Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chocolate Mess

When I made my post about my family Christmas traditions I made the statement that we did not have a traditional dessert. One of my cousins took offense at the statement and reminded me of a dessert that my mom makes almost every year in December: Chocolate Torte.

I'm re-naming it Chocolate Mess. It looks prettier sliced up and arranged on a serving platter. And let me tell you, they are tiny slices. They have to be. The whole cake has a grand total of five cups of sugar. That's right: five. But because of the small slices, this cake would appear at three or four different Christmas parties throughout December.

I'll post the recipe below for those that want to try it once I regain access to it. I would warn you, though, this recipe is for either the incredibly brave, or the incredibly stupid. Personally, I think I fell into the latter category considering the fact that I had a seven-month-old baby to take care of as well as make a time-consuming cake.

I could not find my cake pans when I began this venture. I decided that my loaf pans would do in a pinch. That was my first mistake. You cannot get a spatula down into a loaf pan well enough to loosen the cake layers, so all of those fell apart. I tried pan-frying the batter like a crepe, but couldn't get it quite thin enough, even when I managed not to scorch them.

Fortunately, my mother offered to help me with the cake, so the next day I brought my batter and icing over to her house and she began showing me how she makes this look so easy. It should be noted that my mother made this cake almost every year with no assistance. After my experience, I would recommend that you have two people working on it. It speeds this up and just makes everything go smoother.

There were so many things that she does that are not in the recipe. Like greasing the pans with butter. Granted, I assumed you needed to grease the pans, but Mom has a particular preference for using butter because of the taste. And spreading it with your fingers if you want to be sure that you really got the pan covered. We just used a paper towel with a dab of butter most of the time, though.

The recipe says that it is a twenty-two layer cake. Mine turned out with sixteen layers...I think. If it weren't for the layers that I ruined while attempting to make the cake on my own, I probably would have had twenty or more. Oh well. It still tasted good.

Make the icing in advance. It thickens as you cook it. This is another thing not mentioned in the actual recipe. Also, you will have to wash the pans in between uses. Every. Single. Time. I was actually hoping I could skip that step. No such luck.

But the number one recommendation I would have for anyone that wants to try making this cake for the first time? Find someone that has done it before. Mom finally told me that it took years of making this cake before she had it down to her smooth process. It's worth it, though.

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