Greetings from Santa Fe! This is actually Sarah writing on Rebecca's account. We're here on a family vacation and very excited to be reunited for the first time in many months (unless you count our grandma's funeral, which was, frankly, not that fun). We are here to celebrate our parents' 35th anniversary and a big birthday for our dad. Out of respect for his advanced age I won't tell you how old he is, only that it starts with an "s" and ends with an "ixty." For these special occasions we knew we had to bake something special, something - dare I say - dressy?
However, we also knew that we would be engaging in some ghetto baking, since the house we're staying in doesn't have any equipment (and trust me, everything about it from the convection oven to the enormous copper bathtub in which I want to make meringue just screams "ghetto"), so the cake couldn't be that complex. We especially wanted to minimize the amount of butter that we had to cream, so a non-butter-based frosting was preferred. Luckily, Dorie's Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake fit the bill on every count: simple to put together, beautiful in its presentation, and delicious.
The only thing that makes this cake tricky is the cutting of the layers. Last time I made it I had issues with the layers breaking apart as I cut them so Rebecca was put in charge of that, but she had the same problem. So be sure to be very careful about that. (Rebecca protests that the altitude caused the cake to sink in the middle, but I say there's no shame in having broken layers. The frosting covers them up pretty well.)
The cake was delicious - always is, no matter how weird it looks - but I would especially recommend using Valrhona chocolate for this recipe. I found some at Trader Joe's for three dollars a bar and it went really well with this cake, because it's got fruity overtones that match beautifully with the jam. We used strawberry preserves, which was kind of an accident since I thought they were raspberry, but it was still tasty and we served the cake with tiny sweet strawberries we got at the farmers' market. A very special cake for a very special day!
Recipe after the jump.
Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake
From Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan