Amidst glasses of pomegranate mimosas, we laughed. We ate (and ate and ate): piping hot baked brie with strawberry habanero preserves, maple bacon that was flirting with burnt, deliciously Southern biscuits with tomato gravy and winter fruit salad dotted with flecks of vanilla bean.
Dim winter light crept into the dining room and lit up the gold edges of Rebekka's vintage white milk glass. Jazz roared out of the speakers. After brunch, we danced.
And what birthday or celebration (or Sunday for that matter) would be complete without cake? I made my favorite dark chocolate cake with the dreamiest milk chocolate buttercream. And y'all, I just need you to know and to understand: this is the cake. The cake that I go to for the specialist of days. The cake I make every single Christmas Eve. The cake I make and eat at my happiest and saddest of times. It has the bitter bite of deep, dark chocolate and the sweet aroma of almond oil. The buttercream floats on top of it, a gossamer of sugary fluff.
And now, we wait for Christmas. To celebrate and to be together and to eat well, once again.
Dark Chocolate Almond Cake
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup almond flour
1 stick salted butter
4.5 oz dark chocolate
2t almond extract
Preheat oven to 400. Beat eggs and sugar together until tripled in volume, 8-10 minutes. In a separate bowl, melt chocolate and butter together and add almond extract. Fold almond flour into eggs, followed by chocolate. Bake in a greased 8" cake pan for 28 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and unmold. Cool completely before frosting.
Milk Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream
1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
6T mascarpone cheese
3.5 oz milk chocolate, melted and cooled
Bring sugar and eggs to 140 degrees in a double boiler, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and whip until stiff peaks form. Add cheese, one Tablespoon at a time. Pour in chocolate. Use immediately and DO NOT REFRIGERATE.