A bit late for this one – for Agatha Christie’s birthday was on the 8th September 2010, but a special chocolate cake recipe by Jane Asher has been launched on www.agathachristie.com to celebrate her 120th birthday.
The Delicious Death recipe gives chocolate lovers a novel way of celebrating Christie on her birthday, 15 September, when they can either make their own Delicious Death or enjoy it in venues across the country.
Jane’s recipe is inspired by a passage in Agatha Christie’s 50th novel, and a Miss Marple classic, A Murder is Announced (1950), in which Delicious Death is the victim’s “last supper” before she is poisoned to death. Baked by Miss Blacklock’s housekeeper, Mitzi – an émigré with a horror of English cooking – the cake is dubbed Delicious Death because it is so rich. It becomes an apt name when Dora Bunner is found dead in her bed after her birthday tea.
This is the first time the recipe has been officially created and Jane Asher describes the cake as follows, ‘It has an intense, forbidding dark Belgian chocolate centre which is lifted by the unexpected sharp zing of its brandy-soaked cherry and ginger filling. The glorious assault on the senses doesn’t end there: the cake is decorated with flecks of pure gold, sprinklings of crystallised rose and violet petals, and swirls of ganache piping. This paragon of a cake is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious – and deadly? – to eat.’
Jane based her recipe on the original ingredients mentioned in the book: a tin of butter sent from America, some raisins saved for Christmas, ‘a slab of chocolate’ and ‘a pound of sugar’. Jane has herself appeared in numerous TV productions of Christie and, most recently, in ITV’s Poirot Three Act Tragedy.
She comments, ‘Together with the brilliant team of bakers at my shop, I had such fun creating this special recipe. As a long time Agatha Christie fan (as a teenager, it was her books and those of Conan-Doyle that got me hooked on reading and that gave me a life-long love of fiction), I was delighted when I was approached to bring a cake from one of her books to life. I think we’ve done her proud and that she’d be thrilled with the taste and texture of Delicious Death: a cake that is worthy of the sensuous and evocative description in the original story.’
Those fans that don’t bake will have the chance to sample the cake during Christie Week (12–19 September 2010) at a number of Agatha Christie haunts across the country. Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair – said to be the inspiration for At Bertram’s Hotel – will be serving Agatha Christie Afternoon Tea, whilst the annual Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay will be serving the cake at its opening fête (alongside film screenings and tea-dances) and the Chiswick Book Festival will hold a Crime Fiction Tea, celebrating Agatha Christie and Val McDermid, winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger 2010. It will also be on the menu at Greenway – Christie’s holiday home in Devon, now a National Trust property.