Friday, 24 July 2015

Othello cake with dark chocolate, espresso coffee and dark cherries in syrup

20 minutes to prepare Serves 12


Since 1992, when he opened his Antica Arte del Dolce, Ernst Knam enchants people from Milan with his unique way of interpreting the art of pastry.
His creations, with their intriguing combinations of flavors and aromas, have become cult objects: wanted, photographed, tagged and copied. In the city of fashion, where aesthetics never goes unnoticed, the purity and the rigor of Knam's style have been immediately appreciated, even by those who claim not to have a very sweet tooth.

Today's recipe is loosely based on the book by Ernst Knam "L'arte del dolce" (The art of sweet): it is the notorious Othello cake with dark chocolate, dark cherries in syrup and espresso coffee.
I applied ​​some small changes to the original recipe, trying both to make the pastry sweeter and the procedure easier to follow.
This cake has a very pleasant, soft, almost creamy consistence. The equilibrium among the ingredients, between sweet and sour, fruity and chocolate, is simply perfect. In short, it is to try!

Here are ingredients for a 12-serving recipe (24-cm diameter baking pan):

For the pastry

200 g sugar
180 g flour 00
50 g dark cocoa powder
200 g dark chocolate
2 eggs
1/2 sachet vanilla baking powder
125 g white creamy yogurt
125 g liquid cream
80 g butter 
90 ml espresso coffee
90 ml dark cherry syrup
120 g dark cherries

For the icing

40 ml liquid cream
70 ml dark cherry syrup
20 g dried cranberries
1 gelatine sheet

  1. Preheat oven to 160°
  2. Melt the butter in a bain-marie and let it cool down
  3. Pour the liquid cream in a saucepan, and heat it until it reaches the boiling point. Then, add the chopped chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted
  4. Whisk the eggs and the sugar with an electric beater until you get a light and fluffy mixture
  5. Gradually add the chocolate cream, melted butter, and yogurt to the mixture of eggs and sugar, and mix with the electric mixer
  6. Sift the flour, the baking powder and the cocoa. Add them to the mixture while keeping on mixing
  7. Incorporate the espresso coffee and the dark cherry syrup together with a pinch of salt. Whisk again until the mixture is smooth
  8. Drain well the cherries from the syrup and cut them by half. Add them to the mixture and stir with a spoon
  9. Grease and dust the baking pan with cocoa powder, then pour the mixture. Level it and bake it at 160° for 50 minute. (Do not open the oven for at least the first half of the baking time and perform the toothpick test at the end, to be sure baking is done) 
  10. Leave the cake to cool a bit in the oven with the door open, then out of the oven
  11. Meanwhile, start preparing the dark cherry icing: pour 1/2 cup of water in a medium bowl and dunk the gelatine sheet in it. Let it soften about 5 minutes
  12. Pour both the dark cherry syrup and the liquid cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Wring out the gelatine sheet and add it to the mixture. Slowly stir until gelatine melts
  13. Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Cut the cranberries into small pieces and add them to the icing, stir to mix
  14. Once the cake is fully cooled, garnish the top with some icing...and be ready for some real pleasure!

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

L'amarena u si fa cirasu* 
(Sicilian proverb)

* The dark cherry cannot become a cherry

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