dark chocolate cake with blueberry preserves and liquid cheesecake

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nick jr. usually stops showing peppa pig around 3 am, so if i’m still awake, i turn to infomercials to keep me entertained. early one morning, bleary-eyed after enduring a two-hour long ad for hip-hop abs, i was about to switch the tv off, when suddenly…….big letters and boldly colored fruits flashed across the screen! a hallucination? an ad for fruit ninja? NO! the snackmaster express all-in-one food dehydrator!!!!!!!!!!!! 

this machine is fuckin amazing. it’s capable of dehydrating spices, making beef jerky, and most importantly, drying fruit!! dried fruit is tasty, but the stuff in stores tends to have a ton of added sugar and preservatives, so i think it’d be cool to be able to make it from scratch (this cake requires dried blueberries).

unfortunately, freeze-dried blueberries are also on the cake’s ingredient list, but are much harder to make from scratch, so you have to drop $8 on a tiny bag of trader joe’s freeze-dried blueberries. i know that’s ridiculous, but they’re crucial for texture and flavor.

my birthday is in two weeks! get me the snackmaster and i’ll make you lots of fruity cakes and beef jerky!

cake

  • 1 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

liquid cheesecake (recipe from the momofuku milk bar cookbook)

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature

cream cheese frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

blueberry crumbs (adapted from the momofuku milk bar cookbook)

  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 1 1/2 oz white chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 oz freeze-dried blueberries

soak

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

assembly

  • 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (store-bought OR made with the snackmaster)

for the cake, preheat oven to 300º. grease a quarter sheet pan and line with parchment paper.  mix the chocolate with the hot coffee and set aside (don’t stir). whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. in a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. add the oils, buttermilk, and vanilla. stir the chocolate-coffee mixture and add it to the wet ingredients. add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for twenty seconds. spread batter evenly in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. let cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack and let cool for at least an hour (or stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes).

for the liquid cheesecake, preheat the oven to 300º. line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 baking pan with plastic wrap. beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. add the sugar and continue to mix. scrape down the sides of the bowl. in a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and salt. in a slow stream, add in the milk. whisk in the egg. add the egg slurry into the cream cheese on low speed, then beat for 3 minutes. pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes; the cheesecake should be almost set near the outer edges, and jiggly in the center. let cool in the pan. the final product should be pliable enough to spread or smear.

for the cream cheese frosting, beat together all ingredients in a stand mixer for 4-5 minutes, until fluffy.

for the blueberry crumbs, preheat the oven to 250º and line a baking sheet with parchment. combine the powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. toss to mix. add the melted butter and toss until clusters form. bake the clusters for 20 minutes on the sheet. let cool, then toss in the additional milk powder. pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until evenly coated. pulverize the freeze-dried blueberries until you have a fine powder. toss the crumbs in the powder.

to assemble, use the cake ring to punch two circles and two half circles out of the cake. reserve scraps for snacking. wipe off the cake ring, then place it on a sheet pan. lay a 6-inch circle of cardboard (or cake board) in the bottom. line the ring with the strip of acetate. place the two half circles in the bottom, adding scraps if needed to complete the circle. brush with a good amount of heavy cream. use the back of a spoon to spread on half of the liquid cheesecake. top with a third of the crumbs (use the bigger clumps if you can; discard or eat the tiny crumbs). use the back of a spoon to spread half of the blueberry preserves on top of the crumbs (it can be messy). sprinkle with dried blueberries. repeat with the second layer, using a whole round. nestle the final layer on top. cover the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting and garnish with any remaining milk crumbs. transfer the sheet pan to the freezer, and freeze for at least 12 hours (or up to 2 weeks). keep refrigerated; bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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