Inside out German chocolate torte

Shane had a pretty significant birthday last weekend. “I don’t want a big party,” he said “birthdays are for cake with kids.” So we had a very small party, with cake, and kids.

I made him his very favorite cake, Martha Stewart’s Inside Out Chocolate Torte. It’s the same cake I made him for a different significant birthday, oh, about 10 years ago.

I neglected to take any good pictures of the cake, however. So above you’ll see the man of the hour devouring the last slice a couple of days later.

• Inside Out German Chocolate Torte •
From Martha

For the cake:
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch spring form pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the paper; set aside. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted; set aside.

Sift together flour and salt; set aside. Place sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla and chocolate mixture, and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Divide batter between the two pans using an offset spatula to distribute batter evenly, and smooth the layers. Bake until the center is set, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely before un-molding.

For the filling:
1 fourteen-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans

Place milk, butter, and vanilla in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and combined.

Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl, and, whisking constantly, add some of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks until combined. Whisk the mixture back into the saucepan, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in coconut and pecans. Cool completely, and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 2 days.

For the ganache:
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Place chips in a large heat-proof bowl.

Bring cream to a boil over medium-high heat; pour directly over chocolate. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir chocolate and cream until well combined and smooth. Let sit at room temperature until cooled and just thickened, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes, but up to an hour depending on the temperature of the room.

Place one layer on a 9-inch cardboard cake round. Spread filling over the layer, and invert the second layer onto the top, leaving the smooth side up. Press down gently on top layer to evenly distribute filling to edges. Using a metalspatula, smooth filling flush with sides of cake. Refrigerate until ready to glaze.

Carefully transfer torte off cardboard round onto a wire rack set over a baking pan. Pour enough ganache glaze over cake to fully coat, shaking pan gently to help spread ganache if necessary. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The ganache in the pan may be melted and strained through a fine sieve and added back to glaze. Pour remaining glaze over torte, allowing excess to drip off sides. If top is not smooth, gently shake pan or run an offset spatula quickly over surface. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving. Carefully slide the cake off of the wire rack and onto serving platter.


Cooking with Sid

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Here are the top 5 reasons I rarely cook:

  1. I get home too late
  2. I get home too late
  3. I get home too late
  4. I get home too late
  5. Sid

With my parents, sister and brother-in-law away this week, we had to re-jigger our schedule a bit, which left me cooking a seemingly simple dinner with 2 year old Sid while Shane picked Rose up at the gym.

Ravioli with sage butter takes very little effort, you simply boil the water and sautée a handful of sage leaves in butter while the ravioli cooks. Simple.

Also simple? Steamed asparagus with 2-minute blender hollandaise sauce (recipe below). Honestly, if I were left alone to make this meal it would not take more than 20 minutes. But with Sid, it somehow took over an hour.

Sid really likes to “help” cook, which to be truthful, is generally not all that helpful. I unplugged the food processor and let him squeeze an already squeezed lemon into the spout. When he began to repeatedly drop the rind through the spout and into the hollandaise, I put the lid on and let him drop lemon rind into the lid.

When he realized he could remove the lid and resume dropping the rind into the partially-made sauce, I removed him from the counter. This resulted in 10 minutes of screaming “I need the lemon! Please have the lemon! I neeeed it!” I think you get the picture.

Not to worry! Dinner was ultimately served and consumed by Shane, Rose and I. The hollandaise sauce was easy and delicious. Sid opted for a bowl of peanut butter.

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• Quick Blender Hollandaise •
from The New New York Times Cookbook
makes 3/4 cup

1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, to taste
Pinch of cayenne

Melt butter and keep it hot, but do not brown. Put the yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in the container of an electric blender or food processor. Blend on low speed, gradually adding the hot butter until the sauce is thickened and smooth.

Scenes from a pizza night

Everyone is delighted when Shane decides to make pizza, we really think it’s the best “za” around. Because the pizza making is an ongoing process and he serves the pies as they come out of the oven, we like hang out with him in the kitchen while he cooks. It’s a really fun time, and everyone gets involved, in one way or another, even if it’s just making the chit-chat… or making a mess.

Now don’t worry, that 500 degree oven kills all germs. At least, that’s what we like to think.