Category: Quality Time

End of the World Cake

end-of-the-world-cakeOnce I was invited to an End of the World Party. Guests were encouraged to partake in whatever sorts of activities they’d want to spend their last hours on earth doing. I showed up with ingredients for four different recipes, a bottle of good champagne, and some great tequila. To me, these “last hours on earth” were all about indulging in the finest food and spirits. For others at the party, like Kenneth* who wore nothing but a speedo and red high heels, they were about (cough) something else.

Oddly enough, someone at the party accused me of using cooking as a way to resist “connecting” with others. I wanted to hold his face in my hands and look into his glitter-lined eyes and say, “Oh sweetie, don’t you realize that a chef is never lonely?” A kitchen can be the size of a kleenex box and if something delicious is happening, everyone will be standing in it.

But maybe he was calling me out on something: Food mattered more to me than the dance party or the guided-meditation-slash-jam-session with well-meaning strangers–and it was evident to others. I spent only a very modest amount of time worrying about it, however, because the celebration I had with myself, Don Julio and this cake was all I needed to sail into eternity with a smile. Stay tuned for the gluten-free version, as this post was originally published before the realization that changed my life.

End of the World Cake (Refined Sugar-Free)
Author: The Wellness Chef
Almond Soufflé Cake with Lemon Curd and Berries, adapted from Cooking Light
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp. matzo cake meal (I use finely ground matzo meal since I’ve never found matzo “cake” meal. It works like a charm. Or sub almond meal, available at Trader Joes, very finely ground)
  • 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1/4 cup matzo cake meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 1 cup [url href=”https://thedeliciousthings.com/lemon-curd/” target=”_blank”]lemon curd[/url]
  • 2 cups of your favorite fresh berries (why not try raspberry, blackberry and blueberries mixed?)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan by rubbing with a paper towel dipped in grapeseed oil. Dust pan with 2 teaspoons matzo cake meal.
  3. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until thick and pale (about 1 minute). Add 1/4 cup matzo cake meal, water, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and salt; beat just until blended. Fold in the almonds.
  4. Place egg whites in a large bowl. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg whites into egg yolk mixture; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Run a knife around edge of cake. Remove cake from pan. Cool completely. (Cake will sink in center as it cools.) Spread 1 cup Lemon Curd in center of cake, and top with berries. Cut cake into wedges using a serrated knife.
  6. Serve right away, as this cake is delicious fresh, but gets too moist from the curd when it sits for a long time.

 

*Names have been changed to protect the wicked and the naughty. I’ll bet they wouldn’t hesitate to go do something delicious right this minute!

 

Wine and Truffles: An Affair to Remember

Cakebread Merlot

Recently the boyfriend celebrated his 40th birthday, and his boss gave him a bottle of Cakebread Merlot and a box of Lindor chocolate truffles, with the strictest instructions to share them with me. I love his boss!

So we’re sitting on the couch soaking in the atmosphere of our new apartment, and it just seems like the right time to celebrate. I’ve never tried the Cakebread Merlot, but at around $50 a bottle (I looked it up, nosy thing), I know we’re in for a treat.  We decant it for 30 minutes to let the fruit and roasted herb aromas develop. We are very serious.

Lindor truffles come in dark, milk, and white chocolate and have a ganache center the consistency of butter. I’m not a big “chocolate-on-top-of-chocolate-decadence” girl (who would be, after working in a shop during college that sold every possible variant of the stuff), but these little babies are showstoppers. I’ve long since outgrown the over-sweet taste of most white chocolate but for some reason, white Lindor truffles hold the key to my heart. Basically, they defy everything I feel about the confection; about its decadence and tooth-pain inducing sweetness. And the buttery quality of the ganache gives such a silky mouth feel that it perfectly complements the velvety texture of the wine.

A tiny, creamy bite. A ripe, berry-filled sip.

The chocolate marries with the jammy flavor of the merlot, full of punchy plum and cherry notes, evoking Black Forest cake. Boyfriend compares the softness on the palate to sucking on a silk tie. It is marvelously balanced; there is just enough tannin to leave my palate cleansed and ready to taste all the nuances of flavor in the next sip and each one after that. Is that toasted oak that I detect?

Now this is certainly not the first time I have consumed chocolate and wine together. But it is the first time someone has given the combination to me (or Boyfriend) as a gift. Accompanied by the instruction to share this experience with someone awesome. Making this more than just a gift of wine and candy—making this a gift of time.  Making it a memory. A moment in my crazy life to stop and smell the roses. And plums. And cherries. And oak.

Doesn’t that just make you want to go and do something delicious?

 

Cakebread Cellars by James Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0/ Brightness increased from original