‘Moody’, ‘decadent’ and ‘dark’ were a few of the words spinning around when Antonia and I were discussing our ideas for our Wintry collaboration. We decided the hero of the shoot would be a beautiful rich cake, featuring pomegranates, as they’re in season this month. Antonia would be taking charge of the props and styling, and I would come up with the recipe along with doing the photography.
Brighton-based stylist, Antonia McKenzie works across the board with her skills, from TV (Tattoo Fixers, Carjackers, Fill Your House For Free) to interior editorial shoots, and of course prop-styling including food (Superfood Bakery). You can see her portfolio over on her website: www.antoniamckenzie.co.uk So for our Wintry shoot, Antonia had planned, sourced the props and arranged the objects & food ready for me to take some beautiful photos of the Wintry still life set-up. Every detail mattered, from the angle the pomegranates were positioned, to where the syrup was pooled on the dish, and it really paid off!
After perusing the internet for a recipe I settled on this one: dark chocolate & orange bundt cake, with a chocolate ganache and pomegranate syrup, and gave it a couple of tests and adapted slightly. It’s delicious, I highly recommend it! The sponge is moist and rich with freshly squeezed orange juice, Cointreau and chocolate. The cake is then dressed with a silky chocolate ganache and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup, which balances the sweetness of the cake with a slight tartness. Finally pomegranate jewels are dotted on the top. If you’d like to try this recipe I’ve written it underneath the photos.
It was great to collaborate with Antonia on this shoot. I look forward to planning another one!
Photography: Emma Harrel Photography // www.emmaharrelphotography.com
Styling & Props: Antonia McKenzie // www.antoniamckenzie.co.uk
Wintry Chocolate Bundt Cake
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons for dusting pan, ¾ cup brewed coffee, 4-5 oranges (1 cup orange juice plus zest of two blood oranges), ¼ cup orange liqueur, 1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for buttering pan, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup caster sugar, 2 self-raising flour, 1¼ teaspoons baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 10-inch bundt pan,
Chocolate Ganache Icing
1 heaping cup chocolate chips, ½ cup cream
juice ½ lemon, 100ml pomegranate juice (I used POM Wonderful), 85g caster sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Place an oven rack in middle position and preheat the oven to 160°C. Brush deleted butter inside the bundt pan then dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
- Heat coffee, orange juice, zest, orange liquor, vanilla & butter, in a medium heavy saucepan over moderate heat, whisking, until the butter is melted, then whisk in the cup of cocoa powder. Remove from heat, then add both kinds of sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Let cool.
- While chocolate mixture cools, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Beat together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then temper the eggs by pouring a little of the melted cocoa butter mixture to the eggs, stirring a tablespoon at a time, to gradually warm them. After about 4 tablespoons, add this into the cooling chocolate mixture and whisk well.
- Add the chocolate-egg mixutre to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into the greased and cocoa dusted bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack, for about 2 hours. Loosen the cake from the pan using tip of a knife, then invert the rack over pan and turn cake out onto the wire rack.
- Place a sheet of baking paper below the wire rack. Melt the chocolate chips and milk in a small pan over a very low heat. Stir until combined, then pour over the cake. Let it cool for 20 mins.
- For the syrup, add the Pomegranate juice, caster sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract to a saucepan. On a medium heat, let the sugar dissolve in the juice. After a few boils the liquid will become a little thick but with pourable consistency. When it reaches that stage turn the flame off.
- Drizzle the syrup over the cake and let the baking paper catch the drippings then sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds to finish. Enjoy!
Check out my vegan peanut butter & chocolate tart for some recipe inspiration!