Plum tree in full blossom. And spring is in full swing this weekend in St Petersburg! Glad I did not miss anything here and with that journey to France could grasp a bit of southern summer BEFORE experiencing the northern spring here! Been to our summer cottage (aka dacha), worked hard until my back ached, got myself entangled in something really edging on a fight (with me as a supporting actress equipped with a heavy shovel ready to defense our garden and my Mother) and then just relaxed under an apple tree in the soft rays of the setting sun… And you know, it’s second part of May already and it means we’ve almost arrived at the White Nights season here already!
Some spring shots before we move on to food : )
Dwarf Russian Almond (had no idea that it has such a name in English : )
Yellow and white narcissus with scarlet tulips in the background
A family of yellow and white narcissus : )
And just a day earlier I happened to see another dacha while walking to a job interview:
The location is weird, cause in the nowadays St Pete there are all these tall glass buildings all over the Neva’s Vyborgskaya embankment and this classicism-style wooden Golovin’s Dacha built in 1824 just falls out a bit. But before, a long time ago, this was a site for the court’s dachas. Right next to this seemingly abandoned dacha with dandelions growing right through its stone basement is a – seemingly – brand new business center with this reflexion on its all-glass walls:
TV Tower reflexion, Vyborgskaya Embankment, St Petersburg
The St Petersburg TV Tower is just opposite this dacha, there on the other bank of the Neva river called Petrogradskaya. It was my first time walking alongside the Chernaya Rechka (Small Black River), sadly famous for being the duel place for Alexander Pushkin vs. Georges D’Anthès (the latter fatally wounding Pushkin), cause there used to be a forest there.
Come on now, do we ever get to the food part? Right, here it is, a chocolate cake I made for my Dad’s b-day this year (last year there was another chocolate cake… and two years ago yet another chocolate cake…). You know well that I’m a lazy perfectionist and that it’s easier for me to bake bread, cheese pies and muffins than something more sophisticated like tarts for example. But when it comes to a b-day cake, well, you know! Give this cake a try, the tips that the author gives will only make the result so much better! BTW, this post marks the creation of the CHOCOLATE dedicated page where you can find all the chocolate and coffee recipes on my blog!
A year ago –Layer Cakes for Chocolate Addicts (:)
Two years ago – Bread, Soup and Crackers
Sinful Midnight Cake adapted from thejoyofcaking.wordpress.com will make a very very moist, really cool-looking and tasting super-chocolate cake! Great thanks to Eileen for the recipe and the tips!
Here are my remarks to the original recipe:
The ingredients: I used softened butter instead of margarine and sunflower oil instead of olive oil. For the lack of chocolate chips, I melted a bar of good Russian chocolate. I decreased the amount of salt and used less instant coffee.
I was lazy enough to get my hand mixer from the cupboard, so I just use my hand : ) And I must say the recipe is easy, although allow some time for the cake to cool.
The author’s tip on making this cake extra moist and flat enough for frosting and filling is just superb! I hope I will remember it next time I make a similar cake. Even though I did not have time to leave the cake to cool thoroughly, the layers were super-moist and so light in texture!
I’ve used cherry confiture (quite thick jam like marmalade – in Russia there’s simply one word for any kind, varenye!) with almost entire cherries as the first layer of filling and then added sour cream (Russian smetana) as the second layer. I decorated the top of the cake with chocolate shavings + crushed Greek chocolate – I was again too lazy to create a separate frosting.
Result: Although we did not eat this cake at midnight and did not see any sin in it either : ) this chocolate cake was a hit! My parents said it was just like eating a b-day cake from a high quality patisserie shop : ) And I said it all comes to the recipe! Leave the cake to suck into all the filling ‘juices’ and you will get this light texture that, well, I confess, make you think about it being sinful – it just cannot possibly be THAT moist and soft! This is the cake you would eat with a fork – not because it’s oh-so sophisticated, it’s just that you would want to enjoy each bite! Keep the cake in the fridge – who knows, maybe it will help the cake to last just a little bit longer .)
Thanks to my parents who did keep the last piece of the b-day cake in the fridge, I managed to snatch a tiny piece and it was delicious! This is the last photo before the cake irrevocably disappeared… Definitely to be made again!
French trip posts to come soon!