Monday, May 16, 2011

Derby Cake

While cleaning Mom's kitchen, I found a stack of yellowed index cards with recipes written in a vaguely familiar spidery handwriting. They were my great-grandmother's. I never really knew her, and I certainly never knew that she had any interest in cooking. Mom confided that her grandmother liked to write down the recipes that the teachers who boarded in her house would make, which explained why she often used the word "we" on the cards.

I did find a recipe that seemed a lot more to Grandmother's tastes - a pecan cake recipe that called for, among other things, "1 large wine glass of Whiskey" and "1 wine glass of Cream." There's a lot to be said for the merits of measuring in wine glasses.

Needless to say, I couldn't really use this recipe. I measure my ingredients in coffee cups. But it was Derby week, and I had been listening to people rant about Derby fever for a week in Kentucky, so I had to celebrate somehow. Luckily, a friend had given me a container of deluxe mixed nuts from West Point Market, which meant that I had to make something particularly decadent. It also had to be easy enough to make after a 6-hour car drive home and done in time to eat it during Game of Thrones.

And I never even thought to check who won the derby.

Derby Cake
1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups deluxe mixed nuts (unsalted)
1/2 - 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup sugar
4 pieces of Ghirardelli chocolate baking bar, chopped
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp almond extract
3 eggs

Finely chop nuts in blender. In a bowl, stir everything together. Pour into greased pie pan. Bake at 375 for 1 hour. Cool for 15 minutes or so, but don't wait too long. It tastes best warm. 

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