I am at that stage in my relationship with my boyfriend where I *still* can't stop gushing about him. Is this normal as we near the 7 month mark? Because if it's not then I'll stop annoying everybody and shut my face.
Anyway, It was my birthday today and so I celebrated this weekend (although my boyfriend says I should keep on celebrating until the 20th which is when my Chinese/lunar calendar birthday is this year). On Friday night I went to the Spirite Lounge with some friends I hadn't seen in a long time, and it was so nice to catch up with all of them and talk about where they've been and where they're going and also about nerdy things like good old times.
For Saturday night, one of my birthday requests was for my boyfriend to make me dinner because he rarely ever cooks (he recently admitted to only having canned soup in his pantry these days because he's too busy to eat at home) and he responded by buying an appetizer of pickled salmon and red bean buns that he mistook for rolls, and making a simple but lovely dinner of a roast, potatoes and a salad.
I asked arrogantly if I could make dessert, as I like to pretend that I'm the best baker out of all my friends and he said he would've bought dessert anyway. I wanted something extra-special and decadent, so I perused Orangette and Chocolate and Zucchini, knowing these lovely ladies wouldn't disappoint. While Molly's Winning-Hearts-and-Minds cake was very tempting (she served it at her wedding, after all). I finally settled on a similar cake from Clotilde: Le Fondant Chocolat Noix de Coco
Of course I know you're fully able to read Clotilde's recipe (and always-charming introductions) yourself, so I'll leave you to that. But here is how the recipe came to fruition on my side of the pond—It started three days before, at Aubut (which I just realized I accidentally deleted the photo of.) Located just a couple blocks away from Atwater Market, it is a distributor for restaurants, caterers, etc. and therefore is in a way, like a Costco but without the membership (and goods that are not food-related). I was recommended there when I asked on the local Chowhound boards where a girl can find some good baking chocolate. While their wholesaler section is a little overwhelming, they do have a little retail section with more manageable portion sizes, a nice selection of cheeses, and a section devoted to kitchen gear (including chef's uniforms). I picked up a 1 kg bag of chocolate pastilles, which was the smallest size they had—they have 5 kg bars of Callebaut chocolate which I recently learned should not be confused with the Alberta-based Bernard Callebaut.
My pastilles are from the far more exotic (and far less environmentally-friendly?) Papua New Guinea.
The one thing I found very unique about Clotilde's recipe is how it calls for toasted coconut. It's almost magical the way they turn GOLDEN and fragrant. While the cake itself is very moist, like a brownie, the coconut adds a lovely bite in terms of flavour AND texture.
Coming out of the oven, the cake is a little short (as the only thing that's holding its structure, really, is the beaten egg whites, which by the way, caused my hand blender to overheat and make a part fall off of my whisk attachment which I fortunately don't use very much anyway) and anticlimactic in terms of appearance.
While I was tempted to ice it and decorate it, Clotilde warns that it is fragile, and I had to transport it to my boyfriend's house, so I made the executive decision to use some of my leftover ingredients (whipping cream and coconut) to top the cake off.
Toasted Sweetened Coconut (to top your cake!)My boyfriend and I had two pieces each, and my roommates polished off the rest of the cake when I brought it home the next day!
I made too much, so now I have a jar of it sitting in my pantry. This is half of the recipe, so it might still be too much. I suggest topping other things with it, like future cakes, granola with yogurt, fruit, etc...
- 125 mL (½ cup) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 15 - 30 mL (1 - 2 tbsp) icing sugar
Mix ingredients in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until it begins to turn golden and fragrant.
On a somewhat related side note, my friends have figured out that I'm a foodie and I currently have THREE chocolate bars, two of which are from Dolfin (although I must admit, I bought the pink peppercorn one myself). I also received a chocolate zucchini cake and a salad dressing bottle (which I promptly used to make some rosemary oil) from my friend and ex-roomie Jane, and a fancy bottle of bourbon from my wonderful boyfriend. I'm going to gain weight like you wouldn't believe.