Greetings, my sleepy readers.
There are many reasons to rejoice this week. First off is this intense exploration of madness, courtesy of the magical Katelan Foisy. For 40 days, Katelan chronicles her descent into the abyss. She offers a sharp insight into the spirals of the mind, with a sense of self and perspective that few artsist offer. Check it out, I implore you.
Reason to rejoice #2! The good people at Sleep No More NYC were so entranced by the chocolate peanut-butter goodness I whipped up for them last week, they have given me an open invitation to make them cake whenever I wish. It’s a gosh-darn pleasure and an honor for the hottest theater ticket in town to be clamoring for my late-night treats.
I honestly feel guilty taking praise for my various sweetlings. There’s not a great level of difficulty involved in my baking-related adventures in the twilight. It’s not like I’m concocting glacés or sugar sculptures, I just do enough research to ensure that the recipes I make involve an awful lot of fat, sugar, and chocolate.
For this week’s experiment, I did throw in a wildcard– buttermilk. This oft-maligned sour stuff will make your biscuits toothsome and your breads fluffy and delicious. If you truly love yourself, you will make yourself some Buttermilk Honey Bread (recipe from The Comfort of Cooking). When The Ex died, I immediately hopped on a bus home so that my mother could take care of me for the weekend. In between bouts of weeping and staring numbly out the window, I made dinner rolls out of this dough. They were soft, yielding, slightly sweet, and deliciously comforting.
I miss him a lot. My life has been in upheaval for a number of reasons outside of this tragedy over the past many weeks, but gosh, kids. I miss him a lot.
Since that weekend, I’ve been yearning to bring more buttermilk into my kitchen. I found this recipe for “The most AMAZING Chocolate Buttermilk Cake EVER” on The Paperseed, and thought it might be worth a spin. It was, my friends, it was.
- I pre-heated the oven to 350, and turned on a marathon of Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit. Oh, Detective Elliot Stabler, you are so troubled. Allow me to ease your pain.
- I made a 1.5 recipe, enough for my 13×9 cake pans.
- In my schmancy electric mixer, I put in 3 1/2 cups flour, 3 1/4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (actually, I used baking powder by mistake, but I think that’s okay), 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder, and a healthy sprinkling of salt.
- I mixed them all together on low until they were well and truly mixed.
- Yea, and I looked upon the dry ingredients, and they were good.
- With the mixer still on low, I added in 2 cups canola oil and 2 1/4 cups buttermilk.
- One at a time, I added in 5 and a half eggs. To achieve this, I added in five eggs, then took one egg, cracked it into a cup, swooshed it around a bit with a fork, then added about half of it. SCIENCE!
- The mixer still mixing like a champ, I streamed in 2 1/4 cup of very strong hot coffee.
- Just so you know, there is no way that I accidentally started my roommate’s coffee grinder without the cap on and spewed coffe grounds all over the counter.
- Noooooo way that happened.
- I poured the batter into the pans, and then let them bake in the 350 degree oven for 30ish minutes. The cakes puffed up immediately but fell as they cooled, a result of my baking powder / baking soda snafu.
While the cakes cooled, I made a makeshift double-boiler out of two saucepans, and set a few inches of water all a’simmer.
- In the top saucepan, I put in 2 1/4 cups heavy cream and 36 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips– I used Baker’s chocolate chunks. Over the water, I let the chocolate melt without any help from me and my whisk.
- Once the chocolate had melted into the cream, I set upon it with a whisk-ful vengeance. It will be patent-leather shiny and smooth as silk. I left it to cool to room temperature.
- I may or may not have eaten several spoonfuls . . just to be sure it was okay.
- It was okay.
- It occurred to me I would need some icing for decorating, so I left a stick of butter out to soften. Once it was ready, I whisked in about 2 cups of powdered sugar, and a glug of vanilla extract. I was doing this manually with a fork, so I’m assuming it burned at least 1,500 calories.
- I poured the chocolate ganache over the cakes, and put them in the fridge to let it set. Once that was done (read: once I was bored), I iced one of the cakes to say . . . CAKE!!
- I added in some red food coloring into the icing to ice the next cake to say . .. . OR DEATH!!
- Don’t know why this is funny? It’s from a classic Eddie Izzard routine. Head here, and laugh, and laugh, and laugh.
- I also iced a cupcake just for me, and ate it alone, a la’ Bridesmaids.
- I let the cakes chill in the fridge, and continued my SVU marathon. I played my favorite game, Spot the Amazing Actor Most People Don’t Know Cuz They’re In Theater!!
VERDICT: Daaaaaaaaaamn, y’all. This has a moist, luscious crumb that’s not too sweet, and the creamy ganache is just the right topping. In general, I’m not a huge fan off cakes, I generally find them overly cloying. This is just on the line, but stays firmly on the semi-side of semi-sweet. I have full confidence that the good people of Punchdrunk and Emursive will thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my not-so-laborious labors.