Chocolate Cake with Black Pepper Mascarpone

Schmidt Family Vineyards Fall Wine Club Release

Recipes compliments of Kate Dwyer Catering 592-2214

A fine match for our Syrah, this light-textured chocolate cake is spread with Mascarpone cheese seasoned with freshly cracked pepper and drizzled with dark chocolate glaze.

This recipe makes one half-sheet layer, to be cut into 24 dessert servings or 64 petit fours. (You may freeze half the cake for another use if this recipe is too large for your needs. Just wrap the cake well, and remember to halve the topping ingredients.)

Ingredients:

2-½ cups all-purpose flour
1-cup sugar
1 ¼ cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
½ cup light vegetable oil, such as canola
2 cups orange juice

Directions:

For the cake: Line a 13” by 18” sheet cake pan with parchment paper and grease the paper lightly. Preheat the oven to 350.

Sift the dry ingredients (first six items) into a large bowl and set aside.

Separate three eggs and hold the whites in a bowl for beating in a moment.

In a medium bowl, blend the egg yolks, oil and orange juice. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites together with the cream of tartar and gradually add the ¼ cup sugar. Beat to stiff peaks and set aside.

Pour the egg yolk mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Beat on medium about one minute. (Humidity levels in flour vary. You may wish to add up to ½ cup water if the batter is very thick.) Fold in the stiff whites and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out to an even depth, and bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at various points come out clean.

Allow the cake to cool. If cutting the cake into petit fours, turn the cake out of the pan onto a flat work surface, such as a large cutting board (but one not used for onions, please!) and peel off the parchment paper.

Beat one pint of Mascarpone cheese with 1 Tablespoon freshly cracked black peppercorns. Smooth the cheese over the cake using a damp offset spatula.

In a small saucepan, scald ¾ cup of heavy cream over a low flame. Remove from heat. Stir in ½ cup finely chopped dark chocolate. Stir gently until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate artfully over the cake surface, allowing the contrasting white to show through.

Using a sharp heavy knife dipped in water, cut the cake into four long strips, then into eighths in the other direction. Wipe and dip the knife after each cut for a neat appearance. Then cut each square diagonally. You will have 64 very attractive petit four triangles. Arrange these on serving trays.

Serve with Schmidt Family Winery Syrah.