Life has a way of working out…if you let it do its thing. I didn’t become aware of my controlling nature until I reached my thirties (which will be history in a couple of weeks), realizing that when it comes to my life, I am very specific about how I want things to go. I assert this need for control only on my own life, I hope. By the time I finished school, I had a carefully drafted plan for career and family. At 22, I had not yet grasped how unrealistic 20- or even 10-year forecasts are. I thought I had the formula for what would make a good life (for me). As I look back now I can see that most of those early plans did not come to fruition.
My twenty-something self was confident that she had things figured out, mostly. She had a good sense of values, always followed rules, [thought she] knew what she wanted in life and was driven towards achieving her goals. She even had fun along the way. Outwardly, she didn’t boast about her grown-upness but inside was a different story. She was unaware of how much she worried when things deviated from her master plan, because, you know, she always knew what was best. Now I see how arrogant I was–one who had lived such a short, sheltered life–to feel this way.
As I leave my thirties behind I am so much clearer about how little I knew then (and all I still have to learn). Life, the thing I tried most to control, had other ideas. I embarked on journeys I never expected to take, was humbled a lot along the way and guess what, I’ve had even more fun on this decade than on the previous one. I learned that life is a series of shifting goals, closing one chapter and opening a new one–it’s all about transitions; nothing is fixed. Especially in your early twenties. Who knew that letting go and allowing life to happen could be so liberating? I didn’t. Sometimes I still find myself holding on to things I shouldn’t but I’m learning.
Perhaps the most important thing I take with me from this decade is the truth that negative experiences carry with them more valuable lessons than positive ones. I look back at some of the seemingly major losses and disappointments of my twenties and see now that they were blessings in the making. I may not have achieved all of the practical goals I set for myself then but each twist and turn of my life has led me to where I am now (revised old goals and new ones, some successes even)…and I wouldn’t change a thing. The joy and sense of fulfillment that I hoped to gain as a product of those achievements are alive and well; I am very thankful for my life. Maybe this means I am growing up. If so, bring on the forties (but let me enjoy the last two weeks of my thirties)!
I caught a nasty bug last week, just in time for Thanksgiving. It would have been an awful thing to host Thanksgiving in my home (a 10-year tradition) while trying to fend off cough, cold and a fever but my sister asked to be the hostess this year. It worked out perfectly. While I had bigger plans for my Thanksgiving contribution, my fever didn’t break until Wednesday night so all my baking plans went out the window. I bought a pecan tart from my favorite local bakery, just in case. Fortunately, I was feeling much better on Thanksgiving morning. I still eschewed my original dessert plans but I am thankful to have come across this very easy recipe.
This cake contains no flour and is super rich. I do not kid when I say that this 9-inch cake could serve, oh, 50 people? Have a look at the ingredients and you will agree. If you are looking for decadence, this cake is it.
Thanks also to my little sis for allowing me the quick photo shoot so I could share the recipe here!
Ultra-Rich Chocolate Cake
* from Trish Deseine’s I Love Chocolate
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 15 ounces dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 8 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease the baking pan. I had to use a springform pan so I also lined with parchment paper to prevent any leaks.
- Melt the butter, cream and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Add the sugar and stir well until it has dissolved.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk and add the chocolate mixture. Still well until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 40 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack, still in the pan.
- Turn out on a plate, wrap it well and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
This looks really yummy and I am so interested to see how rich it is.
What a great post though. It is strange how much we learn as we get older and how little we knew when we thought we knew it ALL. Funny how that happens. Happy early birthday!
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
You certainly don’t look like you are close to 40. You can just say 30 and we believe you. I won’t be in town in 2 weeks, so let me wish you a very Happy Birthday!!! The super rich chocolate cake is calling me. I’d do anything (cleanup the kitchen?) to have even a smallest piece. I’m serious…. looks so good!!!!
WOW this sounds rich but I would totally eat it up. Chocolate is no match for me. 😛
Your words make me look even more forward to getting older. And wiser. But it’s funny knowing that things that I used to worry about seem silly to me now, and I’ll probably feel the same when I’m 40 and looking back on my 20s. Happy Birthday!!
claire @ the realistic nutritionist says
You look ahhhmazing. I think 40 will be a great year for you!!
Plus, this cake? No flour? I die. I love it!!
sippitysup (@sippitysup) says
I never would have guessed the big 4-0 was looking for you. Brava! GREG
Yuri - Chef Pandita says
Happy early birthday! I will be 30 in a couple of years and came to the conclusion that last 4 years have been so much better than when I was 18-23 🙂
I’m afraid of making this cake because I think I would eat too much. I love chocolate!
15 ozs of chocolate, this was amazing I’m sure and rich. I think the 40’s have been my best decade so far, so I’m thinking you have lots to look forward to. I don’t think it was arrogance, but confidence, sometimes the two go hand in hand. I have a cold this week, they are going around, hope yours is gone.
Happy Birthday to you!
Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
Happy early birthday!! Never would have guessed you were close to 40! Love the post and reflection back, everyone has so much learn.
Absolutely LOVE this cake. Flourless chocolate cake is one of my all time favorite desserts!!
Elizabeth @Mango_Queen says
Oh I love this recipe! I’ve baked something similar and it is superb. I’m sure your cake is DIVINE, Jean! Great post & beautiful photos! Happy Birthday! May all your wishes come true!
Tutti Dolci (@Tutti_Dolci) says
What a beautiful reflection on life experiences and changed plans! I am much like you – I once had a 10 year plan that I’ve since thrown out the window, and nothing has happened in the time frame I hoped or expected. However, I’m learning to embrace the litte things in life because they are truly the big things.
As for that cake, wow! It looks like fudge in cake form. I could go for a sliver (or two!). Happy birthday!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
Happy early birthday! It’s funny how we think we’ve got it all figured out when we are in our early twenties and how wrong we are! Life always has a way of throwing us off course but the best experiences are often the unplanned ones.
Feast on the Cheap says
Wow. What a cake – happy almost birthday!
Kim - Liv Life says
Oh, Jean! First of all, Happy Birthday. I truly enjoyed your post because it pretty much sums up, well… it sums up me. You sound SO like me that I think I could have written this post. And if you continue to be like me you will love the 40’s even more than the 30’s.
I’m so glad you are feeling better and that the darn fever finally broke and in time for Thanksgiving. See… life had a way of showing you this new recipe. Nicely done!
50 normal people, perhaps… At our house that would serve 2 – several times, yes, but still 2
Very thoughtful and sweet post. It sounds like you’ve come a long way introspectively. I am so grateful to have you as a friend. Happy early birthday. To many more birthday and best wishes for your forties. Cheers! By the way, the cake sounds amazing. Love gluten-free chocolate cakes…sounds decadent and lovely. Have a nice weekend.
Adora's Box says
Amen to everything you said. It is so nice to take stock of things once in a while and the best part is when at the end of it you declare that indeed things are great. (Almost) 40 years well lived. Well done and may you have many, many more to come. Amazing rich and dense cake that is, almost like baked truffle. Have a happy birthday, Jean!
Kiri W. says
Very insightful story, thank you for sharing all that!
The cake looks incredibly rich and delicious 🙂
Annapet (@thedailypalette) says
Wishing an early happy birthday greeting, Jean ; -). No way you are turning 40 soon. No way.
What great reflections…I want to send this to my younger sister. You have so much wisdom to offer, my friend. The cake looks perfect. Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a relaxing and restorative Sunday!
I’ve never met a rich, dense chocolatey cake I didn’t love. Bookmarking this for my next chocolate extravaganza! Life is funny- sometimes when it provides unknown paths – you follow and cannot imagine being anywhere else!
Elyse @The Cultural Dish says
This cake is amazing! And happy birthday!
I know we have not met IRL, but there is no way that I would put you anywhere near 40:) Anyway, happy birthday-to-come! I wish you the best decade ever!
It is very dangerous to be smart, organized, and responsible as an adolescent – too much confidence is a tricky thing:) I did the same as you and no one doubted that the life will play along with my plans. Except for life itself. So I try to teach my girls to be flexible and allow for improvisation.
I love flourless cakes and cannot wait for an occasion to try this version – it does look divine!