Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge: A Semi-Sweet Celebration

Like many of my fellow Daring Bakers, I was hoping for a Valentine treat for this month’s challenge.

And our hosts didn’t let us down.

February’s challenge is a flourless chocolate cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan.

The recipe comes from “Sweet Treats” by Chef Wan.

Since chocolate is the star of this dessert, we were encouraged to experiment with the type of chocolate we used.

I could already visualize my chocolate creation in a heart-shaped pan all ready to be devoured on Valentine’s Day. I didn’t happen to own a heart-shaped pan and was ready to purchase one for my growing collection of “pans most likely to only be used once.”

The other part of the challenge is to top all of this chocolate goodness with a creative topping of our choice – whipped cream, homemade ice cream or a fruit puree.

If we choose ice cream for our topping, our hosts also provided us with two recipes to choose from:

Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

I was excited by this challenge not so much for the chance to make the cake, it after all was simply a flourless chocolate cake, but I have wanted to try my hand at making ice cream.

We are not big ice cream eaters in my family but I had often thought I would like to accompany a dessert served at one of my dinner parties with a sorbet or ice cream that complemented the dessert.

I immediately surfed the web for ice cream makers. I narrowed down my search to a $50 Cuisinart model that almost universally received good reviews.

But then my baking was put on the back burner, so to speak.

My mom, the inspiration for ring-a-lings, had fallen and was hospitalized with a broken hip. Now much of my time was spent on her care.

Valentine’s day came and went and mom was still not doing well.

She passed away on Monday, 2/16, which also happened to be my daughter’s 16th birthday.

As sad as I was to have my mom gone, I was determined to still let my daughter celebrate her day.

I pulled out what chocolate I had on hand, my springform pan and a carton of whipping cream.

No heart pan, no expensive chocolate and no interesting ice cream accompanied this cake.

Just a family celebrating not only a birthday, but also the life of one talented baker.

And now the fine print:

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.


  1. So sorry to hear about your mom. My mom lost hers to MS many years ago; she says that no matter how long you've known they are going, it's so hard to let them go. What better way to celebrate her life (which apparently included lots of baking) and your daughter's (which SHOULD! :-) ) than to bake this dessert. It looks great! I hope you were able to find some pleasure in it.

  2. What a touching tribute to both your mom and your daughter. Baking that cake hopefully gave you some sort of solace. Hope that you are holding up okay. It looks great, no special pans needed. So sorry for your loss.

  3. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. It was really good of you to still make something for your daughter on her birthday.