Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chocolate Cake with Plum Pudding Vodka

Ingredients: (serves 8)
2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
9 oz best-quality dark chocolate, chopped
5 oz butter
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Cocoa powder, to dust

Plum pudding vodka:
1 bottle (about 700ml) vodka
9 oz dark brown sugar
3.5 oz mixed peel
9 oz sultanas
5 oz raisins
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp almond essence
6 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice

To prepare the vodka, place all ingredients in a large bowl and cover well with plastic wrap (reserve the vodka bottle and cap). Set aside in a cool place for 1 week, stirring once a day. Strain the contents through a very fine sieve, pressing down well to extract all the liquid. Pour liquid back into the vodka bottle and screw the cap on tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.*
Line base and grease base and sides of a 8 inch cake pan. (Use a solid, not springform, pan as the cake cooks in a water bath.)
Place 2/3 of the icing sugar in a saucepan with 5 tablespoons water and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate and stir until melted, then stir in butter. Beat eggwhites with remaining sugar and vinegar until soft peaks form. Add yolks to the warm chocolate mixture, then gently fold into the eggwhites until incorporated. Pour into the cake pan, place pan in a baking dish and pour enough boiling water into the baking dish to come just below the top of the cake pan. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, then leave in its pan set in water until completely cold.
Run a knife around outside of the cake and carefully turn out onto a flat plate. Cut into slices, dust with cocoa and serve with a shot of plum pudding vodka in chilled shot glasses.

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