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Triple Chocolate Berry Cake for Father's Day

Dads take a lot of bad raps. As far back as my childhood--and that's pretty far--"Father Knows Best" meant that Jane Wyman as Mother actually knew best and Father, played by Robert Young, bumbled his way--albeit it with some grace--through a half hour of Betty-Bud-and-Kathy antics each week. Dads were always beaten at board games by their grade-school-age children in commercials, and everyone from Ricky Ricardo to Fred Flintstone had no clue when their wives were expecting, and went into panic attacks when those wives went into labor. And things haven't improved with time.

For all those Dads who can actually win at Clue, don't think a full evening's exertion is to walk from the recliner to the fridge, can put the cat out at night without getting locked out of the house, and have never used the term "chick flick" to describe a film based on a Jane Austen novel--this cake's for you.

Chocolate and dark are as synonymous at our house as father and wise, but if your smart dad likes milk chocolate, use 1/2 cup cocoa instead of a full cup. We also like the way whole wheat stands up to lots of chocolate in a cake, but white flour works well, too. And if you want the glaze to fully cover the cake, simply double the recipe. We obviously used a thick sugar powder glaze to decorate the top of the cake, but it's optional--as are the strawberry blossoms and leaves.

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar (If Dad's got a particular sweet tooth, you can add up to 1/3 cup more)
1 cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
A fat pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole wheat flour OR 1 1/4 cups white flour
1 cup berries or enough berries to make 3/4 cup pureed berries--(these can be strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or a mix) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained. (If you want the puree to be seedless, run through a sieve. Dad deserves it.)
About 1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1 teaspoon walnut, hazelnut or canola oil

Melt chocolate in a microwaveable bowl until chocolate is just starting to lose shape--2 minutes in my microwave. Stir in the oil and drizzle over the cooled cake.

Prepare an 8-cup Gugelhupf mold or equivalent bundt pan. (I use a good pan spray because it's much faster and usually does a better job of cleanly releasing the cake after baking, but either type of pan can be buttered and coated lightly with cocoa powder instead--if you're of the excessively virtuous culinary persuasion). Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter, sugar, cloves, and vanilla, then add cocoa powder. Mix in well. Add egg one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until very light, about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl. Stir in half of the flour with the baking powder mixed in, then add the berries and milk, beating well. Stir in the remaining flour, and beat until fully incorporated. Pour into prepared mold and bake until cake tests clean--or even mostly clean for those who like very moist cake--about 45-50 minutes. Allow cake to cool in mold on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then unmold and allow to cool before glazing.

Serves Dad first, and then eleven other lucky people--unless Dad gets all he wants, then it serves about 3 other people. (The cake's even better the second day, so maybe only 2 other people.)

Tags: 2010, Holidays, Recipes by Nancy Young

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