This is the Chocolate Celebration Cake recipe featured in the beautiful and poignant book Grandpa Cacao by Liz Zunon. Liz was born in Albany New York and spent most of her early childhood in Abidijan, Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast was her father's home country and her mother was American. Therefore, she took frequent summer trips back to Albany, New York, where her grandparents lived. As Liz explains in Episode 008 of The Storied Recipe, this cake is all about connections. The cake connects her to her grandfather who was a cacao farmer in the Ivory Coast. However, the recipe also connects her to her mother. Liz developed this recipe from their memory of her mother's Gateau de Chocolat cake. Because Liz was featuring this book in a children's book, she simplified the recipe to be more suitable for young cooks. Also, as an artist, Liz wanted to include the visual of that divine combination of melted butter and chocolate in her book! Therefore, this recipe uses melted chocolate rather than cocoa powder.
Finally, as a nod to her mother, and also as a way to contrast the climates of her childhood, Liz suggested decorating the cake with a snowflake stencil. My oldest son made this stencil for me, and it turned out so beautifully! I'll have a post up for you next week with directions on how to create a stencil like this!
Episodes Related to this Chocolate Celebration Cake Recipe
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One of my favorites! Author/Illustrator Liz Zunon talks about her semi-autobiographical children's book. As the little girl in the book bakes a cake with her father, she is connected across climates, continents, and generations to her grandfather. We discuss Liz's story and how it relates to her book in our interview. We also discuss issues surrounding cacao farming and fair trade chocolate. Finally, Liz tells us about the many artistic techniques she used to create a "visual