I love chocolate. So, despite the fact that my spring form pan was currently at a friends (because I had recently taken over a gluten free, dairy free cheesecake), I definitely wanted to make this cake. I thought about the possible alternatives: I had two 8" cake pans, one 9" cake pan, a deep pie pan or I could use a square or rectangular baking dish. I was leaning towards the baking dish, then the pie pan, then my husband intervened and said to just use the 9" cake pan.
I was also out of parchment. I figured I could deal with some white dust on the outside of the cake, so I buttered and floured the cake pan instead.
The freezer is full, so instead of freezing the pie crust, I just left it in the fridge for some time while I set out other ingredients to come to room temperature until I thought it felt pretty solid.
I then proceeded to make the filling. It came together easily and without issue. It looked amazing, sort of like a very light, less sweet version of French silk pie. I can get behind anything that even moderately resembles French silk.
The first problem came when I poured the batter into the cake pan. It was bound to overflow, so I fit as much in as I could without actually overflowing and hoped for the best. Once in the oven, the batter started to rise. It then started to spurt like a volcano from one of the sides. Once it started to firm up, it stopped and rose almost beautifully. Once removed from the oven, it fell (as it was supposed to) to almost fit back in the pan. But I knew that there was no chance that pudding was ever going to sit on top of this thing in any way, shape or form resembling the cookbook's photo.
While the cake cooled, I made the pudding (with goat's milk - the only substitute I made in the recipe). I learned my lesson with the Boston Cream Pie Cake, so once it started to thicken, even though with my continuous whisking I hadn't actually seen any bubbles, I pulled it off the heat and poured it into the awaiting bowl where I added the finishing touches. It really is a tasty pudding - very smooth, rich, but not too sweet.
Because I had no way to assemble and finish this cake in the way it was intended, I used the 3 hour chill time to figure out what to do. Should I build a fort around the cake to keep the pudding until it firms? Should I try and pour what I can into the well made by the sunken cake? I ended up settling on the best, and far by easiest, solution: a trifle.
This way no cake would be wasted, and it wouldn't matter if it was a bit sloppy, especially since I don't actually have a trifle dish. The only drawback being that this would be one boring, all brown trifle. I hoped the taste would make up for it, and it did.
It's a light and fluffy cake layered with rich, almost chocolate mousse type pudding in between homemade whipped cream. I took the few remaining sandwich cookies and crushed them up to use as a topping. It's really very good, not too sweet, but very rich.
I feel pretty good about myself and this cake and the progress I've made at baking. When I started baking along with this group, I was adamant about following recipes, I didn't trust my instincts, and never would I consider thinking out of the box. Even cutting a recipe in half gave me stress. I know had this little hiccup happened to me a few months ago, I would not have handled it as well. Now, as I have been doing with savory recipes for years, I'm able to go with the flow. By no means do I feel confident to go willy-nilly baking without a recipe just yet, but at least I have gotten past the point of being overwhelmed and upset when things don't turn out perfect.