Here I go layering again.
I guess I just can’t help myself.
Just like I can’t help but add cranberries and cream cheese to a chocolate cake. I mean, who does these things?
At first it didn’t seem like a match made in heaven to me. Rich chocolate cake with tart cranberries? I truly wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But I had visions of a dark fudgy cake, layered with a bright red berry filling. Neither strawberries nor raspberries are in season right now. Pomegranate would make a beautiful filling, but I didn’t want the texture of those tasty little seeds. Cherries seemed like an option; but again, not in season, and maraschinos didn’t really appeal to me in this setting.
Plus, I knew that merely pairing the chocolate with the fruit would require a buffer; a light creamy matchmaker, to passionately woo and inspire the unlikely couple to becoming the best of soul mates.
I started with the old-fashioned boiled water chocolate cake that all our grandmas used. It’s rich, moist, dark–’nuff said. Just be sure to line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. I didn’t the first time, and even tho I greased/floured the heck out of them, a good chunk of cake remained in the pan. Shucks, but it made for great snackin’ though!
The cranberry filling had to be intensely fruity, not too sweet, with a strong influence of spice. I just love cooking cranberries and listening to them “pop” as they cook. Oh, and I had never sugared cranberries before. It’s a super simple (as in “simple syrup”) process that makes gorgeous results!
The cream cheese layer had to be mousse-like and kissed with vanilla. Just be sure to mix the gelatin thoroughly, because you don’t want the mess like I had in my freezer when I made my Gingerbread Mountain a couple of weeks ago!
And thanks again to the kind folks of Southside Christian Church for being my guinea pigs at the Christmas potluck last Sunday! I came home with a clean platter, so it must have been a hit. —Sherry K-Jazzy Gourmet