Grated Bread Chocolate Cake
Woke up this morning fully aware it was time for a new blog post, but the inspiration just wasn’t there. Call it writer’s block or whatever, but the truth is sometimes it is just easier to bury the grief rather than write about it. So, I got in the car and headed off to the YMCA to do a body pump workout instead. (I do practice what I preach about the need to exercise plus I need to burn off all those chocolate calories I consumed while experimenting for the Chocolate Adventure Recipe contest.)
Right after the class, exhausted and sore, I get back in the car, turn the key and I immediately know what I am meant to write about today. On the radio is Rascal Flatts singing, “My Wish”. Instantly, I am transformed back to a conversation with William. We are discussing his some day future wedding and how we will dance to this song. It’s perfect as it reflects on everything that a parent wants for their child.
Slap me back to reality. The future holds nothing for me and William. There will be no proud graduation from college moment. There will be no wedding dance. Further, there will be no celebration of his first-born. All those plans are suddenly and painfully gone. It’s best to recognize this reality rather than try to bury it.
Have you lost someone you love and adore? Not only have you lost the person, but also all the hopes and dreams you held for that person. Expect to mourn the loss of future opportunities and unfulfilled expectations. It’s normal and necessary. Recognize it and then take as much time as you need to adapt.
Now back to chocolate. About 2 weeks after William died I received a call from America’s Test Kitchen informing me that my recipe for Grated Bread Chocolate Cake had been chosen as the grand prize winner of their recipe contest. This contest was about celebrating lost family recipes and bringing them back to life. Only wish we could do it with people, too.Print
Grated Bread and Chocolate Cake
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: serves 8 to 10 1x
Cooks Country and America’s Test Kitchen Grand Prize Winner
9 egg whites
1 1/2 cups (5 oz) powdered sugar
½-cup plain dry breadcrumbs
½-cup grated semisweet chocolate plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
½-pound ground almonds or 2 cups almond flour
¼-cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼-cup amaretto (almond flavor liqueur)
- Heat oven 350F. Line two 9-inch cake pans with wax paper or parchment and spray with a no-stick baking spray.
- In large electric mixer beat egg whites until soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks.
- Mix breadcrumbs, chocolate, flour, baking powder and almond flour together; fold into beaten egg whites.
- Add wine and lemon juice; blend well.
- Divide batter into prepared pans; smooth tops.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center springs back when touched with tip of the finger.
- Transfer cakes to cooling rack; cool completely.
- Beat heavy cream, cocoa powder and sugar until whipped and thick.
- Cut each cake, horizontally, in half.
- Brush cut layers of cake with almond liqueur.
- Spread the filling between the cake layers and on top.
- Sprinkle with additional grated chocolate, if desired
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: dessert
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: European style, cake, chocolate, family recipe, holiday
I come from a long line of frugal cooks. Nothing, especially food, was ever thrown away. I am sure this cake was created to use up leftovers like day old bread and so I often refer to it as just that, “the leftover cake”. My mom and my grandmother had a hundred and one uses for day old Italian bread, but I think this cake is the most interesting. I can remember my grandmother commandeering my dad to grate the hard bread and using up whatever wine had not been drunk with the previous night’s dinner. It was only during the Christmas holidays that the liqueur was taken out to make the cake a little extra special.
Congratulations on your win Lisa. America’s Test Kitchen is a very prestigious win.
Really a very unexpected win and very proud moment for me.
Whoa!!! I cant believe I never knew about this win of yours…sounds amazing; I want to make it right now!!!
It is a most delicious and unusual cake. I learned of this win shortly after William died. At the time I did not feel like I had much to celebrate, so didn’t share like I normally would have.
You amaze me on so many levels.
You are too kind. Naturally, Tyler gave me a bit of inspiration for this post.
I finally found your recipe after losing my magazine copy! I made the cake once and it was just the best comfort dessert every! It reminded me of what I envision a Viennese cake tastes like. How neat that you devised the recipe! I just loved the combo of almond flour with the bread crumbs (and I didn’t feel so guilty eating it). You truly deserved to win the contest!
Now that I’ve found the recipe again I will be honored to make it after reading of the loss of your son, William. What a lovely smile and kind eyes he had!
Thank you again for posting the recipe!
How lovely of you to share such a kind comment. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that you tried my recipe and enjoy it. I am so grateful that you took the time to let me know and appreciate you honoring my boy as well. <3
I just made this cake for the 2nd or third time and don’t recall if it rose at all those times but this time it did not rise at all and I followed the recipe to the letter! I simply cannot imagine what went wrong? Any thoughts? I would love to make it again but considering all the work, which it IS worth, I feel terribly gun shy now. Please help me? Thank you.
There is nothing worse than a recipe that doesn’t turn out well. I am sorry this happened. The fact that you have made it before and it turned out fine leads me to think that there is nothing wrong with your technique (unless the egg whites completely deflated) but something wrong with one of the ingredients. I have found over the years that sometimes ingredients change and with baking size and volume and weight make a difference…like the size of the eggs or the butterfat percentage in butter. I think I will try and update this recipe using weight measurements and hopefully improve it. Thank you Calliope for your kind words. I will work on it.
I think I found the answer. At one time or in a reprinted copy of your recipe it said to mix the wine and lemon juice into the whites and then the dry ingredients. But now, here on your page, it says the reverse with the wine and lemon last. Something tells me that is the answer!? What say you?
I have always made it as it is printed here. I think the Grandmothers’ Kitchen Cookbook may have the other. The point is to not deflate the whites as all that air gives you a higher rising cake. I worry about egg size changes. I need to figure out the weight of the egg whites for sure.
I just think you might want to know that a site called “kitchenenchanted.wordpress.com” has your recipe but with the wrong order as I mentioned, it also calls for a lower bake temp and a much shorter bake time. I feel badly for all those who will go there, thinking they have found your wonderful recipe only to have the mega-failure that I did. It also calls for cream of tartar that if used in combo with the wine and lemon juice is likely too much acid and also cause for failure. Lastly, Cook’s Country has it but as you may know, you have to pay money to use their site whereas you have graciously provided it free to folks which is so very kind and generous of you! Thank you!
Well that IS a surprise. I left a comment on the web site with a link to come here.