My Wish & Grated Bread and Chocolate Cake

my grand prize winner

my grand prize winner

Woke up this morning fully aware it was time for a new blog post, but the inspiration just wasn’t there. Call it writer’s block or whatever, but the truth is sometimes it is just easier to bury the grief rather than write about it. So, I got in the car and headed off to the YMCA to do a body pump workout instead. (I do practice what I preach about the need to exercise plus I need to burn off all those chocolate calories I consumed while experimenting for the Chocolate Adventure Recipe contest.)

from America's Test Kitchen & Cook's Country Magazine

from America’s Test Kitchen & Cook’s Country Magazine

Right after the class, exhausted and sore, I get back in the car, turn the key and I immediately know what I am meant to write about today. On the radio is Rascal Flatts singing, “My Wish”. Instantly, I am transformed back to a conversation with William. We are discussing his some day future wedding and how we will dance to this song. It’s perfect as it reflects on everything that a parent wants for their child.

High School graduation proud moment

High School graduation proud moment

Boot camp graduation is a proud moment

Boot camp graduation is a proud moment

Home from Afghanistan proud moment

Home from Afghanistan proud moment

Slap me back to reality. The future holds nothing for me and William. There will be no proud graduation from college moment. There will be no wedding dance. There will be no celebration of his first-born. All those plans are suddenly and painfully gone. It’s best to recognize this reality rather than try to bury it.

Have you lost someone you love and adore? Not only have you lost the person, but also all the hopes and dreams you held for that person. Expect to mourn the loss of future opportunities and unfulfilled expectations. It’s normal and necessary. Recognize it and then take as much time as you need to adapt.

Now back to chocolate. About 2 weeks after William died I received a call from America’s Test Kitchen informing me that my recipe for Grated Bread & Chocolate Cake had been chosen as the grand prize winner of their recipe contest. This contest was about celebrating lost family recipes and bringing them back to life. Only wish we could do it with people, too.

Grated Bread and Chocolate Cake

9 egg whites

1 1/2 cups (5 oz) powdered sugar

1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated semisweet chocolate plus additional for garnish

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 pound ground almonds or 2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup amaretto (almond flavor liqueur), optional

Heat oven 350F. Line two 9-inch cake pans with wax paper or parchment and spray with a no-stick baking spray. In large electric mixer beat egg whites until soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks. Mix bread crumbs, chocolate, flour, baking powder and almond flour together and fold into beaten egg whites. Add wine and lemon juice; blend well. Divide batter into prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center springs back when touched with tip of the finger. Transfer cakes to cooling rack; cool completely. Beat heavy cream, cocoa powder and sugar until whipped and thick. Cut each cake, horizontally, in half. Brush cut layers of cake with almond liqueur, if desired. Spread the filling between the cake layers and on top. Sprinkle with additional grated chocolate, if desired

I come from a long line of frugal cooks. Nothing, especially food, was ever thrown away. I am sure this cake was created to use up leftovers like day old bread and so I often refer to it as just that, “the leftover cake”. My mom and my grandmother had a hundred and one uses for day old Italian bread, but I think this cake is the most interesting. I can remember my grandmother commandeering my dad to grate the hard bread and using up whatever wine had not been drunk with the previous night’s dinner. It was only during the Christmas holidays that the liqueur was taken out to make the cake a little extra special.

7 thoughts on “My Wish & Grated Bread and Chocolate Cake

    • It is a most delicious and unusual cake. I learned of this win shortly after William died. At the time I did not feel like I had much to celebrate, so didn’t share like I normally would have.

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