Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Sunday Baking

Fruit Loops, Wise, Coca Cola and any other chemical-laden ‘food’ products were never welcomed guests at our door when I was growing up. They never saw the inside of our home, and I believed – and in a sense still do – that those names only resided in the bad kids’ homes. Except, now, I think of it more as the bad parents’ homes.

We ate my mom’s home-cooked meals seven nights a week, but we weren’t deprived of a rewarding treat; it came typically on a Sunday. It’s a shame that back then I was on the opposite side of the foodie track – I only ate to survive. Not only did I not appreciate it, but eating was a chore. Sweets had no bargaining power for obedience. That was reaffirmed by a photo I just came across: I was nine years old, and there was a chocolate Gugelhupf cake with melted marshmallow icing, sitting on the table, getting zero attention from my goofy eyes.Picture

Every Sunday, nowadays, I look forward to the approximate 3 p.m. call: “Do you want dessert and coffee?” She must know by now that this is a rhetorical question, unless I’m more than 200 miles away (and even then, I would say, “in a few hours”). There’s never a standard name for the dessert of the week. They’re usually self-titled, “Rosmarie’s something something Special,” and they range in ratings from very-good to damn-that’s-good to incredible.

In European style, the sugar content is probably half of what Americans are accustomed to. I recognized the similarities when recently touring Germany. I always thought Mom was a little “out there” with her need to put at least a shot of kirschwasser (cherry brandy) into every dessert she makes, be it in the icing or the cake layers or the fruit. But I indulged in a slice of Black Forest Cake while, naturally, in the Black Forest region, and realized when I was giggly at the end of consuming this kirsch-soaked piece, that Mom is actually conservative in her doses.

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This birthday, I was enjoying cake made by a restaurant in Lake Titisee. I was nearly 4,000 miles away from my usual Sunday dessert call, and it was quite good, but I longed for my special-request pie. She must have read my mind, though. Upon returning home from the two-week vacation, two days after my birthday, I opened the empty refrigerator to find a decadent home-made gift. “Wow, what is that Mom,” I asked on the phone immediately. “It’s kind of like a tart coated with apricot jam, filled with white chocolate mousse, chocolate shavings, topped with fresh, split figs, and of course…..some kirsch.” It always works!

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The Sinful Sacher Torte

I had long forgotten about that sinful Sacher torte, which is full of chocolate goodness, until the Swiss Miss W. asked my brother, “What would you like me to make for your birthday?” Then came the reminder with his response: “Sacher Torte”.

I recall her making one in my youth, but I was never one for things laden with so much sweetness, so much chocolate, EXCEPT a more recent memory contradicted all of that. On a trip to Austria about five years ago, we were in Vienna, and we found ourselves standing in front of the Hotel “Sacher” http://www.sacher.com/en-hotel-sacher-vienna.htm. I, being ignorant of the history of the Sacher torte (after all, who really cares about intellectual particulars when your taste buds are having a drunken party?) A cartoon bubble popped open above my head: “Sacher? Could this have any connection to the cake I tasted as a child?” The hotel must have seen my bubble and immediately responded with the sign that read: Home of the Original Sacher Torte.

I needed to go into this hotel, and I needed to experience the “ORIGINAL”. Now, history seemed much more interesting when taste-and-tell was involved. One slice was all that was needed to wake up my senses and recall – oh how delectibly sweet and chocolatey smooth. It wasn’t American, hurt-your-teeth white sugar sweet; it was European, glide-across-the palate, delicate yet rich,  kind of sweet. The light spread of Apricot jam in-between the layers was just enough to channel the moisture of the cake itself.

PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.sacher.com/en-original-sacher-tart.htm

The Swiss Miss W’s Baking Creations – Black Forest

What makes a good Black Forest cake? For me, it’s either great or it’s not a black forest. Foremost, the cake must be moist! After the layers are baked….here’s the winner…..Am I supposed to give this away in America?………..mix one shot of kirschwasser (if you have the means, get the real stuff from Switzerland) and some sugar water, and brush the layers using a pastry brush just until absorbed. Don’t worry. It’s not enough to impact your BAC too much, but it does give the cake a nice little kick.

Now there’s always the decision of raspberry or cherry filling in between the layers. Traditionally, the cherry complements the kirsch, but raspberry pairs oh so nicely with the chocolate.

For heaven’s sake, fresh whipped cream is so easy and quick to make! Don’t use that stuff that is exactly like the foamy mousse hair product in a can. The final touch — get a knife and make the chocolate curls on top.