Today marks two decades since Birch and I stood under a blazing maple in Brooklyn and promised -- in front of family, friends, and little kids biking to Prospect Park -- to share our lives. A courtship sparked when Birch made me a raspberry chocolate mousse cake came full circle in a wedding with a tiered chocolate cake filled with raspberry jam and swirled all over with white-chocolate curls.
Birch has a very good imagination, but I'm sure when we shared our wedding cake he could never have imagined where life with me would take him. He had circumnavigated the globe three times before his ninth birthday, and when I met him, he was living on cosmopolitan 57th Street (in an apartment sublet from his snowbird grammie). For me he gave up that posh (and cheap) sublet to move first to Park Slope and then...to a house in Maine that was so remote we couldn't see other lights at night. We were beyond the reach of newspaper delivery; he had to special order the Sunday Times and drive into the village to pick it up.
It's true that you can take the boy out of the city but you can't take the city out of the boy: When we moved at last into our 1890s house in the dead of winter, and the plumbing was resisting his best efforts to fix it, and he was getting up in the middle of the night to hold the girls over a bucket so they could go tinkle, he let the truth slip out: "I told you I was a condo-in-Boca-with-a-super kind of guy!"
Birch misses our old super, Arvin (but now Birch can rival Arvin in fix-it skill). Birch misses H&H bagels (but we've learned to bake our own amazing bagels). He would give anything to take the subway to Raffetto's for fresh ravioli (but even he would admit that what we make at home is wonderful). Friday nights, he longs for pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge (but he would never have made that wood-fired oven of his very own if he still lived within reach of a New York pie). Creating New York for the homesick is a lot of work, but, hey, at least the Sunday Times shows up right at the end of our driveway now.
On his better days (and what's not better than January in Maine with no working toilet?), Birch embraces our country life. Every day of our marriage, I know our life on the four green acres is his daily gift to me. So it seemed superfluous when, to celebrate our anniversary, he made me one of his chocolate specialties. Not that the cake tasted superfluous. It tasted like it was filled with love. Which it was.
See how pretty it looks on the cake stand
I won in the giveaway at dear Lisa's Cutting Edge of Ordinary!
Here's to decades more, my dear man! Bring on the chocolate...
For the rest of you who might be busy on a special occasion, here's our adaptation of a recipe from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. She calls it Marie-Claude Gracia's Chocolate Cake. We call it...
Celebration-in-a-Rush Chocolate Cake:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (high quality)
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, separated (thank you, Littles)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
About 2 teaspoons confectioner's sugar (if you wish)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 1/2 inch springform pan.
2. Combine the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl. Microwave on low until it melts to the point where you can stir it together.
3. Mix in the granulated sugar until it dissolves. Set the mixture aside to cool.
4. Whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate. Whisk in the flour.
5. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl just until they form firm peaks; do not overbeat.
6. Add one-third of the egg whites to the chocolate batter and mix vigorously. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Do this slowly and patiently. Do not overmix, but be sure the mixture is well blended and that no streaks of white remain.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm and springy, 35 to 40 minutes.
8. Cool on a rack for several hours before unmolding and dusting with confectioner's sugar.
Enjoy with someone you love!