I know what you’re thinking: another dessert, Deb? Are you trying to kill us? But let me explain; you see, when your house guests fill your fridge and freezer with sausage and cheese and bread and you buy some wonderful Satur Farms arugula (now available at Whole Foods! Oh, how happy this makes me.) and make daily vinaigrettes with your new French Dijon, it turns out you don’t have to cook dinner at all. For days. And that’s pretty much where we’re at with things that do not involve sugar.
Celebration Cakes Archive
Alex’s birthday was this past weekend and in case you are new here, let me give you a loose outline of a Standard Dessert Alex Politely Requests: Chocolate. Chocolate with chocolate. Chocolate with caramel. Chocolate with toffee. Chocolate with coffee. Chocolate with hazelnut cream. Chocolate with Oreos. Chocolate cheesecake with brownie chunks. Chocolate icebox cake. Chocolate with raspberries. Chocolate with white chocolate. Chocolate with dulce de leche. Chocolate with banana cake.
Oh, hi. Are you still out there? Oh, right, it’s the middle of a holiday weekend and you’re probably a) at the beach, b) sleeping on a hammock in a backyard or c) taking one of those media breaks the kids are so into these days. And believe it or not, I had a few days off too.
That’s right, folks. The. Cake. Is. Baked. I mean, sure, it’s not filled. Heck, I haven’t even tracked down Indian or Philippine mangoes yet, bought the chocolate for the ganache filling or successfully tackled Swiss Buttercream, but we’ve got time for all that–FOUR WHOLE DAYS in fact. Pshaw, it should be nothing at all.
Last weekend, I baked three birthday cakes. One of my mother’s oldest friends was turning 65, and when she mentioned that she was going to order the cake for her birthday party from a bakery, I had to object. People, when I turn 65 someone better bake me a homemade cake, is all I am saying. I think the very least someone deserves for hitting such a fine age with style is a friend, elbows-deep in flour, frosting and devotion.
Last month, someone emailed me to ask how I’d suggest she adapt the Icebox Cake to feed 30 to 40 people. Anyone who has ever emailed me to ask me a question before probably knows what happened next: I answered at least 10 (cough 20) days after the fact. Nevertheless, she assured me that she’d scaled it just fine and her husband and hers joint birthday part was wonderful, or at least I think this is what she said because I do not remember a single word that passed between us after she uttered what have to be the four most beautiful words in the dessert lexicon: Hazelnut. Brown. Butter. Cake.
There is a certain kind of cake so ubiquitous in grocery store checkout lanes, beneath lottery-stickered counters in bodegas and beckoning to office workers in a 3 p.m. slump through vending machine window and so lodged in American nostalgia that I am always surprised that more people don’t make it at home. I’m talking about a Ding Dong. Or a King Don. Or a Ring Ding. Confused yet? You’re not alone.