So my last post suggested that I was the true connoisseur of fine desserts in our home, but I neglected to mention that my spouse Willow takes my chocoholism to a whole new level.
Now, we both easily eat chocolate once a day. But she restricts herself generally to the good stuff, whereas I will eat a Twix in a pinch. Or if there's one close. Or in the building. She also eats almost exclusively dark chocolate, which means the Twix is usually right out.
All of this is to say the following: I am a chocoholic. She is a chocolate evil genius.
Willow's mother was a chemist, so when she taught Willow to cook, she taught her the chemistry behind the baking, which means Willow can, you know, fiddle with baking recipes without disastrous results. I consider myself to be a mighty fine cook, but I am no baker, and for this very reason. But Willow, in her quest to become a chocolate evil genius, has exploited this history (and honored the memory of her mother, herself a bona fide chocoholic) to the fullest extent imaginable.
In her quest for the perfect brownie, she has easily tried over 20 recipes. The ones she likes are flatter, gooier, moister, richer, and much less sweet than the typical brownie. Sometimes, when she's feeling particularly evil, she adds cayenne and cinnamon.
In her quest for the perfect chocolate cake, she has easily tried over 40 recipes, if you count flourless, molten, and individual varieties. Over 20 if you just count traditional chocolate cake. The one she swears by as her base recipe is a slight variation on, I kid you not, the recipe on the side of the Hershey's Cocoa canister, with coffee or espresso substituted for the hot water, and buttermilk for milk. There is also this item called black cocoa (they say you should blend it with Dutch process cocoa, but blending is not something that an evil chocolate genius does). It makes it into the cake sometimes.
Then there are the frostings and flavorings. In December, she made three of these things with a peppermint buttercream, with some peppermint oil in the cake. I easily ate a full one of those cakes, if not one and a half. Sometimes she makes a chocolate buttercream. This is more chocolate than is legal in at least four states, including the one we're in.
So all this leads up to the following: While dining with the kids at a chain establishment the other day, she noticed a dessert with a chocolate crumb topping, and said to herself, "I can make that," came home, found a crumb topping recipe, altered it, and checked in with me about her nefarious plans...
Saturday evening, she served our guests a chocolate cake, frosted on the sides and in the middle with a chocolate buttercream, and layered in the middle and on top with chocolate crumb topping.
We are all now her slaves, in thrall to the chocolate. She tells me there's one piece left downstairs. She saved it for me.