Today I am unyielding. Today I am obdurate. Today I refuse to say sorry. Today I will not admit I’m wrong. Granted, I did forget to add oil to my Red Velvet batter and ended up dumping the whole batch…
It’s another beautiful Bay Area day, and instead of seeing the vivid colors of a brilliant California summer, I see only a pulsating and numbing red. Just below my skin surface, I am simmering. I am a bitch ready to fume. This is no longer confessions from the cookie jar. Today, it is a diary of a mad, blood-thirsty Asian woman.
I currently have cravings like a pregnant woman, and I am dying for delicious garam masala spiced and fluffy potato-filled samosas. I drove around South San Jose looking for samosas forever this morning. All I wanted were pre-made samosas, reading for the deep fryer. I finally found an Indian grocer, and as I was browsing the frozen food fridge for samosas, the kind Indian clerk asked if I wanted samosas. Excitedly, I said yes, at which he handed me a box. I quickly wrung up and left. Got home, was all ready to rip open the box when I see in big bold words: “Cheese and Jalapeno Samosas.” Are you serious? I go to a frkn authentic Indian grocery market to get Cheese and Jalapeno poppers? Really? I can’t believe it. I am fuming.
Grrrrr. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and my thoughts preoccupied so I don’t have to think about things I am not ready to think about. Chocolate cupcakes, sour cream coffee cake, mess up red velvet cupcakes, and mocha chip cookies. Instead, I have become forgetful (oil in red velvet?), and cranky, and absolutely hysterical. I know I’m raving. I really need to let loose. Keep reading, and you’ll know how…
The Armagnac? The Armagnac is gone!
Yes, the Armagnac is gone.
Why is the Armagnac gone?
Keira Knightley goes blah blah blah.
BUT WHY IS THE ARMAGNAC GONE?
Not having Armagnac on hand, I substituted with Cognanc, which is essentially the same thing, just from a different French town.
For the cake:
2/3 cup finely ground pecans (or walnuts)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
12 plump, pitted prunes cut into bits
1/4 cup + 3 tbs water
1/4 cup Armagnac (or Cognac, brandy)
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick (8 oz) butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375*F and prepare an 8-inch springform pan.
Whisk together nuts, flour and salt.
Put prunes and 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Without scorching the fruit, heat until all water evaporates. Pull pan away from heat and add Armagnac, and let flame up. Once the flame dies out, let the prune and liquor cool.
Combine chocolate, butter & 3 tbs of water in a bowl and melt (microwave or double broiler). Remove from heat just as the liquid melts. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, followed by the pecan/flour mixture and then the prunes along with any liquid.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until glossy, firm peaks form. Fold half the beaten egg whites into the cake batter, then fold the rest in. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until firm on top. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
For the glaze:
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tbs powdered sugar
3 tbs butter, room temp
Melt chocolate in the microwave just until melted. With a spatula, stir in the sugar and butter, a bit at a time, until you have a smooth glaze. Use a long metal icing spatula to smooth the glaze over the cake. Allow to set before serving. Enjoy.
The cake is moist and rich, but not cloyingly sweet or too decadent. The bits of prune and pecan break up the monotony of the intensely chocolate cake, and give it really interesting texture. Sweetness can be controlled by the amount of sugar in the glaze, as it is the only source of sugar (other than the prunes… and bittersweet chocolate I guess) in the recipe. The Cognac and prune mixture is fragrant and adds moisture. And yes, Cognac totally hits the spot – very subtle yet still aromatic, enhancing the overall chocolate experience. And it tastes INFINITELY better when it’s cold. So be a bit patient, and pop it into the fridge for a few hours. You will greatly appreciate it.
After all this (bad red velvet cupcakes, 50 mocha chip cookies, and Armagnac cake), I am too tired to be angry and worked-up any more. As of now, my fingers are just as pruney as the fruit I cut up earlier for the cake. Right now, my feet are weary, and my cheeks are smudged with flour. There is even residual chocolate under my nails. Emotions are exhausting.
Right now, I just need a long shower, to ease up the tension, to loosen the knots, the clear the brain. Right now, I just want to be held tight by strong arms, and told that it’s normal to be insane and hysterical, that it’s ok to be unsure. I just want to know it’s gonna be alright.
“Help me find myself, like how I found yoou…” (AJ Rafael)
PS. Thank you everyone for your comments and messages from yesterday’s entry. It means a lot to me. And slightly reassures that I am not completely alone in this. Thank you friends.