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Cocoa Raspberry Bread

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene is shuffling its way into New York City, and it's been raining like cats and dogs since yesterday afternoon. In anticipation of power outages, I decided to make a good use of my electric mixer and bake a cake. Raspberry puree with cognac, brown sugar and cocoa powder is what came to mind. I did not use an existing recipe for the dough, but concocted my own. The result is a delicious rustic cake with a rough bread-like texture.

Seeking a home remedy for the bad weather blues? Come along!

What you need:
for the filling:
10 oz frozen raspberries
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp cognac
1 tsp flour

for the batter:
2 eggs
1 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups sour cream
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp butter for the cake pan
~9" cake pan

for the sprinkling:
4 Tbsp cold butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp confectioner's sugar

How to do it:
Set frozen raspberries with sugar and cognac on low heat and let them defrost. When the mixture gets warm, cook gently for 10 minutes.
Strain the raspberry puree and set aside.* Continue to cook the syrup until it coats a spoon. Mix it in with the raspberry puree. When this cools, mix in 1 teaspoon flour.

Mix the dry ingredients for the sprinkling. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and work the pieces into the dry ingredients with your hands until you have a crumble. Set this aside.**

Everything else:
1. Butter the cake pan. Turn the oven on to 350 Fahrenheit.
2. With an electric mixer mix the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract until the sugar is dissolved.
3. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Add the flour to the egg batter in portions, mixing thoroughly each time. When the batter is thick and it's tough to mix in more flour, set the remaining flour aside.
4. In a medium bowl, mix the baking soda into the sour cream with a spoon. The soda will react with the acidity of sour cream and the mixture will immediately start expanding. It is important to move quickly from this point on - otherwise the bubbles will lose their potency.
5. Gently fold the sour cream into the batter with a wooden spoon (the mixer would damage the bubbles) until fully incorporated. Then, gently mix in the remaining flour until homogeneous.
6. Working briskly, smooth out 1/2 of the batter onto the bottom of cake pan. Spread the raspberry filling over this and spread the rest of the batter on top. Try not to mix the filling with the dough, but it's not a big deal if you do. Scatter the prepared sprinkling over the batter and set the cake in the preheated oven.
7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes. Once the bread is out, let it cool for half an hour before cutting.
8. And... don't forget to enjoy this only slightly sinful dessert before the disaster strikes!

* The reason why I cooked the syrup separately is not to overcook the raspberries. You can probably just cook the raspberries without straining them until you get jam.
** When mixing my crumble, I made a mistake and let my butter get warm. This resulted in a different effect: the crumbles melted together over the cake, producing a uniform crust and not an arrangement of distinct crumbles.


Nadia S. said...

I never thought about putting raspberries together with cocoa, but your cake looks delicious. I would add a fresh raspberry sauce to it: mash fresh berries through sieve to remove seeds, mix in some sugar. Also, sour cream frosting on top would be nice. :)

Masha S. said...

Cocoa and raspberries go well together, but there shouldn't be too much chocolate - else it will overpower the berries.
Both sauce & sour cream are not needed here. This is more like a rustic bread cake to go with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Adding anything more dessert like to it does not seem fitting.

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