As you read this, Hurricane/Megastorm/Frakenstorm Sandy is barreling up the East Coast, and we are all under orders to stay home and hunker down. My kids have no school of course, much to my chagrin. We spent a restless Sunday already cooped up too much indoors, and I am kicking myself now for not getting them outside more while I could. It was wet, but not so much that we couldn’t have run around a little more and worked out some of that excess energy. Another day at home inside with all three is going to tax all of my inner strength. It always sounds like a charming prospect, everyone cozy at home, snuggling together while a storm rages outside. But those of you with small children know the reality, which is more along the lines of little monkeys swinging from the chandeliers while harried, exhausted parents try to come up with yet another activity to burn up half an hour and keep them from bickering and tearing the house to shreds.
I know I shouldn’t complain. I know that many of you are likely in the same position and feeling much the same way. And those of you directly affected by the storm and its chaos, I hope and pray you are safe and sound. I hope we all are. I hope we all get through this as unscathed as possible. And for those of you cooped up with small children, if your house hasn’t fallen due to wind and rain, I hope it hasn’t been completely torn apart by your kids! I know that this is serious and dire, and I shouldn’t joke about how my kids drive me crazy in the face of a national emergency. But humour gets me through good times and bad, so I will throw myself upon your mercy and hope you will forgive me.
And then I will distract you with cake. And what a glorious cake it is. Really, truly glorious. I originally envisioned it as a loaf cake, and I also envisioned it with cocoa powder in the batter, to make it chocolate all the way through. But as is my wont, I changed horses mid-stream and found myself buttering a bundt pan and chopping up chocolate to sprinkle throughout. I skipped the cocoa powder for the batter, and I am glad now I did. I find that hazelnut flour can easily be overpowered in flavour, and I wanted the hazel-nuttines to shine through. To that end, I emphasized it as much as possible, going with some hazelnut oil and hazelnut extract in addition to the flour.
And then, of course, I made a rich chocolate ganache and drizzled it over the top of the cake and down the sides. And I got the action shots to prove it. There is something about bundt cake that cries out for glaze. I’ve seen them without glaze, but I’ve never made one myself. Indeed, I think I would be incapable of making a bundt cake without glaze. Truth be told, the flavour of this cake was so good, it would have been fine without the chocolate glaze. Less decadent, yes, but really good nonetheless. But I just couldn’t resist the pull of chocolate oozing down the sides. Which took it from tea cake to dessert in a matter of moments.
And I’m thinking that as long as Sandy hasn’t knocked out my power, making this again would be a very productive use of my day.