There’s Always Room for Cake

If you ask any kid what their favorite food is, I would be willingly to bet that 1 in 3 will say, “Cake!” Grown-ups will most likely not say cake, but grown-ups lie. It isn’t so much that kids say the darndest things as they do the most truthful of things. As an adult that identifies more as a child, I can proudly say that I, Marie Hegler, do love cake with all my heart.

Relax, it's just chocolate!

Cake is the food of celebration. Why do you think people always serve cake at weddings? Because if they didn’t, nobody would bother to attend such a candid display of love and commitment. I’m kidding. Cake is also the main event of birthday celebrations. Remember the time when your Great Aunt Mildred took you to Ryan’s for your birthday. You specifically told her not to tell the waitress that it was, indeed, your birthday. But before you could butter your yeast roll, the Ryan’s team had surrounded your table clapping and chanting in a disturbing, cult-like fashion. Though you resented the singing and utter embarrassment of that moment, you knew Great Aunt Mildred’s coconut cake awaited you, so you politely smiled it off. Never underestimate the power of cake.

On the health spectrum, cake falls at the far end with other guilty pleasures that are considered unacceptable by someone named Jenny1 or Jillian2. Jenny and I are not friends, and my fear of Jillian climbing atop my back and making me run up flights of stairs has also prevented a budding friendship from forming. However, I do have a friend. Her name is Marisa. She is pretty. She also makes people cakes for their birthdays, which may or may not be one of the main reasons we are friends. For my ex-roommate/husband’s birthday not too long ago, Marisa and I teamed up and made one exceptionally malicious cake. This cake was first prepared for me by my friend Heather’s mom, Sheila. Sheila possesses the same entertaining poise and grace as the one and only Ina Garten (see SIDENOTE). During this blessed cake-consuming experience, the heavens opened up and made their glorious presence known.

The heavens are calling...they want their cake back!

Needless to say, Marisa and I jumped on board when given the chance to make this awe-inspiring cake for a special lad’s birthday. Lindsay helped by opening a few packages. The cake we prepared did not turn out nearly as…um…pretty or put-together as Sheila’s. It sort of fell apart upon cutting. Thankfully,  it was as delicious as it was messy. Allow me to break this cake down for you—four delicious layers of chocolate cake each topped with a mouth-watering, brown sugar-butter-walnut concoction and then freshly-made whipped cream.

We carried the cake in all its glory with us to a restaurant for my ex-roommate/husband’s birthday celebration. The first thing our fabulous waiter said to us was, “I’m gonna go ahead and get you guys some bread and waters, cuz I wanna a piece of that cake.” He was given a generous slice and so was our gracious hostess. As we departed the restaurant with bellies full and hearts warm, a few other waiters confessed to snagging a bite of the cake and commented on its superiority and decadence. I must add that this cake makes other cakes look like pudding snack packs, but you don’t have to take my word for it. You can ask Sheila, Lindsay, my ex-roommate/husband, Marisa, Heather, Brooke, our waiter, our hostess, a couple other waiters and Anna. So, the next time you and your entourage are dinning out, and the waiter asks if you’ve left room for dessert, don’t lie. There’s always room for cake.

SIDENOTE: Ina Garten with her trademark popped collar, bob and bangs haircut and nervous giggle is the queen of all things overly delicious and expensive on the Food Network. She is also known as the Barefoot Contessa. The name is really equivalent to a stage name since her cooking show is called Barefoot Contessa, the name of the gourmet store she once bought and operated in East Hampton. The store had been named by its original owner in tribute to the 1954 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner. Garten decided to keep the name when she took over, believing it represented her idea of an “elegant but earthy” lifestyle.

1Jenny Craig- a weight loss company that has centers across the U.S., most of which are located next to a Marble Slab Creamery

2Jillian Michaels- a fitness trainer who will make you cry off those unwanted pounds

This blog is brought to you by—Sheila’s cocktail hour, 14-year-olds portraying 14-year-olds in films (Ex: True Grit), and the Puppy Bowl.

Chocolate Praline Torte

1 ½ cups chopped walnuts

1 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix without pudding (we tested with Duncan Hines)

1 ½ cups whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnishes: chopped walnuts, chocolate shavings

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients. Sprinkle about 1 cup walnut mixture into each of four ungreased 9-inch round cake pans, pressing lightly in pans.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package directions; pour batter evenly over walnut mixture in prepared pans. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let layers cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes; remove from pans.  Cool layers completely, nut side up, on wire racks.
  4. Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixture until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Place 1 layer, nut side up, on a serving plate. Spread 1 cup whipped cream over layer. Repeat with remaining layers, ending with whipped cream. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately or cover and chill 1 to 2 hours. To serve, slice torte with a serrated knife. Yield: 1 (9-inch) torte.

Sheila Says: Sheila says she uses disposable cake pans in the size as close to 9 inches that she can find. She says they are usually smaller, but it’s close enough. Also, Sheila says when she assembles the cake, she puts a wooden skewer through the middle to help keep the cake together because it has a tendency to slide with all that whipped creamy goodness.

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1 Comment »

  1. Meghan said

    I need you to know that I showed Andrew the chocolate mess picture (might i remind you, he’s super clean and organized…) and he his jaw dropped wide open and just said “I would not appreciate that.” Bahahahaha. Oh, he’s in for it!!

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