I realized far too late that I would be away for Mike’s birthday on Tuesday. I caught the date in time, and stumbled upon a caramel apple cheesecake I decided to make for a pre-birthday dinner. I even had the foresight to pick up cream cheese. I was on the ball. It happens sometimes.
And then this morning I made an enormous apple pancake for elevenses, and didn’t notice until 3:30 that the cheesecake had to chill for a few hours, preferably overnight. D’oh.
But I had a chocolate cake tucked away in my mental file – Belle Foley’s chocolate cake, which had spurred a goosebump-inspiring comment string, reuniting long lost family members over at Food52. It was one of those stir-together cakes made with baking soda stirred into boiling water, the kind Mike’s mom used to make way back when she made the occasional cake. These types of cake are also typically low in fat – only 3 tablespoons of butter in this one, yet it’s very moist. I used to find them in old cookbooks and make them for my dad.
I made it, quick. I planned to serve it in warm wedges topped with whipped cream – easy. No need to decorate. I love wedges of dark, damp chocolate cake that aren’t too sweet, especially when they get me off the decorating hook. The result was plain, not as deep and chocolatey as I envisioned (next time I’ll go for 1/2 cup cocoa) but very moist – my mom asked if it was a zucchini cake.
It occurred to me that this whole scenario could be improved upon with chocolate mousse. Yes – chocolate mousse dolloped on chocolate cake wedges. Why have I not thought of this before?
The mousse is from the brand new Essential Pépin – over 700 recipes from his life in food. Which I have decided I must own now that I’ve met him in person. Of course I name-drop that one at every possible opportunity. Then there was that time I was chatting with Dorie Greenspan and Jacques came over to say hi…
Although Jacques may disagree, the cognac is optional – I left it out.
(Or 2 if one of them is me.)