The best advice I could possibly give you, and forgive me if this seems glib, is to work. Work. Work. Work. Every day. At the same time every day. For as long as you can take it every day, work, work, work. Understand? Talent is for shit. I’ve taught school for nearly thirty years and never met a student who did not have some talent. It is as common as house dust or kudzu vine in Alabama and is just about as valuable. Nothing is as valuable as the habit of work, and work has to become a habit.
Some days things go horribly wrong.
I wonder if there is matter under my wild blond hair and between my big ears.
I love making old fashioned chocolate cakes. Two layers of moist chocolate cake, frosting to hold the cake together, ganache poured over the entire pastry and chilled. The result is a chewy layer of rich chocolate that encases a thoughtfully frosted cake.
Well, that is the intent of an old fashioned chocolate cake.
Needless to say things go horribly wrong sometimes.
For example, I frosted a perfectly honorable chocolate cake with a light whipped cream icing, all in a days work right? Toss it in the freezer and warmed a chocolate ganache in a double boiler. I had 15 minutes left on my shift, the last shift of the week, Friday. With 5 minutes left for the day I casually pulled the chilled cake out and set up a wire rack to pour the melted chocolate over the cake.
Only at the end of a day on Friday would this ever occur....
Whipped cream and hot ganache make a huge mess.
Did you hear me - don't be like the baker and melt a perfectly good cake.
What happened? I was left with a cake, you see above melting into a huge puddle of sweet disaster.
I kind of wanted to cry but I wanted to laugh even harder. I grabbed my camera and snapped a quick photo, then chef reminded me that the key to success is to be able to fix your mistakes. Believe it or not this massive disaster was saved.
One more good laugh with chef, no tears, I was out the door with yet another week of baking and "pastry school" under my belt.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Source, Chef Christy Fox
Makes 2, 8" cakes
This is a great everyday chocolate cake, it is the recipe that I use at the bistro and was handed down from the chef. Please note that there are roasted beets in the cake, they give the finished product moisture and a deep rich color. Simply roast a few beets in a bit of olive oil until soft to a fork, cool, peel, and puree.
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup beet puree
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup hot water
Pre heat the oven to 350. Line two 8 inch cake tins with parchment paper and oil.
Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler until smooth. Set aside.
Mix sour cream and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
In a mixer, combine sugar, vanilla, salt and chocolate/butter mixture. Mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time until just mixed. Do not over mix.
Add sour cream mixture and beets to the batter until just mixed.
Alternately add flour/cocoa mixture and hot water to the batter. Watch for lumps and mix until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the the center of the cake springs back when your index finger lightly taps it or a tester comes out with only crumbs.
Cool and invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Frost how you wish!