Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Yang of Cake

Bet you thought I forgot about my dad's Thanksgiving party, eh? Well, have no fear, fellow readers - I give you now... more cake!

My sister likes two kinds of cake (beyond Caffe Demetre's Chocolate Fudge) only: the kind from a box (a la Ms. Crocker or Mr. Hines) or this Red Velvet cake. Mind you, she hardly ever trusts when I make her this cake anymore, since whenever I do, weird things seem to happen. For instance, a couple months ago I had some perfectly baked rounds, which I frosted and proudly served to her. A couple bites in, she got that look on her face (if you have kids, you know that look), followed by "Sarah, what did you put in the cake?". Well, seeing as I had added nothing but the standard recipe ingredients that we had used since finding the recipe in our TV Guide back in 1998, I asked her why.

She showed me. Two grains of rice were embedded in her slice of cake! Okaaayy... odd.

That's not the only instance, either. Once, my mom and I forgot to add the eggs to the batter and had to toss an entire batch of brilliant red hockey-puck-cake. Another time, we baked it well past what it should have taken and we still had pudding-cake in the middle! I was beginning to think this cake was royally cursed, so when Teaghan asked for "her cake" this Thanksgiving as her dessert (she doesn't like carrot cake) I groaned internally. What would go wrong this time?

Well, I thought, what the Hell. I'll tweak the classic recipe of my mom's (which she had modified herself from the original) and see if I could get a better result. Out went the Splenda, shortening, prunes and whole-wheat flour, and in crept unsweetened applesauce, beet juice, extra cocoa, real butter and Kamut flour. Just looking at the crumb, you can tell it was a way better outcome in both texture and how it held up in the oven. Sure, it has more calories (a whole 20 per slice... whoo hoo), but actually less fat (almost a gram) but most importantly - no pudding centre!

The verdict? She liked it. She didn't rave about it (like some of the other guests at my dad's shindig did), but then again she doesn't really rave about anything culinary - she's happier with pizza pockets out of a box than real, home made calzones, after all. So, it's a personal victory. And I'm keeping this recipe... all "real" food, and all the true flavour of the southern cake, up north!

If you're wondering what I did decoration wise with these cakes, I took some help from Bulk Barn and bought yogurt- and dark chocolate-covered peanuts to stud the cake with. I loved the whole contrast thing!

Tomorrow I promise I'll give you something to detox with after finishing all these rich goodies!

Maroon Chocolate Cake
Serves 12
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp red food colouring
1 tbsp pure beet juice
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup Kamut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two round 9" cake pans.
  2. Cream sugars, butter and applesauce until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
  4. Make a paste of the food colouring, beet juice, water and cocoa powder, scrape into above mixture and beat well.
  5. Whisk together flours and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture.
  7. In a small dish, mix vinegar and baking soda well (it will foam).
  8. Add to the batter and fold in gently but thoroughly.
  9. Bake 30 minutes, cool completely in pans before turning out.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 208.0
Total Fat: 5.1 g
Cholesterol: 46.4 mg
Sodium: 62.5 mg
Total Carbs: 37.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8 g
Protein: 4.5 g


  1. Awesome cakes, and I'm glad that you've got a recipe with vinegar in it - people are so scared of using it, but we've got a recipe for ginger bread which uses it, and it's seriously better than anything else.

  2. Wow looks awesome. I'm a vinegar fan myself. And I also think it contributes to a great texture. Bravo!

  3. these were the most AWESOMENESS cakes in the world they complement each other to a tee. thanks for the memories of an amazing thanksgiving


Thanks for the feedback!