A Quilt and Cake
My mother’s birthday was yesterday, and as I had posted previously, I made her a quilt. This is the first quilt I’ve made, and I think it turned out all right, though some good lessons were learned. Lessons like checking the bobbin every so often so you’re not in the middle of a long seam and run out, then having to stop and wind her up again. Or, don’t let the cat and dog be in the same room as a sewing machine, glass of wine and a large quilt. Or perhaps most notably, cut, measure, re-measure, square off, cut, measure again. Sewing is precision oriented, and is something I will practice to (hopefully) perfection. The quilt is the first pattern in Material Obsession, called the Avalon quilt. Simply put, it is twelve 18″ squares of different fabrics, pieced together by the gray pieces, which are of different lengths, but all at 3.5″ width.
Additionally, I made my mother a cake after being so inspired by Molly Wizenberg’s chapter and recipe both titled “Winning Hearts and Minds Cake.” I have to say, this cake really could win over hearts and minds. At least for those who love dense chocolate cakes. And it was easy, with few ingredients and a short baking time. As you’ll see in the picture, I did not have the “best quality” dark chocolate, but I did have Ghirradeli chips (I didn’t bother chopping it up), and though European-style butter was lacking, Land O Lakes suited me just fine. Also, unbleached flour wasn’t in the cupboard, so I used Pillsbury all-purpose.
Winning Hearts and Minds Cake
7 ounces (200 grams) best-quality dark chocolate
7 ounces (200 grams) unsalted European-style butter (the high-butterfat kind, such as Lurpak or Beurre d’Isigny), cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/3 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too.
Finely chop the chocolate (a serrated bread knife does an outstanding job of this) and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring regularly to combine.
Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well, and set aside to cool for a few moments. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition, and then add the flour. The batter should be smooth, dark, and utterly gorgeous.
Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. (I usually set the timer for 20 minutes initially, and then I check the cake every two minutes thereafter until it’s done. At 20 minutes, it’s usually quite jiggly in the center. You’ll know it’s done when it jiggles only slightly, if at all.) Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward. Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools. Source: Orangette