Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Armagnac Cake

Then one of the young men said, 
"Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite 
who is a skillful musician, 
a mighty man of valor, a warrior, 
one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; 
and the LORD is with him."
1 Samuel 16:18

Tuesday with Dorie: Chocolate Armagnac Cake - page 279 
of Baking: From My House to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yesterday I thought for once I'd get a head start on my TWD project, and get it done on Monday. Well I forgot that I was going to the Symphony. Riley called and asked if I would come down town and pick him up so that he could take a nap, as he worries about falling asleep and snoring at the symphony. This cut right into my progress - actually it stopped it all together. We first went for coffee, as I didn't want coffee too late because I am capable of being awake until 2 AM if I have late coffee.

We saw the Portland Symphony conducted by Itzhak Perlman. The first piece was Bach's Violin Concerto in A Minor. It was of course played by Perlman on his Stradivarius, and I thought it was wonderful. But to my great shock, I realized after the piece was over that someone had been playing a harpsicord, and I had never heard it. In part I can attribute this to my attention to the violin, but also it was because I am partially deaf, and that was sad to me.

But back to the cake. Trying to get it made with Emily in tow was darned hard. She was determined she was going to crack the eggs, not understanding that I needed to separate them. I had to do it the cheffy way, using my fingers to strain the whites out. This was because she cracked an egg before I could stop her. So then I put her onto the task of stirring the warm chocolate. That went much better.

I was glad that I already had the prunes steeped and the nuts ground, but this recipe sure uses more than it's fair share of bowls.  I finally got the eggs properly whipped, the chocolate melted, and began to combine everything. It all went together very nicely, and now I'm waiting for it to come out the oven - 1 minute to go. .... It didn't seem quite done, so I gave it another three minutes. The first time was for 21 minutes. This is because I made less than the whole cake.   I halved it, sort of.   I had missed the three eggs bit, so in the end I halved all but the eggs, using two, since I couldn't decide how to cut three in half, and so I omitted the water with the chocolate.    We'll see. ... In those last three minutes the top of the cake cracked. I don't know what that means.

So now I'm going into the kitchen to ice the cake and take some pictures. Be back soon.

The icing was "a piece of cake". I don't think mine would have turned into a glaze, and I used a knife to spread.   We soon all had a piece with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. It was very tasty, and I couldn't really detect the prunes. Did I chop them too small? The cake was very light, but then I halved the recipe, but still used 2 eggs (omitting the water).   That's to say that I think the extra egg white made the cake lighter.  I'd like to try the whole cake next time.  Since I had just made a flourless cake for the Daring Baker project, I didn't need too much more cake at this time.

I forgot to mention:  even though I made only half the cake, I made all the icing.  It was a good fit.

next day:  The cake is even better the next day - really.  Emily and I had tea and cake after lunch, and the first thing she said after having a little piece of cake was "More!"

Albert Einstein, who fancied himself as a violinist, was rehearsing a Haydn string quartet. When he failed for the fourth time to get his entry in the second movement, the cellist looked up and said, "The problem with you, Albert, is that you simply can't count."


Babette said...

I always separate my eggs the cheffy way--maybe because I was a chef once, but I really think it's the easiest way to do it quickly. I once was visiting a friend who was cooking and she actually used one of the those little contraptions made to sep. eggs: drove. me. nuts. It took so long and ..well, who needs that in your drawer.

Off topic, I know. Back to cake.

Yours is a beauty! No, I don't think you chopped the prunes too small. They should just become one with the cake, making it super moist.


Teanna said...

I can't believe you were able to see Itzhak Perlman in concert! I was at the Inauguration this year and was able to see him (on a screen) play, but that must have been amazing! Great cake!

TeaLady said...

I would trade the symphony for cake any day. Lucky you! And despite your time constraints, the cake looks great. Cute kid!

Anonymous said...

Your granddaughter looks so sweet in this photo, hugging her baby.