A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 02, 2019
Othello (chocolate-covered sponge cake)

Brooklyn’s Ebinger’s Bakery operated from 1898 until 1972; a bakery revived the Ebinger’s name briefly in 1982. “Othello” was a signature product, but the recipe was never published. The “Othello” name is from William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice (1603) and might have been inspired by the food name “Moorkop” or “Mohrenkopf” (Moor’s head).

“Othellos (no one can recall the origin of the name), egg-shaped sponge cakes filled with chocolate butter cream and enrobed in a special chocolate coating” was printed in the New York (NY) Times on January 11, 1969. “Othellos, little sponge cakes in the shape of an egg, filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate fondant” was printed in the Daily News (New York, NY) on September 15, 1982. “Chocolate-covered, buttercream-filled white cakes that Ebinger’s Bakery called Othellos” was printed in the Chicago (IL) Tribune on January 24, 1994.


Wikipedia: Othello
Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603. It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio, a disciple of Boccaccio, first published in 1565. The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army and his treacherous ensign, Iago.

Wikipedia: Moorkop
A moorkop is a pastry consisting of a profiterole (cream puff) filled with whipped cream. The top of the profiterole is glazed with white or dark chocolate. Often there is whipped cream on the top, with a slice of tangerine or a piece of pineapple.

History
The origin of the name moorkop lies in Den Bosch. There was a house named ‘de Moriaan’, and the residents were well known for their cooking. They specialised in delicious patisseries. At some point in time a pastry made by the cooks became a popular delicacy and someone shouted: ‘it looks like a morenkop’[citation needed] (a ‘morenkop’ is a stone head of a moor, or black skinned man, that hung above many pharmacies). The moorkop came from the name ‘morenkop’.

11 January 1969, New York (NY) Times, “Ebinger’s: An Institution to Cake-Eating Families of Brooklyn” by Jean Hewitt, pg. 36, col. 7:
More than 200 varieties of baked goods are made in the course of a week, and a number of them are distinctively Ebinger’s, such as the Othellos (no one can recall the origin of the name), egg-shaped sponge cakes filled with chocolate butter cream and enrobed in a special chocolate coating; ...

Google Books
Lester’s Turn
By Jan Slepian
New York, NY: Macmillan
1981
Pg. 116:
We were standing looking in the window of Ebinger’s bakery. I pointed to my favorite chocolate cake, called Othello, and said how we were going to share a whole one some day, just the two of us.

14 August 1982, New York (NY) Times, “A Brooklyn Bakery Adds New Luster To Ebinger’s Name” by Mimi Sheraton, pg. 46, col. 6:
Although current prices are twice those that the chain charged in 1972, they are remarkably low by Manhattan standards: the butter ring is $2.65, the pecan ring is $3.25, the lemon crumb pie is $3.95, Othellos are 75 cents and the blackout cake big enough for eight servings is $4.95.

15 September 1982, Daily News (New York, NY), “Ebinger’s: How sweet it is!” by Suzanne Hamlin, Good Living sec., pg. 6, col. 4:
Othellos, little sponge cakes in the shape of an egg, filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with chocolate fondant, are baked only on Mondays and Wednesdays. At 75 cents apiece, they start arriving out of the kitchen at 1 p.m. both days, to nestle—if only for a minute—alongside the cupcakes and brownies.

22 September 1982, Daily News (New York, NY), Will the real Ebiner’s please stand up?” by Suzanne Hamlin, Good Living sec., pg. 9, col. 1:
(Caroline Ebinger—ed.) Czap is the daughter of Arthur Ebinger, who expanded the bakery his father founded in 1898 into a chain of stores throughout the boroughs. Known for the purity of its products, the stores became the stuff of local legend: Ebinger’s was synonymous with quality. The line of baked good included such now-copied items as “blackout cake,” a dark chocolate devil’s food; “Othellos,” small chocolate-covered sponge cakes, and, every weekend, the renowned crumb cakes.

24 January 1994, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Book Review: A verbal time capsule of a storied borough” by Elinor J. Brecher, sec. 5, pg. 3, col. 3:
(It Happened in Brooklyn by Harvey Frommer and Myrna Katz Frommer.—ed.)
It flavored the language with an accent as rich as the chocolate-covered, buttercream-filled white cakes that Ebinger’s Bakery called Othellos.

Uncle Phaedrus, Consulting Detective and Finder of Lost Recipes (2007)
Othellos
I just emailed you… and was intriqued by your website.  While looking around I saw that the cookie called Othello’s seemed to be truly lost.  I started searching and found this.  Might it be the same cookie?  Maybe not?
Nikki

Mohrenkopf (Othello’s or Moor’s Heads) recipe
ingredients

4 egg yolks
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
50 g (2 oz) plain flour, sifted
6 egg whites
pinch salt
50 g (2 oz) potato flour, sifted
150 ml (1/4 pt) double or whipping cream
30 g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Soft Chocolate Icing (...)

Chowhound
Remember Ebinger’s Othello’s
Kingphish | Sep 28, 2008 09:52 AM 7
They were egg shaped-had a chocolate coating over angel-food cake with a creamy mocha center

Does any bakery make that? Did anyone buy the recipe?

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Ebinger Baking Company of Brooklyn, NY
Rich Rinaldi
April 16, 2019
Mom used to buy an upside down cupcake that was also frosted on the bottom and sides instead of just on top. It was a favorite that was sold in a bakery in Bensonhurst.  I saw a box of cupcakes that looked like the ones Mom used to buy. A box of 3 and they are big. They are called Othello’s, also none as Desdemonas. You may recall these were also found with a fruit jam filling. That’s an option, just choose a quality preserve for the filling. I remember they are very good and they were filled with a creamy mocha center, and they were covered in a dark chocolate frosting...Othello’s. wink

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, June 02, 2019 • Permalink