Sunday, February 13, 2011

CHOCOLATE CHERRY POUND CAKE WITH MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM

LOVE AND DESIRE


I've got a crush on you, sweety pie
All the day and night time, hear me sigh
I never had the least notion
That I could fall with such emotion

Could you coo, could you care
For the cottage, we two could share
The world will pardon my mush
Because I've got a crush on you
- George Gershwin, 1930


Valentine’s Day. (cue to sigh deeply, languidly). Ideas flit through my mind; I slip on the heart-shaped rose-colored glasses and look out onto a world painted in romance. Cupids flutter in front of my love-hazed gaze and the scent of rose petals and springtime whirl and twirl around in the warm breeze kissing my skin. Ah, Valentine’s Day. I am led to believe by those willing to convince me that this day is no day at all, that if I surrender, give in to the commercial greed and false proclamations of so many admen, I somehow put our love at risk, laugh at the seriousness of the glue that holds our couple together, relinquish our passion to someone else who dares dictate how and when we declare our love. The sceptics surround me on every side, closing in, yet I glance up and smile sweetly, nodding in apparent agreement all the while dreaming velvet and lace dreams of my leading man.

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907-1907

But no. I am a romantic at heart, yes I am. And any excuse, real or imagined, to express my love is perfect. Any reason to offer some token of how I feel is good enough for me. And to receive an armload of flowers, feminine carnations, plump, voluptuous peonies, passionate tulips in all of their old-world beauty, delicate springtime blooms coyly revealing their pastel innocence and, yes, that old traditional favorite, roses, the most romantic of them all, well, of course I would never say no. Or place a tiny box in the palm of my hand, one single never-ending circle of silver nestled deep inside layers of crisp tissue paper, or slip a bracelet onto my wrist and snap the clasp closed in a gesture that binds us together forever. Wrap me in your arms and tell me that the day means nothing to you at all, that no one can put limits or restrictions, obligations or rules on the expression of your feelings. Tell me that you desire me every day and you need no one at all to hand you an opportunity to show me just how much. But recognize this day with a gift or a sign, no matter how small, just because you know what it means to me, a single sentimental gesture to acknowledge the expectation that flutters in my heart, and I promise you that in return I will agree with you about the nothingness of Valentine’s Day every single day for the rest of the year.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Who knows just precisely how or when or where you began, who proclaimed this as the day of love, billets doux, sweet nothings, gentle whispers and fervent glances. Did Mark Antony need Valentine’s Day to pull Cleopatra into his lustful embrace? Did Romeo need Valentine’s Day to inspire him to declare his passion for the young Juliet hovering breathlessly above in the moonlight? Did Valentine’s Day stir Napoleon’s amour for Josephine or elicit Darcy’s throwing himself at Elizabeth’s feet? No, I dare say not. It is true that one does not need this day to be a lover, to express desire, to recount unhesitatingly, ardently, passionately our undying love. No, not at all.

Edvard Munch, Kiss on the Beach, 1921

And as far as famous lovers go, we may be more Lucy and Ricky, our couple that quirky balance of fiery and comical, or George Burns and Gracie Allen, a little bit like some zany old-fashioned sitcom, or even Julia and Paul Child, playful and creative and standing out from the crowd like two rare and exotic creatures, more intellectual than glamorous, more ordinary than star crossed, more frivolity and heartfelt emotion than dark, brooding vamp and suave Casanova, but whoever or whatever the influence, we have never needed Valentine’s Day as a pretense to offer each other gifts, pop open the Champagne or snuggle up together. Yet…. yet… there is still something about Valentine’s Day that stirs up my womanly desires, lights the fire within, brings out the fluttering young girl in me again.

Like a faded romance novel or timeworn love story, I want him to smother me with kisses, shower me with baubles and sentimental gewgaws, I want to feel his soothing caress and his warm breath on my cheek as his love washes over me. No exuberant display of emotion is necessary, not even diamonds and rubies are required, just his loving glance, my hand in his, a gentle squeeze, a careful, graceful acknowledgement of my frivolous desire to be pampered on this of all days and then we can move on to all the rest of the days of the year.

Roy Lichtenstein, Kiss V, 1964

And for him I offer my heart, my love on a plate: rich, decadent Chocolate Pound Cake more like a mousse than a cake, cool, very dense, more than moist, infused with cherry, dotted with fruit, whispering of espresso. I carefully place one thin wedge on a plate, besprinkle the dark cake with a dusting of powdered sugar, slather it with Mascarpone Whipped Cream, barely sweetened and delicately flavored with vanilla, add a few cherries, maybe a shower of candied rose petals and I offer him such bliss, spoil him with such opulence, pamper him with such sensual pleasure that, as he cleans his plate, savors the final crumbs, places his fork delicately on the plate, he looks at me with eyes afire and whispers…”Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.”


CHERRY CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE
With Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Kirsch Cherries

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs instant espresso powder
3 sticks (1 ½ cups, 345 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup kirsch, juice from jarred cherries or coffee (for a coffee-chocolate version) *
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup drained jarred cherries, if desired, and extra for serving

* For my version, I used 2% fat low-fat milk and juice from the jarred cherries.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or Bundt pan. I placed my tube pan on a piece of aluminum foil as my pan tends to allow batter to seep and ooze out the bottom before it sets.

Sift together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, salt and instant espresso powder.

Cream the butter and the sugar together in a large mixing bowl on low speed until combined and then increase mixer speed to high speed and beat for 3 – 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition.

Combine the liquids in a measuring cup. Beat the dry ingredients into the batter in 3 additions alternating with the liquid in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry and just until combined. Gently fold in the drained cherries, being careful not to over mix.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until risen and set. Cover the cake about halfway through the baking if browning too quickly. Allow to bake for a bit longer if necessary. The cake will seem set when slightly pressed but a skewer or tester inserted deep in the cake will come out a bit wet.

Remove the cake from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 20 – 30 minutes in the pan. Very carefully unmold the cake and allow to completely cool before serving. It is even better if prepared the day before serving.

Serve with the Mascarpone Whipped Cream and a few extra drained cherries that have been soaked in a couple of tablespoons of kirsch, if desired.


MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM
Can be flavored with kirsch, if desired

1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 – 2 Tbs kirsch to taste, optional
1 – 2 Tbs confectioner’s/powdered sugar, to taste
2 Tbs mascarpone, softened to room temperature

Beat the heavy cream, the vanilla and the kirsch if using on medium speed for 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar as you beat, starting with 1 tablespoon. Add the softened, creamy mascarpone and beat until blended and the cream is fluffy, thick and soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if desired.


72 comments:

A Thought For Food said...

What a beautifully written piece, Jamie. Your love always shines through in your writing (and in your cooking)... Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day.

Jamie said...

@A Thought For Food: Thank you, dear friend. Your support and kind words always mean so much to me! Happy V Day to you!

El said...

It looks divine. I love the combination of chocolate and cherries. Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

A beautiful ode to love and a reminder that we all (men and women) should be pampered and feted upon during the entire year. Our girls are choosing the recipe to make for MY beloved this year, so I'm not able to serve this up for the actually holiday; however, I know this will be a delightful recipe to remind him that I love him during other, not so commercial, times of the year.

Kudos Kitchen said...

What a sweet post Jamie! I so many more ways than one! Love your recipe. Love your writing. Love your pictures. Yep, I'm gushing!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Jamie said...

@Lael @ Educated Palate: that is so lovely! Absolutely! And your daughters are too sweet!

@El: Happy V Day to you and yours!

Barbara Bakes said...

What a gorgeous, decadent Valentine's dessert. I know you've won my heart!

domenicacooks said...

What a lovely post, Jamie, sweet and romantic. We are big fans of sour cherries in our house (my husband is from Michigan, sour cherry capital of the U.S.). I buy quarts of sour cherries in summer, pit them and freeze them. I usually make a sour cherry pound cake with mascarpone or sour cream, but this looks like a great alternative. Here's a finishing touch i like to put on my cake: I collect the juice from the thawed cherries, mix with sugar and reduce it on the stovetop to a syrup, then brush it over the top of the cake while it's still warm. I'll bet that syrup would be great on this cake. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

Jamie said...

@domenicacooks: Wow! What I wouldn't give to live in the sour cherry capital of the world! Lucky! And your pound cake sounds divine as well. Thanks for the suggestion/idea about the syrup: duly noted! It would also make the top of the cake much prettier. I have added 1/4 cup cherry juice to the batter which gives it a fabulous flavor.

Sara{OneTribeGourmet} said...

your lovely post is making me all teary eyed! Choc cherry pound cake looks Divine! Happy Valentines Day sweetheart! xo

Dominique said...

J'adore l'association chocolat, cerises (un petit air de "mon chéri")... le message est clair! Belle recette!

Adryon said...

Absolutely stunning. Both the post and the cake.

I want to lick my monitor. Happy Valentines Day!

ABowlOfMush said...

Wow this looks so scrumptious!!

Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day! :)

Cherine said...

What a beautiful post, both the writing and the dessert!!
Happy Valentine's day!!!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

I love combining chocolate and cherries; I remember as a kid loving those cherry filled chocolate candies! Lovely story, beautiful cake.

Nisrine, Dinners and Dreams said...

What a texture in this cake, Jamie! It looks divine.

Hope you have a fabulous V-Day tomorrow!

lora said...

Lovely cake Jamie and beautiful sentiments. Happy Valentine's Day!

Lana said...

What can I say? I wanted to jump on the first plane and throw rose petals on the carpet around you, make you a chocolate cake, and pamper you with love, Valentine's Day or not:)How can your poor husband feel after these powerful words you sent into the ether?
Thanks for another gem of a post - it is so nice to wake up and feel enveloped in love and beauty.
Happy Valentine's day!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

There is no better way of showing your love for him. That cake is extremely luscious and sensually fudgy. What gorgeous texture. My oh my what a terrific dessert!

I love Klimt...

Cheers and have a lovely St-Valentin,

Rosa

Tanvi said...

I love the little piece you wrote in the beginning of the post Jamie..beautiful words to express your feelings.I feel that relationships require continual feed of love..and not just a single day.The texture of cake looks super moist.I think I can eat a bowl full of mascarpone cream.

Ivy said...

Mmmm, chocolate and cherries is perfect for a Valentine's cake. Happy Valentine's day.

tasteofbeirut said...

I love this chocolate cake because of the combination with cherries: I think the pairing is ideal!
Your writing is always an inspiration as well.
Happy Valentine's day to you and your loved ones.

CherylK said...

I love the poetry and I think the cake looks positively poetic! A recipe that will try, for sure.

Meaghan Luby said...

play, yum. yummmmmmmmmmmmmm! this is beautiful, in writing and on film, and i'd wager it tastes as great as it looks! thank you for sharing, that whip cream alone looks well worth the effort!
-meg
@ http://www.myscribblednotebook.blogspot.com
@ http://www.clutzycooking.blogspot.com

Fresh Local and Best said...

You are probably of the most romantic of the romantics, a soul who yearns for the lustful and constant. I love pound cake and have not had the good fortune of chocolate cherry pound cake, which must be so decadent and rich.

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

You are right, who would say no to an opportunity to offer an receive tokens of affection and love. Perhaps the date itself doesn't matter, but it's nice to have a day devoted to cherishing the spirit of love in the world.

Sanjeeta kk said...

What a lovely way to express your love to your loved ones. The cake looks gorgeous and very rich. Love the dense texture and dark chocolaty color. Have a great day ahead, Jamie.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Goodness me Jamie-look at the texture on that cake. And here is me, teeth brushed trying to mellow down for bed but I'm getting excited about chocolate cake! :P Happy Valentines Day darling!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Oh! Cherries! Chocolate! Cream! You are really spoiling me!

I just realised eek it is V day so I must zoom up my Mactweets entry as it's made for today!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I am a romantic at heart too! The opening poem is lovely.
As for your pound cake, wow...it looks so moist and delicious! And the flavours are great for V day.

Elle said...

Oh my word--what a gorgeous, rich cake. I can almost taste the velvety chocolate on my tongue! Such a lovely tribute to Valentine's Day and those we love.

Shulie said...

Wanted to drop by and wish you a Happy Valentine's Day Jamie. Love the red speckled cake!! :)

Deeba PAB said...

I'm not a romantic my sweetest sistah, but I seem to have a crush on you!! ROFL.. this cake is for moi? Right? What a great flavour combination, and then more to top it up... YUM!!

Jamie said...

@Shulie: Thank you, dear, and Happy Valentine's Day!

@Deeba: Dahling! My heart! You aren't a romantic but there is something so romantic about everything you bake! AND yes chocolate and cherry is your flavor combo! Mwah! xoxo

Peter M said...

Rich...moist, chocolate. This cake is meant to be eaten in small bites...feed your loved one small bites of decadent cake I say!

Eliana said...

What a wonderful post and gorgeous looking cake. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day :)

Annusya ^-^ said...

This looks so beautifulsie and yummy! :D What are those pretty pink sprinkles?! Are they candied rose petal pieces? I really want to know, heehee! ^-^

^-^

♥ Annusya ♥

Jamie said...

@Annusya: yes those are beautiful tiny bits of candied rose petals. I bought a jar of them and I love them.

elra said...

You know how to please both your reader and your love one. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's day.

Swathi said...

Beautiful writeup, great recipe, glad to find you.

A Canadian Foodie said...

What a beautiful Valentine post and what a gorgeous rich moist decadent chocolate cake recipe. When we were in Vienna a couple of summers ago, I bought Klimt's Kiss and we have it in our dining room. I also have that other photo (cartoon one) on a book called "If you can't live without me, why aren't you dead yet". Hilarious.
I love your romantic notions and am definitely right there with you.
:)
(I must make this cake!)
Valerie

5 Star Foodie said...

Such a decadent and luscious pound cake, I love the chocolate cherry combination!

Lisa said...

Such a beautiful Valentine post, Jamie. Your words really penetrate one's heart and soul, whether you're talking about love or eating chocolate :)

Speaking of, holy fudgy, moussey, mouth watering'ness', Batman. That is one luxurious poundcake. Would love to try it with raspberries and framboise! Happy belated Valentine's Day!

Jackie at Phamfatale.com said...

The kiss is probably my favorite painting. Your Valentine is so lucky. And the mascarpone cream is just that added oomph to your decedent chocolaty cherry dessert. BeautifuL!

Jamie said...

@Jackie at Phamfatale.com: Thanks and I love the idea of "adding oopmh!"

@Lisa: LOL!!!You always make me laugh and you have a way of saying it that it hits the nail on the head! And mmmm raspberries and Framboise! Wonderful idea!

RamblingTart said...

Gorgeous post, Jamie. :-) I love your romantic nature and enthusiasm about spoiling your man. :-) Chocolate and cherries absolutely rock my world - and this mousse-like cake would be perfect. :-)

Annusya ^-^ said...

@ Jamie: Oh, my goshie! ^-^ I have to get some of those candied rose petals, heehee! ^-^ They are amazing! ^-^

♥ Annusya ♥

Nicole said...

I may have missed the boat on Valentines Day this year! Could it be?! Well, there will always be an occasion for such a beautiful, decadent cake. I'm just afraid of how much of it I would eat!!!

SMITH BITES said...

oh Jamie ~ i'm running out of words to shower you with on your beautiful writing; what us romantics will do for love, yes? shower me with rose petals, bracelets and whisperings of sweet nothings in my ear . . . pop the champagne cork, turn up the music and dance with me through the night and then . . . watch the sunrise with me in the morning . . . sigh

but as The Professor said to me this weekend, 'I don't want to save all the love I have for you just for one day, I want you to know how deeply I love you all year long' . . . and then I melted . . .

Cake Duchess said...

Such a sensual post and even more sensual cake. Valentine's Day is what it is. We should express love every day of the year and have this cake as often as possible. Buon San Valentino xoxo

ChocolateCentral said...

What a great blog you have. Your chocolate with cherry cake got my attention, but I also enjoyed reading your piece, because you shared so much of yourself in it. I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day.

Jamie said...

@SMITH BITES: Awwwww, he is too sweet and he sounds like JP, too. Oh that was the perfect thing to say...

kathleen said...

Hello

Good Day, Your idea is really great,I'll come back to see more of your work.

-Kathy
www.healthandwellnessconsultants.com

Heavenly Housewife said...

That must be the most decadent pound cake i have ever set my beady eyes one. I hope you had a wonderful Valentines Day!
*kisses* HH

UrMomCooks said...

I know Valentine's Day is over...but...love is always in season and chocolate with cherry is always appropriate! I would love to make this! (for my love!)

Now Serving said...

Jamie, Every one of those delicious dessert pictures has me drooling copiously!

Barbara said...

We don 't celebrate V Day, but after reading this post I wish we did. Beautiful cake Jamie.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

We don't celebrate Valentine's day but your cherry chocolate tarte looks amazing & just stunning, Jamie!

Waw!! That mascarpone whipped cream is the best!

MMMMMM,...Kisses from Brussels to you!!

I recently moved my blog to wordpress.com/ Come over @ my blog & check it out! You must update your RSS too!

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Your chocolate cake looks so moist and the flavour is absolutely stunning.

C&G said...

that looks delicious....

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I am a romatic at heart too and you make it all warm and fuzzy with this post. It has everything a girl needs - love, desire and a slice of chocolate cake!

vanessa said...

Your CHOCOLATE CHERRY POUND CAKE WITH MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM is look so delicious. It is good for a celebration with couple. specially during valentines and anniversary :) Thanks for sharing!

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lisaiscooking said...

I have to say, Klimt's The Kiss is a fabulous, beautiful piece of art! And, mascarpone whipped cream is a great way to express your love. Your pound cake looks divine!

Dostava Hrane said...

That looks great! I have to try :)

Lynne Rees said...

Irresistible! The cake and the writing.

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Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds said...

Looks delicious! Very pleased to have come across your blog!

Isabelle said...

Hi Jamie,
I tried for Martin and Clémentine arrival your Valentines'Day cake recipe. It looked so fabulous ! So we had first a nice "poulet coco" and then discovered that divine combination of chocolate, cherries and mascarpone cream... Hmmm !!
(Note the French cooker I am had a bit of problem with that strange notion of CUP ! How on earth could I know how much flour that little kitchen ustensil could contain ? Imagine me wandering on the blog from dessert recipe to dessert recipe, looking for the information, dreaming in front of those gorgeous photos...)

Jamie said...

@Isabelle - Did the cake turn out? I will call you because I want to know! And what a fabulous idea you gave me - I'll add a page explaining my measurements, ingredients, etc! xoxo

asiangrrl said...

Lovely writing as always, Jamie. The cake? Looks sinfully delicious.

mayajo said...

Simply amazing! I love everything


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Amaribe said...

Oh my god, this cake looks mouthwatering. Makes me want it now!!!! :-) I have to try this recipe!

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