Mea culpa

Bless me father for I have sinned. I cheated and used a box cake mix. On the other hand, it worked out pretty well. I might spend a few extra months in purgatory but I’m hoping there’s a bar there so it might be worth the risk.

I don’t think it could have been better if I’d made it entirely from scratch. I put dulce de leche, itself a miracle of deliciousness, and coconut in the middle. Coconut cream cheese frosting on top. O.M. G.

So very easy.

Peanut butter chocolate tart

As desserts go, this should have been easy. It’s a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, a blog I enjoy reading. You can find her original recipe here. (and you should look at it since hers seems to be a miracle of ease and loveliness. It’s supposed to taste like the Girl Scout peanut butter cookies. It didn’t really but that was probably my fault. I followed the recipe exactly except that I did not use Skippy, I used Smucker’s Organic. (And now I have peanut butter in the house which is dangerous for me.) I dunno. I could not get the peanut butter layer to stick to the crust. It just pulled up the first layer of crumbs no matter what I did. And once I finally had the thing assembled, it just fell apart when I cut the portions. The crust just crumbled. 

On the whole, it tasted fine but I would never make it again because it looked bad so I would not gamble on it. I have a much better recipe we call Butt Bars that are easier to make and taste like Peanut Butter Cups. 

One other thing, if you plan on making it, I used Ghiradelli 70% chocolate which was way too high toned . . . I should have used Nestle’s chocolate chips or even that crappy Ambrosia “dark confectionary coating.”

Mme Toulouse Lautrec cake

There is no Mme Toulouse Lautrec. As I understand it from my friend Linda who gave me this recipe about 25 years ago, the name refers to its lack of height. No matter its short stature, it packs a whollop of taste and texture. And it is short because there is only a tablespoon of flour in it. Whipped egg whites give it its structure. What gives it its taste though is a pound and a half of chocolate and a half of a pound of butter.

Recently, for a get together with old friends, I pulled this recipe out since my hostess has celiac disease and I can, and did, substitute rice flour for the small amount of flour it requires. The cake is not that difficult to make but beating egg whites to peaks is always nerve wracking for me. Other than that, the most difficult part of the melting of the chocolate, and butter, the beating the yolks, and the folding of it all together was the unwrapping of the chocolate. I usually use chocolate chips (I am lazy) but Christopher Kimball says Ghiradelli is best so I went with that.

The cake is spectacular and I made a whipped cream and cream cheese frosting for it. When I arrived I discovered that my hostess cannot eat sugar either. A recent development. In fact, only a few people ate it. I took the leftovers to my office the next day. They’ll eat anything.

Recipe follows.

Linda Houden’s world-renowned Mme Toulouse Lautrec Cake

1.5 pounds of semi-sweet chocolate

15 T butter softened

6 extra large eggs separated

1.5 T flour

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

1.5 T sugar

9×13 pan, line bottom with parchment, 

butter top of paper and sides of pan

Preheat oven to 425

Melt chocolate in double boiler add butter and 

stir until incorporated – set aside

Beat egg yolks 5 to 7 minutes, beat in flour. 

Add a little chocolate to the yolks 

then add the yolks to the chocolate.

Beat egg whites with salt until it’s foamy, gradually add sugar and 

beat until it holds soft peaks but not stiff.

Gently fold 1/3 of eggs into chocolate and 

then fold that into the eggs.

Pour in pan and bake for 15 minutes. Loosen edges with knife, Let cool, 

refrigerate over night. Turn upside down and remove parchment. The cake 

will be quite firm when it is cold. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

I serve it topped with whipped cream.