A classic chocolate cake, layered with whipped citrus cream cheese frosting and topped with a dusting of sugar and candied oranges. It is a simple, elegant cake that is sure to make a statement this Valentine’s Day.
I’m going to admit that I’ve wanted to a do a post like this for quite some time, essentially ‘A Day in the Life’ sort of bit, and for a few reasons. First and foremost is the pure self-indulgence of the process. Second, however, is to give a small glimpse into the sites day to day for those who may be unfamiliar with the process.
At approximately half passed midnight, we learned about a very special occasion that we needed to prepare a special dessert for a certain occasion, one that I will certainly be telling you about in the very near future. The clincher – this was a sudden, last minute affair, and we only had about eighteen hours to prepare. While the task was daunting, the blogger in me realized this made for an excellent posting opportunity.
After all, to quote Hyman Roth from the Godfather, “This is the business we have chosen.”
What ensued were several hours of on the spot planning for a dessert concept that we needed to peg into a Valentine’s Day setting. Despite the harsh winds, snow and ice of our locale, we needed to come up with something warm and inviting, something simple and romantic. In other words, something in complete contrast to the world around us – and we needed to do it quick.
Despite having already put together a couple of Valentine’s themes over the past month, by sunrise we still had only a vague idea of what we were going to create, with ideas ranging from a cannoli cheesecake to dark chocolate cupcakes. Regardless, and with no set idea of what we wanted to do, I was left with no choice but to brave the ice and the wind, and head to my local supermarket in order to hunt for ingredients for an as of yet to be decided recipe. I thought perhaps that browsing the shelves would help narrow down the decision.
Where I shop, patrons are greeted with a counter of fresh-baked goods, and I was instantly drawn to a selection of candied strawberries set over chocolate-chocolate cake. Resisting hungry temptation, I moved along into the produce department where I instantly noted a pyramid of picture-worthy oranges.
No, things did not click…yet.
During about thirty or so minutes of uninspired browsing, my mind kept returning to the excellent selection of oranges, and the fresh baked cakes. Yes, then it clicked. Orange flavor is a universally perfect complement to chocolate, and such picturesque oranges would also lend themselves to an exquisite garnish.
From there, and over the course of hours of baking, the rest of this creation essentially ‘wrote itself.’ What we ended up with was a rich chocolate cake with an absolutely decadent cream cheese based frosting, infused with orange essence, and then garnished with chocolate dipped candied orange slices. As pleasing to the eye as to the palette, and while perfect for any occasion, this chocolate cake will be certain to turn your Valentine’s Day into a night to remember.
Needless to say, the end result exceeded our expectations, and made the entire effort a rewarding and worthwhile experience. Then again, we really had no choice as to outcome, since “this is the business we have chosen.”
Enjoy with Love.
Post by Michael Pappas
Recipe by Catherine Pappas
Photos by Tammy Pappas