Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lost Cake

Knowing that we had the Lost season finale coming up, I was scouting around for a lavish dessert befitting our annual cliffhanger dissection. When I saw Alex Witchel's article in The New York Times the Wednesday before the Lost finale, I knew had my dessert: a four-layer yellow cake slathered with chocolate frosting, encrusted with a blend of toasted coconut and pecans. The recipe is based on a cake I know all too well, available at Junior's.

The cake is very much of the sponge variety: 10 extra-large eggs in this cake, but only 3/4 cups butter and 1-2/3 cups of cake flour. I've made a version of the frosting before; it's featured in the first Junior's cookbook. I'd actually never forget this frosting recipe because it specifically calls for a stick of margarine (which I believe Julia Child referred to as "that other spread"). The margarine -- and the quarter-cup of dark corn syrup -- really keep the frosting soft and creamy.

Clearly, the cake photographed well. Every once in a while, I take my time with a cake and gussy it up, and this one was surely ready for its closeup. In the end, though, I have a feeling of disappointment with the cake. Somehow, I ended up feeling as if the sponge-type cake was far too delicate for the rich frosting and the nutty coating on the sides. Of course, that didn't stop me from eating the cake. Twice. The next time I'm passing through Grand Central Terminal, I'm going to buy a slice of their version of this cake. I can't help but think that their cake is a sturdier, traditional butter cake.

I have to give props to the toasted coconut-pecan combination for the side of the cake. I had some leftover of that, and a bit of frosting. They were great together, even without benefit of the cake.

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