P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.'s 40-plus restaurant chain, operating in 19 states, owes much of its success to founder Paul Fleming's unique idea of pairing oriental cuisine with American-style service. At the outset, when he opened the first of the restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fleming broke with the traditional Chinese restaurant format. With his collaborator, chef Philip Chiang, he devised a comparatively limited menu that featured far fewer dishes than the menus of typical, full-service, Chinese restaurants. Incorporating an American steak house dining style and a formidable selection of wines and cheeses, P.F. Chang's offers such additional oriental restaurant anomalies as espresso and cappuccino. Although P.F. Chang's China Bistros are stylish in decor, displaying motifs from the Ming and T'ang Dynasties and hand-painted murals, the dishes are moderately priced, partly because one of Fleming's aims was to provide high quality but affordable Chinese food for "the masses."

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Great Wall of Chocolate Cake




GREAT WALL of CHOCOLATE CAKE
PF Chang's China Bistro Copycat Recipe

Serves 12

Cake:
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 2 - 9" round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with circles of baking parchment or wax paper. Dust the sides of the pans with flour and tap out the excess. In a microwave-sage bowl, melt the chocolate on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until melted, stirring halfway through cooking. Set the chocolate aside to cool to room temperature for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking powder and salt together with a whisk.

In another large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until combined. Beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and milk in thirds, beating until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake layers onto the rack and cool completely.

To make Frosting: Place the chocolate into a large bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream, raspberry jam, butter and salt just to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth, then mix in the vanilla extract.
Cover with plastic wrap and let the frosting thicken overnight at room temperature or refrigerate it for no longer then 1 1/2 hours.

To assemble Cake: Place one layer on a serving plate, Spread frosting over the cake and top with the second cake layer. Frost the outside of the cake first, then the top.Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.


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