after seeing it last august on the daring bakers it became an insidious bit of obssesion. this is not a dessert you just slap together, so i patiently waited for the magical intersection of a day i'd have people over for dinner and my husband would be home to mind the child while i baked it. he's away for days or weeks at a time, and pouring caramel with a toddler running around the kitchen is not exactly the pinnacle of safety-conscious cookery.
so i baked six thin layers. i made chocolate buttercream, despite the fact i've a deeply rooted aversion to buttercream and i never use it, not to save my life. i made the lemon caramel glaze and poured it on the top layer. then i assembled the thing and clothed it in pecan praline for a bit of extra oomph.
like proust with his madeleines, my tastebuds trembled with anticipation. i rushed everybody through their chips and dips, the goat cheese and asparagus tartelettes, the tuna empanaditas, and to hell with the chicken wings: who cares about that stuff?! let's cut the cake, right. now.
in the heat of things i never got to take a pic of a slice. it looked neat, equal thin layers of spongecake doused with coffee and deep chocolate buttercream. i only put praline on top so my husband could remove them. he's a nut hater. a hater of all nuts. (all but me.)
there's no easy way to say this: as i was eating, i felt cheated. robbed of one of the fondest culinary memories i had. this cake was nothing like the one i had growing up. it was good, fine, but just a bit too sweet. much sweeter than i like my desserts to be. i really resent a recipe when sheer sweetness masks all the other flavors. i used some great dark chocolate for the buttercream - i think it would have been the same made with wretched chips. you couldn't taste the coffee i brushed on the layers. it was too sweet.
so this cake gets a resounding, definite 'eh'. eh, i've had better. eh, next time i'll follow a romanian recipe and not use one just because it's already translated from the metric system.
luckily it wasn't the only dessert i had. i also made the parisians, only smaller so i'd get more mileage out of them, and another thing i can't say anything about yet because it's the current daring bakers' challenge. look how cute the miniature parisians are, and by miniature i mean about 5 or 6 inches long. these are always great, and even more so this time as i used king arthur flour.