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Friday, February 28, 2014

Cake #18: Mary Carole Battle's Mother's Wacky Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

I had skipped over this cake previously, and I'm not sure why- in the book it falls between Chocolate Pound Cake and Cocoa Bread with Stewed Peaches. This is called "Wacky" cake because they made them during World War II when dairy products were scarce. Today we call such things "Vegan" cakes. On 2/2/14, I decided to make two versions, one with oil, like the recipe calls for, and one with applesauce. 
The cake on the left is the one with oil and the one on the right was with applesauce. I could tell the difference out of the oven, but after they were frosted, I wasn't sure which was which. 
With this cake, you put all the dry ingredients in, then make three holes in the mix- one for vinegar, one for vanilla extract and one for oil, or applesauce in my case. We had a friend try it who had not heard of "wacky" cakes but knew them as "crazy" cakes, and knew about doing the 3 holes in the dry mixture too.
The cake was very easy to make. The frosting was not.

I didn't have a double boiler, so I stirred the ingredients (egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, water and vanilla extract) in a stainless steel bowl and then put it in a pan of boiling water. I used an immersion blender for 7 minutes, and it didn't work, the frosting was still liquidy. Then my husband pointed out that the point of the hand blender is to whip air into it, which a immersion blender does not do (it's submersed),  so I got out the whip and hand-whipped it for about 10 minutes. I wasn't able to do it very fast and therefore it was not thickening. Then he pointed out that the egg whites were probably well-cooked by now, so I could just use the kitchen aid. We got that out and kept it in the hot stainless steel bowl, making sure to hold it the whole time, and whipped it on high for about 10 minutes. It never formed the stiff peaks it said it would, so I gave up on it when it was about the consistency of marshmallow creme. I don't know if the look had something to do with it or not, but it kind of had the flavor of marshmallow creme too. It wasn't very good, and definitely not worth the effort, especially if you don't own a double boiler or a hand-held electrical whipping device! But, if you like the fact that it is a frosting with no butter or fat at all in it, and you like marshmallow creme, then by all means go for it! I'd rather sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve it with homemade ice cream.  
I learned that you can save the egg yolks (when making things like this that call for only the whites) in the freezer- label them w/ how many are in there, and you can use them in the future for cakes that only call for egg yolks!
Being Superbowl Sunday, I frosted (or cremed) the cakes and they looked pretty boring, so I put a "B" on one and an "S" on the other for Broncos and Seahawks. It turned out to be BS!

Later that week, I decided to try it again (and I had a potluck to go to and I needed something to bring) as a healthy version. I changed enough things about it that I decided I could call it my own recipe and give it a new name. So, here it is- a cake I just invented based on the WWII/Wacky/Crazy cake recipe of Mary Carole Battle:

Vegan Healthy Chocolate Cake:
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups raw sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
2 t baking soda
After stirring together, make three holes and add to each one: 
2 t vanilla extract
2 T vinegar
3/4 c apple sauce (or pear sauce)
Then on top:
2 c cold water
Stir and add:
1/2 c chocolate chips
Pour into two cake pans, well greased. 
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes, a toothpick should come out clean. 
Let cool and add powdered sugar for the "frosting".
Don't cover or the powdered sugar will dissolve and disappear.
Since this is enough for 2 cakes, you could also stack them with frosting in between and on top and sides. But then you'd have to remove "healthy" from the title. Or, actually, you could still call it "healthy" cake, because the cake is healthy even if the frosting is not, right?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cake #17: Angel Food Cake

It was my dad's 60th birthday so I skipped way ahead in the book to make a homemade angel food cake. March 2013. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and that angel food cakes don't have any butter or oil! That being said, this cake was a lot different than the other cakes I have made. You just add stuff to the kitchen aid and beat until the egg whites are forming peaks. Not overbeating is important.
I used 8 egg whites, which were a little less than 1 cup. There were 8 egg yolks left over, so my male companion made a double batch of custard with them.

You need to line the angel food pan (different from a bundt pan in that it comes apart) with parchment paper. I didn't know how to do that, so I just lined the bottom with a hole cut out. 
Then you pour the batter into the parchment paper-lined, ungreased tube pan and bake it. 
Then you let it cool for a few minutes and then you find out what that hole in the middle is for- to fit on a wine bottle!

You stick the wine bottle in there and flip the thing upside down so that it doesn't collapse on itself. This is also why the pan was not greased- so that it won't fall out while cooling upside down.

When it's fully cooled, it can go right side up on a plate. You have to remove it very carefully with a knife and/or a spatula. Now you can see that parchment paper with the hole cut out (above)
After removing the parchment paper, the top looks like this (above).
And the sides look like the photo above- all nice and fluffy.
The funny thing is, most people buy angel food cake mix and make it from that. But the mixing of the ingredients is the easy part. The cooling and removing is what takes the most effort here. I, for one, will make angel food cakes from scratch from now on! And plus, when you make it from scratch, you know it doesn't have too many calories, so you can make up for that fact with the frosting.
The trick with angel food cake frosting is to put a round piece of cardboard over the top and frost over it to give it a smooth look. Then the birthday boy gets to lick the cardboard. Six-pack beer boxes work best. Or maybe that's what's always available in my house.
Then serve with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cake #16: Tunnel of Fudge Cake

I made this cake on 2/28/13 for a birthday celebration at work. Due to allergies, I made it without the walnuts. It was pretty easy to make, except for the part where you "grab a wooden spoon and flex those arms!" Stirring in the flour and cocoa took a bit of work.
The cake looks great but you're supposed to let it cool in the pan for ONE HOUR AND THIRTY MINUTES. During that time, it collapses a lot!
After all that cooling time, it still stuck to the pan and therefore did not look very pretty. The picture in the book looked much better. This is in the section of the book "Gimmie them Purdy Cakes". This might be easier said than done.
I was able to cover it up with the glaze so it didn't look too bad. But everyone agreed it looked like a giant doughnut.
I thought the insides would be oozing out like the picture in the book, but they weren't. Maybe I cooked it too long. Everyone said they liked it, and that it tasted like brownies. After a day or so, the glaze hardens a bit and isn't as good.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cake #15: Cocoa Bread with Stewed Yard Peaches

I made this on 10/13/12 for a Toilet Retirement Party. Because it's important to have parties for such things.

The cake was easy to make, I used the kitchen aid and baked it in the toaster oven on the middle rack, but I made a note to use the bottom rack next time. Not sure why.
I made the homemade self-rising flour that the book suggested, adding 3 t of baking powder and 1 t of salt to 2 cups of white flour. Then I let it sit before cooking. The top really rose up a lot.
I used pears instead of peaches, since we have a pear tree. And it's ripe in October. I diced the pears with sugar and water. Then I made a note to next time- use a lot less water because the pears get pretty juicy after sitting in the sugar water. And to let them cook a lot longer on low. I followed the book directions, which was to let them simmer for 10 minutes. But the book was talking about peaches which probably don't take as long as pears. Plus, if you keep them on low until you are ready to eat them, they are already warm!

Then I put a note in the book that said next time, you could skip the fruit and just serve it with homemade ice cream. Yum.