Fragrance in the Air

Dale’s World:

When I was a child, my sister and I were allowed to spend a couple of weeks each summer with our grandparents. Their house was small, so we slept on pallets on the floor with quilts and blankets.

But we didn’t mind because we knew we were loved.

My grandmother seldom bought produce at the grocery store. She bought it from Jarvis. Jarvis was a farmer who each morning would load his battered pickup with good things from his labor and drive into town. There were bright red-orange tomatoes tumbling out of the baskets, fat ears of corn with brown tassels poking from their tops bumped skinned cucumbers, fuzzy faced peaches and cantaloupes you could smell from ten feet away. Ah! The smells of ripe peaches or tomatoes on the vine in the grocery store still have the power to bring back those memories.

God created fragrance to entice us to eat. A good aroma is a part of flavor; it is not the sum just the introduction. Enjoy these fragrances as you prepare this cake.

Chocolate Marmalade Cake

You will need:

1 Chocolate Cake, boxed or homemade      1/2 cup water

1 Orange                                                           1/4 cup Grand Marnier

1/2 cup Sugar                                                1 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet                                                                                                 Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup Cream                                               Jar of Orange Marmalade (Sweet)

Orange and chocolate

Preparation :

1. Remove the zest from orange, then roughly chop the zest.

2. Squeeze the juice from the orange after you have taken the zest.

3. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with circles cut from waxed paper. Grease the bottoms again and dust with flour.


1. Add the orange zest to your chocolate cake recipe, then bake as directed.

2.  If you are using a mix, add the orange zest plus 1/4 cup flour to the mix, then proceed according to package directions.

The Syrup:

1. Bring the sugar and water to boil, then remove from the heat.

2.When the sugar solution is cooked, add the juice from the orange as well as the Grand Marnier.

The Frosting:

1. Bring the cream to a boil.

2. Remove the pan from heat and add chocolate chips.

3. Stir until smooth, then set aside.

Note: This mixture we call a ganache (ga Nash). It is an important formula for making cakes, cookies, candy and other confections. Made thin, as above, it is used for frosting, glazes and sauces. With the addition of more chocolate, it becomes thicker and is used for making such extravagant confections as chocolate truffles.

The Filling:

Use a jar of orange marmalde. There are two kinds: sweet and bitter. Americans prefer the sweet; our cousins across the pond prefer the bitter. Most grocers here cally only the sweet king.


1. Remove the cake layers from the pans. Don’t forget to remove the waxed paper lining; it doesn’t taste very good.

2. Brush both layers of the cake with th eorange syrup—tops, bottoms and sides.

3. Place the first layer on your cake plate, top side down.

4. Spread orange marmalade over the bottom layer. Let some drip a bit.

5. Place the next layer onto the first layer, topside up.

6. While the ganache is still warm, pour it over the cake and let it flow down the sides. If the ganache is thick, you may need to help it over the edge with a spatula, but work it as little as possible. We don’t want the sides of the cake completely covered.

7. The end result should be a shiny chocolate glaze that has “accidentally” dripped down the sides here and there.

Ready to Devour, Now!

Food for Thought:

The first day Dale cooked for us. I returned home from my aerobic dancing class exhausted and was welcomed by the aroma of chocolate marmalade cake. It reminded me of trudging home from a difficult day at school and being welcomed by the scent of Mom’s chocolate chip cookies.

Dale cooked for us twice a month for awhile, and from him I learned that cooking is more than a necessity. It’s a ministry, and it can be an art.

For example, to obtain the most exquisite taste, he purchases the smallest containers of spices so they won’t grow stale. He is always in the process of buying fresh herbs like cilantro and basil, which is one of the marks of a gourmet chef.

He also enjoys strolling through the local farmer’s market, smelling the fresh dill Sometimes and touching the big green leaves of the basil. Sometimes he chances on French tarragon. Even if he doesn’t purchase it, the tarragon aroma remains on his hands for hours.

Paul gave thanks to God because, through them, God was spreading everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (II Corinthians 2:14-15 NIV)

We can never be sure we’re spreading the fragrance of Christ. But we can take the initiative to stroll through the Word, seeking a fresh encounter with Him.  He will take care of causing the fragrance to remain on our hands.

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