Tuesday, March 03, 2009

TWD: Chocolate Armagnac Cake

Or, as Dorie also calls it, "The Cake That Got Me Fired." It's a good story. Go buy the cookbook and find out how it happened.

This is a (mostly) flourless chocolate cake with a rather adult edge to it. The original recipe called for whisky soaked raisins and almond meal. Dorie's version calls for Armagnac soaked prunes and pecan meal. Ok, she changed the recipe at the restaurant where she was working. That's why she got fired. Buy the book anyway.

I went with the original recipe. Remember this:



Whisky I had. Raisins I had. Ground almonds, yup, in the cabinet.

As I said before, flourless chocolate cake. I used many many dishes.



My last count was six cooking vessels. It's not a complicated recipe, but you need to know what you are doing. It's a medium-high fuss factor. I was a little confused with the instructions for the whisky soaked raisins. The prunes were boiled in water, steeped in the Armagnac, and then flamed a little. The raisins, as far as I could tell, were just supposed to steep for at least three hours. I decided to flame them before I added them to try to take a little boozy edge off of them. It didn't work.

I didn't follow the "put it on a sheet pan" instruction. I've found that the bottom of things don't cook as well when I do that. I also didn't bother taking it off the bottom of the springform before serving.

This is the finished, fairly unattractive cake.



Here's where I also veered away from the recipe. I chose not to frost it. I thought that it was rich enough without another layer of chocolate. I think it was a good choice.

What I did do was dust the cake slices with powdered sugar. It came out looking just lovely.



The verdict was mixed. The girl did not care for it. The boy ate up his entire piece. The husband, who is the whisky fan, really liked it. The husband's friends finished the rest of the cake. In one night. They liked it. I thought it was good, but the raisins were a little much for me. Ok, raisins would have been fine, it was the serious shot of whisky that came with each raisin that raised my eyebrows. Apparently, the prunes tend to melt into the cake, the raisins stay intact. The chocolate flavor was lovely. The texture was silky with the barest hint of crunch to the crust. I could see this adapting very nicely for Passover.

I'm glad to have tried it. Thanks to LyB of And Then I do the Dishes for choosing this recipe. Next week is my chosen "skip week." I'll have something else sweet up. Perhaps I'll do a two-fer and make it from a cookbook I've never used!

26 comments:

Marthe said...

The cake looks great with the dusted powdered sugar on top!

I actually made mine without the frosting as well, but not by choice: I totally forgot to add it!

Cakelaw said...

I agree that this cake is totally rich enough on its own without the frosting. I think the proof of the pudding is ultimately in the taste - and it sounds as though it was a winner, even if it wasn't to your daughter's liking.

Jennifer said...

Nice job! The frosting is great, though!

Maria said...

I love the powdered sugar finish! Nice job on the cake!

spike. said...

I think the powdered sugar top is a nice alternative.

doughmesstic said...

I am with ya - WAAAAY to many dishes. You really need to have ice cream with this, otherwise it will kill you.
As in, dead.

pinkstripes said...

I agree this cake required lots of dishes. I want to try the original recipe. It sounds delcious as well.

Megan said...

The prunes melt into the cake but the raisins don't? Hmm. I took the safe route and left out any and all fruits!

SiHaN said...

yeh. could have done the sugar dusting instead to cut on the calories. *darn*. and i agree with you on the fact that the raisin just didn't 'melt' into the cake. they were still soaked of alcohol though.

Karen said...

That looks really good! :) Very fudgy and delicious!

Peggy said...

I like your dusting instead of icing. It looks great. I loved this cake!!!

chocolatechic said...

My dishes count was astronomical.

We loved the cake though.

kim said...

It looks very pretty with the powdered sugar! Maybe I will try the raisins, I think I would like the little hits of whiskey in the cake ;)

Tammy said...

gosh, I do everything a bit quick I think - I didnt read about putting the tin on a sheet pan at all! Your cake looks good

Flourchild said...

Sorry you didn't like it..bummer on all the dishes.

margot said...

The powder sugar was a great idea; your cake looks great!

Linda said...

Like you hubby, I like tasting the booze I add to my recipes --- I must try the raisin/whisky version. Great job on your cake!

Jessica said...

I think that the choice to dust with powdered sugar was a good one. I didn't find that the chocolate glaze really "added" anything to the cake because it's so chocolaty.

Carol Peterman said...

I used armagnac and couldn't taste it at all. I do think the cake was rich enough to not need the frosting, but it certainly didn't hurt. The powedered sugar makes it look prettier though.

The Food Librarian said...

Looks fantastic! I made mine over a couple days so I didn't add up the dishes, but I was at the sink a lot! :)

Teanna said...

LOVE the sugar dusting on top! I think that would have gone very well on this cake!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I'm sure it was good without the frosting too. You might like it better with prunes since, like you say, they do blend in.

Cathy said...

Oh, the powdered sugar is a great touch -- really elegant, and provides a nice little break from all that chocolate action. Sorry it wasn't univerally loved, but I agree that it was fun to make (if dish intensive -- wowzers!) See you in a couple of weeks!

Tracey said...

Agreed on how many dishes this recipe created! I wish I'd gone the powdered sugar route - I was not a fan of the glaze! Great job :)

Kayte said...

Your cake looks great...and I like the dusting of powdered sugar on it very much...very pretty. Very interesting that the prunes soak into the cake and the raisins don't...I love learning new things like that! I didn't know what Armagnac was...it's whiskey? Wow...that probably would be a much different tasting cake than one with rum that I used. Guess I will need to try it again and see if Mark likes the whiskey taste...he said he couldn't really taste it all that much.

LyB said...

Your cake looks great, I love the sprinkling of sugar on top. Thanks for baking along with me!