Green Tomato Chocolate Cake

adapted from “The Tomato Festival Cookbook," by Lawrence Davis-Hollander

2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted unbleached flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 T. instant espresso
1 cup beer
1 cup pureed green tomatoes
1/4- 1/2 cup water (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, or two cake pans, or cupcake tins. (I used two 8-inch square pans and had enough to also make 10 cupcakes.) In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in chocolate, then, one at a time, the eggs. Add vanilla.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with beer, tomatoes and instant espresso. If batter appears stiff, add water (I didn’t need to add any, but moisture content of tomatoes varies).
Turn batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. 

For the cupcakes and the layer cake, I made a coffee-ricotta filling and frosted with a chocolate ganache frosting.

Coffee Ricotta Filling:

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 T. coffee liqueur (or brandy or other liqueur)

1 T. instant espresso

Put the instant espresso into a cup with the coffee liqueur and stir until granules are melted.

Put ricotta cheese into mixer and add confectioner’s sugar, and instant espresso/coffee liqueur mixture.

Mix until blended.

To insert the filling into the cupcakes, use a pastry bag with a plain pointy tip. Insert the tip into the center of the cupcake from the top and squeeze the pastry bag to release some of the filling. Be careful not to overdo it or your cupcake may burst open.

Frost with the ganache frosting. Get out your pastry bag again, but use a star tip and decorate each cupcake with another squirt of the ricotta filling on top.

 Ganache Frosting

1 cup heavy cream

8 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped in small pieces

Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat. Place chocolate in heat-proof bowl and pour hot cream over it. Let it sit for a minute, then stir slowly to blend the cream into the chocolate pieces. Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and the frosting is smooth. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool down, then pour or spread on cake and/or cupcakes.