It was Peter’s birthday this week. I always try to make something for him to take to work for morning tea.
Last year was a Black Forest gateau, not just any gateau, an elaborate concoction of chocolate and cherry mousse sandwiched between layers of rich chocolate sponge containing enough saturated fat to fuel the local fish and chip shop for a week.
I’m very defensive about my cooking and I wasn’t a hundred per cent happy with the result. The thought that people might think the cake was less than perfect was difficult to digest (excuse the play on words). My problem was that even after reading bloggers comments on how difficult they had found it getting good results I still believed that I could do better. I never was one to take good advice easily.
This year I came up with another recipe for a gateau that was easier and I think tastier but while looking I came across a chocolate mousse cake recipe by; drum roll, Adriano Zumbo. His name strikes fear into master chef contestants and those enthusiastic cooks of all things sweet. What a cool name, the way it rolls off your tongue ZzzzuummmmBO. Zumbo baked a zesty zucchini cake while zapping a zombie. It’s nearly Christmas, the silly season, I’m allowed to act a little crazy, O.K. a little crazier than usual.
Always up for a challenge I read through the recipe and naively thought it didn’t look too bad. I also read comments of those that had made it and failed like this;
“I don’t know what possessed us to attempt this cake. It took my husband and I 4 hours to make it.”
“Now, Adriano was not kidding when he said the cake’s difficulty was 10 out of 10.”
And saw photos such as this;
Yet, curiously or perhaps idiotically, I was still not put off. Are we seeing a pattern here?
Wisely I started two days before the cake was due at work. There are five different processes that make up the EIGHT layers of the cake. I started having trouble already in the second layer and had to do some major jiggery pokery to get it to work.
I completely miscalculated how much time it would take to complete. There was no time for the usual household activities like feeding children. Oh for heaven’s sake what are you frowning at? They didn’t starve; cheese sticks and fruit are healthy.
By the time I had finished there wasn’t time to decorate it. It went to work naked. That reminds me of a recurring dream I had in my thirties. You know the one, you turn up for work look down and realize you’ve forgotten your clothes. Perhaps that was the dream that meant I was going to go on in life forever trying impossible recipes and not following good advice.
There were lots of Ooooos and Ahhhs from Pete’s work colleagues which, in my book, is a good result. Peter really enjoyed it too which was the whole point really not so that I could receive adulation for my spectacular cooking, honestly.
Here are the before and after photos.
Before the 2 minutes of eating.
After 2 minutes eating.