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Recipe Ruminations

Chocolate

The Metzker family rented the third floor apartment of a private three family house owned by my grandparents, who lived on the ground floor and whose dear friend and relative lived on the second floor. All three families were close and each shared in the smachot of the others.

Shortly after my husband and I were married, Mrs. Metzker invited us both for dinner. For dessert, she served the most delicious chocolate cake we had ever tasted. I asked for and received the recipe. We have been married for fifty-three years, and I have yet to sample a better chocolate cake.

I don't remember seeing her often after that dinner and have recently been told that she passed away. "Mrs. Metzker's Chocolate Cake," however, continues to be made not only in my kitchen, but in my children's homes. My grandchildren even bake it. We have substituted her margarine, sugar and egg frosting for one slightly healthier.

I shared this recipe with a Nashville, Tennessee friend whose Maryland-based daughter and now grandson bake it. They call it "Judy's Chocolate Cake." I don't mind. This way, they will be reminded of the friendship between our families

I remember Mrs. Metzker for other reasons, not least because she was a kind woman with a beautiful face. Perhaps the recipe originated in Berne, Switzerland, where she was born, and immigrated with her family to the United States, where she added or improved it with American ingredients.

What is remarkable is that when I prepare her cake, I am always reminded of these special, early years of my marriage, my grandparents' house, the warm atmosphere of my home, which was close by, and the Boro Park of the sixties where I grew up. The neighborhood was composed of a spectrum of mostly Orthodox Jewish families; Litvaks and Chassidim. Most had probably been born in the United States, and many were from Europe. Not a few were Holocaust survivors with tattooed numbers on their arms. Mrs. Metzker will be part of these memories. Perhaps one of her progeny is reading this…

Mrs. Metzker's Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup apricot nectar*
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated**
  • 1 teaspoon almond or rum extract**
  • 1 handful chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Mix everything together; pour into a greased pan of your choice, or two loaf pans, or even cupcake tins. Bake cakes at 180⁰C. or 350⁰F. for about 3/4 of an hour, more or less. Cupcakes need less time. Do not over-bake.

Frosting

  • 100 grams of bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 box of Rich parve whipping cream

Method

Melt chocolate; add Rich to melted chocolate. Mix well.

*I have not found apricot nectar in Israel, so I use pineapple or orange juice.

**I've substituted apple sauce for grated apple on occasion. I prefer using rum over almond extract.

 

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Saturday, 24 October 2020

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