Funny how kids grow up right before our very eyes. If you are a parent you’ve no doubt discovered this phenomenon to be one that takes place all too quickly as well as right before our very eyes. When our children are young it’s impossible not to dream of how they will emerge as young adults. They dream of their future, share it with us and we in turn dream right along with them into the future. Of course those dreams are subject to change from time to time, as they grow, mature and learn about the world around them. Thoughts and ideas they once thought to be ridiculous or uninteresting evolve into ideas and ways of thinking, no longer laughable or boring. This is a good thing!
As a woman who enjoys the kitchen, a dream I’ve had for both of my daughters is that they too, would enjoy and embrace cooking, baking and preparing meals for their families as they became young adults. LuLu, my 24-year-old, who has set up home in a cool little apartment, in the beautiful and ever popular capital of Texas, I’m proud to say, has arrived. Yes, yes! I am proud to say she is there, in her cute kitchen, complete with red appliances and tons of wooden spoons, donning her vintage apron, whipping up delicious creations almost daily. I usually receive a phone call, late afternoon, as she heads to the grocery for an ingredient or two she’ll need to prepare her dish of the evening. I could not be happier as evidenced by the grin from ear to ear spread across my face.
I especially enjoyed this new-found pleasure of hers on a recent visit as the dinner hour approached. The main course, I am sorry to say has slipped my mind, because I was most blown away by the chocolate cake she whipped up, as we sipped on cool chardonnay from stemless glasses and visited across the bar. My daughter threw together “Reine de Saba avec Glacage au Chocolate”, or in english, “Chocolate and Almond Cake with Chocolate Icing”, from Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, Vol.1, by Julia Child. Can you imagine how proud I felt, watching her read the recipe from her iPhone, (actually that part made me giggle) a newfangled way of scanning a recipe, melting chocolate in a double boiler, stirring the ingredients together, and perfecting the icing consistency by stirring it over a bowl of ice. I did not know she could or would do this!
The cake was a scrumptious blend of chocolate and almond flavors and the icing creamy and divine. If you are a mom and have dreams of your kids becoming great chefs or simply learning to embrace cooking and baking, relax, sit back and wait for that magical moment when your dream is fulfilled. It’s worth the wait!
I do plan on sharing a story of the honey harvest soon. Our lives have been hectic this summer with the closing of the business where my adoring hubby has worked for 30 years. Yes, yes it turned our lives upside down but we are finally starting to see an end to the chaos it created. I will tell you, my hunch about hungry bees was correct and they are happily sipping sugar syrup daily and beginning to fill their hive with nectar that will sustain them during the winter months. I can’t say that we are totally in the clear as this hive is small but I do know they aren’t hungry anymore. I feel confident in saying that I saved their lives.
Chocolate and Almond Cake
Recipe created by Julia Child
This extremely good chocolate cake is baked so that its center remains slightly underdone; overcooked, the cake loses its special creamy quality. It is covered with a chocolate-butter icing, and decorated with almonds. Because of its creamy center it needs no filling. It can be made in the same manner as the preceding cakes, starting out with a beating of egg yolks and sugar, then proceeding with the rest of the ingredients. But because the chocolate and the almonds make a batter so stiff it is difficult to fold in the egg whites, we have chosen another method, that of creaming together the butter and sugar, and then incorporating the remaining items.
- Round cake pan , 8 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep
- 3-quart mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or Electric beater
- Rubber spatula
- Cake rack
- 4 ounces or squares semisweet chocolate , melted
- 2 Tbsp. rum or coffee
- 1/4 pound or 1 stick softened butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar to mix with butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar to beat with egg whites
- 1/3 cup pulverized almonds
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 cup cake flour , scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter
- Chocolate-Butter Icing
Cream the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.
Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
- Small covered pan
- Larger pan of almost simmering water
- Wooden spoon
- Bowl with tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
- Small flexible-blade metal spatula or table knife
- 2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
- 2 Tbsp. rum or coffee
- 5 to 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter