[Long before I had a blog, I bored ya'll with my super long emails. At the time, they were mostly about our exciting life way up North, ergo the title: Canadian Chronicles. Some are too good not to post out there in internet land. AND no, I'm not just recycling old stuff because I've been sick with the flu! see? this one is even timely!]
Subject: The longest email you'll ever read about cake...
Date: February 18, 2002 11:17:36 AM CST
Hope that everyone else out there had a splendid Valentine's Day with
all the usual sweet love stuff (aka chocolate).
Let me tell you about my Valentine's Day... It all started last
week when I decided to make a special cake for the big day, a new one,
from a cookbook that I got from some friends for Christmas. It's called
a shadow cake and has a mix of white and chocolate layers and white and
chocolate icing. I set out on Monday to make the cake. I had to start on
Monday because there are several steps to making this cake.
Step 1: Bake a vanilla cake. (yes. from scratch.) This I did on Monday
Step 2: Bake a chocolate cake. (yes, also from scratch.) This I did on Tuesday
Step 3: Make chocolate mousse. This I did on Wednesday
Things had gone very well up to this point, but I was glad that I live
across the street from the grocery store. Most of the recipes used a lot
of eggs. I realized that this was in part due to the cookbook being
kosher, and so it's not cool to mix milk and eggs in the same
dish/recipe. This was the first time I made a mousse that had no milk
(what it lacked in cream, it made up for in egg whites.)
Step 4: Put the layers together with the mousse and ice with 2 types of
On Thursday I awoke and I was feeling good. I had a high energy morning,
I felt great after my swim and decided to start working on the icing for
the cake around 2. Plenty of time, eh?
Since I had already used a gazillion eggs (4 in the first cake, 6 in the
second cake and 8 in the mousse) and Smith, by the way, is somewhat
allergic to eggs, I made a detour from the icing recipe in the cookbook.
That buttercream recipe used egg whites and a sugar syrup meringue
mixture that based its success on a candy thermometer (something I do
not currently own, but somehow think I will receive a few of next
christmas...). So I dug through and found a "baked" buttercream icing
recipe somewhere else. That, I will add, I had made before with no
Who knew so much could go wrong with frosting.
Let's just say that the rest of my afternoon was straight out of "I Love
Lucy." I kid you not. So THREE attempts at icing later (first batch went
into the trash, second batch I will later attempt to reconfigure into
cookies, third batch is still soaking in hot water), I resign and make
whipped cream instead. But not before there was a hand in the mixer
incident with batch number three - my attempt at the decorative
chocolate ganache. I swear I'm not even sure what happened. One minute
there was a bowl in one hand and a mixer in the other, and then there
was a bowl on the floor, frosting EVERYWHERE and the mixer trying to
whip my hand. I finally stopped the mixer and looked down at my hand and
all I could think was "My god! The accident prone gene on my mother's
side of the family must have kicked in when I turned 30!!!" All those
stupid accidents (the source of many nicknames over the years) that my
mother and my brother have had to suffer through, well, now it was my
turn. I wasn't ready for a nickname like "Beaterina" or the
"Osterizer"... Fortunately, there was nothing broken or bleeding, but my
hand hurts and there is a nice bruise forming. So by the time my lovely
cupid arrived home with flowers, I was exhausted. Thankfully, he was up
to helping me with dinner, which I'm glad I planned on being an easy
dish. I think I feel asleep on the sofa watching the olympics after we
each had a slice of that god damned cake. How's that for romance?
The cake was good by the way. Why wouldn't it be? I made it from scratch
and whipped cream tastes good on just about everything. But next year,
I'm starting the icing first!
[Ah. How optimistic I was back then. There is no icing on the cookies I'm making this year. Anyway. There is no picture of the fated cake and I did a search as I posted to find a picture of an example cake. Most of my searches ended up with NO picture. (After spending so much time on the cake, who wants to spend another moment more trying to capture it to remember NOT to make it next time because it took too long???) So I found this one. It's not exact or even that close, but it shows the gist of things, sort of. I'll also point out that this cake? looks TOTALLY UNappetizing to me. Like a food stylists final exam. Like the cake is made of styrfoam and the chocolate is nicely colored paint or something. Please share posts of what ya'll made to celebrate the day. And I promise not to make judgments about your pictures.]