Sigh. So here we are again. You, looking at me like I’m incorrigible, with slight disdain and a little fear. Me, looking sheepish, avoiding eye contact, shuffling my feet.
In my defense, I have a psychological condition in which I want to put savory ingredients into dessert all the time. I’m working on a way to incorporate beets, broccoli, and kale into a recipe. Not the SAME recipe. That might ruin our friendship altogether. But if I can manage to make broccoli cookies that taste really good, wouldn’t I be kind of a hero? (My definition of “hero” is a bit shaky.)
Over a year ago, I funded a Kickstarter campaign for a business in my neighborhood called “The Kitchen.” The idea was that you could pay to go and cook your own multi-course dinner, something they call “Participatory Dining.” Cooking class meets eating out, sort of. When they finally opened their doors, one of the events they had listed was a garlic-themed dinner. The dessert was a black garlic marble brownie. I did a search for the name and landed on Vanilla Garlic, in a guest post by Irvin Lin from Eat The Love for Black Garlic and Vanilla Bean Marble Brownies.
Much like black garlic, this idea fermented in my brain for about a year. I knew at least one local grocery store that carried black garlic, and every time I would pass it I was like, “Still too weird for me? Yep.”
But something in my brain broke a few months ago, and instead of walking on by, I said, “Yes, Black Garlic. I will take you home with me today.” And then I let it sit in my pantry for two months while I built up the courage. I went for a chocolate Bundt cake base because Bundt cakes make me feel safe. Whereas black garlic makes me feel like I’m walking down an unlit alley at 1 AM. In Detroit.
Since Irvin used a whole head of garlic for half of the brownie recipe, I used a whole head for the cake. Because go big or go home, right? I had read that black garlic has a molasses overtone, and since raspberries go well with chocolate and molasses, ta-da! Raspberry sauce.
This cake is pungent. As I lifted the pan from the cake, a strong, garlicky flavor wafted into my nose. So, naturally, I stuck my nose right down into the center of the cake and took a big ol’ sniff. Yep, smelled like a meat cake. Uh, perfect. Just what I was looking for?
Once the cake was cool, I cooked up my raspberry sauce and doused it, then took photos before tentatively trying the cake. And I don’t hate it. Which makes me seriously question my mental state.
I think this is one of those recipes that most people are going to be like, “Nope. No. Absolutely not.” and then some total weirdo will make it and be like, “Yeah, I can get on board with this.” My theory is that if you are open to baking a cake with black garlic in the first place, you’re probably adventurous enough of an eater to enjoy it on some level. Either that, or you’re the type of person who likes to troll your friends by bringing a garlic cake to their housewarming party. You jerk.
- Cake Magic
- 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup (40 grams) cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup (225 grams) water
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1¾ cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (120 grams) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 head black garlic*
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush Cake Magic onto the inside of a 10-cup Bundt cake pan. (Alternatively, butter and flour the inside of the cake pan.)
- In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water. Melt over medium heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda. Gradually pour in the chocolate mixture, whisking constantly with your opposite hand, until the mixture is smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until combined after each addition. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Chop the head of black garlic in half, then remove cloves from the skin and place in a small mixing bowl. Mash cloves into a paste with the back of a spoon. Whisk the black garlic paste into the cake batter until smooth.
- Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt cake pan and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the wire rack and let it cool completely.
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, mashing the raspberries slightly, until raspberries are broken down, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into a liquid measuring cup through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Pour over the top of the cake, then serve (with fresh raspberries, if desired).
- *For a less pungent flavor, start with half a head of black garlic and see if you're okay with more. Baby steps to insanity.