So, this year I was really happy that everyone was so enthusiastic about the 2014 Lamb Cake Gallery, because at the time I was less than pleased with the whole molded-cake scene. Why? Well, here is my chocolate bunny cake:
Doesn’t look much like a bunny, does it? That’s because about an hour before this photo was taken, the bunny cake looked like this:
It looked like a decomposing rabbit. Not exactly what you want to see on your Easter table.
To say I was angry would be a ridiculous understatement. I was also crushingly disappointed. This chocolate cake recipe came from the Renalde company, and their recipe for a lamb cake is one of my very favorites. It has great flavor, springy texture and unmolds like a dream. So I thought their recipe for a chocolate bunny would be the easiest thing in the world to make.
I was so totally wrong. I have no idea what went wrong with the recipe or the technique I’ve come up with for making a great molded cake, so I will do what everyone else does when they don’t know who to blame.
I’ll blame it on my assistant.
You just can’t get good help these days!
Anyway, after I picked my head up off of the kitchen table, I decided I was going to take a mid-century approach to this utter failure. Instead of chucking it in the trash like I desperately wanted to, I was going to use it anyway. Not for a rabbit cake, because at this point I had angrily bashed it a few times and using it as anything but crumbs was physically impossible. No, the only way this sad and ruined cake was going to get another chance was as a base for a trifle or refrigerator cake.
I dug through my vast recipe collection and came up with two recipes. Strangely, these two recipes from two different time periods were actually almost the SAME recipe. That, along with the fact that they both sounded really good, sold me on this idea. I decided to go with the more modern recipe, from 1974, which went by the name of Chocolate Cream Squares.
- 1 pkg chocolate chips (6 oz)
- 2½ T water
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- ½ pt whipping cream
- 1 bar Angel Food Cake
- Melt chips with water in double boiler and take off stove. Beat 2 egg yolks and stir in. Add the egg whites beaten with confectioners sugar.
- Whip cream and fold into chocolate mixture.
- Place layer of cake, torn into bits, on bottom of pan. Over that place a layer of chocolate mixture, then another layer of cake, then another layer of chocolate mixture.
- Chill. May be chilled overnight.
The older of the two recipes was from 1945 and was called Chocolate Ice Box Cake. The main difference between the two was the fact that the Chocolate Cream Squares called for whipped cream and used two eggs while Chocolate Ice Box Cake called for four eggs. Also, the 1945 version called for 2 squares of bitter chocolate and one 5 cent cake of sweet chocolate and the 1974 version called for 6 ounces of chocolate chips. Since they don’t make 5 cent cakes of anything anymore, I decided to go with the chocolate chips.
It really made a gorgeous chocolate mousse. It almost made me forget why I was so upset.
Until I started “crumbling” the cake. I have that in quotes because I didn’t have to actually to any crumbling. I would pick up a piece of cake and squeeze it slightly, and it would explode into a shower of cake gravel. It was baffling. I wonder if that is what happens when archeologists unwrap a mummy. Just crumbles straight into dust.
It made me angry all over again.
But it felt pretty good to cover the mummy cake with more chocolate. Because only more chocolate could make this situation better.
“This cake is really dry.”
“Yeah, well, tell me something I don’t know.”
“This chocolate mousse stuff is fantastic. I mean…really, really fantastic.”
The Verdict: Great, Except for the Dry Cake
From The Tasting Notes –
The cake was an abysmal failure. It was crumbly, dry and bland as could be. It was barely saved by the chocolate mousse, which was EXCELLENT. I am thinking that if you made Chocolate Cream Squares with Angel Food Cake like the recipe recommends, you would have a delicious and impressive dessert. With that stupid crumbly bunny cake ours certainly weren’t impressive, but they were delicious.
And I am still mad about that bunny cake.