Never say never…especially when chocolate is involved!!

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Chocolate Ruffle Cake – I used gold dust on the edges of the ruffles. This cake was made for a dear friend’s 50th birthday

I am thankful for Alice Medrich and the word “never”…and chocolate. And for you foodies out there, yes, THAT Alice Medrich. While she will most likely never remember me, I surely will never forget her.

Many years ago I took a series of classes with her in Dallas and she taught us how to make some of her most famous recipes. I was having a bit of trouble with something, and when she came over to help me she touched my hands, asking, “Are your hands always this warm?” I replied, “Yes.” She looked me dead in the eye and said, “You will never be able to work with chocolate. Your hands are too warm.”

Initially, I felt deflated. Food is my passion. Chocolate and desserts are my creative outlets. But then I got a little indignant…How DARE she tell me I can’t do something? And I set out to prove her wrong. The cake pictured above and below is the result of me ‘never’ being able to work in chocolate.

So next time someone tells you ‘never’ or ‘can’t’ or ‘you shouldn’t’…give it a bit of thought before you decide whether or not you agree.

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Chocolate Ruffle Cake – chocolate ganache cake with creme fraiche filling (two ways: chocolate creme fraiche in between the first 2 layers; vanilla creme fraiche topped with fresh raspberries between the next 2 layers and on top of the 3rd); The cake layers are soaked with a framboise syrup. Once assembled, the cake is wrapped with a sheet of chocolate, then chocolate ruffles are added to the top. Delicious!

The following version is one I made for my husband’s 50th birthday. It’s a slight variation on the above cake, adding in some white chocolate to the ruffles. That was a bit trickier to work with. I definitely need some more practice with it, but I’m happy with how it came out for a first try.

The best part about working with chocolate is eating the ‘rough drafts’…Practice, practice, practice!!

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A close up of the top of the version I made for my husband
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A slice of the cake I made for my husband’s 50th birthday. You can see the different layers

Please share with your friends, thank you!

10 thoughts on “Never say never…especially when chocolate is involved!!

  1. Cindy, what a fabulous story. I was thinking: so I would flash my hands in a bowl of ice water and dry them quickly, every few minutes. And apparently without doing that, you beat that woman’s prediction! Now: OH. MY. GAWD. What beautiful creations you have sculpted! Question: do they also give a slicing class? When a cake is so beautiful, I don’t know how to slice it. Tips? Thanks for a great post.

    1. When I am ready to slice that particular cake I remove some of the ruffles (to keep them whole for presentation). It actually slices easily and I wipe the knife blade between slices. I add the ruffles back to each slice when I serve it so everyone gets a complete one. 🙂

  2. Oh my, that looks delicious!! That slice of cake is amazing, I love raspberries! I have the same thoughts as you, I never say I can’t if I haven’t tried. If we don’t try we will never know what we can accomplish.

  3. LOL – What a crazy comment about your hands being too warm. Did you see the movie, “East Side Sushi” – A woman wanted to be a sushi chef but was not allowed because, “A woman’s hands are too warm and will spoil the sushi. And, women wear perfume which will taint the taste of the sushi.”

    What wonderful creations you have made there! Your husband is a lucky man!

    Viva la Chocolat!

    1. I have to say, Alice Medrich is one of my cooking idols, despite her comment about my hands. It made me that much more determined to make the cake work. So perhaps you are correct on that one! 🙂

  4. Oh wow! Your chocolate creations are to die for! I could die for them (in larger clothing) because, if I don’t die, I’ll gain ten pounds. I have little to no self control in the face of something that beautiful and that delicious.
    Your story and photographs are spectacular. Apparently, your hands are not too warm for chocolate. I’d lend you my hands, if I could. They are always cold, lol.

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