Parshat Ki Tavo

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By Yasmine Shahar

Moshe instructs the people of Israel: When you enter the land that G‑d is giving to you as your eternal heritage, and you settle it and cultivate it, bring Bikkurim (the first-ripened fruits) of your orchard to the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple), and declare your gratitude for all that G‑D has done for you.

 

Our Parshah also includes the laws of the tithes given to the Levis and to the poor, and detailed instructions on how to proclaim the blessings and the curses on Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival—as discussed in the beginning of the Parshah of Re’eh. Moshe reminds the people that they are G‑D’s chosen people, and that they, in turn, have chosen G‑D.

  

The latter part of Ki Tavo consists of the Tochachah (“Rebuke”). After listing the blessings with which G‑D will reward the people when they follow the laws of the Torah, Moshe gives a long, harsh account of the bad things—illness, famine, poverty and exile—that shall befall them if they abandon G‑D’s commandments.

  

Moshe concludes by telling the people that only today, forty years after their birth as a people, have they attained “a heart to know, eyes to see and ears to hear.”

 

This week we will be making a heart cake! Because after 40 years, iyh, all of our hearts will know and we will ceebrating with Moshiach in Yerushaliam!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Butter or margerine, for greasing the pans

 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

 

2 cups sugar

 

3/4 cups good cocoa powder

 

2 teaspoons baking soda

 

1 teaspoon baking powder

 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

1 cup buttermilk or parve milk, shaken

 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

 

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

 

 

 

Chocolate Frosting: (if you want)

 

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate

 

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margerine, at room temperature

 

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature

 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

 

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

 

 

 

Directions:

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

 

 

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

 

 

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

 

 

Chocolate Frosting: (If you want)

 

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

 

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.