The wind is howling outside, the radiator is gurgling, and it's good to be inside. It seems like the ideal time for oatmeal, or cocoa. Instead, I bought two kinds of ice cream yesterday and made chocolate cake. I might be the only person in the world who likes oatmeal and cocoa more than chocolate cake, though not more than strawberry ice cream. Strawberry ice cream is fantastic. Why would anybody ever eat any kind of ice cream other than strawberry?
My deviant predilections aside, the Chocolate Pavarotti (so-called because it 'sings in the mouth') is a very nice cake.
If you detected a bit of damning with faint praise there, your detector is working. The Pavarotti is a smooth, almost dense single layer, made with the addition of melted white chocolate (I used Trader Joe's chips). Perfectly delicious, a bit forgettable. More like my response to opera than Rose's. I always want to love opera more than I do. It's such spectacle, such grand location, such mystique and heavy wigs and wild feats of vocal daring, but ultimately, I find it slow. I want more choreography. I want the story to move more quickly. I was raised on the American musical, not the opera, and there's very little help for it now.
As for the 'Wicked Good' ganache, it is indeed very good ganache. I find this unsurprising, because the name indicates that it is clearly from Massachusetts, and all things from Massachusetts are excellent, including yours truly. While I continue to refuse to make ganache in the food processor if it is not a special occasion, I followed all of the other meticulous steps to make this one carefully. Corn syrup makes it shiny, cream makes it rich. In this case the cream was not dairy but coconut cream, lightened with a bit of coconut milk. I've found that for most things coconut will make a good substitute--it's fatty and coconut oil hardens up nicely at a cool room temperature. The substitution wasn't a matter of avoiding dairy, just a matter of realizing that there was no cream in the house and I wasn't going out for groceries again.
We ate the cake as part of an impromptu Valentine's Day celebration that included a feverish and cranky baby, sauteed greens and macaroni and cheese, and highlights from High Fidelity ('it. was. called. James') and X-Men: Days of Future Past. I can't talk about High Fidelity right now, that would take most of seven more posts and some sobbing. X-Men, on the other hand, is great fun, but apparently impossible to follow if you have never seen or read anything about it before. Days of Future Past spends an absurd amount of time on expositing its own absurd plot, but expects you to know exactly who its characters are and what they're up to already. I do, but a certain friend who shall not be named Miriam was unable to master even the basics of their names and relationships. "They all have three names and two ages," she very reasonably complained, and "also Katya WHY is it called a Pavarotti?"
A little recourse to the book and I was able to answer that question (see above), but I couldn't convince her not to call Magneto 'Cogneto' (actually a very decent amalgam of Professor X and Magneto) or Incognito. Everyone liked the cake, at least. One person said that its dense texture and very sweet filling (I added some raspberry cream cheese frosting) made it taste 'like a candy bar.' So there you have it. Opera plus comics plus indie geekery = chocolate cake that tastes like candy bars. Don't say you weren't warned.