1 ½ sticks (¾ cups) unsalted butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted, for the pots
¾ cup natural (not Dutch processed) cocoa powder, plus 1 tablespoon for the pots
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
¾ cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 ¾ cups (8 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups packed (14 ounces) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, room temperature
1. Place 1 tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon cocoa powder in each 10” Dutch oven. Warm ovens using a couple coals underneath, just enough to melt the butter. Using a pastry brush, coat the interior surface going 1 to 2 inches up the sides.
2. Combine the remaining ¾ cup cocoa, the chocolate, and espresso powder (if using) in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature; then whisk in the sour cream.
3. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda in a second, mixing bowl to combine.
4. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 ½ stick of butter, the brown sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing about 30 seconds after each addition. (The batter may appear separated); add about one-third of the flour mixture and half the chocolate mixture and mix until just incorporated. Repeat using half the remaining flour mixture and all of the remaining chocolate mixture; add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Slow down and mix until batter is thoroughly combined.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared Dutch ovens, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Lightly tap the ovens two or three times to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 45 minutes. Rotating the Dutch ovens multiple times through the baking time.
16oz can pitted red tart cherries (drained – liquid reserved)
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp. corn starch
¼ cup kirsch
Few drops red food coloring (optional)
1. Combine cornstarch and sugar in pot.
2. Add enough water to reserve liquid to make ¾ cups. Stir into sugar mixture.
3. Mixing constantly bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
4. Add kirsch and food coloring.
5. Remove from heat.
6. Cut cherries into halves and add to pot.
7. Chill mixture.
NOTE: If using black sweet cherries cut sugar to 2 tablespoons
Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. Vanilla
4 tbsp. powdered sugar
2 packets of Whip It (whipped cream stabilizer) Note: you can substitute 2 ½ teaspoons corn starch & increase powdered sugar to ¼ cup)
1. Combine the sugar and stabilizer in the mixing bowl.
2. Add the whipping cream. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, rewhisk for 10 to 15 seconds.
For best results chill bowl and whisk.
4oz – 6oz semi-sweet chocolate bar.
1. Place first cake layer upside down on serving platter.
2. Spread half the chilled cherry mixture over top.
3. Spread a quarter of the whipped cream over the cherry mixture.
4. Place the second cake layer upside down on top and spread the remaining cherry mixture over top.
5. Frost entire cake with the remaining whipped cream.
6. Warm the chocolate bar slightly and using a vegetable peeler make curls from the edge of the bar.
7. Around the edge of the top alternate maraschino cherries with curled chocolate.
8. Optional – crumble left over chocolate and spread on the sides of the cake.
Submitted to the Virginia Dutch Oven Cook-off by Randy and Eric Brown of Valley Forge Black Pots