Make it. Eat it. Love it.
Yesterday the world lost an incredibly amazing woman, my Nanny. And, this post is dedicated to her.
If my Nanny could tell us what she wanted today she would tell us to dress in our fanciest clothes, eat the best meal we could and use our finest china to do so, dance, sing, laugh. She lived everyday like that. She savored every moment in life, big or small. She had celebrations just because. Sparklers weren’t just for the 4th of July, presents and cake weren’t just for Birthdays, fancy clothes or elegant delicious meals weren’t just for special occasions and dreams weren’t just for sleeping.
People that knew her, even if it were for a brief time, lives were touched and those that didn’t know her will never understand the special person they were missing out on.
Thinking back, a great deal of my childhood memories and fond moments were spent with my Nanny and Grandpa. She taught me lessons I have carried on with me my whole life. She showed me in her own uniqueness and quirkiness that it’s ok to be different. In fact you should be different. Be yourself. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks as long as you are true to yourself. Confidence is everything and she had more confidence in one hand then most people can muster up in a whole lifetime. She showed me to stand up for myself, speak my mind, ask questions and never stop learning. She showed me there was a world beyond what I knew in my Dix Hills bedroom. Plays to see, countries to explore, music to play, paint to create masterpieces with, food to be enjoyed and magical places to escape to if need be. She taught me that it doesn’t matter if you win and that it’s more important to be able to lose. She showed me that women should and can be independent and strong. She taught me to stop and appreciate little moments in life, to unbuckle my seatbelt in the back of the car while driving over the 59th street bridge and take a look out the back window at Manhattan twinkling at night. Lick the cake batter off the whisk, ride the glass elevators of the Marriott Marque, have tea at the Plaza because thats what Eloise did, talk in different accents because its funny, collect things that make me happy, play dress up no matter my age. She was my biggest fan and cheerleader. She taught me what unconditional love is.
I celebrate the life of an amazing woman, my Nanny, my friend.
6 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
For Mocha Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground dark coffee
1 tablespoon milk
For Hard Chocolate:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
1 candied cherry
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 9-inch x 1 1/2 inch cake pans and set aside.
In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla extract, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients.
Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk and mix on low speed with an electric mixer until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg.
Divide cake batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface (Pans will be about half full).
Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.
While cake is cooling make mocha frosting by combining powdered sugar, ground coffee and cocoa powder in a small bowl, set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip butter until fluffy.
Add vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar mixture a little at a time.
Once all the powdered sugar has been added, add in milk and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides as needed.
Once cake has cooled cut each cake in half. There will be and extra layer, use for something else.
On a piece plate covered in parchment paper, place one layer of cake and top with some of the mocha frosting.
Top with another layer of cake and top with some more mocha frosting.
Top with last layer of cake and using the rest of the frosting, frost entire layer cake with a thin layer of mocha frosting.
Place cake in fridge to cool for at least an hour.
When cake is almost cooled prepare the hard chocolate by melting butter and chocolate in a double broiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
When cake is done chilling, remove from refrigerator and very carefully pour melted chocolate over top, making sure to cover the sides as well, using an offset spatula.
Place cake back in refrigerator to chill until chocolate is hard, about 1 hour.
Place a single candied cherry in center.