Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake, Story Behind Für Elise, Beethoven, Leon Russell, Winehouse & Hathaway
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake. Delicious, easy and 10 minutes of effort. You're welcome!
(Originally Published Feb 2021)
Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake, The Story Behind Für Elise, Beethoven, Leon Russell, Amy Winehouse & Donny Hathaway
I deliberately chose not to write a Valentine’s Day post, not because I don’t love the holiday (I do!) or I don’t believe in love (I’m an itinerant, self denying, hopeless romantic), but out of expressed sensitivity to those around me that are going through difficult times this past year. I once heard a podcast where the writer guest’s ex-boyfriend stayed with her during Valentine’s Day due to societal pressure, then unceremoniously dumped her the following day. My husband and I have talked about how unnecessary those external pressures can force a relationship to break, when ultimately, only the couple’s decisions for the sake of their future, are the most important.
I have been extremely fortunate that over the years, nothing similar has remotely happened to me on Valentine’s Day or the days after. Any woman does wonder (after a time) whether or not a relationship is going anywhere and whether or not it’s worth keeping. I was lucky that anyone I was truly serious about, knew upfront and certain boundaries were like my self control- as disciplined as when I practiced. Men and women, being called “a tease” is usually a manipulation for someone to get what they want, whether it be attention, something physical, or something else entirely. Based on that logic, actors and actresses make a whole career out of being “a tease.” Being the “nice girl” can sometimes set you up for indiscriminate behavior because you’ll put up with it. (Weed out the trash!) It’s like the writer’s ex-boyfriend who wanted to still be the “nice guy” then dumping her the day after Valentine’s Day. I’m grateful that during my single years, on Valentine’s Day I was (and am still) showered with flowers, chocolates, gifts, a nice dinner, presents and most importantly, some reasonable act of chivalry. I like being a girl and after years of thinking I needed to be “one of the guys”, there’s no shame in it. You can still ask and demand chivalry. You will be surprised at who around you, will show up.
I didn’t come up of age during online dating, so I honestly, am unsure of how I would’ve reacted with the insanity that some of friends have to deal with. Straddling two cultures and their gendered expectations, while simultaneously carving a career niche in a workaholic industry, dating was a strange beast. I am horrified and mortified at how brazen things have become, so in turn, I usually poke fun and am grateful, that age has given me the audacity to call out its ridiculousness. Women and men, owning your sexuality and being used is a fine line. Entertainment has straddled that line since time immemorial.
As the years have progressed, my friends have experienced the full gamut of relationship wins and woes: marriage proposals, weddings, children, mortgages, breakups, divorce, infidelity, songs written about them, a book written about them, then an adapted script, followed by a movie starring an A- list actor about the remarkably, strange breakup. (Yes… the perils of dating creatives in entertainment or music). My friends are resilient and amazing. Like all of us trying to make sense of life and loss, maybe the only thing we can do, is to express ourselves through the joy and pain, knowing or showing others, that there is life on the other side and… it really will be ok.
So as your stable, organized, family, working, Hollywood mom (not an oxymoron), who does not turn a blind eye (or bury herself) to the pitfalls of life, but embraces it and (usually) laughs at it, (after woefully, figuring out what worked) I am here to write: Love and life is folly. You don’t owe a guy or girl anything physical no matter what he or she says or does. Manipulation can come in deceitful ways. Nice guys and girls can be douchebags and vice versa. (I prefer the upfront, difficult, man, but that’s a personal preference. At least I know where he stands.) You should be upfront with your needs and expectations of your partner. (If you don’t know what your needs and expectations are, please try to do the hard work and dive into yourself to understand. Don’t lie to yourself.) Do both of you truly want to be equals or is one more dominant than the other?
Relationships can also be transactional so keep your eyes open. Does he want something different than you’re not willing to offer? Sometimes, men who have free rein and power aren’t necessarily interested in a certain type of relationship, but one that adds to their love of freedom. I was bred for that kind of relationship. I can look the part and know how to gift wrap “inconsistencies.” With certain women of a certain class, it’s a survival mechanism, however, I learned early on, maybe, it was not for me. I am not making a moral judgement on either kind, but misunderstandings occur when the couple is not on the same page on the type of relationship they BOTH want to have. Hopefully, the mistakes me and my friends have made, can help you and your friends avoid the same (so you won’t have a book, song, or movie written about you).
So, in the vein of laughing at life and love’s folly, here’s the story behind Beethoven’s, “ Für Elise.” Poor Beethoven. Not only did he write this to a woman who rejected his marriage proposal, the copyist couldn’t read his handwriting and dedicated it to the WRONG WOMAN in the published versions! Beethoven proposed to Therese Malfatti in 1810, the same year he composed “Für Elise”. She is also the the owner of the original manuscript.
History of Beethoven's "Für Elise." I knew he was difficult, but no one deserves this. Poor guy.
In the vein of the male pianist, composing about love and loss, here’s Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” Same universal feelings, different musical genres. He wrote this in about 10 minutes. (Like Beethoven, sometimes pure, raw emotion, is all you need.)
History of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You”.
A video of Leon Russell, the original songwriter. (He was upfront on what he wanted.) Check out the woman in an apron mixing up a batch of bread in the studio. Totally random and hilarious.
Leon Russell & Friends, “A Song for You” LIVE.
Because love, life and songs are about perspective and possibilities, with the aching realization that you can create beauty. “A Song for You” has been rerecorded multiple times across genres, over the years. Like great engineers, musicians and artists tend to be open to possibilities and new ways of assembly. It comprises our existence and makes or breaks our careers. Here’s to yours.
Amy Winehouse, “A Song for You.”
Resonating decades after its original release, it was also featured on the “Euphoria” soundtrack. Breathtaking.
Donny Hathaway, “A Song for You.”
Because love is universal. “Für Elise” is the byproduct of the normally methodical and precise Beethoven musically pouring his heart out to the woman he tried to propose to, who eventually married another man. Originally an incidental piece, he attempted to revise it years later and realized he could not. Here’s to Lang Lang’s interpretation. His technique is impeccable. Enjoy!
“Für Elise" Performed by Lang Lang
Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh, cry, and maybe realize that love, loss, and its folly, still annoyingly, transcends time and genres. Here’s to creating new possibilities and happiness for life and love… and as your fun loving, musician mom: Chivalry is not dead. Sometimes, compromise is better than who is right. Laughter can make any awkward situation funnier (and more apt for “success”). Don't listen to the masses. (Like Buffet's advice on stock picks). Only you and your partner truly know what is right for the two of you and here's to your successes in whatever form they appear. Have a lovely week! Xo, Melissa
Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake. This literally took less than 10 minutes, apparently the same time it took to write, “A Song for You.” Sometimes great art is just great art!
Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake
by Ina Garten, “The Barefoot Contessa”
Here’s the original link:
2 cups cold heavy cream
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
½ cup sugar
¼ cup Kahlúa liqueur
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 (8-ounce) packages Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies
Shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlúa, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed, until it forms firm peaks.
To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible. (I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.) Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching, followed by another fifth of the cream. Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each, ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.
Thanks for reading! Have a great week! Xo, Melissa