I imagined Sonia, sitting on my shoulder, frowning and telling me: Don’t f&^* with my recipes!
Here’s the thing: I’m planning a High Tea early in the new year; either on my birthday in January, or perhaps a Valentine’s Day event; a table groaning with cakes, pastries and teensy-weensy, very pretentious sandwiches. An event to make Miss Manners gnaw at her wrists.
“In recent years, high tea has become a term for elaborate afternoon tea, though this is American usage and mainly unrecognised in Britain. This usage is disfavoured by etiquette advisors, such as Miss Manners.” – wikipedia
So, I have been testing cakes; Sonia Cabano’s chocolate almond cake is sure to be a star of the party and I wanted a white cake to pair with it. I thought to simply substitute white chocolate for the dark in her recipe, and to bake it in a ring tin instead of a springform tin.
What could go wrong?
For one thing, white chocolate does not mate into an orgasmic creaminess with butter when melted, as other chocolate does. It makes a stubborn and stringy separate mess; but I forged ahead and folded it into my batter, hoping for the best and put it in the oven. I gave Mister Scoffier (my stove) a pat on the oven handle and asked him to be kind. Occasional peeps through the oven window left me with grave misgivings.
What came out 45 minutes later was a beautiful little angel, moist and with a slightly crispy outer-edge; sort of what you get in a coconut cake. Perfect.
The icing was a different story. The white chocolate melted beautifully in the cream, but refused to set like dark chocolate does, wouldn’t even coat my finger. (It does taste divine, though, and would make for a quick and easy custard over hot fruits; stow-away idea for future reference!)
Plan B was put in action; I made a butter icing and used some Droste pastilles a friend had given me earlier. Disaster averted; a successful contender for my High Tea table and dessert ready for after supper.