Deep-Dark Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Raspberry Orange Sauce & Meringue

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With their bright red color, tart-sweet flavor and jewel-like good looks, pomegranates are the perfect Holiday fruit. High-fiber, high-vitamin-content and the ability to swing sweet or savory makes them a trendy ingredient today, but pomegranates have figured in story and symbolism for thousands of years. Poor Persephone (of Ancient Greek myth) was tricked by Hades to eat just six pomegranate seeds—enough of a rule-breaker (“you eat in hell, you stay in hell”) to doom her to six months of darkness every year. Later in Judaism, pomegranates came to symbolize fruitfulness, and in Christianity, Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection.

Since pomegranates are in season in North American climes during the winter months, we’ve put them through their paces at Lost Recipes Found as both a savory-sweet Christmas-y side-dish—Pomegranate, Mint & Fennel with Honey-Spiced Drizzle, and, as a deeply-flavorful Pomegranate, Raspberry & Orange dessert sauce for a fudgy cake with fluffy meringue and candied orange threads. Both dishes are perfectly at home on Thanksgivukkah, Christmas & New Years tables.

Dessert-wise, I’ve always liked a deep dark chocolate with raspberry, but adding pomegranate and orange with a little zip from Grand Marnier, puts this sauce over the top. The cake under the sauce is a slight update on Susan Purdy’s very moist, lower-fat chocolate espresso cake recipe of 16 years ago. To pull it all together, I added a dollop of meringue and some candied orange threads.

Makes one, 8-inch cake, 12 servings

Deep-Dark Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup it-has-to-be whole milk (don’t substitute lower fat here)
  • 1 1/4 cups pure cane sugar
  • 2 single-serve tubes Starbuck’s VIA Ready Brew Dark Italian Roast microground instant coffee
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, in small pieces
  • 3-oz high-quality semisweet chocolate chips, or, chopped semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 large eggs plus one large egg white
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s special dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/3  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Coconut-oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers (Chocolate Teddy Grahams work well, too)

Pomegranate Raspberry Orange Sauce Ingredients

  • 2, 12-ounce bags of frozen unsweetened whole raspberries (or 6 cups fresh)
  • 3/4 cup pure-cane sugar
  • 1 large navel orange, zest cut into long thin strips with a zester
  • Juice from 1 large navel orange to equal 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 to 6 Tbsp Grand Marnier (wild-orange liqueur with Cognac)

Fluffy Cooked Meringue Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup pure-cane sugar
  • instant read thermometer

Instructions

  1. Make the cake: Put the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325.
  2. In a large saucepan over very low heat, whisk milk, sugar, instant coffee, butter and chocolate pieces. Stir until sugar dissolves and the butter and chocolate are melted. Remove from heat and cool until tepid.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg, egg whites and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder baking powder and salt.
  5. Combine the chocolate mixture with the egg mixture. Whisk all into the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  6. Make crust: Crush chocolate graham crackers. Spray the sides and bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with coconut-oil spray; shake the crushed chocolate-graham crumbs around the pan to coat sides and bottom. Leave any excess in the bottom. Wrap the outside of the springform pan (sides and bottom) with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  7. Pour the prepared batter into the prepared springform pan. Place the pan in a deep roasting pan. Boil 8 cups of water.
  8. Place the roasting pan holding the springform pan full of batter on the oven rack; pour the boiling water into the roasting pan—being careful not to splash any in to the cake pan—until water comes to a level about 1/2 the way up the outside of the springform pan. Carefully close the oven.
  9. Bake cake for 55 minutes. Carefully remove springform pan from water bath and cool on a rack. (Remove the sides of the springform pan after about 20 minutes.)
  10. Make sauce: In a non-reactive pot, over medium heat, combine sugar, 1/2 cup of the orange juice and orange zest threads. Whisk for 5 minutes, completely melting sugar. Skim candied orange threads out of the pot to a bowl. Set aside. Add berries and pomegranate seeds to the syrup in the pot and cook, crushing against the sides of the pot, for 3 more minutes. Using a blender (I used immersion blender,) blend the fruit. Pour all into a fine-mesh strainer that you have placed over a large bowl. Use a rounded mallet or wooden spoon to help push the liquid and fruit puree through the mesh, leaving the seeds and pulp behind in the strainer. Discard seeds and pulp.
  11. Pour berry liquid/puree back into the non-reactive pot, but don’t heat yet. In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup of orange juice with corn starch.  Add orange juice/corn starch slurry. Turn heat to high. Whisk mixture for 2 minutes until sauce is boiling, thickened and no longer cloudy. Remove from heat. Add 3 Tbsp Grand Marnier; add up to 3 Tbsp more liqueur, to your taste.
  12. Make meringue: Fill a medium large saucepan half way with water. Heat water to boiling; reduce heat to simmer. Pour the egg whites and sugar into a wide, stainless-steel bowl. Whisk slightly. Place the bowl of egg whites and sugar over the pot of simmering water and whisk until fluffy and warm. Grab the instant read thermometer and insert into the mixture: whites need to be 165 degrees for safe consumption. Keep whisking and checking temperature until you reach 165 degrees. Once you get there, pour the meringue into a cool bowl and keep whisking until the meringue is cool. It will be gorgeously glossy and fluffy.
  13. To serve: Slice wedges of the cake. Slice each wedge in half. Stand the triangles up in glass bowls. Pour sauce over. Top with generous spoonfuls of meringue. Garnish with candied orange threads.

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