I participated in a Death by Chocolate Event (baking contest) at my local library last night. It was a very nice example of an activity that doesn’t cost much but really brightens the dull days between Valentine’s Day and Easter (which also involve large amounts of chocolate here in the United States). It was an adult event, so most of the people where there with their dates or friends. Over 200 people came to taste chocolate candy and baked goods and enjoy the Big Band music and an evening out.
The chocolate fumes alone were seizure inducing.
It was judged by one pastry chef and two chocolatiers, as well as by all the people who came to taste.There were 39 participants giving out samples in seven categories: professional, cookies, candies, brownies, cakes, cheese cakes, and hodge podge. Each category was judged by the public tasters and the professional s.One entry per category was allowed and each entry cost $5. The public could make a donation if they wished. Otherwise, tasting was free!
I entered what I called my Chocolate Raspberry Dream Cake and won the People’s Choice Award for Cakes.I was really surprised because I had entereda Chocolate Truffle Sweet Orange Marmalade cake in a previous year—It was a volcano of chocolate that I was sure would win—and failed to score. My entry this year had a vanilla icing on a extremely dark chocolate cake with raspberry preserves between the layers (I had made the preserves from the fruit of a dear friend’s raspberry patch).I had a relaxing afternoon putting it together and figured, I would have a nice evening visiting with friends and getting to know a few new people.
My personal favorite of the evening was a Tennessee Whiskey Bacon Truffle.It was flavored with essence of bacon—I never knew such a thing existed; yeah, I’m from the sticks—and a very fine aged whiskey. The combination sounded revolting to me, but I decided that trying something new was almost as good as a tropical vacation. First, I tasted chocolate, then the whiskey, then a smoky/salt flavor, and finally the fat of the cream—then it all mixed together. That woman took home a trophy.
One of my neighbors won the Judges Choice for Cakes. More Bacon! Again, it sounded odd but tasted fine. It was called The Elvis. It was a big, multilayer banana cake, with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of chocolate between each cake layer. The Icing was chocolate, and there was very crisply fried bacon sprinkled generously on top. The King would have approved. According to my neighbor, Elvis’s favorite sandwich, peanut butter, bananas, chocolate, and BACON, inspired this cake!
Here’s my recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Dream Cake.
½ cup cocoa (I used dark chocolate/dutched blend—your choice.)
¾ cup strong coffee (You shouldn’t be able to see through it, and it should be brewed from a dark roast.)
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs (I use the nice brown ones with the extra rich yokes that my hens lay for me—good girls!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups raspberry preserves (Slightly warmed to spread more easily between the layers)
1 cup cold water
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted butter (8 ounces) (The unsalted butter gives the icing an almost cheese cake or cream cheese taste)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour baking pans.
Cake: Dissolve cocoa in hot coffee. Set aside to cool. Then cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Beat in dissolved cocoa. Sift together dry ingredients and add to batter alternately with buttermilk.
Bake cake until it tests done (toothpick or cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean), about 30 minutes.
Filling: Warm preserves slightly.
Icing: Mix water and flour and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it is thick and smooth. Put in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Press wrap into top of mixture so there is no air space and cool. Scoop flour and water mixture into a larger bowl and add the rest of ingredients. Beat until thick, white, and fluffy.
Assembly: Cool cake layers in pans then turn out onto a cake plate, spread slightly warmed preserves between layers, coat top and sides with icing, and garnish top with shaved chocolate or raspberries or both. (Hint: I slipped my Raspberry Chocolove bar into my apron pocket while I cooked, and it was just the right temperature to make nice shavings when it was time to garnish.)
If you decide to make this cake, let me know how it turned out for you. Happy baking! Begonia.
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