Let them eat cake!
Story and photos by Angie Sutton
Just because life is busy doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally slow down and enjoy something decadent. My kids walk into the kitchen sniffing the air. They wait for just a moment before asking hesitantly, “Is this for us to eat?” I’d just pulled the Chocolate-Almond Torte out of the oven and it was cooling on a wire rack on our kitchen island. The warm dark chocolate and aroma of the toasted almonds drew them into the kitchen from their activities. “Yes,” I reply.
They look at me in disbelief. I cut the torte into a few pieces and put them on small serving plates. I drizzle chocolate sauce across them and drop raspberries randomly around the plate. With forks in hand we ate the pieces in silence. Nobody wanted to point out that dinner was in an hour and we probably were spoiling our appetites. We didn’t care! Our moment lasted only 10 minutes but that torte was amazing.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to every now and then make a dessert that wasn’t destined for a bake sale or activity outside the home. Its sole purpose would be to create a moment of family harmony as time slowed just enough to devour a cake, a pie or some sugar-laden yummy I’d wanted to try out. Part of the fun is in the presentation. I get to drag out my piping bags and fancy pans and use things like caramel drizzle and chocolate curls.
Tie on your favorite apron, or use this as an excuse to pick up a new fancy apron with ruffles. Try out these recipes or find those little tattered scraps of dessert recipes you clipped years ago but never tried. And then…let them eat cake!
Four-Layer Fancy Chocolate Cake
This cake is so easy but looks like you spent all day.
1 box devil’s food cake mix
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Prepare cake batter as directed on the package for 2 (9-inch round) cake pans. Blend the dry pudding mix into the batter before pouring into the prepared pans. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with a knife. Invert onto wire racks and gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer until blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Set aside. Once cakes are cool, cut each layer horizontally in half. Begin stacking the cake layers spreading 3/4 cup of the cream cheese frosting between each layer. Spread frosting on sides of cake layers once stacked. Microwave the frozen whipped topping and chocolate in a microwavable bowl on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute; stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Cool 5 minutes. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the cake, letting the excess run down the side. Garnish with chocolate curls or sprinkles. Store this cake in the refrigerator.
Lindy’s Famous Cheesecake
Source: “McCall’s Do Ahead Party Book,” 1956
This iconic New York Style cheesecake recipe is one of the most replicated because it is fantastic. The key is to make sure your eggs and cream cheese are room temperature. Refrigerating overnight before serving is recommended.
1 c. all-purpose flour
5 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
Crust: In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla. Make a well in center; add egg yolk and butter. With fingertips, mix until dough leaves sides of bowl. Form into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly grease bottom and side of a 9-inch spring-form pan; remove side. Remove 1/3 of the dough from refrigerator. Roll directly on bottom of spring-form pan; trim dough even with edge. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool. Divide remaining dough into 3 parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each part into a strip 2 1/2 inches wide. Put spring-form pan with baked crust on bottom. Press strips to side of spring-form pan, joining ends of strips, to line inside completely. Trim dough so it comes only three quarters up side. Refrigerate until ready to fill. Preheat oven to 500 F.
Filling: In a large bowl of electric mixer, combine cheese with sugar, flour, lemon peel, orange peel and vanilla. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat only until mixture is well combined. Add cream, beating until well combined. Pour filling into prepared pan; bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250 F. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes longer. Cool in pan on wire rack. Then refrigerate 3 hours, or overnight. To serve, remove side of spring-form pan. Serve cheesecake plain or top with pineapple or strawberry glaze.
I serve this with chocolate sauce and raspberries to bring out the dark chocolate accents of the cake.
3/4 c. milk
In a small saucepan combine milk and cocoa powder with a whisk. Heat on medium, whisking constantly, just until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in unsweetened chocolate and vinegar until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8- by 2-inch round tart pan with removable bottom with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, the 2/3 c. granulated sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir cooled chocolate into flour mixture until well combined (batter will be thick); set aside. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/4 c. granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate batter. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites just until combined. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle almonds evenly over the batter. Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Cool completely. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.