I blame Woody for this cake.
"Not really," he said.
Noticing immediately that he'd hedged instead of saying "no," I asked him, "What do you mean, not really?"
"I'd say there's a 90% chance it will come out all right," he said cheerfully.
"90%," I repeated.
"But you'll know in the first five minutes. I was there once when Rose made it for a whole group. It completely collapsed. She had to start all over." He was quite jovial as he was reminiscing.
"90%," I repeated.
"Hey, those are great odds," he claimed. "Nine to one."
He considered. "I'll leave you some of the chocolate cake," he said. "For backup."
I was very happy to have the chocolate cake backup, so I suppose I should be grateful to him, but I think he jinxed this cake with all his hilarity about cakes collapsing in their first five minutes.
And it all started so well. I grated the unsweetened chocolate ahead of time. The frozen chocolate bar was easy to grate, although it flies around like crazy in its grated condition.
They still looked perfect after the chocolate was added, and I was starting to feel comfortable and confident with my first angel food cake.
Then the rest of the cake fell out.
"Brilliant!" I said.
Jim was stunned by the unwonted compliment. He looked pleased. "I thought so too," he admitted.
"Quick," I said, springing into action. "I must make the ganache! To the grocery store, Jim, and bring back creme fraich!" He sprung into action himself, and returned, lickety-split with the creme fraiche required for the chocolate ganache to cover the chocolate butter cake that Woody had made. (He'd actually made two, to test the flour, and given me half of each. They were not the same size, but I figured I could plaster on the ganache so that no one would even know they were two cake halves placed side by side).
Jim and I were both so busy springing into action that we forgot to take pictures of the cake(s). At the football party, no one seemed bothered that I'd brought a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache rather than the promised angel food cake.
This chocolate cake, the base of the cover photo of Heavenly Cakes, was absolutely delicious, even without the glaze, the currants, and the edible gold leaf, as pictured on the cover, and I can tell you that you're going to love this cake whenever we get to it. And actually, the angel food cake, even underdone and unservable, was also quite good, if you picked around and found the good spots. Jim ate most of the messy-looking pile of angel food cake bits (ok, so I helped a little).
And the chocolate cake was good enough that I had to forgive Woody for placing a hex on my angel food cake. Maybe next time I'll make it past the five-minute rule. Thanks for the gateau, Woody!