We decided to have a family get-together at my sister Jeanne's house. The challenge: make the vaunted Ebinger's Brooklyn Blackout Cake. It has three parts. The cake, the pudding filling and the frosting. Could we do it? Some of the greatest patisserie chefs in the world had tried ... and failed.
When we were kids, my grandmother, Sarah, and my grandfather, Willy, would come to see us on Sunday. They lived in Brooklyn, and they always brought a chocolate cake in a white box tied with red and white striped string. And they always asked the lady at the bakery to put two Maraschino cherries on the top: one for me and one for Susan.
From 1898 to 1972, Ebinger's made their Brooklyn Blackout Cake. In 2014, three women would attempt it in an Orient kitchen. Let the games begins.
"For Katie Workman, though, the cake is something else entirely: "Oh my God, it's a big, fat pain in the butt." Workman, the creator of cookbook and blog, The Mom 100, says that making the cake is so difficult, she still suffers what she calls PTCS: "post-traumatic cake syndrome." NPR, All Things Considered, March 27, 2014
First, let's set the stage.
My niece, Sarah, has just gotten a puppy, Polly.
Fern, Jeanne's dog, went through
some difficult moments when Polly showed up.
But by now, they were starting to play
and be friends.
My brother, David, was there too.
All dogs love David.
Fern loves me.
This is essentially how she spent
the afternoon as we worked on the cake.
The pudding chills.
Lead chef, Susan, takes the cake
out of the oven.
Where there is Jeanne and Dave,
there is Scrabble.
It took four hours to make the cake.
And four people.
I cut each layer in half.
Jeanne made a splendid pasta for dinner.
Ready to cut the cake.
No tears, no tantrums, and only
one run to the store for more
semi-sweet chocolate morsels.
And Polly and Fern were happy too.