cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Letters to the Editor:

dichotomy of the perfectly lousy birthday cake

A dichotomy, in Salty terms, is a division in distinction between the thought and action in reference to the same object or event. For example, the dichotomy of the French Revolution, the action: terror reigned, heads rolled, and royalty dethroned. the thought: liberté, fraternité, égalité! The dichotomy of waking up in the morning, the action: shower, eat, dress (unquestionably in that order). the thought: must be presentable for work, to make money, to survive. Action sans the other is futile; nothing but robotic mimicry of movement. What is the point without a purpose? My point exactly, a playground of p's, a circular logic that speaks for itself. But touché around the other coté, for thoughts without action produce nothing but poetry, day dreams, and CNN broadcasts. Ergo one cannot exist without the other. Volition amounts to nothing if there is no result of product. And so, where my round table adjectives will eventually lead, is to the simple fact that a cake is never just a cake. Just, being the most pathetic adverb in the English language--will never do. In cake, as opposed to in life, there is always method to the madness. A cake is never just a cake; a cake is an action and a thought. A cake is my cake, the cake, your cake. our cake. on y va.

What of this cake then; let us dichotomize. Part one, action: a chocolate almond flour sponge cake rolled with a swirl of dark chocolate and port ganache to form a pinwheel jellyroll which is then tightly rolled in red marzipan and covered with white marzipan polka dots, all of which is then placed on a raspberry and port syrup reduction. chouette non? can you breath? Part two, thought: wherefore cometh this here cake of mine? Today is my best friends birthday, and this is his cake. Yes you heard my little kid cliché right, my bestest friend, who also happens to be the perfectly lousy editor of this here blog, grabs twenty five candles today--a quarter century! Ahk! it's all down hill from here buddy. That being said, let us embarrass all members involved and faire une discussion sur le gateaux stream of conscious style. You're awfully fond of roll cakes (this i actually know) so hooray we have the frame. Almond flour, of course so i can eat it. The filling, let us see, chocolate (who doesn't like chocolate) and hmmm porto do vinho ganache (don't worry not that bottle!) Excellent, now all rolled up, but oh so ugly atop. Marzipan--do you even like marzipan? Well i do, so that's what counts. And oh how you love red with white polka dots! Attends-- i suppose that is me forcing red with white polka dots on you yet again. But pas grave. Not enough port i agree, so some more; a syrupy sweet bed for our petite baby cake. Et voila! A cake just for you, though it looks half like me, mais tout est bien! So Joyeux anniversaire! Eu só agora percebi que eu fiz soar como se tívessemos tido um bolo bebê juntos - qual seria o nome dele?

And that is how you make a cake, and--in the word's of my 11th grade poetry teacher--tie it to a chair and beat it with the garden hose of analysis.

Poulet Pinwheel
cake ingredients: 1 cup (100 g) ground blanched almonds ~ 0.25 cup (50 g) corn starch ~ 4 eggs ~ 0.5 cup (100 g) sugar ~ .75 stick melted butter ~ pinch salt ~ 0.25 cup cocoa powder

cake method: preheat over to 400F/200C 1) beat 3 egg whites and salt until stiff 2) meanwhile whisk the yolks plus the 4th egg and the sugar, add corn starch and almond powder, add cocoa powder, and then the melted butter. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites 3) grease a cookie sheet or tray with at least .5 inch sides, line with parchment (not wax) and spread cake batter evenly 4) bake for 8-9 minutes, do not over bake or it will not roll. 5) immediately after you take it out sprinkle a clean towel with powdered sugar and then transfer (cover and flip works) to a flat surface and slowly peel off the parchment 6) using the towel, roll the cake slowly like you would roll sushi, but roll the towel with it, and then let it res for 30-60 minutes to cool.

dark chocolate port ganache: 1 cup heavy cream ~ 8 oz good quality dark chocolate ~ .5 cup port wine 1) boil cream in a saucepan and pour over chocolate in a bowl, mix until fully melted, add port, and let cool to room temp 2) when ready, whip in mixer or by hand until thick and creamy.

to assemble: once cake is mostly cool, slowly unroll, spread chocolate ganache, and then roll back up. To make the marzipan cover, sensually massage food dye into almond paste until the desired color is achieved. to roll flat, place marzipan between two layers of wax paper and then roll, your life will be so much easier. Wrap around and cut, or cut then wrap around. Make polka dots out of undyed marzipan, and attach.

Am i silly? yes, you would have a plausible case in such an argument. Do i like to make dramatic cakes for people who are sadly a world away only to feed them to my neighbors, roommates, and visiting vagabonds? yes. Would i do it for you? prolly not. Do i have the best editor in the world? Sim meus bons amigos, sim. For I have something that is better than a dog, and dearer than a horse--i've never actually understood what that means, and neither do i think did Tennyson, but i have always liked the ring of it, and whatever it does mean, i am sure that i have it--a something that is perfectly lousy.

happy birthday dearling!

a bientot


Mallory Elise said...

SORRY everyone! there was some strange technical problem that spliced a link form those pink marshmallows into this old one in some browsers like safari and ie. ggrrrrrr---but i think it's fixed. if you see pink marshmallows, LET ME KNOW!!!! yeash.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well, finaly i can comment this beautiful cake :)
Once again I love the dots, despite i think i couldn't do this cake, but if it was here i could eat a little piece with some port vintage ;)
Beijinho e até breve

Sierra said...

So I suppose I should inform you again about my anger of people eating my last slice of cake since it got deleted earlier...boooo! I want more deliciousness!

Mallory Elise said...

hehehe. ok sierra. maybe i'll make you one for your birthday...maybe :P

Anonymous said...

Sierra deserves one for sure!

Happy monday!

Editor P.

Anonymous said...

Oh I'm so lame i missed it! ahhh!!!!

Sierra said... are lame....and even more lame because you are going to miss our valentines macarons!!!!!!

Heidi Leon Monges said...

Can you deliver it to Shanghai, China as well?? wish!!!

Very creative recipe (and great photo concept).

I'm so glad you liked my blog banner since I'm a newbie on photography and you are such a pro!!

keep in touch


Anonymous said...

Wow! Beautiful cake, lovely. (It reminds me about 'flamenco dresses')

Anonymous said...

thanks! i love your photo blog on wordpress! it's a major shame they don't allow you to edit wordpress themes for free. so far it's my only beef with them.

hehehe.. no hurry on those cookies!
and good luck on your french exam!

Núria said...

I might upload my comment twice. My Pc is behaving funny. Sorry.

No pink marshallows in the horizon girl!

This is the most beautiful "brazo de gitano" I have ever seen in my life!!!! Seriously! Look at those pictures! If on top tasted good... then I would run out of words :D

YOu wouldn't do this one for me? Really? It has a Spanish secret code in it... have you ever seen the dress of a Spanish Flamenco dancer? See what I mean?

Congrats darling!

By the way, love the new look!!!!!!!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

This is my first time to your blog, it is really lovely and I will be back!

Anonymous said...

I don't know how many times I came back here to see this cake... Maybe if I see it a lot I'll start to feel the flavor.

Damn... This is torture!

Sunday... Have a happy Sunday, Mal! And post something new so I can try and forget this cake I'll never eat! Bahhhhhhhh

By the way, I'm upset... For not having eaten this cake! Ahhhh

The Editor.
PS: Macarrons would be great post. Great insight, huh?! Almost as lousy as my advice.

Anonymous said...


Only now I realized the blog's new layout!


What can I say now?


tee hee


Manuela © said...

Hi Mallory!
Did you receive my mail?

Mallory Elise said...

ahk! you and that word. masterpiece. Da Vinci don't live here :P

Anonymous said...

Super chouette. Sans conteste. Et parfaitement dichotomique. Du porto dans ma ganache, garçon!

Maru Aveledo said...

I love it! , I have been reading your blog since a while, and I had to tell you that is a great place to come back again and again. I love every picture you take, and this cake is a must that I have to try.

thank you so much for sharing it.

Helene said...

I just love the fun deco of that cake!