Hot summer days remind me of my mother's chocolate whipped cream layer cake. My mother, an excellent baker, was famous for her orange sponge cake. She didn't bake sponge cake in the summer, however, because she didn't want to heat up the kitchen. Instead, Mom bought a sponge loaf from the store. She cut the cake into layers and frosted the layers and sides with chocolate whipped cream.
Cream cakes, or ice box cakes as they used to be called, have been around for years. Fannie Farmer's “Boston Cooking School Cook Book, " first published in 1898, contains a recipe for French Cream Filling. The filling is made with heavy cream, powdered sugar, a stiffly-beaten egg white, and vanilla.
The wartime edition of “The Victory Cook Book" has a recipe that is almost identical to Fannie Farmer's recipe. Gelatin powder is added to the whipping cream to keep it stiff. The original “Joy of Cooking" by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion rombauer Becker, also has a recipe for whipped cream frosting, only they call it Sweetened Whipped Cream and Creme Chantilly Frosting. Their recipe has many variations: almond cream (toasted slivered almonds or almond paste), toasted coconut, orange marmalade or other jam, and fresh berries, to list a few.
In her two-volume book, the “Modern Encylopedia of Cooking, " Meta Given devotes an entire section to refrigerated cakes and ice box cakes. “Refrigerated Cakes are ideal party cakes because they are usually made the day before they are served, " she writes. Certainly, I felt like I was at a party every time I ate Mom's Chocolate Whipped Cream Layer Cake. You will turn an ordinary meal into a party when you serve this creamy, chocolaty, and decadent dessert.
1 10.75-ounce frozen pound cake
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin powder
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (Mom used Hershey's. )
1 dark chocolate candy bar
Cut defrosted pound cake into three layers. Dissolve gelatin in water and set aside for five minutes. Combine powdered sugar and heavy cream in a small mixer bowl. Beat cream until it starts to thicken. Gradually add the chocolate syrup and dissolved gelatin. Continue beating until the cream makes soft mounds, but is not stiff.
Frost the layers with the whipped cream mixture. Stack the layers and frost the outside of the cake. Garnish the top with shaved dark chocolate. Stick two toothpicks in the top of the cake (to protect the frosting) and cover with release foil. Referigerate the cake for at least four hours. For Coffee Whipped Cream Layer Cake substitute two tablespoons of cold, extra-strong coffee for the chocolate syrup. Makes 6-8 servings.
Copyright 2008 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 30 years. She was a food writer for a local magazine before she became a health writer. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, " written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from http://www.amazon.com
Centering Corporation in Omaha, NE, North America's oldest and largest grief resource center, is publishing her 26th book, “Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss & Grief to a New Life. " Please log onto Harriet's Website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.