I think there comes a point in "one's" life where "one" should take a good hard look at "oneself" and say "what is wrong with me?" Yeah. A good, long, hard look. Sometimes, it is triggered by an act. An event. A moment of clear imbalance. Yeah. Something like that.
One of those moments occurred this weekend. A moment which would have seemed innocent enough to the untrained eye. But, alas! There are those who KNOW. Those who have had those moments. "They Who Have Been There" would recognize the glazed look. The singleminded determination of "One Who Is on a Mission" - the mission of "She Who Will Not Be Deterred". These are the moments in which destinies are born. And decisions are made. Perhaps even in which empires are created. And chocolate is bought. Lots and lots of chocolate.
It started innocently enough with a trip to the post office. To pick up the mail. Which had been sitting for the week I was gone. Before the Post Master put the "yellow slip of shame" in my box. Telling me that I would HAVE TO COME TO THE WINDOW and get my mail. Because, my box was full. With no room to fit any more mail. I am not sure why, but those little yellow slips always make me feel guilty. Like I have done something heinously wrong. Like running a stop sign. Or kicking a puppy. And when I go to the counter to retrieve the mail, I just know that I am going to get THE LOOK. (As in, why can't you be a responsible adult and keep your box cleaned out like everyone else).
But fortunately, there was no slip. Just a week's worth of mail. It is fortunate that elections are over, or my box would have been filled with 500 cardboard post cards trying to entice me to voting for this candidate or that one. A relatively full box greeted me - and curled up on the bottom of the box was a treat. The Good Mail. Not a bill. Not junk. But my December copy of Bon Appetit. I was truly giddy (which should have been an early warning sign - an omen). And then I saw the cover. And oh, what a cover it was.
What happened next is still somewhat of a mystery. I had a moment. In which Something Happened. Fate was sealed. The ribbons of destiny wove their strands around me. And I knew. And yearned. (and drooled). The Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons had to be mine.
Unfortunately, immediate gratification was not in the cards. But there in the forefront of my mind the image was burned. And would not be appeased. NO MATTER WHAT. (This is probably the second place where I should have taken a step back and said "hey dude, take a chill" or something like that). But within a couple of hours, I was sitting at the kitchen island. Pen and paper in hand. Making a list of ingredients. To go to the store. That day. At the risk of self-incrimination, I won't detail the ridiculous amount of chocolate that had to be procured. Or how many pounds of butter (I suppose it is even more incriminating to note that I already had the required two pounds of butter on hand in the refrigerator - with pounds to spare. No, I won't say anything about that). Girl #2 who came to the grocery store with me just shook her head and smiled as I grabbed up the countless bars of Ghirardelli chocolate. I shall not describe the look the cashier gave us when it came time to check out with all of that chocolate. Nope. Not even going to mention THAT LOOK.
The next morning, the Mission began bright and early. Before my first sip of coffee. Before I showered the sleep from my eyes. Before the first taste of nourishment crossed my lips. I was a "Woman on a Mission". Let's be clear, it was a Mission with a capital "M". I have been on missions before - but compared to what I was feeling at that time, I consider some prior fits of insanity to have been missions of small to medium "M" proportions.
It was somewhere around this point that I finally stopped to reflect. And it wasn't pretty (the self-reflection, not the in-process product). Why was I spending 12 hours making a cake the Saturday before Thanksgiving??? But wow. I looked down at the creation sitting in front of me and could not believe what had been accomplished. By following directions. And not dabbling. Wow.
Before I go any further, I would be remiss if I failed to admit that I was still a bit frightened by what I had seen during my moment of self-reflection. And single-mindedness. I very quickly pushed those silly feelings to the back burner. Because there was cake. Cake which needed to be looked at. And eaten. There is no room for self-reflection in cake eating. No siree.
In retrospect, will chalk this up as a good trial run for a dessert that will appear again sometime during the holiday season (in a more civilized manner). There were a few technical issues on the execution end; but now that I have been through the process, it seems those are easily corrected. The flavors were excellent - and extremely complementary. The cake base itself was not too rich - the spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and clove) offered a surprising burst of flavor. The chocolate rum buttercream filling had an absolutely delightful creaminess and was a welcome contrast to the texture of the cake. And the espresso glaze. The piece de resistance. The chocolate ribbons were far less complicated than initially feared.
Unfortuately, the magazine hasn't hit the stands yet; which means BA hasn't posted the recipe on line. But if "One" is looking for a challenge - a challenge that is completely doable (with a little patience and perserverance), pick up a copy and give this one a whirl. It is truly worth the effort. I understand that this recipe is also in the new Bon Appetit Desserts cookbook (that I know I don't NEED, but I really WANT and have already placed on my Christmas wish list that I gave to The Dude).