The Two-Hour Pastry Chef

If I could define a holiday meal in terms of dessert, my preferred ingredients would be chocolate and butter cream.  Perhaps, I’m not alone.

So, we did the beautiful bird, the stuffing, the roasted veggies (a little extra carbon notwithstanding), the sides, the perfect pumpkin pie, and the mashed potatoes were described as resembling Devils Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

But a Chocolate-Caramel Cake with Sea Salt published in the Nov issue of Bon Appetit called to me with the longing of a loon’s cry. Using mayonnaise in the batter and a very high quality cocoa powder, I turned out three beautiful layers, rotating the pans for even baking and reducing the cooking time to compensate for the 9″ pans I had vs the 8″ pans the recipe called for.

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The chocolate butter cream icing is equally simple.  Simple as in simple sugar syrup. I used a 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate, and three sticks of sweet cream butter.  Perfectly whipped butter cream is a thing of beauty.

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The finishing touch is a dusting of flaked salt just before serving.  The end result measures up in quality, texture, mouth feel and flavor to any pastry shop dessert.

You can do this.  Dec is full of opportunity…

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