Belle of the Viennese Opera Ball

This chocolate cake recipe comes courtesy of Loretta Loria-Riedel, wife of Austria’s ambassador to Canada. (Photo: Lindsey Gibeau, Valberg Imaging)

Ottawa’s Viennese Opera Ball is traditionally a night filled with big flourishes, from the presentation of debutantes and cavaliers to much waltzing to sumptuous food that nods to Austrian and Canadian cuisine alike.

Capping the meal at this year’s event, which takes place Feb. 2 at the National Gallery of Canada’s Great Hall, is a sweet gesture courtesy of Loretta Loria-Riedel, the wife of Arno Riedel, Austria’s ambassador to Canada.

Below is the recipe for her dessert. Thyme & Again Creative Catering, which is catering for the ball for the fourth consecutive year, will be re-creating and multiplying it for the ball’s anticipated 300 guests.

Also on the menu for hungry ballgoers are a succession of Thyme & Again-created hors d’oeuvres and a three-course sit-down dinner. The nibbles include rabbit confit tart with sauerkraut and creamy mustard, vegetable wellington with asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms, paprika chicken with salad of red pepper and parsley julienne, and gorgonzola mousse cut with pear poached in red wine and walnut praline.

The meal proper is to consist of three courses: smoked trout parfait with pickled beet, crostini, root vegetable chips, microgreens and an avocado-dill vinaigrette; duo of veal tenderloin with truffle-scented wild mushroom jus and chicken galantine with chicken confit and lingonberry stuffing, herbed spelt spaetzle and roasted baby carrots; and ambassador’s chocolate cake with chocolate creme and raspberry coulis. There are options for vegetarian diners.

The 17th annual ball will raise funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and in particular cancer survivorship programs at Bruyère Continuing Care. Tickets are $500.

Ambassador’s Chocolate Cake

The cake tastes better if it is baked 2-3 days in advance.

Makes: 1 cake

For the cake:

1 stick (1/2 cup / 120 g) butter, softened

11/8 cup (250 g) sugar

6 eggs, separated

2 3/4 cups (250 g) ground almonds

3/4 cup (120 g) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted gently in a water bath with 5 tbsp espresso coffee

For the icing (optional):

11/8 cups (200 g) semi-sweet chocolate, melted gently over a water bath with 5 tbsp (75 mL) water

11/2 tbsp (20 g) butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the softened butter with the sugar and beat until fluffy and white.

3. Combine, a bit at a time, 6 egg yolks, ground almonds and melted, coffee-infused baking chocolate.

4. Beat 5 egg yolks until stiff peaks form. Gently fold them into the batter.

5. Pour the batter into a springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes.

6. If desired, you can ice the cake a day later. To make the icing, combine the melted semi-sweet chocolate and butter, and spread the icing evenly on the cake.

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