Special equipment: an instant-read or candy thermometer, an ice cream maker, a spray bottle and two 6-cavity 4-ounce pyramid molds or an 8-inch springform pan
For the bitters-orange marmalade ice cream: Combine the cream, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the temperature reaches 140 degrees F.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl until well blended.
When the milk mixture reaches 140 degrees F, whisk in the eggs and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the temperature reaches 170 degrees F. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Whisk in the marmalade, bitters and orange zest. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 4 hours and up to overnight.
Freeze the cold base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Hold in the freezer until ready to serve.
For the cherry-orange sauce: Combine the cherries, orange zest and juice, sugar, bitters and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until reduced and slightly thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then puree in a blender until completely smooth.
For the candied orange zest: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest from the oranges and cut into very fine julienne. Blanch the zest in the boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon, discard the water and bring a fresh batch of water to a boil. Blanch the orange zest a second time.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, whiskey, bitters and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, stirring to make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
After blanching the zest a second time, transfer it to the simmering simple syrup. Simmer until translucent, 20 to 30 minutes.
For the bitters salt: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Combine the salt and bitters in a plastic container with a lid and shake well until the salt is completely coated. Pour the salt on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until dried, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
For the cake: Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Spray two 6-cavity 4-ounce pyramid molds (or an 8-inch springform pan) with baking spray
Heat the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted, then stir in the sugar and mix until well combined. Whisk in the eggs until just mixed. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
Scoop the batter into the prepared molds and bake for 20 minutes (20 to 25 minutes for the springform pan). The cakes will not look done, but will firm up on cooling.
For the whiskey-bitters spray: While the cakes are baking, combine the whiskey and bitters in a clean spray bottle.
As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, spray the tops with the bitters spray. Let the cakes cool slightly, 3 to 5 minutes, then remove them from the molds and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Spray the cakes 3 more times as they cool. Dust the cooled cakes with cocoa powder
Place the cakes onto serving plates and sprinkle each with some of the bitters salt. Spoon some cherry-orange sauce onto each plate next to the cake, then place some of the candied orange zest next to the sauce. Serve with the bitters-orange marmalade ice cream.
This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. It has not been tested for home use.
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