03 March 2011

Let them eat cake. And lentils.

This is the best chocolate layer cake in the world. The end.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

(originally from my mom, but I changed it a bit)

1 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup strong coffee
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans, a 9x13 pan, or 24 cupcake liners. (I never flour my cake pans. Just nonstick spray.)

2) In large bowl or the bowl of your mixer, stir together dry ingredients. Make sure there are no streaks.

3) Pour in wet ingredients and beat on low to combine, then for five minutes on high speed (no, silly, not as high as you would use for whipped cream). This batter is on the thin side so be careful about splashing.

4) Pour batter into prepared pan/s. Lick the spatula. (That part is very important. Really.) Bake for 30-40 minutes, until firm but moist in the middle. You don't want sticky crumbs on your finger if you touch it, but you don't want it to get hard, or anywhere in the vicinity of hard for that matter. This is a moist cake. A deep, dark, rich cake. Not a light and airy sponge cake.

5) Remove to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Shoo away all the people who will flock to the kitchen, drawn by the heady chocolate aroma. After 10 minutes, if making a layer cake, remove from pans and let cool completely before frosting. (I run a knife around the edge and invert the cake onto the rack, then flip it again to finish cooling, but that usually involves a plate or two because I need the other rack for the other cake. It is a long and rather annoying process. Someone needs to invent a cake flipping rack.)

6) Do what you will with your cooled cake. Frost and stack, pipe on icing, dust it with powdered sugar. Then try not to eat the entire thing.

To balance out such richness, I offer you sprouted lentils. This is a method, really, not a recipe.

Sprouted Lentils
(thank you Kitchen Stewardship)

Grab yourself some dried lentils-- I use green ones just because-- and a nice big glass jar. You will also need a rubber band, a bowl, and some mesh or tulle; the plastic netting from orange bags works most excellently.

So. Measure out as many lentils as float your proverbial boat, keeping in mind that they are going to quadruple in volume. I think I usually do a scant 1/4 cup, as I'm the only person who eats them around here (lentils being on the forbidden food list). Pour them into the jar, cover them with warm water, shake it around a bit, and drain out the excess water. Then cover them with warm water again, with the water level at least twice that of the lentils. Put the lid on loosely and let stand 12 to 24 hours. The lentils will soak up lots of water and therefore expand.

After this soaking period, drain any excess water remaining. Cover the lentils with more water. Now this is where your tulle or orange netting comes in. Stretch it over the open mouth of the jar and secure with a rubber band. Tip the jar upside down so the water can drain, and leave it in a bowl for 12 hours. Repeat the rinse-and-drain cycle until the lentils have sprouted. This should only take a day or two. They get little tails, which is rather cute, and become crisp-tender. Delicious if you like lentils, not so much if you don't. (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Thus far I've just tossed them with salads for lunch, usually with cheese and a good balsamic dressing. You can steam them too but I haven't gotten around to that. I would like to sprout alfalfa and other seeds too but haven't gotten around to that either . . .

{image: from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. I remember it being on the TV one night as I was on RA duty in the lobby, and so I caught about a quarter of it. "Nice costumes and lots of froth" was my impression.}

1 comment:

  1. I just made this for a St. Patrick's day party tonight. Yum!