This was, as they say in Boston, a bummah. A majah bummah.
I followed all of the instructions and didn’t make any substitutions to the recipe (from Barefoot Contessa at Home), except for the part that instructs you to use parchment in the cake pans. I never do that, and I’ve never had this problem before. Still, I was ready and willing to take the fall for that part, but the cake fell, and it tasted just kind of blah. I even used the cup of coffee that it calls for, and it didn’t add anything special. This is precisely why I don’t try a new recipe for a big event without a trial run first, or at least without a backup plan. I thought about trying to salvage it in the form of a trifle or brownie sundaes, but when we tasted it and realized that it didn’t taste nearly as good as it smelled, I just pitched it.
It could have been a coincidence, but in the night after I made this, both of my children were up from 1 am – 3 am. Did the smell of coffee and chocolate rouse them from their slumber? I don’t know. Talk about a bummah. And what does Ina have against her fellow humans, anyway? It seems that whenever she names a recipe after someone (Scott’s Short Ribs, I’m looking at you), the recipe is a disaster. Note to self: don’t mess with the Contessa unless you want a garbage recipe named after you.