A Hometown Hero Birthday Cake

March 2011

From sitting at a Portuguese restaurant’s outdoor table, dining on goat cheese tarts, to beautiful meals on her deck or in her dining room, to just sitting on the sidewalk and talking as the sun sinks lower and lower in the sky, Dana and I became very good friends.  Not only is she one of the most loyal and supportive people I know, but she is a very loyal and supportive taster of my baked goods!

I wanted to make a special black and yellow dessert for this hometown hero’s special day.  In the end, I have lots of critiques on the many layers of experimentation I put forth on this dessert.  The crust could have been more brownie like, and the filling should have been more of a custard, but I was pretty damn proud when I learned that patience is the key, and I finally arrived at peaked egg whites!

Happy Birthday Dana!  You are very good people!

Love,

“Nebraska”

The Recipe:  Black & Yellow Birthday Dessert

Crust Ingredients

2 sticks organic unsalted butter
2 bars Ghirardelli 100% cacao (8 oz total)
2 cups + 2 Tbs whole-wheat pastry flour
½ cup sugar in the raw
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Meyer lemon
¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Filling Ingredients

6 large, local, free-range eggs
1 ¾  cups + 2 Tbs sugar in the raw
1 cup local honey
¾ cup + 3Tbs fresh-squeezed, Meyer lemon juice
2 bags frozen mango chunks, thawed

Meringue Ingredients

4 large, local, free-range egg whites
½ cup organic evaporated cane juice cane sugar

For the Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until smooth.

Use a mixer to combine the chocolate and butter mixture, flour, ½ cup raw sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and salt in a large bowl.  Mix until well blended.

Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch glass, baking pan.  Press batter evenly into the baking sheet.  Chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Bake 20-25 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Filling

Use a food processor to chop the mango chunks.   Drain off excess juice.

Whisk together the whole eggs, sugar in the raw and lemon juice.  Stir in the mango.

Pour the mixture over the crust.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Keep the oven at 350 degrees.

For the Meringue Topping

Put egg whites and cane sugar in a mixing bowl.

Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form.  This takes a while!

Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread meringue over the filling, swirling to create soft peaks.

Bake until the meringue begins to brown, 8-10 minutes.

Let cool completely.  Slice and pack for a few birthday adventures around the town.

Though I think of Dana as the hometown hero, some people might argue it’s this kid…

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