An original, gourmet recipe inspired by Liane Moriarty’s THE HUSBAND’S SECRET:
Fence Rider Cakes
Anyone who has grown up in the Bible Belt knows what a fence rider is. The church elder who goes home from morning services to drink a twelve pack while cheering on his favorite football team, which may or may not lead to a fist in the wall when the score tips in favor of the opposition. The married Sunday school teacher who sneaks out the back door during her graveyard shift job with a slick-haired coworker to steam up the windows in his economy sized pickup. The lit. teacher who spent a summer as an exotic dancer to help fund her college tuition. Fence riders. They are not what they appear to be, but work hard to maintain an illusion. The security of their lives may depend upon it.
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty is a study in the divergent nature of a few members of the same social circle. As impotent or efficient, faithful and pure, capable or privileged as the characters may at first seem, the members of the Sydney, Australian community in Moriarty’s book surprise not only the reader with their actions but themselves and those closest to them. One foot in heaven, another in hell. So it would seem.
The culinary equivalent to this dilemma would have to be Angel Food/Devil’s Food Cakes. It only made sense to combine the two into Fence Rider Cakes. I can imagine Cecilia and John-Paul, Conner and Rachel, Tess, Felicity, and Will stoically nibbling them from picnic Tupperware the following Easter, when Pandora had done her worst.
I have been specific with the types of supermarket available cacao products I used in the recipe, because the cakes wouldn’t have been as wickedly delicious without them. I wanted them to taste like…sin. Of course you can substitute basic chocolate chips for the ganache and ordinary cocoa in the mix if you like, or take it up a notch and use fine Belgian or bean to bar exotic chocolates.
Fence Rider Cakes
1/2 c. + 1 T. all-purpose flour
2 T Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. hot milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 egg whites
6 T heavy whipping cream
3 1/2 oz. Ghirardelli 72% cacao dark chocolate
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and half the sugar three times to thoroughly combine.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in the remaining sugar until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.
In a small saucepan, scald the milk. Be careful not to scorch it, just heat it until it feels uncomfortably warm when a drop is applied to the inside of your wrist.
Slowly mix the milk into the sifted dry ingredients.
Stir in the vanilla.
The mix will look like brownie batter at this point.
Fold in the egg whites.
Spoon into 6 ungreased mini bundt cups or muffin cups. Do not grease the pan or spray it with nonstick spray or the egg whites in the batter will fall.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert and lay pan over a cooling rack.
When almost completely cooled, remove the cakes from their forms. You may need to loosen the edges with a knife.
While the cakes are cooling, begin making the ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan just until it steams when removed from the burner.
Drop in the chocolate squares and stir until they are melted and combined with the cream.
Spoon the ganache onto the cooled cakes.
Allow ganache to set. It will be firm but not solid.
Spongy like Angel Food Cake, rich and chocolatey like Devil’s Food.
Makes 6 servings.