Thursday, March 13, 2008

Surprise, Surprise!

Sometimes, you just have to do something unexpected, and the past week or so was no exception! It was my mom's birthday yesterday, which meant that I got to go meet her for lunch and some quality "girl time" together. However, not all was as it seemed (as you can probably guess by this post's title). I had been in secret talks and planning sessions with a few of our mutual friends at her work in order to get a surprise celebration on the table for her --th birthday. While mom and I noshed on sushi, the clever team got to work setting up a meeting room with plates, forks, what looked like half the building's staff and, of course, her cake!

I had been asked by the event's mastermind to make something delicious for the office to share, knowing about my own Bumblebee Bakery and my love of all things experimental. For the big surprise, I whipped up a variation on an old Brazilian recipe for chocolate-coffee cake, and it is truly one of the easiest cakes I have ever made, ever. The name for it (Nega Maluca) can be translated as "Crazy Black Woman", probably due to the high caffeine content that should be present. I say should, since I actually had to use decaf in this cake because my mom's battling some blood pressure issues and has been taken off caffeine for the time being. However, she insisted on me using the real deal for one of her two "party" cakes, so out came the espresso powder today (I'm too lazy to brew my own and we don't have an espresso maker. But more on that cake later). This cake is usually covered in a simple chocolate sauce (like this one, the site also has a recipe for the cake), but I opted for a less messy cappuccino buttercream both overtop and in-between the layers I cut. The creamy, slightly off white colour of the frosting was beautifully striking against the black cake too, and everyone commented that the flavours of the coffee and chocolate were a delicious pick-me-up for their day. What everyone liked most, I think, was the fact that they knew a cake coming from me would at least be semi-virtuous, and they were right. Though it isn't exactly something I'd call "the breakfast of champions", it is half whole-grain, egg-free and is made using skim milk in addition to the richness of (essentially) fat-free cocoa and coffee.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I should have remembered to take a photo, but all I managed was one on my cell phone that now will not transfer to my laptop. So no photo for you, sorry! Just imagine the blackest chocolate cake you can think of with a pretty, swirly frosting. Or better yet, make the crazy cake and rave about it yourselves!

Nega Maluca
Serves 12
1 cup flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup dark baking cocoa
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp coffee powder
1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup oil
1 cup skim milk, hot
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a 9" cake pan.
  2. Mix all the ingredients with electric beaters, adding the milk last.
  3. Bake for 20-30 minutes, then cool 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 183.0
Total Fat: 6.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Sodium: 16.4 mg
Total Carbs: 30.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.8 g
Protein: 3.8 g

Habeas Brulee is hosting this month's SHF, where the theme is Sweet Gifts. Seeing as this was just one of the gazillion birthday gifts I'll be making, I'll send it along to be part of the fun!

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

sounds really good hope ur mom had an amazing b-day surprise and cant wait for sunday yaaaay. great post

The Apron Queen said...

The heck with cooking supper! I'm making a bunch of desserts after reading SHF!!

Stop by for a visit. I'll even save one of my baked apples for you! :D

Confessions of an Apron Queen: http://anapronaday.blogspot.com