Sunday, June 6, 2010

It Started With A Fail.

Take a look at this recent creation of mine:

Now, what would you think that was? A slightly overbaked cheesecake maybe, perhaps ube and banana flavoured? A new kind of mochi? A slab of astronaut food fallen from the space station?

Sadly, no.

That monstrosity above is the direct result of a failed recipe experiment on my end in an attempt to make an egg-free poundcake. I had big plans - I wanted a lemon-strawberry marble, and I used a cream cheese pound cake recipe found somewhere online (I don't remember where, honestly) as my base. Maybe the liquid ratios were off, or the pH wasn't balanced, or the planets weren't perfectly aligned in the shape of a hula-dancing tiki god. Needless to say that after an hour and forty minutes in the oven at 350, and testing done by the tried-and-true skewer, it sunk. Well, plummeted. And when I cut into it the next day (hey, it smelled awesome, and I had to see the marbling anyways!), I was greeted with that super-dense, cheesecake/mochi texture you see. Not what I was hoping to take to my elementary school's big shindig for their 25th anniversary - especially since I'm known as "quite the baker" amongst the staff there!

Luckily, the cake wasn't a total waste - it's really more one of those "looks can be decieving" cases. My mom verified that it tasted fine, if not good, and that it was like eating cheesecake without the cheese flavour (if that makes sense). Nonetheless, I trashed that recipe, since I doubt there's anyone in the market for that kind of thing really.

The problem with the cake, which tasty as it may be was unservable to strangers, meant that I now had another issue: I had promised to bring a "creation" of mine to this reunion shindig, and was now sans gateaux. To add to the stress I was putting myself under (I admit I am a perfectionist / type-A / worrywart), my mom was also planning to bring something. She was bringing a pan of her infamous apple squares, which are coveted by pretty much everyone who's had them anywhere. See? Tried-and-true = win... experiments right before event = fail.

So I turned back to something I knew worked. Something simple, fast, infinitely variable and gosh-darn-it good. I busted out my version of Gourmet's Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, and tweaked with it again, just enough to be different but not enough to seriously screw anything up.

Doesn't it look all yummy and full of chocolatey goodness? Mom thought so too. But you know what - it looks like chocolate, and smells like chocolate, but aside from the smattering of chips on top, there's naught but a teaspoon of cocoa powder or anything else chocolatey in the entire thing.

My secret? Good ol' mesquite flour. I love using this stuff - it smells awesome and so far has worked wonders in my sweet baking. If I ate meat I would even venture to say it would work well in a rub mixture for pork or beef on the grill too, bringing slightly smoky chocolate-coffee-cinnamon notes into play, so if you try that out, let me know how it goes!

So here's the cake that saved the day - different, tender, tasty and proven. If nothing else, it was the cake that saved my ego from one of the many inevitable kitchen blunders we all go through, it proved my mind is still only slightly older than my body!

Saved - the - Day Quick Cake
Serves 10
1 cup flour
1 tbsp mesquite flour
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg
2 oz low-fat cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, grease a 9" springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, mesquite flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, cream cream cheese and sugar.
  4. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.
  5. Add half the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients, blending in slightly, then add buttermilk. Follow with remaining dry ingredients.
  6. Spread batter in prepared pan, smoothing to the edges.
  7. Top with chocolate chips.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes, cool completely in the pan before unmoulding.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 145.5
Total Fat: 3.0 g
Cholesterol: 24.8 mg
Sodium: 33.4 mg
Total Carbs: 27.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.9 g
Protein: 3.1 g


  1. I always decide it's a great idea to try out a new recipe right before an event. It's always a pretty serious fail, too. I'm glad that it worked out for you with the buttermilk cake, though, it does look very good :)

  2. Yeah, okay, the replacement cake looks good too. :)
    I'll add this one to my recipe file and made it while I still have mesquite powder.


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