It's (as the kind lady from the city of Regina put it on my flight over) "just one big Regina". And yes, she pronounced it like that. (I'll wait).
I can stop looking. I've found (him?her?it? whatever), the cake of my dreams.
First some context. Camera, zoom out. Mind, prepare to be blown.
Ladies and gentlemen, the wedding cakes. CAKES. Twenty-two, to be precise. Who knew you could do that? Cat Lady tells us it cost the same as ONE traditional wedding cake which would have been, you know, all white and tall and eaten by no one.
So I know I've had a bit of a theme going this year about Sarah Leah Chase and the various ways she's both nurtured and disappointed me, and I'm just going to go there one more time. In the Open House Cookbook, she has a recipe for something called a French Nut Icebox Cake which she describes as "creamy, crunchy, and intensely nutty, all at the same time". (Yes, Mouse, that was from memory.) I've never made it because -and perhaps here I'm revealing too much about myself- I am so sure it cannot possibly live up to this description. Over the years I've fantasized some really great desserts that might be like it, but I had come to accept that I would never, in fact, taste it in reality. (In my defense, the ingredients involved ladyfingers, which do nothing for me. Also - Icebox cakes: Meh.)
But what a diference a day (and a flight to northern Canada) makes. As I said, there were 22 cakes!!! to choose from. But the moment I laid eyes on (him?her?it?whatever), I knew it was The One. Not even the unfortunate name ("Schmoo" apparently is just an affectionate nickname for the caramel sauce) could deter me from this More Perfect Union.
The thing that pains me is that I know however I describe it here it's not going to sound like much. It's basically a light spongy pecan cake layered with whipped cream, textured with chopped nuts, and drizzled with caramel sauce. There are, of course, variations, but that's basically it. To give you a better idea of the experience, I'll just say that while researching this post, the Internet suggested the following as "Related Searches": Earth Layers, Seizure Types, The Antichrist, Heaven, Hell, Love, and Egypt. Yep. This cake is that apocalyptic, that mythological, that universally themed. Its allure and relevance know no bounds (unless you dont like caramel or something, but... what?)
I have yet to make it, but just to get it out there, this recipe looks pretty solid. On a completely unrelated note, my birthday is coming up pretty soon.
PS. The delightful blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook (yes), suggests a version with bananas, claiming that "banana and schmoo just belong together, a marriage made in heaven". Like this one:
photos here by Joe Zarrow and by LuckyGirl Photography