Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hats off to Rebecca Rather

Photo by Sebastien Papin

The Setting: Christmas Day in Brentwood, TN.

The Soundtrack: Miscellaneous Christmas tunes on my mother's iPod.

On the Stove-top and Steaming up the Oven: A Christmas feast for 15.

The Scenario: It really is the world's greatest chocolate cake.

If you read my last post and/or the forth post I ever posted (circa this time two years ago), then you know this cake has been a while in the making.

The towering, mouthwatering, focal point of the most beautiful magazine cover I've ever seen (Fine Cooking Dec '09/Jan '10) captured my attention and trampled on my ambition Christmas 2009.

Christmas 2010 saw me curled up a la fetal position on the loveseat in our Florida apartment, cursing food and praying to keep down the saltines and chocolate ice cream that composed my morning sickness diet.

This year I was back in the action, back in Nashville, back behind the apron.

The menu featured Spiced Cider, Mini Cranberry-Rosemary-Pecan Corn Muffins, Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes and Baby Portabellas, Sauteed Kale, Garlic-and-Rosemary-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and ridiculously rich yet teasingly light and fluffy Twice-Baked Gorgonzola Souffles.

It was an exceptional meal.

But the clear headliner of this all-star cast was without a doubt, the comeback king of 2011, the Hot Chocolate Layer Cake.

Photo by Sebastien Papin

This year I made certain I used 3 9-inch cake pans with straight--not sloping--sides.

I buttered, parchment-lined, and floured them.

I used fine Callebaut chocolate in the icing and batter.

I crumb-coated and refrigerated. I periodically dipped my offset spatula in a glass of hot water while applying the final coat to give the icing its (near) flawless sheen.

Most importantly, I gave myself several days from boiling the sugar to cutting the marshmallows and giving them their final dusting of cocoa atop the cake to  asure it all came together this time.

And perhaps it was a Christmas miracle, but it did.

Fudgy, dense, everything you always wish the chocolate cake you waste your calories on would be.

You can find Rebecca Rather's incredible recipe online in the recipe archives of  Fine Cooking.

Photo by Sebastien Papin

Happy holidays!

1 comment:

Lori said...

Looks like it was worth all that time!