Cherry Cassata Torte Weighs-In




"I know you'd have to dig that voluptuous sister of mine, but you might want to check out my skinnier self and see what Poppycakes did to make me a little higher-protein and a bit lower-fat. " Skinny Cherry C. 

Top o' the Morning, Tasties!  Summer's winding-down and Poppycakes has narily written a thing, but baking has not suffered.  After that insanely good torte (if we do say so ourselves) the new-thinking-Poppycakes couldn't help but consider if she could squeeze just a dash of the decadence out of the recipe. Because of the good influence of Sweetcakes (go fat or go home!) and the wisdom of such blogs as I Will Not Diet I have grown interested in how good cooking can enhance, not punish us, nor reduce the joy of our too-brief days.  So I began to note what I could not part with in the original:  good chocolate--yes, that midnightly-rich Ghiradelli bar stayed in my recipe, those perfect Trader Joe's dried bing cherries, kirsch--of course!, toasted almonds (which is noteworthy because during my craziest days, I wouldn't eat food that had nuts in it, I would take nuts out if there'd been a mistake, I would SEND A SALAD BACK because the walnuts were not left out or on the side).  What I could play with:  the crust. The frozen pound cake didn't add the richness that you might imagine, it tasted well, like sponge cake (which I love) and I thought that angel food might be a good replacement EXCEPT that everytime I imagined it, it was too high, too airy and it always burnt in the ovens of my mind (a great cotton-candy fragrance in the rooms where housed the oven of my mind, but not a great crust replacement for our recipe).  So I went instead for those little supermarket quick-strawberry-shortcake-premade sponge cakes and to replicate the frozen pound cake bit, I misted them with spring water and put them in a freezer bag for an hour or so of "freezing".  When they came out, I arranged them, hit them hard with kirsch and used my revised filling. What did I change? You ask, (a little nervous at my penchant for de-fatting the delicious from the dessert). Well, I went for something I despise: fat free cream cheese: an insult to all bagels everywhere. Why so drastic? Because I knew I could take it up a notch to lowfat (which, while not, full-fat-wonderful, fools me well enough if need be.)  And I went for half the ricotta with a portion of Fage's Greek yogurt to make up the difference. I added pure vanilla extract (next time, vanilla bean!) and with the eggs to firm it all up, the ample doses of chocolate chunks, almonds and cherries and made a topping of lite cherry pie filling with lots of pure vanilla.  The result looked nearly identical to its full-fat sibling, but the real test would be Mr. Poppycakes (who is not unlike Mrs. Spratt in the eat-no-lean department).

 A real taste test was given with one slice of torte on the right marked with yellow Trader Joe's M&M-type sunflower seed candy and the one on the left marked with a brown seed. It took many bites, and finally, Mr. Poppycakes said he thought maybe the one on the right was a bit "creamier" but could not be sure. He easily finished both slices and both tortes and being Mr. Poppycakes is down two pounds this week. (I only mildly hate him for this.)  

So, if you're wishing to make this dish but thinking that pound cake alone used to be a dessert splurge, consider this little swerve on the highway to living phat!

Stay tuned for three doll cakes and a wigwam...