Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For the Love of Cake

Years ago there was this fabulous European Bakery and Pastry shop downtown. It started out as Napoleon’s and when the original owner retired, he sold the business to a couple who had worked with him for quite some time. The name then changed to Pitzmann’s, but the menu remained mostly the same. They would arrive at the bakery in the wee morning hours and begin baking fresh baguettes and chocolate filled croissants and beignets and other pastries and treats you just would not believe. It was always a treat to go early for breakfast and sit at the bistro tables and linger over one of these fanciful delights.

My mom, dad and I were in love, yes…in love, with this chocolate truffle cake that they sold by the slice. The cake consisted of three layers of a super moist cake with a buttery chocolate ganache between each layer. The bakery was literally within walking distance from my dad’s office, so every Friday afternoon he would walk down and purchase 3 slices of cake for us to enjoy on Friday evening. This was a family tradition and because he was so faithful to go every week for years, he was on a first name basis with Gretchen who worked behind the counter and she knew the moment he walked in just what the order would be. On special occasions we would order a whole cake and savor every last morsel of it. This cake was SO DELICIOUS that one evening my mom accidentally dropped her slice on the carpet and ate it anyway! This was some serious cake, y’all!

Sadly, a few years back Pitzmann’s closed their doors due to a personal health issue. Since we could no longer celebrate Friday nights with that oh so wonderful cake, I began to look for recipes that might be similar. I tried several cakes and frostings, but nothing matched the fullness of that chocolate truffle cake. In time I gave up trying to recreate what was.

This Christmas I found a new cake and chocolate ganache recipe. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and hoped for the best as I sliced the cake and served it up to my family. Everyone LOVED this cake and I was overjoyed to have found a dessert that we all enjoyed. As I ate the cake, I was reminded of the moistness of the cakes we once savored from Pitzmann’s. Then, the buttery-ness of the chocolate ganache that we so looked forward to each week. It has been years since we enjoyed a slice of chocolate truffle cake, but every wonderful taste that was once enjoyed long ago came flooding back. This was an unexpected delight!

The cake and ganache are so quick and easy to make too…this could be dangerous!

Moist Vanilla Cake

2 Cups almond flour
¼ Cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
10 eggs
1 ¾ Cup maple syrup, grade B
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined.

Line the bottoms of 2 nine inch cake pans with parchment paper.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cakes for at least one hour. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Place bottom layer of cake on a cake plate. Cover with ganache (see recipe below). Add the top layer and cover cake with remaining ganache.

Serve, savor, enjoy, and linger over every last bite!

Chocolate Ganache

2 Cups dark chocolate chips
1 Cup extra virgin coconut oil
4 Tablespoons maple syrup, grade B
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a boiler over low heat. Stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is well combined. Place boiler in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from freezer and whip with a hand held blender. The mixture will become thick. Spread over cake and Enjoy!

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