Monday, November 9, 2009

The Chocolatiest Birthday Cake Ever

Yesterday was my mother and sister's annual joint birthday party. As sister and daughter I volunteered to bake the cake. My aunt recommended Triple Layer Brownie Cake. Oh my! This is a supremely rich and decadent dessert. (You can't really call it just a cake.) Ice cream accompaniment is mandatory because it's just too rich and sweet without some ice cream to tone it down. Yes there is something sweeter than ice cream!

Triple Layer Brownie Cake

1-1/2 cups butter (NO SUBSTITUTES)
6 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

2 packages ( 8ounces each) semisweet baking chocolate (16 oz total)

3 cups whipping cream
2 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each), grated

In a microwave or double boiler, melt butter and chocolate.
Stir in sugar.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in vanilla, flour and salt; mix well.
Pour into three greased and floured ( I also use wax paper on the bottom as just greasing and flouring doesn't prevent all sticking) 9-in round cake pans.
Bake at 350 for 20 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Don't be alarmed when the cake (brownie) falls apart a bit. Just stick it back together. The frosting hides all imperfections.

For frosting, melt chocolate in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in cream until well blended. Heat to a gentle boil; boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until mixture reaches pudding-like consistency, stirring a few times. Beat until soft peaks form. Immediately spread between layers and over top and sides of cake.

Sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Store in refrigerator.

Yield 16-20 servings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween and Other Things

Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight
make me a child again
just for to-night!
~Elizabeth Akers Allen

First, let's get this out of the way.....she is NOT Cinderella. She couldn't remember what she was, but got most agitated if someone referred to her as Cinderella. In actuality, her costume was called "Snow Contessa". She didn't know what a contessa was but she was thrilled to be one.

It was a rather cold Halloween this year, but at least there was no rain. It seems we have a rainy Halloween every few years and we were due. Now, of course, it got up to the mid-70's the next day, but we were bundled in our winter coats for trick-or-treating.

Patrick got a new car on Halloween Day. It's a gorgeous 2010 Nissan GT-R. At least it's the kind of "sporty car" that I like. . . something with a little muscle and some conveniences.

Unfortunately, he awoke on Sunday to buyer's remorse. That lasted about a day. When he came home from work on Monday there was no sign of the remorse of the previous day.

I have been running in relax-mode the past week; just enjoying not having to do anything by a deadline. But, my mind has been at work despite the activity hiatus and I've started making me a list for the coming month of things to do around the house. It has been much neglected in the past several months. I've turned my eye back to my living room, which I had painted last fall. Time to get back to putting finishing touches on the decorations and knick-knacks. To that end I've ordered a couple of items to add to the room this past week: a stained glass wall sconce, a set of 3 rich-colored bottles, and a new painting of roses in a vase.

Next up on the list is some deep-cleaning projects. I'd like to get these done before the holidays. Things like closet clean-outs and the like. I've also still got fall bulbs to plant and the temps are suppose to be in the mid-60's most of this week. I've got no excuse as I have Thursday and Friday wide-open on my calendar. JUST DO IT!

I'd also like to get some baking in. Cookies and some apple turnovers have been on my mind as we shift to cooler weather. Also, it's about time to start baking dog cookies again too.

My aunt Ann held a little get-together last Friday in honor of my cousin Chris' visit home in about 4 years. It was a super party and very heartwarming to attend. Lots of good food, good company and laughs were had. Ann snapped this impromptu shot of the girls and Chris.