07-02-25_bostonpie.jpgI did set aside a large part of a Sunday (the Sunday of the Oscar Awards, actually) to make this cake. I wanted to make sure to cool it at the necessary intervals and to be gentle with all the aspects of its preparation. I was motivated by this cake at All Recipes, to bake it in honor of the recent Academy Awards and the Scorcese film The Departed. Are you understanding this yet? The Departed takes place in Boston (corrupt cops, gangsters, yadda yadda), and I wanted to eat cake in front of the TV.

My cake looks like a giant doughnut, doesn’t it? Well, I used a bundt pan instead of a 9-inch round cake pan, and this was my end result. It’s OK to have a sense of humor here, isn’t it (especially since I did NOT enjoy Scorcese’s movie)? I approached this cake in three steps. First, I baked. Instead of using Crisco for the one-third cup of shortening, I used Spectrum organic all-vegetable shortening, which is non-hydrogenated palm oil (no trans fats). Crisco scares the hell out of me, honestly. My cake was done baking in 33 minutes.

The cream filling was a pleasure to make. I appreciate the science of turning sugar, cornstarch, milk, and eggs into a thick custard. I scooped it into a bowl and let it cool on the counter-top, next to the cooling cake on its rack.

Before I did the third step -- the chocolate glaze -- I split the cake in half with a long sharp serrated cake knife. I then slid a letter-sized piece of cardboard between the layers to lift the top off (I dreaded the thought of breaking this precious cake with sloppy handling). Again, I took my time with this, heating and stirring the glaze gently. I used all but one-half teaspoon of the hot water to achieve my desired consistency.

So I put the filling between the two layers, then spread the chocolate glaze. The red splash of sprinkles was our artistic license to comment on the gratuitous violence of the movie!

RECIPE: a basic and handsome cake
I took all day to do this -- you can do it in less time, I’m sure
crowd-pleasingly rich: custard and chocolate are winners

Let’s do another chicken/couscous recipe: “Skillet Chicken and Couscous with Fennel and Orange,” from Cook’s Illustrated.com. I can’t help being romanced by the allure of couscous. Come back on Thursday, March 22, to see what happens with mine.