Friday, April 6, 2012

Chocolate Icebox Cake, Take 2


Last Thanksgiving I pulled out my recipe for chocolate icebox cake. We hadn't even been in the new house a full two months and I had just finished repairing the cabinetry and trim and repainting (3 coats plus primer!) the kitchen, entryway, family room, living room, dining room, hallway, and Munch's bedroom. I had unpacked some of our basic kitchen supplies, but had yet to tackle the stacks of boxes in every room of the house. I hadn't yet unearthed half my wardrobe and the majority of my shoes and hoped they'd be found before the cold weather started. Not only that, but I had done all that work on the house late into the evenings AFTER a full day teaching kindergarten. Those first months of school are always the most busy and tiring part of the year because the kids are still SO young at that point and then I even had report cards and parent-teacher conferences as well.

I was nowhere near attaining a comfort level in my new kitchen, nor did I have the confidence (or tools!) in it yet to just whip things up at a moment's notice. An icebox cake, requiring only the effort of my pulling out the mixer to whip the cream and corralling a five year old to put it together, was a perfect solution for a dessert to bring to dinner at my parents'. The cake was a beautiful success- luscious layers of dark chocolate wafers sandwiched between lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, which after an overnight refrigeration had softened into thin layers of "cake".

Munch and I had assembled the cake in my favorite cake carrier from my old Williams Sonoma days. It comes with a springform round that clamps onto a stainless steel serving platter with an acrylic lid and carrying handle that fastens the whole thing shut. It's perfect for any type of cake that requires a springform, yet since the serving platter is already incorporated into the design, I no longer end up losing track of my springform bases when I transport desserts. The whole contraption has seen better days though, and there's now a crack in the domed lid. I'm used to its quirks though, but had forgotten that Munch wasn't.

We had arrived at my parents' in a bit of a rush and I remember feeling harried. Munch proudly announced that she would bring the cake in, and as she is so responsible and the cake was in the backseat with her, I didn't think twice. I was steps away from the car when I heard a terrible clatter- and turned around to find the cake upended onto the ground! The carrying handle had jiggled loose and slipped off the cake carrier, sending the dessert, its base, and lid in various directions. Our beautiful layered icebox cake was now a sloppy mess on my parents' gravel driveway. My exhaustion hit me immediately and for once, I had no words of comfort for poor Munch who was horrified at the mistake. My extreme silence left her even more unsettled and within moments, I think we were both in tears in that driveway.

Fast forward a few more months. The kitchen has been unpacked AND its contents rearranged after using it a while. As I'd been assigned to bring dessert to my sister's tomorrow, I figured it was time to revisit the icebox cake. Once again, assembling the layers went quickly and smoothly. Munch even had the chance to operate the mixer and watch the cream as it thickened to soft peaks. The cake is now sitting overnight in the refrigerator, waiting to be taken to lunch tomorrow. And Munch's words of wisdom this time around? "Carry the cake plate from the BOTTOM!"

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