We get through the cold weather here in Wisconsin by keeping busy. The roughly six months of winter has its rhythms. In December I look forward to all the activities surrounding Christmas–special cooking, shopping, decorating, visiting and gift giving. January begins with the New Year’s celebration and moves on to cleaning, and organizing. The highlight of February is Valentine’s Day and some romance–the smell of chocolate, gazing at chocolate, cooking with chocolate, eating chocolate!
Last month in honor of Valentine’s Day, the theme for our library cookbook club was chocolate! We each picked from a selection of cookbooks provided by the public library’s activity director who organizes the group. We each picked a recipe to prepare and share with the group.
I chose a fairly complex cake recipe, a Sacher Torte, because it had apricot preserves between the layers and I thought my husband might enjoy it. The cake is named after some fancy hotel in Vienna of the same name. (One of the ladies in the group kindly corrected my pronunciation. I think she’d been to Vienna.)
The torte recipe was crazy complicated–the chocolate mixture had to be a certain temperature when added to the butter mixture and the egg whites had to be folded in just so in order for it all to stayed fluffy. (The batter looked like chocolate mousse–I wanted so badly to taste some of it, but there were eight raw eggs in it!) I had to heat and strain–yes, I actually strained–the stinking jam I put between the cake layers. Then I made this chocolate glaze to pour over the top of the whole thing. (Although, I notice that the official cake in Austria looks like it is a darker chocolate and the chocolate frosting/glaze is smoothed over the sides and set up more than mine did. Oh well!) I did serve it with the traditional whipped cream!
All in all, I think it turned out just fine.
There was no Death by Chocolate competition this year, but this cake and the 8-foot long table of chocolate at our cookbook club meeting more than made up for it! Begonia