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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Behold the power of chocolate cake!

The word's best chocolate cake: The Double Dip from (the now closed) Open Window Bakery.

Is it possible the chocolate cake is the key to world peace?

That is the epiphany I had this afternoon while power walking down Avenue Rd (I know I said that running and I got back together but alas, it is still too cold to run outside and I can't take running on the treadmill anymore so I had no choice) as I sashayed past Short and Sweet, my local cupcakery, and smelled the chocolate cakes baking away.  

Now, you need to know that I LOVE me a fresh, high-quality chocolate cake.  I love everything about it: the rich, fudgy icing, the moist cake, and the way its so versatile: it can act as a dessert, a late-night snack, breakfast the next morning, and even on its own for dinner in bed while watching back-to-back episodes of Glee when you are all alone because your husband and kids are in Florida...not that I did that or anything.

It was this love of chocolate cake that led me to select it as my contribution to my school's heart-healthy potluck lunch this past Monday.  Chocolate cake?  Heart healthy?  You bet!  Well, as long as you use good quality dark chocolate, pure cocoa powder, and my secret heart-healthy ingredient: baby aspirin!  (just kidding...my secret ingredient is dried cherries.  DO NOT put baby aspirin in your chocolate cake).  

So I make my cake and it is deelish!  I plate it, wrap it, and bring it in, confident it will be the favorite dessert at our potluck.  And it was.  And not just because it was so good, but because it was the only dessert at our potluck (I am shaking my head as I write this).  I was so dissapointed.  You see, I make up 1/3 of my school's staff social committee, along with my good friends, Sara and Sue.  We work hard to not only arrange gifts, flowers, cards, donations, and more for the various occasions that come up throughout the year, but also to plan fun and exciting events designed to unify our staff.  I truly feel that when you regard your colleagues as friends, you are more likely to co-operate, support each other, and generally do a better job.  That is why I was so upset when barely anyone participated in the potluck I planned.  It feels like people are telling me, "No, I do not want to be your friend."

But then, the chocolate cake worked it's magic.  People started eating it and saying it was delicious (I know) and p-shawing at the notion that it was healthy (it is!  see the recipe below).  Later in the day, my theory was proven through this conversation:
"Hey Hochberg, did you make the chocolate cake?"
"Yeah"
"It was really good."
"Thanks.  Hey, I know you're busy but can I have a photocopy of that history assignment?"
"Sure. And thanks again for the chocolate cake."

See?  Now imagine what that conversation would have been like without the delicious chocolate cake icebreaker.  Reflect on your own life, I bet you too have had instances when chocolate cake has made life run just a little bit smoother.  Perhaps you were hosting a birthday party and the clown showed up drunk and half the kids are crying and it turns out that little Benny isn't toilet trained after all and since you have three girls, the only spare pants you can offer him are either pink, sparkly, or have ruffles.  And this is quickly becoming the longest 90 minutes of your life.  Until cake time.  When the chocolate cake appears, all thoughts of clowns and crying go away and the biggest problem becomes who get the first piece (after the birthday girl, of course).  By the time the last piece is given out, it is quiet and calm and it is a happy birthday.

Now imagine our world leaders getting together to discuss important world issues.  Things start getting heated and one guy's all, "keep your hands off my fresh water" and some other guy's all, "just as long as you keep your hands off my oil," and the other guy's all, "well, just as long as you two stay out of my airspace."  Then an intern brings in the chocolate cake.  Slices are distributed and there is smiling and contentment and just like that, peace returns to the world.

Heart Healthy Chocolate Cake
Based on this recipe from the Hershey website

In a bowl, mix together the following:
1 3/4 cups of sugar
3/4 cup good quality cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons of both baking powder and baking soda
1 3/4 cups of flour
a few grinds of sea salt

Add in:
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
little less than 1/2 a cup of apple sauce topped up to a full 1/2 cup with vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

and beat on meadium speed of a mixer for 2 minutes.  

Stir in one cup of boiling water.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan, reserving about 1/2 a cup (or enough for two cupcakes).
Sprinkle 1/2 cup each of finely chopped chunks of dark chocolate and dried cherries onto the cake batter.
Bake at 350f for 50-55 min or until the cake springs back when you push it down gently.  

Cool completely and then turn out onto a plate.  Enjoy and peace be with you!

Oh, and the reserved batter for cupcakes? Bake two cupcakes (it should take about 20 min. or so) This was my second brilliant idea this week (the first being the world peace thing).  When baking a cake, reserve a bit of the batter and bake a couple of cupcakes.  This way, you can try the cake without destrying the cake and/or risk serving a crappy cake to your guests.  
Peace out.

1 comment:

  1. Cuzin Sharon Gould EatonMarch 2, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    I loved reading this. I think I will re-post it even tho most of my American friends won't know where Avenue Rd. is or who Cayla Hochberg is. But who cares...they all know what Chocolate Cake is!!! Yum, Yum, eat it up. <3

    ReplyDelete

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