Happy thirty

Henning’s 30th birthday is March 6, and my mom will be back in Washington, DC by then, so she invited Henning and me and four of our friends over for dinner, drinks, and hot tub last night. Henning and I and two of the friends stayed the night, and this morning we were treated to french toast and bacon. Mmmm.. bacon.

For dinner, my mom made bbq ribs and sausages, and I made some cabbage slaw and spiced roasted sweet potatoes to go along side. For dessert, I made an extremely decadent chocolate torte. Super rich dark chocolate mousse is spread over a nearly flourless chocolate cake and then topped with whipped cream and raspberries. It was absolutely fabulous. I’m too tired to write more, so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

Double Chocolate Torte

Cabbage Slaw Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Henning's 30th Birthday Double Chocolate Torte

Cabbage Slaw

This is really best if all of the veggies are very finely shredded. I used a mandoline for this, and it worked perfectly.

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 small head green cabbage, shredded
3 large carrots, grated
1 green bell pepper, sliced as thinly as possible
1 red bell pepper, sliced as thinly as possible
1/2 large red onion, sliced as thinly as possible
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk vinegar, honey, celery seeds, and mustard in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking all the time. Add the shredded veggies and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat well. Chill for half an hour to an hour before serving.

Serves 10.

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes
from Gourmet, January 2002

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 lb medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Coarsely grind coriander, fennel, oregano, and red pepper flakes in an electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir together spices and salt.

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1-inch wedges.

Toss wedges with oil and spices in a large roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 20 minutes. Turn wedges over with a spatula and roast until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Double Chocolate Torte
slightly adapted from Bon Apetit, December 2000

I used a mixture of 85% Valrhona and 70% Lindt for both the cake and the mousse, and found the chocolate vs sweetness balance to be perfect.

For Cake
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

For Mousse
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

To Finish
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 cups fresh raspberries

Make cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover; chill while making mousse.

Make mousse: Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top whipped cream with raspberries.

Makes 12 servings.

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6 Comments

  1. laurel
    Posted February 26, 2007 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    i made the spiced sweet potatoes on saturday too. mmm. such a fantastic recipe.

  2. Posted March 1, 2007 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    hey, where’d my comment go?? I think I said something about that chocolate cake looking fantastic – but it’s not here. I’m looking forward to seeing your finished site changes. I keep thinking about doing something to mine, but I just haven’t had time. Cheers!

  3. Posted March 1, 2007 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Laurel- Yeah, it’s great!

    Alice- I think you accidentally commented on the sprouts post instead of the cake post! Thanks, the cake was deeeelish. :)

  4. Posted August 28, 2007 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous! So that’s what it looks like when you a) have enough berries to cover the top and b) get a cross-section! I’m happy to see that great minds think alike.

  5. Miranda
    Posted September 1, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I will have to try all of these recipes. They look fantastic! Thanks so much! I’m not nuts about sweet potatoes, but this might be good. No way, Laurel of Chapel Hill?! I’m right outside Carrboro. Small, very small world!

  6. Posted July 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

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