Monday, January 22, 2007


SHF (On a Monday) Chocolate By Brand - Russian Chocolate Vodka Cake

Last summer, my beach read was Chocolate, by Mort Rosenblum. I figured devouring a book about chocolate while lounging in the 85-degree sun was an all-together better plan than eating actual chocolate while wearing my bikini.

It’s a great book, touching on the history of chocolate while following one mans quest to learn as much as he could about what “good” chocolate really is. Simply irresistible. It fascinated me to learn how different each and every brand of chocolate really is, and WHY.

While meeting and greeting with the worlds foremost experts on the subject, it should come as no great surprise to anyone that Mr. Rosenblum sussed out Mr. David Lebovitz to check on what he had to say.

Reading the book, I got all giddy. I just love me that Mr. Lebovitz. I mean, he has a blog! He loves chocolate! He is foxy! Everything a girl like me gets swoony over. Who can resisit a food-blogging-chocoholic-ex-pat-boy. Too, too fantabulous. He just plain rocks.

And then, a few weeks ago, Mr. Lebovitz called out to the world, asking if people would take part in Sugar High Friday. An online baking event that he was hosting. The declared theme was, “Chocolate by Brand.” To choose a chocolate we love and to bake and blog. I was in. So what if I can’t bake my way out of a paper bag? I just had to give it a try. It just seemed like a super-fun-tastic challenge, ya know? Try some chocolates and pick something that I really love to feature.

Choosing the chocolate was tricky. While my natural inclination is to get something Free Trade, I was in a pinch and couldn’t make it to the market that sells such a thing, so I looked elsewhere. The stores offered the usual suspects, the Vahlronas and Hersheys and all sorts of other brands. my spell checker finds bothersome.

So I looked in my cupboard, to see what I really do buy. To see what I typically bake with.

Hiding far back, slumbering in the dark, a brick of Callebaut sat waiting, as it has been for months. I don’t know if you all have contended with industrial sized blocks of chocolate, but I have, and as a home baker, my suggestion is to leave them to the professionals. The type of professionals who have strong forearms and don’t mind heavy lifting or whittling away at something that seems determined to stay in its original form.

My second choice was the winner. A few bars of…Russian chocolate. A. Korkunov chocolate. Something that had been given to me as a gift and I had yet to try.

Award winning Russian chocolate. Too perfect. I grabbed all three bars and started baking.

Now we all know chocolate is a tropical product, and that Russia hasn’t got any tropical regions. So that the sources of this chocolate aren’t noted is a bit of a bummer. I would have liked to know what made this chocolate taste so…different than anything I have ever, ever had. Smooth, creamy, low in sugar (it’s 72% cocoa after all.) and somewhat…flinty. Like someone used hard-water to blend it, and then let the natural mineral compositions settle. I LOVED it.

It's not that warm and sensuous chocolate, it's steely and bracing, it's strong and assertive, it's Russian chocolate through and through. I kid you not, its as if this chocolate was blended to go not with a glass of milk, but with an icy shot of vodka.

Was I influnced to think that simply based on the fact it is Russian chocolate? Maybe, but when I made this Russian Chocolate Vodka Cake, dense and moist and gooey, I served it with vodka to my confused friends...who all agreed, it was a combination made in heaven. Or maybe Moscow. The perfect way to highlight this interesting chocolate.

Try it, and enjoy!

7 eggs- separated, reserve whites
1 cup white sugar
4 oz. butter
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 oz. raspberry flavored vodka
Whipped Cream to serve

Butter a 9” removable bottom cake pan and place a round of parchment paper in the bottom, then butter again and flour the pan.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, and butter.

Place the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and mix until the yolks become white and double in size. Remove the chocolate from the heat, and let cool for a few minutes.

Place the whites in a separate mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, and beat until soft peaks form. Don’t over beat or they will become dry. Add the chocolate to the whipped yolks, and gently fold just to incorporate. Add 1/3 of the whipped whites and gently fold. Add the rest of the whites to the mix, and fold just to incorporate, being careful not to over mix.

Place in the prepared spring form pan, and bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center of the cake just starts to get firm. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Let cool and serve.


Ten percent of U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of iron is found in one ounce of baking chocolate or cocoa.

Cadbury Dairy Milk was first launched in 1905

Hershey, the number-one selling chocolate in the United States, owns Bay Area favorites Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt

Hershey reports that U.S. dark-chocolate sales have grown by 11.2% in the last four years. As a result, the company is concentrating almost half of its business on dark-chocolate production by expanding already popular products, such as Hershey's Special Dark, the best-selling dark-chocolate bar in the U.S., and by making limited-edition flavors of products like Hershey's kisses in dark chocolate. - Forbes


Well, I don't know about baking yourself out of a paper bag but you sure have baked your way into SHF (On a Monday) Chocolate By Brand!!! Good job.
who needs chocolate when there's vodka!!
: )
MKIHC- Thanks!

David - And now we know why I dont eat in abundance...
Icy Vodka...gooey chocolate cake. If I throw Ed into the L.A. river will you marry me?
Only 1 oz of Vodka?? Guess I'll have to drink the rest
vodka and chocolate are two of my favorite things in all the land. being part russian, it seems i have no choice but to make this cake. hic.
Rachael - I've never heard of this particular Russian chocolate and am really keen to try now (so far I've only had bad, bad, really bad, Russian chocolates for some reason). And chocolate & vodka cake sounds most intriguing as well - will have to try it. I'm thinking of vodka-infused dinner party now - maybe start with vodka-gravadlax, followed by penne alla vodka and then vodka-choco cake? Greetings from Tallinn:)
I'm more of a rum girl myself, but I'm not saying I'd refuse a slice of this cake!
Hello? Helllooooo? Have I reached Fresh Choice Catering? :) Sorry, couldn't resist.
This entry is fantabulous!
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