Chocolate marzipan cake
Rabbit rabbit! This morning I woke up feeling alright. Had a good cup of coffee, cuddled with the boys for a minute, and then Clio and I went out for a quick run. Bells were ringing out over town, the sky was bright on the melting snow, the birds were busy in the trees. We ran into lots of people and dogs, Clio exhibited her signature exuberance, and everybody cried, “happy new year!” 2013 feels like a hopeful year, so far! I had this picture in my head, in the middle of the night, of the world as a giant music box that played joyful, hopeful huzzahs and kisses and fireworks. As midnight struck in each part of the world, the tines struck the chord that set off happy cries and good wishes. Good wishes for everyone, because we’re all in it together, all hoping for the same things – I know I’m becoming redundant, but I believe this so strongly this year!! Yesterday we had a lovely quiet day. Malcolm and I went for a long snowy hike with Clio. The sky was dull and grey upon grey upon grey, but rosy on the edges, and the trees were dark and slick and beautiful. The ground was cold and wet, the mud seemed oddly black against the snow. Malcolm wanted to go on his secret passage-trail. I said, “If it’s too snowy I won’t be able to go, so don’t get your hopes up!” And he said, “I can’t not get my hopes up, because I’m a jolly good fellow!” When we got to the path it was too steep and snowy. I stood at the top and said, “I can’t do it! I can’t do it!” Malcolm took Clio down the path, and made little footholds for me in the snowy mud, and I carefully edged down like the old lady that I am. Malcolm said, “Mom, you can do anything when you’re with me!” I do believe I can!! We walked and walked, and came out in a sort of valley down to the river, with the sky muted grey & rose, the world quiet, bridges crisscrossing across the sky, and Malcolm charging towards me, pink-faced and happy. When we got home David and Isaac were back from their separate trips-out-the-house, and we made a funny dinner of ring-shaped French lentil, chard, and butternut squash pie (I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow!!). And we made a ring-shaped chocolate marzipan cake with a touch of cherry. And we put marzipigs on top, which I love very dearly!! I’d read that somewhere in the world they make marzipan pigs for good luck on New Years, and when Malcolm said the cake looked like mud (a compliment from a ten-year-old boy, believe me!!) I knew we’d put our marzipigs on top, as happy as pigs in mud, as hopefully we all will be
in the new year!!
Here’s Talib Kweli with Get By, one of my favorite resolution songs (and he samples Nina Simone!) I have a sneaking suspicion that I posted it last year, in which case we’ll call it a tradition.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
100 g. marzipan (about half a commercial tube)
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup very dark cocoa
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup (+/-) milk
2 T cherry preserves
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 T milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a bundt pan, and sprinkle with a light coating of sugar.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Crumble the marzipan, and cream that into the butter. I used a fork and a spoon. Don’t worry about any little chunks – they’ll be nice to discover later.
Add all of the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Mix in the preserves, and then stir in half a cup of milk. The batter should be thick but easy to stir, like whipped cream. Add a little more milk if you need to. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for about 35 minutes, till it’s firm to the touch and pulling away from the pan. Let cool, and then turn out onto a cake plate.
For the ganache, warm the milk until it’s just starting to bubble on the edges. Have the chips in a bowl, warmish. Pour the milk over and stir until the chips are melted. If they don’t melt the whole way, put them over boiling water, and keep stirring till melted and smooth. Drizzle over the cake.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add all of the dry ingredients. Beat till smooth.
Lovely to read this, and the pigs-in-mud happiness cake is a brilliant idea. But the opening line had me hoping for Chas and Dave as the soundtrack !
But we have a traditional superstition of saying Rabbit rabbit at the beginning of each month. Why? I DON”T KNOW!!
I say “White rabbits” or sometimes (and I don’t know why – perhaps because I want to feel specially lucky) – “White rabbits, white rabbits, win all my games”.
But it has to be the first thing you say, or it doesn’t work. So if you’ve already greeted your partner, or your baby, or your cat, before you say it – that’s no good. Better luck next month!
So if you say something grumpy to your puppy who is hogging all the covers any time after midnight you’ve spoiled it! I’ll try again next month!
I always count it from ordinary waking-up time.
Looks wonderful! I would love to try some.
looks yummy. Happy New Year!
Somehow my super heartfelt comment to you has been lost in the internets, but I wanted to summarize: THANK YOU for your ramblings and your musings. Thank you for sharing your heart and your successes and not-so-successes. On days like today, when my underemployed-administrative-assistant-self if pulling her hair out, I am able to pop over to your blog, and see what your dear soul is up to. It has been such a gift to me these last few months. In fact, today has been so rough, but reading this new years post has given me the push I needed to apply (once again) for, yet another, job that won’t crush my soul, where I can feel that I am contributing. It has been such a rough stretch these last two years, and yet I have discovered so much about myself. I am able to go home every day to my poet-fiance, and make him funky weird food that he thankfully loves, and we muse about our life to come. This comment is now WAY too long, but I really hope you hear me – you are a gift, Claire! Thank you!
Seconding that, Katie!
Thank you so much! What a lovely comment. It made me so happy to read it. I hope you find a fulfilling and rewarding job!
It’s nice to have somebody to share funky weird food with, isn’t it?
Thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!