Canal House’s Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer are home cooks writing about home cooking for other home cooks. From a lifetime of making dinner every single night, they’ve edited their experience down to the essentials: 300 simple recipes that reveal the building blocks of all good cooking guaranteed to make you a better cook. (more…)
I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by my good friend Eva. Enjoy!
Etelka’s Cocoa Chiffon Cake
The grand finale of every family birthday dinner was THE CAKE. My mother, Etelka, always served her signature Chocolate Chiffon Cake. Festooned with tiny, lit candles, it was ceremoniously placed before the celebrated one as the room broke into a full-throated, charmingly off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (We are not a family of gifted singers.) A hasty, silent wish, a quick whoosh to blow out the candles, and then bliss ensued as the cake was sliced, handed around and savoured.
The cake’s appearance underwent a few metamorphoses over the decades. Sometimes it was rectangular, at other times round, depending on the baking pans my mother had on hand. The cake’s magic lies in its ratios rather than its aesthetics. It has just enough cocoa and sugar to give chocolate lovers their fix without overpowering its rich texture, a combination of moist, delicate cake and silky icing.