From your white wicker chair on a balcony of Mohonk Mountain House, a sprawling Gothic fairy tale of a place in upstate New York, you can nibble griddle cakes, gaze at a stupefyingly sapphire lake, and learn to love mornings again.

Frost with chocolate buttercream. Glaze with Sacher glaze.

Chocolate buttercream

Makes 3 pounds.

1 pound, 4 ounces (2 1/2 cups) unsalted butter

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening

1 cup cream fondant (see note)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted

2 to 3 ounces warm water

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar well. Add shortening, fondant and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy and very smooth. Add chocolate and water, if desired, to adjust consistency.

Note: Fondant is available at bakeries, or sometimes from groceries' in-house bakeries.

Sacher glaze

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup unsalted butter

C7 Melt together chips and butter. Blend until smooth.

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