People, did you notice it's November already? I'm shocked. I'm also SOOOO behind on everything, and not just in the blog part of my life. Which is why I haven't been by to visit you recently. Sorry about that!
See, we got home from our family vacation late Monday night (a week ago!), and the delicious feeling of posts in the queue evaporated on Tuesday. The feeling of MUST POST NOW started overtaking the feeling of MUST HAVE CLEAN LAUNDRY NOW, and the two struggled until I found myself two days later with clean laundry hanging all over the house and three unfinished recipes littering the kitchen.
One of these three recipes was last week's chocolate caramel chestnut cake, chosen for us by Katya of Second Dinner. I had initially resisted this recipe as it was "due" the day after we got back from vacation, but when Laurie gave us the flexibility to mix up the recipes this week, I reconsidered making it. When I found the chestnut puree and chestnuts in Paris (at Monoprix, a combo department/drug/grocery store) for a fraction of what they would have cost me at home, the bargain factor kicked in and I resolved to make this when I returned home.
While in Paris, I picked up a nasty respiratory infection that I am still battling, and that made it harder to settle back into a routine once we got home. Still, I made the cake part of the cake and froze it for a few days until I had an event suitable for such a classy dessert.
The event? A silent auction for our P.E.O. chapter. I bought gold luster dust and brushed it on the chestnuts for the decoration on top of the cake. Since I assembled the cake at 4:30 AM on the day of the auction, I forgot to use both the syrup (which I made with water instead of brandy) and chopped chestnuts between the layers. The finished cake wasn't as perfect as I wanted it to be, but the gold chestnuts gave it polish.
The cake was delicious with the ganache and the glaze (I made myself a scrap taste using cuttings from what I cut off the domed top layer), but I would have liked more chocolate flavor (I'm not a milk chocolate fan). I intend to make the caramel ganache again with bittersweet chocolate and salt, since what's not to love about salted caramel ganache?