Monday, June 6, 2011

Chocolate and Learning from Experience

Last week I celebrated my 69th birthday. I realize that to most of you, 69 sounds, like, so old. It only sounds that way. I practice mind over matter. I don't mind getting old, so it doesn't matter.
My birthday cake got a sprig of chocolate mint from my garden.

Cooking is something I enjoy doing every day. So every year for my birthday I bake my own cake. Sure, it would be easier and maybe even more festive, to simply buy a cake. Or more gracious to let someone buy one for me. But, what if I don't like it? I'd have to wait another year to do it my way.

It's all about me.

I wanted a chocolate cake this year. I love chocolate. I envisioned a fluffy cake and dense chocolate ice cream, so I decided to combine them into an ice cream cake. This recipe is a quick way to whip up a homemade cake that's special enough to seem celebratory. It's just a layer of sponge cake wrapped around a layer of ice cream. I used the jelly roll cake recipe in my go-to cookbook, Joy of Cooking.

Chocolate Ice Cream Roll
Ingredients: 
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

How to:
Oil a jelly roll pan (a 10.5 x 15.5-inch baking sheet with a 1-inch lip all around). Line the bottom with an overhanging strip of parchment or aluminum foil to make it easy to remove the cake after baking. Oil the parchment or foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   

Separate the eggs. Beat the yolks, then gradually add the sugar to the yolks, and beat until creamy. Add vanilla. Sift the flour with baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Whip the egg whites until stiff, and fold them into the cake batter. Pour batter onto prepared jelly roll pan, spread it to the edges, and bake for about 12 minutes.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, invert it onto a clean, cloth towel that has been dusted with confectioners sugar. Peel the parchment or foil away and trim away any brittle edges.While it is still warm, roll the cake in the towel, and allow it to cool for about 2 hours.

For the filling:
When you start to bake the cake, remove 1 pint of chocolate ice cream from the freezer and place it the coldest part of your refrigerator, usually way in the back. As the cake cools, the ice cream will be softening to a spreadable consistency.

Unroll the completely cooled cake, place it on a layer of wax paper, and spread the inside of the cake with most of the ice cream, Roll it up and cover the top with the remaining ice cream. Working quickly to prevent melting, wrap the wax paper around your cake, and place it in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Slice crosswise to serve, garnished with chocolate syrup if desired. 

The ice cream I used was Haagen-Dazs chocolate. I was disappointed because it wasn't chocolatey enough. Now I realize that I probably should have bought some wild and crazy, nutty, chunky, fudgey flavor.

Lesson Learned
Live and learn. Next year I'll get something more over the top, like Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey or Chocolate Heath Bar. 

That's the thing about getting older. You learn by making mistakes.

I've been rehabbing, repairing, and redecorating houses for many years. What I blog about and write ebooks about I've learned from experience. As we say in North Carolina, I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

You can learn from my mistakes. Not just the chocolate lesson, but the staging lessons. I've written a lot about how to stage your own home for the real estate market. Learn more about my home staging eBook here including how to get your copy.




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