Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The Importance of Cake
Good chocolate cake is one of the most perfect things in the universe. Its light, fluffy, like eating air. And the icing...mmm...the icing should be creamy, milk chocolate with no nasty cocoa residue or bitter tang. Chocolate cake shouldn't be abused with fruit filling, inflated with mousse, or chunked up with chips or sprinkles. Cake should be a spiritual experience: simple, pure flavor that bursts on the tongue like rapture.
It is nearly impossible in the age of pre-processed foods and boxed desserts to get anything like a simple piece of cake in a restaurant. Instead, diners are served multi-tiered layers of bitter chocolate stuffed with pudding and mocha shavings layered over dense, stale cake. It disgusts me.
Yet, I am ever the optimist. In the endless nights of waiting, I often find myself sitting in dingy diners, forgotten coffee houses, and a bar. If cake is on the menu, I always order it and wait to be impressed.
Then my endless nights of cake tasting caught up with me. My doctor gave me the news that I needed to trim my expanding waistline and reduce my blood pressure. I found it depressing to think that my days of cake tasting were over. But as any true cake lover will tell you, if there is a will then there is a way.
I decided that there had to be a way to make a moist, fairly low calorie cake that tastes good.
DIET SODA CAKE:
3 egg whites
1/4 to 1/2 a can of Diet Soda. Yes, add diet soda instead of oil.
1/2 cup of water.
3/4 to 1 cup of Splenda* (add to taste)
1 cup of cake flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 to 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder
*I always taste the batter. If it tastes bitter, then add extra Splenda. Splenda is a sugar substitute. No one wants bitter chocolate.
*If it is dry after blending, add more water. Do this slowly. If you add too much, the batter will become watery and not rise correctly.
Mixing and Baking Instructions:
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2) Grease non-stick pan with calorie free cooking spray or butter spray
3) Beat egg whites, soda, and Splenda together
4) Add water (Mix cocoa powder with warmed water).
5) Add the salt, flour, and your baking soda
6) Mix and bake approximately 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed from the center cleanly.
Sometimes with soda cakes, you have to bake them slightly longer.
Lazy Version: Take one chocolate cake mix, replace eggs with egg whites, replace oil with diet soda and water, and then mix and bake as directed on the back of the box. I often prefer the lazy version.
I have never been the one to try to make icing from scratch so I am going to keep this simple. Take a can of Milk Chocolate Icing, mix in a cup of Fat-Free Whipped Cream. This will make the icing fluffier, lighter, and reduce the calories. Spread your icing only thinly, I try for the thickness of a quarter turned on its side.
Cut into 8 to 10 pieces if your mix your own. If you use a box cake, then just cut into the servings listed.
Is this the best cake in the world? No, but it is a good cake and the calories are significantly reduced.
I still dream of my perfect piece of chocolate cake. But I also dream of living to a ripe old age so it is a trade off. I hope you enjoy my Diet Soda Cake; I know I always do.
If you have your own favorite recipe for cake, then just substitute egg whites for or eggs, diet soda for oil, and water for milk. However, it is usually best to keep the diet soda to under six ounces total. Too much soda makes the cake very crumbly and overly-moist.