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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.)

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