With over 100 company-owned and franchised restaurants throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States, RARE Hospitality International Inc. has a fast-growing presence in the steakhouse segment of the dining industry. This relative newcomer to the market--at scarcely 15 years in business, compared to such 1960s-era chains as Ponderosa and Bonanza--RARE's irreverent style of "cowboy cuisine" shook up the segment. By 1996, the company's core chain of LongHorn Steakhouses numbered 81 units. Following its initial public offering in 1992, the company acquired the Bugaboo Creek Steak House chain and its smaller The Capital Grille group of pricey eateries. Founder George W. McKerrow, Jr. continued to serve the company as chairman through the mid-1990s.
LongHorn Steakhouse Copycat Recipe
Cake and Mousse:
1 (18.25 oz.) box devil's food cake mix (plus required ingredients)
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks)
unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup strong coffee
10 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold heavy cream
Shell and Sauce:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Make the cake: Prepare the cake mix as the label directs for a 9-by-13-inch cake. Bake; cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely. Clean out the cake pan and line it with plastic wrap. Cut the cake in half lengthwise, then in thirds crosswise to make 6 rectangles. Using a serrated knife, slice each rectangle in half to make two layers. Arrange half of the pieces snugly in the cake pan. Crumble the remaining pieces and press tightly into 6 small balls; arrange 1 cake ball in the center of each cake rectangle in the pan.
Make the mousse: Heat the chocolate, butter, coffee and 1/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water), stirring, until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan; stir until cool. Reserve the simmering water. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a separate large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk until pale yellow, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chocolate-coffee mixture and the vanilla and whisk until combined, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the pan and set in the bowl of ice water; whisk until slightly cool but not thick, about 4 minutes. Beat the egg whites and salt in a bowl with a mixer until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until almost stiff; gently fold into the chocolate-yolk mixture to make a dark chocolate mousse. Spread 5 cups over the cake and cake balls. Freeze until firm on top, about 30 minutes. Beat the heavy cream and the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form; fold into the remaining mousse. Remove the cake from the freezer; spread with the light chocolate mousse, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Make the chocolate shell: Stir the chocolate, heavy cream and 4 tablespoons corn syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) until melted. A spoonful at a time, spread half of the shell mixture over the frozen mousse. Return to the freezer.
Make the chocolate sauce: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon corn syrup and the butter to the remaining chocolate shell mixture. Microwave 30 seconds, then stir until glossy.
To serve the cake, beat the heavy cream with a mixer until foamy. Add the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Remove the cake from the freezer; invert onto a baking sheet and unmold, then invert again onto a platter, chocolate shell-side up. Cut the cake in half lengthwise using a warm knife, then cut into thirds crosswise to make 6 rectangles; cut each rectangle in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. Top each triangle with whipped cream, ice cream and the prepared chocolate sauce.
Source: Food Network Magazine