Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc. owns and operates Morton's of Chicago, a high-end steakhouse restaurant chain aimed at a business clientele, and Bertolini's Authentic Trattorias, a smaller chain offering Italian specialties in a casual dining atmosphere. At the end of 1998 Morton's Restaurant Group owned and operated 43 Morton's of Chicago and 12 Bertolini's units. All Morton's of Chicago restaurants were similar in style, concept, and decor, and were located in retail, hotel, commercial, and office building complexes in major metropolitan areas and urban centers. Catering primarily to business-oriented clients, Morton's of Chicago had an average per person check of about $65 in 1998. The Bertolini's restaurants offered white tablecloth service, with an average per person check of about $20. Morton's Restaurant Group also held a minority of stock in two other restaurant chains, Mick's and Peasant.

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Velvet Chocolate Cake



VELVET CHOCOLATE CAKE
Morton's Steakhouse Copycat Recipe

Cake:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs
7 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour

Filling and Topping:
1 1/3 pounds semisweet chocolate, chopped, divided
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon instant-coffee granules
1/3 cup praline paste
1/4 cup each: dark crème de cacao, dark rum and kirsch
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Butter and flour 2-inch-deep, 9-inch-round cake pan.

For cake, melt 3 tablespoons butter; keep warm. Boil 1/4 cup water on medium-high heat. Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. In double boiler, combine eggs and sugar on medium heat. Whisk 3 minutes. Mixture will be hot. Transfer egg mixture to mixer bowl. Using whisk attachment, beat on high 5 minutes. Fold 1 cup of egg mixture into cocoa mixture. Sift flour into remaining egg mixture. Fold in flour. Fold cocoa mixture into batter. Fold in melted butter. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes. Cake will pull away from pan and pick inserted in center will come out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert cake onto rack to cool. Slice in half horizontally. Line 9-inch springform pan with plastic wrap so wrap extends over pan. Put better looking half of cake in pan. Reserve other half for another use.

For Filling, put 1 pound chopped chocolate in top of double boiler set on medium heat. Slowly melt chocolate. Heat yolks in double boiler on medium heat, whisking vigorously 1 minute. Do not overcook eggs. Remove from heat. Whisk in coffee granules, praline paste, crème de cacao, rum and kirsch. Whisk in melted chocolate. In mixer bowl with whisk attachment, whip 11/4 cups of the cream on high 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form. In another mixer bowl with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites 1-2 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whisk 90 seconds more, or until stiff peaks form. Fold melted chocolate into whipped cream. Fold chocolate-cream mixture into egg whites. Pour filling on cake. It should fill pan about 3/4 full. Tap pan to eliminate any air bubbles. Smooth surface with spatula. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours. Filling should be set.

For topping:  In double boiler on medium heat, whisk remaining chopped chocolate, butter and 3/4 cup cream until smooth. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Transfer to wire rack. Spread chocolate topping on cake. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Topping should be set. Let cake sit at room temperature 15-20 minutes before slicing.

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