In the morning, the boys climb into bed with me for a snuggle and some surreal conversation. The other day, I looked over at E. and he was patting his chest with his hands. When I asked what he was doing, he said, “Oh, I’m just looking at where my new hand and arm are going to grow.”
Last week, he told me a new evil queen was going to be arriving. “Her name is Revengella [rhymes with Angela], Mommy!” When we told Greg about it, he said, “Sounds like a dessert.” We thought this was a bang-up idea. I said I thought that Revengella would be a dessert that was so delicious it would make your enemies weep with jealousy. E. corrected me.
“Listen, Mommy. We’re going to make the cake and we’re giving a piece to 10 people. It’s going to be SO DELICIOUS that they’re going to tell all their friends about it, and they’re going to be so AMAZED that they’re going to give us BAGS OF GOLD and we’re going to be SO SO RICH!”
We talked about what its parts would be. It turned out to be a cake with a fudgy filling. Lots of chocolate, obviously. White frosting. Cherries. E. said, “eight layers,” but I was able to talk him down to four. He says you people can decorate it any way you want (I think that the imminent bags of gold are making him feel generous), but that we had to put a big circle of chocolate on it.
What we ended up with was a sort of cross between Diplomatico and Black Forest Cake, with layers of cocoa angel food cake, semi-sweet chocolate ganache-y filling, cream cheese frosting on the outside, a center filled with black cherries and the ganache, and coarse-chopped chocolate chips on the outside.
There are a few steps, but none hard, and they’re fun for kids. Plus, of course, there are those bags of gold.
(all component recipes from Joy of Cooking)
1. Preheat oven to 350 and set aside an ungreased tube pan.
2. Sift together 3 times:
- 1/2 c. cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1/2 c. cocoa
- 2/3 c. white sugar
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
Set aside and keep the sifter handy.
3. Place in a large bowl:
- 12 egg whites (great use for the powdered ones unless you have a need for so many yolks)
- 1 T. water
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 t. cream of tartar
- 1 t. vanilla
Beat on low speed for one minute (set a timer to help you out, especially if you’ll have to wrestle the mixer away from your kids). Then increase speed to medium, and beat for about 2 minutes, until mixture increases in volume 4 – 5 times and looks foamy. Measure:
- 2/3 c. sugar
Increase beater speed to high, and add sugar very slowly, about 1 T. at a time, taking 2 – 3 minutes to incorporate.
4. In 8 parts, sift a fine layer of the flour mixture over the top of the egg whites and gently fold in without beating or stirring. Fold just until it’s all incorporated, then pour into pan, and spread evenly.
5. Place in oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (By the way, I use a thin metal skewer for this because I hate to use disposable things unnecessarily.) Once it’s in the oven, get a bottle ready to invert the pan over once it comes out. After baking, quickly and carefully place the pan upside down on the bottle’s neck to prevent the cake from collapsing. Let stay there and cool for a full 1 1/2 hours.
In the meantime, make Chocolate Filling:
In top of a double boiler, or in a small pan placed inside a larger pan with an inch of lightly simmering water in it, stirring frequently just until thoroughly melted and combined:
- 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chunks, chips, or coarsely chopped
- 6 oz. butter
- 6 T. water or coffee
Set aside to cool.
Make Cream Cheese Frosting. Beat together on medium speed just until blended:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 5 T. unsalted butter
- 2 t. vanilla
Add in 3 parts and beat just until blended:
- 2 c. powdered sugar
Keep at room temperature until ready to frost cake.
Prepare final ingredients for finishing cake:
?1. Thaw frozen, or pit fresh:
- 1 c. sweet cherries
2. Coarsely chop:
- 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1. Remove cake from pan by running a knife between cake and pan all around. Push bottom through, gently, then run knife along the bottom. Place cake on one plate and have another plate ready. With a long, serrated knife, cut cake into four layers.
2. Place one layer on the second plate, and spread thin layer of chocolate filling. Place other layers on top, spreading chocolate filling between each. Don’t worry too much if the layers break a little bit – angel food cake is not as crumbly as most cakes and can be patched back together.
3. When top layer is in place, spread a thin layer of the cream cheese frosting over the outside of the entire cake. It’s okay if it pulls up crumbs and looks crappy. This is the crumb coat. Set by cooling for a few minutes. Spread the rest of the frosting on top.
4. Scoop or pour the remaining chocolate filling into the center of the cake and put cherries on top of the chocolate.
5. Using your hands, gently pat the chopped chocolate around the outside.
Enjoy, and send all bags of gold right to our house. E. is going to be terribly angry if you don’t.