ST Café Rock Cake. (Photo by Mark Davis)

ST Café Rock Cake. (Photo by Mark Davis)

ST Café Rock Cake

When Hans and Clare Van Loenen blew into the White Rock Lake area from Europe in 1991, they brought with them many culinary sensations that delighted our palettes during their nearly 20 years in business.

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It began with Sweet Temptations bakery, which became known for its sumptuous cakes and savory kolaches. It proved so popular, they added on ST Café, serving comfort food with European flair like pecan-crusted chicken and pork loin with sun-dried apricot sauce.

In 2010, the couple lost their lease at 9090 Skillman, and the bakery and restaurant quietly closed. But the flavors live on in this forgotten recipe, first published in the Advocate in 1998.

Chocolate Sponge:
½ cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
4 large eggs
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease 9-inch round cake tin. Sift together the flour and cocoa, and set aside. Using wire whisk, mix eggs and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. Continue whisking until the mixture is light and creamy. Remove from heat and whisk until cold. Gently fold the flour-cocoa mixture into egg mixture, then fold in melted butter. Pour batter into prepared cake tin. Bake 30 minutes or until middle springs back when touched.

Chocolate Meringue:
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 ½ cup sugar (divided use)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. By hand or mixer, beat egg whites until foamy, add 1 cup of sugar gradually and continue beating until egg whites are very stiff. Sift remaining one-third cup sugar and cocoa together. Fold into the meringue mixture by hand. Spread onto cookie sheet. Bake until puffy, turn off oven and leave overnight.

Rum Syrup:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon rum or to taste

In saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Let boil 3 minutes. Leave until cold, and add rum.

Chocolate mousse:
¾ cup butter
6 ounce semisweet chocolate
6 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
4 egg yolks
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 pint cream

In the top of a double boiler or over a hot water bath, melt butter and chocolate. Whisk to blend, then whisk in the cocoa powder. In a bowl, whisk yolks and powdered sugar until smooth. Pour the butter-chocolate mixture into the bowl and mix well, then gently fold in the whipping cream.

Use plastic wrap to line a 9-inch sponge tin with sides 2-inches high. Cut sponge horizontally into two pieces. Put one in the bottom of the tin, and soak with rum syrup. Pour half of chocolate mousse over sponge, and then top with another layer of sponge and remaining rum syrup. Top with remaining mousse, cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, break the meringue chunks and place them on sides and top of cake. Dust with powdered sugar.