Skip to main content

A Forty-One Year Old Cake

As our visit winds down my mother is trying to get in every last flavor she knows we love or remember. We've had meatloaf (twice), blueberry pie, chicken and rice, tatertot casserole, homemade coffeecake, good sharp Wisconsin cheddar and German sausage. (We've also gained about seven pounds, as one might expect.)

At a recent family gathering, my mother prepared for dessert a cake she's been making for my birthday as long as I can remember. She confirmed, as well, that she's had the recipe since the year I was born. Coincidence? Perhaps.

This recipe turns the average angelfood cake it into delicious layers of bitter chocolate and coffee that simply melt in your mouth. The recipe, a battered and besplattered piece of magazine paper that my mother reports is perhaps from a 1969 or 1968 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine is tucked in the cookbook she keeps on the counter. My mother's adage, "It's only air." as she encourages us to eat something like dessert or clean up our plates is perhaps true for one of the few times ever.

Heavenly Torte
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 tablespoon hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
1 10-inch angel cake
1/2 square (1/2 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate, shaved (3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

In a small mixing bowl, combine marshmallow creme, hot water, coffee powder, and vanilla. Beat using electric mixer on low speed until blended, then beat at high speed until fluffy. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in marshmallow creme mixture. Split cake cross-wise into three layers. Frost each layer with marshmallow filling; sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Assemble layers on cake plate and garnish top with toasted almonds.

Note from my mother:
- She sometimes uses ground walnuts rather than almonds, which is how I remember eating it most often. She also doesn't always toast the almonds. The day she made it here, she didn't toast them and we didn't mind in the least.
- She also shaves the chocolate directly onto the layer in question rather than shaving ahead of time and hand-sprinkling. (See photos.)


Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro