If you never hear from me again it’s because the Daring Bakers put a hit out on me. And I wouldn’t blame them either. I’m responsible for the disaster that was this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. It was my turn to choose a recipe and I chose Martha Stewart’s Darkest Chocolate Crepe Cake. Martha suckered me in with beautiful pictures and then pulled a Nigella fast one on me with an awful recipe. Other than my experiences with Nigella, I’ve never been so angry at a recipe. It’s not like I put out a small amount of effort either. This recipe required a serious amount of work, and a ton of ingredients, mainly butter. Despite my best efforts and following the recipe to a T, (highly unusual for me) the proportions were not right. I couldn’t even pinpoint what the problem was. I ended up adding more milk and an egg but I hear from the other Daring Bakers that some of them added extra flour. No matter what we did, the crepes were just off. Luckily though there was an amazing mousse to accompany the lousy crepes because otherwise I think I would have dumped this cake off the back porch for the raccoons and coyotes.
From the crepe batter I was supposed to be able to make 32, 8 inch crepes. I only have a 10 inch crepe pan so I used that and ended up with 16 crepes. I would have had at least 6 more but I ate them when they fell apart as I tried to flip them. I didn’t even enjoy them when I ate them. It was simply out of angry. Eating them wasn’t even enjoyable but I wanted to destroy them and decided that mashing the crepes up in my mouth and swallowing them was the best way to achieve total destruction. Once the crepes were done though, most of the rest of the experience went alright. Or maybe I’ve just had time to cooldown and have forgotten about what it feels like to have spun sugar shoved under my nails. Ah yes, that’s a wonderful feeling, sharp, jagged pieces of sugar lodged under my finger nails. The cake was supposed to be decorated with a stunning arrangement of hazelnuts dipped in hot sugar to form long tails. The sugar covered hazelnuts were supposed to complement the hazelnut filling in the cake. But I didn’t make a hazelnut filling, I made a cashew filling.
So I decided that my stunning sugar masterpiece would be a globe of spun sugar, studded with cashew pieces. I have no clue what made me think that I was capable of such a creation. I had never even seen it done before but for some reason I thought I could create it. I will take this opportunity to remind you that hot sugar has long been a nemesis of mine. This was no exception. I tried to drizzle the sugar over the top of a greased bowl with the idea that when the sugar hardened, it would just pop off the bowl and I could place it on my cake. Nope. Instead, it hardened to the bowl and refused to come off. This is where I ended up with sugar spears stabbing my fingers. I tried to pry the sugar off using my nails and instead of coming off in one lovely piece, it broke off in chunks. I ended up with a pile of broken sugar chunks that were certainly not stunning. I still thought I could make something out of sugar so I decided to try a different approach, I tried to gather spun sugar into a ball, to make a nest to put on top of my cake. Once again, failure. My patience had long since left me and I threw all of the hardened sugar into the garbage. This stuff wasn’t even good enough for the raccoons. I had just about resigned myself to the fact that my cake would not have a beautiful decoration adorning the top, when I spotted a box of fresh strawberries sitting on the counter. Strawberries require nothing more than a wash and a slice and I was certainly capable of that.
The assembly of the cake was another pain. The crepes wanted to slide all over the place and the chocolate ganache kept pooling at the bottom of the plate instead of staying on the cake. Fortunately, the ganache was extremely tasty to I scooped it off the plate and into my mouth. You didn’t hear that…
When the cake was finally complete I didn’t even want to look at it let alone eat it. I served it to some friends and they absolutely loved it. That was perhaps the only redeeming part of the cake. It received rave reviews and requests to make it again. Ha! That won’t be happening! I still like the concept of the cake though. A tower of crepes covered in chocolate is a good thing, but this recipe wasn’t. Even when I had a piece, a day later, I wasn’t impressed with it. I could taste grumpiness in the cake. With each bite my mood worsened until it was like I was making the cake all over again. With all this misery I could write a country song.