I made a delicious chocolate cake for a Christmas party a few weeks back, and added a hint of almond extract to the batter to make it taste like marzipan or if you've ever had the pleasure "Sugar Sweet Sunshine's" cupcakes, located on Rivington between Norfolk and Essex in the Lower East Side. I made myself proud, pulling off a Samantha Stevens. Instead of twitching my nose to make perfect coco au vin, I ran to the corner bodega to find chocolate and powdered sugar, and my weakness: Choward's violet candies, ran back to the apartment and whipped up the cake using our electric beater. I brought it to the party still warm, placed it on the table and watched people nod their heads up and down and give a thumbs up because their mouths were full of cake. One kid even tried to buy a piece from someone. Nice ego boost.
I however, did not get to even taste a piece, so later that weekend I made a new cake following the same recipe from the "Tea and Sympathy" cookbook. This time though, I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate and it came out very rich, putting both my mother and me in a cocoa stupor. The pictures below are documenting the birth of my new Pistachio colored Kitchen Aid mixer, which I received for Christmas. It is a work of art.
"Tea and Sympathy" is an English teashop in Greenwich Village, run by a woman named Nicola Perry. One of her waitresses/writers, Anita Naughton, wrote her detailed cookbook, which not only provides recipes but also photographs and memorable stories of the restaurant's origin and life. This recipe is hidden between sugar glazed lemon cake and a story about the man who brings them their English bacon. It says to heat the oven to 375, then to melt the chocolate (1 cup bittersweet) in a double boiler. Meanwhile you can put the dry ingredients together (1 tsp. baking soda, 1 1/4 cups flour), cream the butter (1 cup) and dark brown sugar (1 1/2 cups) and 1 tablespoon of almond extract. Fold the chocolate into the butter and add the dry ingredients and 1 cup of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes. Below is a picture of my cake sitting on a complementary turquoise fiestaware plate, pre-icing.
The icing is 'ruther' simple and involves melting 4 tbs of milk, 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of bittersweet chocolate (although I recommend more than this). Mix this with 1 3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar and beat. Unlike me, you should wait for everything to cool before you ice it, since obviously the icing runs when you are impatient. To get my cake to cool faster (I really wanted to eat it), I put it in the freezer for one minute and then held it out of the fourth floor window on a freezing December night. As my father would say, "Do as I say, not as I do."
You'll be seeing a lot more "Tea and Sympathy" recipes from me, since it's my favorite restaurant of all time. In fact, in 10th grade General Chemistry, we were given a Periodic Table of Elements project, wherein we had to order themed objects/concepts in groups and columns. I ordered "Tea and Sympathy's" menu. As you descended a column the amount of fat increased, mirroring atomic radii. Going across a row one would notice that the calorie content increased analogous to ionization energy. My columns were ordered according to categories of the menus, so instead of halogens and noble gases, I had puddings and meats. I know, I know, get out more...
If you're interested, the website is http://www.teaandsympathynewyork.com/home.php
The cookbook can be purchased in their shop located in between the restaurant and their fish and chips store called "A Salt and Battery." Cheers!