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books