Monday, November 17, 2008
This past Saturday was the first ever Bridge Community Church DelecTables event. Hostesses from the Bridge each decorated a table in a holiday theme, made a dessert and invited a few friends to come and enjoy.
Since my good china consists of a quarter of a set of Corelle Livingware, circa 1985, I had to pass on the tablescaping portion of the event. I did, however, volunteer to bring a dessert.
This was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe I've been holding on to for just such an occasion: chocolate pound cake with Italian meringue buttercream.
I'll skip the play-by-play and just say this: It was good. Thanks in part, I believe, to the six sticks of butter and nine eggs it included.
I won't lie. I was nervous going into the production phase. The cake itself required delicate sifting, measuring and blending, none of which I do too carefully. But the real challenge was the Italian meringue buttercream. It required the whipping of, as they say here in the South, a whole mess of egg whites. Then it required me to heat water and sugar to exactly 245 degrees -- a process during which a kid named Steve came to the door selling magazines. I explained that I'd love to hear more but that if I didn't go stir the syrup my meringue would be ruined and I didn't suppose Steve wanted that on his conscience.
Once I had the syrup, I added it to the egg whites. I blended. I whipped. Then I added a little butter. Like two cups. As in a whole box. But I did it tablespoon by tablespoon. That made it seem a little more reasonable.
In the end, the cake and the frosting both turned out pretty well. I didn't get a photo of the finished cake, but I did photograph the mini version I made for myself (to test for quality). I've decided sifted flour and superfine sugar are the way to go with cakes -- you get a very fine crumb and smooth texture. And if you're feeling like your cholesterol levels can survive the hit, I'd highly recommend the meringue. (I found my recipe in Cuisine at Home, provided by CakeLove in Washington, D.C., but you can see the same recipe here.) It's not too sweet and very smooth. Like butter, you might say.
The food: Chocolate pound cake with Italian meringue buttercream
The verdict: The tastiest heart attack you'll ever have