I should know by now that experimenting with recipes before a dinner party is not a good idea. But who else can I experiment on but my hapless dinner guests?
My goal was a dense, gooey, flourless chocolate cake, maybe with a glossy dark chocolate ganache poured over top. I thought I had found the ideal recipe here. It had four simple ingredients and no-nonsense instructions. It even gave me the opportunity to use my kitchen scale, which had long sat unused. Working in metric is such fun.
I’ll give you the recipe here, and then you can see for yourself how things went horribly wrong.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the surface begins to crack but the centre is still gooey.
With three hours until the dinner guests arrived, the Pie said, “Well, you have time to make another cake.”
I gave him a dark look.
“Or,” he says, backtracking, “you could make a trifle?”
Huzzah! Dessert is saved! Another floor pizza crisis averted.
Of course, having never made trifle in my life (I save that duty for my mother-in-law, because Mrs. Nice does it so well), I do not own a trifle bowl. Not to worry, I will improvise. Though I wouldn’t mind getting a trifle bowl someday, hint, hint …
Trifle is all about the layers. The traditional version is a sponge cake, usually soaked with some form of alcohol, like brandy or sherry, topped with fruit, custard, and whipping cream in alternating layers. In a straight-sided container like a trifle bowl you can see all the layers and the effect is quite pretty.
This being a chocolate cake, I thought the custard would be inappropriate. If I had more time, I would have made chocolate pudding as a substitute for the custard, but I didn’t have the time needed for the pudding to set. Instead, I opted for a strawberry fruit sauce with drizzled melted chocolate between the layers of whipped cream, and topped with fresh raspberries. I drizzled a wee bit of Grand Marnier over the cake and let that sink in.
I added butter to the melted chocolate so that when it cooled it wouldn’t be as hard as it was originally.
I also added a wee bit of cream of tartar to my whipped cream so that it would hold its shape better while chilling in the refrigerator.
Then I did my layering …
The layering doesn’t look as pretty from the side but we have to sacrifice aesthetics sometimes. Chill that sucker for a couple hours then feed it to your unsuspecting dinner guests with a sob story about your failed dessert.