The 50th Birthday Cake

Birthday CakeOn my 50th birthday, Barbara sent me this magnificent cake from Olympia, Washington to Medford Lakes, New Jersey. How it  arrived safely is a great mystery, but it did. For those of us who believe that chocolate is essential to one’s well being, it was exceptional. Given that the current temperatures have been as high as 104, going down at times to 101, it seems safer to send the recipe.

At least I think this is right recipe, but it is hard to remember nearly 20 years back. However the name is the Barry Torte and it can be frozen …………

From Jane Freiman’s Dinner Party try the Barry Tart Recipe.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Jane and I are making these on the anniversary of our sister’s, Barbara Shelnutt Bolender, death as a special remembrance as suggested by our youngest sister, Sarah.

Cooking with Gourmet Grains is one of Jane’s favorite cookbooks, her first edition becoming so tattered, it needed to be replaced. She also gave Barbara a copy and Barbara made these Black Bottom Cupcakes with her own special twist. She replaced a key ingredient with prunes. However, as my sister Sarah and her husband Denny happily devoured the miniature cupcakes, they discovered a frequent need to go to the bathroom. That was an experiment which, as far as we know, was not repeated though she continued to make them to share with family and friends.

More remembrances to follow.

For Barbara:

Black Bottom Cupcakes (from Cooking with Gourmet Grains – Stone- Buhr Milling Company, 6th printing, 1976 page 145)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 6 oz- package chocolate chips
1 ½ cup sifted Stone-Buhr all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon soda
¼ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt in a bowl. Beat until well and stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside. Beat in all the remaining ingredients until blended. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture. Bake a 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Emergency Desserts – Chocolate Mousse

I was in great need of a very fast dessert and remembered making chocolate mousse in 15 minutes. I couldn’t find that recipe immediately, so used the Raspberry Pie recipe in the Family Cookbook which looks awful but tastes just fine.

However, with a little more time to look, found what I had used in the past:

Chocolate Mousse

1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 6-oz. package semisweet chocolate bits
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup toasted almonds

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and boil for 3 minutes. Using the metal blade of the Cuisinart, add cream and process uninterrupted until a very thick whipped cream forms, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Without washing the bowl, reinsert the metal blade and add chocolate bits. Process on pulse for 15 to 20 seconds. Contiue processing and gradually pour in hot s yrup, run and egg yolks. Add almonds (optional) Process, turning on and off until
almonds are coarsely chopped and evenly distributed, about 20 seconds. Fold mixture into whipped cream and freeze or chill. Makes 6 servings.

This comes from a cookbook that came with my very exciting new Cuisinart in 1976 – “New Recipes for the Cuisinart Food Processor” by James Beard and Carl Jerome.

Looking for an even earlier recipe, I discovered that this was almost identical to a recipe I had used from the “New York Times Cookbook” (1961) which uses whipped egg whites in place of the cream for a very light mousse. Use the same recipe and methods above, but omit the sugar and cream, use 5 ounces of water and 4 eggs, separated.

hot fudge sauce

Remember Wowies’s E-Z 7 minute fudge that never fudged after 7 hours? Remember pulling taffy with out hands all buttered up? Remember Wowie making bayberry candles?

This sauce is reminds me of Rehoboth. It’s so good, so easy, and so addictive. It’s the kind that hardens when it hits the cold ice cream.

Take 2 cups of chocolate chips and melt them in a double boiler over hot water. Add 2 TBS butter (unsalted is good if you have it) and melt, using a whisk. Add 1 tsp of vanilla. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream till blended. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking. Pour over good vanilla ice cream- it’s better than a Dove bar! Keep in a jar- zap to melt again being careful not to over-cook it when you re-heat it. Lasts about a month in the fridge. You can double the recipe no problem.

Raspberry Trifle

Custard sauce

2 cups 2 percent milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract


20 ladyfingers
1/4 cup tawny port (or Grand Marnier)
3 packages (6 oz each) fresh raspberries


Stir milk, sugar, cornstarch, and zest in a saucepan. Bring mixture almost to a boil over medium heat. Beat eggs in blender on low speed and slowly add hot milk mixture. Return to pan. Cook over low heat (do not boil), stirring constantly, until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Cool in refrigerator, stirring once. To assemble, place a layer of ladyfinger halves in the bottom of a glass serving bowl. Sprinkle with a little port. Spread 1/3 berries and 1/3 custard on top. Continue layering, ending with custard. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.

SELF December 2001

This is the recipe that Mom just sent re Trifle. However, I think I have made it with sherry and some raspberry jam it in some where?