Chef of the Evening

Tamara Reddy says she had some creme de cassis on hand she had brought home from a trip around the wine regions of France and wanted to use it in something chocolate and decadent for a recent OCWS mini-tasting.

She had never made this recipe before, but she was 100 percent confident in her Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. So she searched for a dessert using Cassis, found one, and made it with confidence.

“Ina is the best, I use her recipes extensively,” says Tamara, who along with husband Michael has been an Orange County Wine Society member for eight years. “To date, the recipes have won me a good number of bottles of wine at our Mini-Tasting events.”

Chocolate Cassis Cake

For the Cake:
Baking spray, such as Baker’s Joy
12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tbsp. crème de cassis liqueur
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

For the Glaze:
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 Tbsp. crème de cassis liqueur
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

To Serve:
2 (½ pint) boxes fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup crème de cassis liqueur


PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with baking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray it again with baking spray.

MELT butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

WHISK in the cocoa powder, cassis liqueur and vanilla; set aside.

IN THE BOWL of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the eggs, sugar and salt on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until pale yellow and triple in volume.

POUR chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and carefully but thoroughly fold them together with a rubber spatula.

POUR batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until just barely set in the center. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then release the sides of the pan. Invert the cake carefully onto a flat serving plate, remove the parchment paper and cool completely.

FOR THE GLAZE, melt the chocolate and cream together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Off the heat, whisk in the cassis and vanilla.

COOL for 10 minutes and spread over just the top of the cake.

BEFORE SERVING (15 minutes), toss the berries gently with the sugar and cassis liqueur. Cut the cake in wedges and serve with the berries on the side.

Do you have something delicious to share? Please send your recipes to George Cravens at for possible publication on the OCWS website.