But You Have No Chocolate? My Dear, However Will You Manage?  

Posted by Heidi in , ,

(Please note, this is not about the kind of mother I am , i.e., the kind that makes delicious home baked goods for her kids on their birthday. No, this is about the kind of chocoholic I am, the kind that goes to great lengths to get my buzz whenever it has been sufficiently long since the last time for me to forget how utterly not worth-it it was. Is. Will Be. All of the above.)

Paula Deen I ain’t. But, one can attempt a close approximation if one is willing to commit to a kitchen that looks like this:


Sights like these are always painful reminders of why I don’t cook, or bake, or breathe too heavily whilst in the kitchen lest disaster strikes. And now for a soupcon, a tidbit, if you will, of what some might call “too much information”. When I finally moved the hand mixer pictured on the right side of the sink, it somehow knocked the earth off of its axis, causing the bowl of murky water balancing oh-so-precariously on the stack of more of its kind to spill its contents onto the white plastic bag which was part of yesterday’s mail and had no business being halfway in the sink, anyway. I ask you, who’s in charge of this kitchen? What’s more, who’s in charge of the mail? I would fire her but she’s a dab hand at handling the big guy so she stays.

. . . plus an aching back and feet and a horrifying amount of calories consumed. And that's before the cake is even done.

Before I lose my cred with my peeps who like me mellow and not too domestic, let me say that I did not go the whole nine yards with this cake. First, I made the cake from a cheapie cake mix (instead of from scratch) and added 4 tablespoons of Ghiradelli brand unsweetened cocoa because the mix looked totally too pale. It was a good move.



Nor did I do the six layers. I couldn’t figure out how in the world I was to get one layer of cake sliced into three without ending up with a pile of crumbs. Yet, when I slathered on a layer of mousse, I realized a far from altruistic truth: the more layers of cake, the more layers of mousse. This seemed highly desirable so I sliced the second layer in half. Thus, I ended up with three totally uneven layers of cake but two (also uneven) layers of mousse. No complaints here.


I confess, I bought a mousse mix in case I ran out of steam but in the end I caved and made the mousse per the recipe. I worried about the fact that the mix mousse is a stand-alone product and couldn’t possibly take into account the frosting and cake with whom it was to be rubbing elbows. It turns out that the recipe mousse is quite a bit lighter which was a nice contrast.

The frosting: this is where things got a bit hairy. Who woulda thought? Then again, when you have one dumb baker who doesn’t know that 4 ounces of baking chocolate as per the packaging is not the same as 4 one ounce squares of baking chocolate which are, apparently, half an ounce each but considered one whole ounce. Make sense? Not to me which was precisely the problem. To make a long story short, I used twice the amount of unsweetened chocolate as was called for. Not a good move. Next, add a bottle of blue food coloring who wasn’t listening in class when told that he must squirt DOWN and not sideways at the wielder of said bottle. Good thing I was wearing dark blue pants at the time.

In the end, we did get a chocolate cake with blue frosting (on the top only because I wanted chocolate—never mind that its lovely meant-to-be-texture was ruined by my frantic attempts to sweeten it) with flowers (yay sprinkles!) and the hot rod cars that I felt were imperative to balance the hormonal aspect of the cake.

The moral of the story: This gal who has been off of wheat for five months (except for one little fall off the wagon a few weeks ago when the star of the party was a professionally baked chocolate six layer dream dessert), felt this cake just wasn’t worth the effort. Everyone else insisted it was delicious but what could they say when faced with a woman wielding a wooden spoon with chocolate all down her front and a wild look in her eye?


A very happy Little Guy (he gave the cake a 10, then a 20, then a 70--what can I say, he's generous like that) and his best buddy ever, Lucas, without whom his birthday would have been a sadly flat affair.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 at Friday, September 12, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

6 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Wow. That was epic.

Glad the family loved it.

Hey, if I promise to still buy your book would you let me read it now? [visualize a charming smile]Please?

(No harm in asking. The worst you could do is say no. It's not like you're going to hunt me down and bludgeon me with a wooden spoon. You're better than that. No really. You are.)

September 13, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Jami, I am so much better than that! I am tickled to death! Go to my official site (www.heidiashworth.com) and use the link there to email me and we can iron out the details. Hey, you made my day!

September 13, 2008 at 1:08 PM

That cake looks pretty yummy to me!
Better than any store-bought cake....which sadly is what we do at our house....wish you could send a slice through cyberspace.

Sounds like the little guy had a great birthday!

September 13, 2008 at 5:31 PM

CUTE cake! Way to go. I'm salivating just looking at it!

September 13, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Congrats on baking your own cake...even if it wasn't from scratch! (Coming from one who only has a Kitchenaid Mixer for it's looks, not use!) I'm sure the little guy didn't notice the difference :). I hope he had a great birthday! Lisa

September 13, 2008 at 11:58 PM

Thanks--I guess it did taste pretty good, just not worth losing two whole days of my life over.

September 14, 2008 at 7:02 AM

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