Friday, February 12, 2010

Cooking with Cartoonists: Light Chocolate Cake

Many years ago, I bought a copy of The Cartoonist Cookbook, a book put together in 1966 by the Newspaper Comics Council, featuring 45 popular strip cartoonists of the 60s, with bios, art and recipes. It's a fun thing to have if you like cartooning, but I somehow never got around to actually cooking from it. This year, I decided to work my way through it and try and do at least one recipe from each artist!

Going alphabetically, my first artist (I'm skipping Neal Adams) is Alfred Andriola, who drew crime comic Kerry Drake for decades. He apparently lived a pretty happy bachelor lifestyle in Greenwich Village and gives us a nice date-night-back-at-the-bachelor-pad menu (he even gives you music suggestions based on your dinner companion's hair -- Sabrica's Flamenco for brunettes; Strauss' Salome for blondes). The whole dinner?

Prosciutto and Melon

(he says you should only buy prosciutto in a good Italian market)

Filet of Chicken Kiev

Spinach (or corn) souffle

Tomato Salad

Light Chocolate Cake


It all sounds good, but our pick was (shocking!) the dessert, which came out wonderfully (and lasted us 2 days, so about 6 servings). Behold:

andriola's cake

The cake layer there is shorter than it should be, my pan was too wide. (You really need to use an 8x8 for this one.) Basically, it's a flourless sponge cake, topped with a chocolate whipped cream. And amazingly good. Surprisingly, I couldn't find any cake recipes online that were like this -- they were all either only technically flourless (they used matzo meal or something like that) or they were very dense. Here's how Alfred makes it (note, I skipped both the almond extract in the cake, and the chopped almonds on the topping as no-one here likes almonds but me):

3 eggs, separated
5 T sugar
3 T cocoa
1 t vanilla
½ t almond extract
½ t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° . Whisk egg yolks, adding sugar gradually and then continue whisking until creamy. Add cocoa, extract and cinnamon and whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites (in a stand mixer!) until they form stiff peaks, and then fold gently into chocolatey mixture. Pour into 8" x 8" pan, lined with parchment or waxed paper and then greased and floured. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan and peeling off paper.

1½ c heavy cream
¼ c sugar
2 T cocoa
½ t vanilla
Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least an hour (I put them all into a covered container, shook hard, and then put in the fridge for probably 4-5 hours. You can do this up to a day ahead, I'd think.) Whip until firm, and spread over cooled cake. Optionally, sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Bonus!! Alfred was neighbors and pals with James Beard, and the two of them collaborated on what must be James Beard's only comics credit:

"What's Cooking" 1966 comic

1 comment:

  1. A) ZOMG do I love proscuitto and melon. Could eat it every day and a couple days this past summer, I did.
    B) That is am impressive cake-to-whipped-cream ratio - looks great!
    C) I love the way BACON is written in bold in its first mention.
    D) Now I'm all hungry again.


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