Thursday, March 22, 2012

Special Occasion

Tonight I made a special dinner for my husband to celebrate his birthday.  We ate outside, in the evening, in March, in MA.  I've said before that this was weird, right?  Yeah.  It was 80 degrees again today.

First, there were filet mignons on the grill, with grilled zucchini and pasta with a bittercress pesto.  I don't think I've made pesto since college, but I was inspired by the presence of so much bittercress in the yard.  I collected about 2 cups (packed) and a handful of the field-garlic-chive things and blended them with 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, some pepper and a little garlic, 1/2 c. olive oil and some parmesan cheese.  That made enough for 4 meals; 3 portions are now frozen for times when we need the fresh spring taste of the bittercress again.

Then the piece de resistance, the cake!  I made a sour cream chocolate cake but used coffee instead of water.  That's a trick from a Wacky Cake recipe I have.  It makes the cake even richer.  (Have you ever made a Wacky Cake?  I love them - they have vinegar and baking soda in them to make them rise.  But they are even better when you use coffee as the liquid.)  After the layers had cooled, I stacked them with doce de leite (that's Portuguese for what is essentially caramel made with milk, and my tub of it came from a Brasilian store) in between and on top.  Then came the dark chocolate ganache.  Mmm.  I set the cake on a rack over a plate and poured the ganache over the cake and chilled it.  The cake was then moved to a cake plate and I took the rest of the ganache that had cooled on the plate and piped it onto the cake and chilled it again.  If I hadn't, the whole thing would have melted.  My kitchen was so hot today!

It was terrific.


  1. Wow! It's beautiful! I'd like a piece of this cake!

  2. Oh, that all sounds sooo good, I don't know if I would have had room left for dessert! If I saw that cake, though, I would have *made* room for dessert.

  3. Wow! I don't know what bittercress is but the pasta and the cake look wonderful!


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