Tarta imposible or the cake that nearly wasn't - a ballad of woe and wonder with a happy ending all around
These past days have been crazy non stop. I was supposed to have posted this recipe yesterday, but truth be said, I didn't even remember! It seems like I have been so pressed for time and going round in circles non stop like mad. The previous weekend, I hardly remember stoping for a few seconds, I hardly remember even being home! There was so much to do outside, and so many places to go, and this son of ours who won't stop growing and seems to be needing new stuff every single week!
Plus, trying to fit in our bi-annual trip to the chinese supermarket with a trip to downtown Lisbon because I had put it in my head that I needed because I needed a certain specific pair of espadrilles that could only be found there, with car washes and grocery shopping and trying to find tee shirts for my husband - who when it comes to clothes is THE pickiest person ever! - and needing to go here and there and (seemingly!) everywhere, I got to Monday morning feeling depleted, tired, in need of sleep and rest. Add to all this the fact that it's my son's last school week, with exams to top it all off.
And I won't deny the fact that my mind is currently occupied and obsessing over this mad vampire novel I'm writing - now I'm researching Nola, and what a blast that is, I love the architecture of that city and the mood! - so I feel like I'm speeding through everything else, while my brain keeps track of plots and narratives and characters... it may sound a bit too much, but actually, I don't think I would have it any other way, I love this mad rush and the creativity surges it brings me. I was actually stuck with certain plot twists and with all this rushing around, my mind disentangled itself and I actually managed to untie a couple of knots that weren't working for the story - also, thank you so much social media for allowing me to know certain very interesting individuals who I may or may not have used as basis for certain characters on my upcoming book!
So yesterday I was supposed to post this. I didn't. It was a local bank holiday here in my seaside village, son was home from school, and I had the whole house to clean up, because I hadn't done it during the weekend. I also had a couple of other stuff that needed doing - ladies will be ladies - and I used my time with that. Also, researching New Orleans neighbourhoods seems to take longer tha one would expect, really, t least if you're like me and get lost with those Garden District houses. And trying to find the perfect small hotel within the Vieux Carré that somehow screamed vampire at me was not an easy task, believe you me. Rue Royale had the most charming one, though, so that's settled. Now to find houses fit for vampires that are NOT set in the Garden District, or this novel will sound more and more like Anne Rice's "The Witching Hour" at every page I write...
Anyway, I didn't post this yesterday also because we're heading for a really loooong weekend, with a national bank holiday this Friday and a local one next Monday, which will allow us to go away for a few days and head straight for paradise! I'm counting on getting back to my regular postings next week, when I return from our mini vacations, but because I have so much still to prepare in order for us to take this trip, I decided that this week there'll be only the one post. But! It's one heck of a great post, lemme tell ya! This cake did not last long, it was that good. This cake must be about one of the best things I ever tried. This cake was also the cake that nearly did not happen. It took me months to get my husband to bake this beauty for me - again, keep in mind my husband cooks a lot of the recipes I post here, especially things that beg for a patient hand, I'm all but a patient person!
When I first came across this cake, it was here. Patricia has one of my favourite blogs, she's such a talented lady! Her pictures are dreamy and her styling is flawless, but above all that her concoctions are always gorgeous! Most of her posts make me think of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream", it somehow makes me think of fairy worlds and fairy banquets, and magical places, all so sweet and perfumed and ethereal. Check out her blog, if you don't believe me! So as soon as I laid eyes on this cake, I wanted it. Not to cook it, mind you, I knew straight away this was one for my husband - he excells in flans and the like - mostly because caramel and I we don't see eye to eye. I showed him the photos and said I wanted to eat it but mostly, I wanted to style it and shoot it.
Well, time went by and husband wouldn't bake me the cake. Every weekend something came up that prevented us from diving into this cake - it is a bit time consuming, I'll grant you that - and so it kept being put aside for another weekend and another and another. Until I almost forgot about said cake. Then Lia - another favourite blogger! - decided to try her hand at it and I was once again reminded of it, as I sat at my desk, drooling at the images on her blog. As soon as husband came home, again I harpied him about the cake. I showed him both posts, trying to lure him in. He was game, he was. But it would take us a few more weeks to finally tackle this beast!
When finally we came round to it, the caramel took quite a few tries, it simply wasn't working. We had to fidget with the recipe a little to come up with something we were happy with, so we kind of adapted both Patricia's and Lia's recipes and ade our own - not much has been changed, mind, it was only the caramel and the soda bicarbonate that we tweaked with. After the cake was ready to eat and shoot, I took my time styling it all, as I just wasn't feeling the mood I had envisioned for weeks - I actually knew how I wanted to shoot it and style it for months, and when it came down to it, I wasn't happy so I had to keep changing props and what not. But I managed the photos, somehow, and then forgot all about them on a folder hidden in my laptop! When I came looking for something to post today, I came across this delicious thing of evil that was this cake, and decided it was now or never!
So here's how we did it:
ingredients for the caramel:
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp water
for the chocolate cake:
- 120g plain flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 70g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 80ml whole milk
- 80g butter, melted
for the flan:
- 3 large eggs
- 300ml condensed milk
- 300ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Turn on your oven at 180ºC and grease a 10 cup fluted tube cake tin with butter. Now start by making your caramel, so pour the caster sugar in a frying pan over high heat and add the water. Let the mixture dissolve completely until it turns lightly golden. Once the caramel is done, pour it into the tin and swirl it around to coat the base completely. Reserve. For the cake, start by sifting together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a clean and dry bowl. On another bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla and whisk in the milk. Add the dry ingredients, folding gently together. Add the melted butter and mix softly into the batter, making sure it is all well incorporated. Now, pour this batter over the caramel and get started with your flan. Pour the flan's ingredients into the food processor and blitz until it comes together and is creamy. Taking great care, now pour the flan mix into the tin, on top of the cake batter, use a wooden spoon to help ease the flow. They're not supposed to combine so be extra careful. Now place the tin into a baking tray and fill that tray with boiling water until it comes half way up the sides of the tin. Very carefully, place it in the middle tier of your oven and let it bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until cooked, but because you don't want it to get too dark, cover the cake tin with foil at about 35 - 40 minutes into cooking and let it finish off. Use a skewer to check it, once it comes out clean, the cake is ready.Take the tin out of the tray and place it over a cooling rack. Allow the tin to cool and then place it in the fridge overnight, inside the tin. Once you're ready to bring it out, dunk the tin into warm water so the caramel melts down and then turn it over a serving dish to umnould it. Be extra careful, allow the caramel to really melt or else you might break the whole thing up! Now it is ready to serve, and beside being a thing of beauty, it is one of the best things I have ever tasted! Enjoy!