Monday, November 16, 2009

*I made a really good cake

*This title is stolen from a good friend who also made a really good cake this weekend.

Y'all, this was a very nesty weekend. Nesty in the sense that I did not leave my nest for any three dimensional interaction (beyond The Best Run Ever, which happened on Saturday morning in the fog) until Saturday evening when Bubba and I carried some armloads of food across the street to my neighbors' place.

At which time we engaged in some serious Comforting with a capital C, as you can see by the way I spelled Comforting back there in the beginning of the sentence. You get it. I know you do.

Anyway, my Comfort Mode was switched on when my neighbor swung by on Saturday morning just as I was cruising in from The Best Run Ever with news on her post-surgery pooch. He was doing OK (as explained while tilting thy head sideways and wagging one's hand in an unsure manner) after surgery but, according to the vets, "He almost didn't make it. Like a few times."


But, he was home and bleary and wobbly and they were taking good care by staring at him constantly and making up a very complicated Pill Schedule in Excel so that he got all his meds at the right time and the right dose and all that.

They seemed stressed. And a bit sad. And, to my honed Mother Henning eyes, in need of major league comforting.

Which, if you're me, means food - good homecooked kinda food - STAT.

So, I offered to bring over dinner that night so that we could all keep a watchful eye on their pooch meanwhile propping each other up and raising spirits. They readily agreed and so my day of nesty began while Bubba played Tech Help and Jada and Rocket played I Have The Best Napping Spot in the Whole World in our backyard.

It was quite peaceful and nice and I set out to bring into reality Comfort in food form. And if you're me, this means chicken soup from scratch, home-baked challah and chocolate cake.

Yes, that is the trifecta of comfort for moi, thanks to my mama who produced these lovelies as needed throughout my childhood and, to this day, has the most bulletproof chicken soup recipe which I will even share with you in a future post if you're all a bunch of good little whores.

Wow, did you see how the tone of this post just took an erratic and wildly swerving turn?

That's because I don't want you all thinking I've gone super soft on you and will be doing everything for the good of others without considering my own wanton desires or anything. That would be so un-Finny and I'm sure you'd all leave me.

At the very least, it would be dishonest of me to mislead you in such a way. Into thinking that I'd become all Good and Nice and Altruistic on you just all of a sudden because that's just not true. And of all things that I may or may not be - Honest is something I like to stick with. For good or bad, I'm hanging it all out there for you whores in the honest way, even if it's not nice or good or pleasant to read. Fun!

Sure - sometimes I do nice things. Like make chocolate cakes for sad friends, but make no mistake about it, that cake was getting made one way or another. Though the soup and bread were impromptu additions that brought the whole Comfort theme together.

I'm good. I'm bad. I'm a menagerie of evils. Let's cook something.

So this cake, it was the one from this month's Craft: along challenge - the Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding cake - and it was, in a word, FUCKINGAWESOME.

Which is a single word and I defy you to challenge me on this.

And while you may have been thinking, "Duh, bitch. It's a chocolate cake, how could it be bad?" I'm sure you then realized that introducing beets to chocolate could have some unexpected and potentially not-awesome results.

Or that's what I was thinking anyway as I prepared to dump 1/4 cup of roasted beet puree (thank you farmshare for supplying two tons of beets during this summer's share, geez) into the most lovely melted chocolate a soul could want to see. And eat. I ate some of the chocolate off the spoon before the beets went in.

I imagined this would taste like raspberry given the color. It does not.

So, what do you expect? There was melted chocolate and a big wooden spoon in front of me. What - I was not going to sample it? Come, now.

This, however, tasted exactly like good chocolate.


After some thorough sampling (Scharffen Berger bittersweet is quite good. I can assure you.) and then blending in off beets and resampling (have to make sure I didn't just ruin my own good time you know), the little ramekins of dark reddish brown loveliness were set aside to haul over to the neighbors' for our dessert.

And wouldn't you know that I bought those ramekins special for this recipe because I only had ramekins in random sizes and I didn't want to risk getting the small one when they came out of the oven later. I figured the $2/ea price tag was well worth the guarantee that I'd get a Big One for dessert and so I have justified the proprietary purchase. There you go.

The little random-sized ones can hang out in the cupboard for future recipes in which I can risk not getting a Big One - like when I make quiche or something equally sketch.

Moving on.

You know there's something funny in this cake? Actually, there's something funny that's NOT in this cake.


Yeah - I didn't realize it when I chose it for this month's challenge, but this is a gluten-free cake. Are y'all shunning gluten, too? I mean, not that I am, I could give a rat's ass about avoiding gluten - friggen mainline it to me - but apparently this is sweeping the nation, the anti-glutenness.

I'm sorry for all you non-gluten eaters. That has to suck. BUT, this cake is gluten-free, so you can just haul off and eat it without incurring the wrath of gluten on your ravaged souls.


To clarify, this recipe only contains a small amount of rice flour, which I found in great abundance and variety at Whole Foods, and which I now have stored away in my baking cabinet for future gluten-free baking. Though I have no other gluten-free recipes in which to use it. Except these that I just found on the Bob's Red Mill site. We'll see what lasts longer - the rice flour or the giant bottle of molasses. As of now, it's a dead heat.

So, for those of you for whom photographic comparisons are the true teller of results, please allow me to present my perfect recreation of the Chocolate and Roasted Beet Pudding Cake for your edification:

This is what the real one looks like.

And for those of you for whom the texture is the truth teller:

Pudding-y center. Yes, please.

And for those of you for whom the taste is the truth teller:

Well, you'll have to make it for yourself. Because you can't be shoving a spoon through the monitor and even if you could it wouldn't be hot by the time you got it into your greedy mouth, so it's better if you just make it on your own, then isn't it? Because when it's fresh from the oven, smelling all lusty and warm and richly chocolate, a spoonful scooped direct from the center is like the richest, yet not-too-sweetest, brownie crossed with flourless chocolate cake you could ever want to have in your face.

It's just very incredibly good. Or, FUCKINGAWESOME, as some less eloquent folks (me) might say.

And I don't really know where the beets went in this thing, but the only remnants that really showed through in the final product were in the color of the dessert itself, which was this lovely dark reddish-brown velvet, and maybe the tiniest bit in the vague earthy flavor beneath all that heavenly chocolate.

I can tell you that it didn't taste like dirt, if that's what you're wondering. Which is what Bubba was wondering. Which is why he doesn't like beets and also why he was upset with me fucking up the first chocolate cake I'd made in forever (?) by throwing in a big old scoop of beet puree that was going to render his chocolate as dirt.

To sum it for you - he immediately declared it a winner and asked if I had more beet puree for a rematch. Which I do. Though I'm out of chocolate, so we'll have to deal with that matter separately.

A winner though! A big fat Here's What The F I Do With Beets winner!

I'm sure you'll be just as pleased when you make your own. Because we're not sharing. Because we're not that nice, despite what you've seen here.

And just because I'm a bit behind on telling you the intimate and absurd details of my life, here's some stuff I hope will be coming soon:

Running update on the topics of The Best Run Ever and Running Naked
Bulletproof chicken soup recipe if my mom lets me share it
How I have a winter garden growing even though I said I wasn't going to have one
The progress of NaNoWriMo now that I've stepped back from the ledge

Let's hope I can scratch together some time for these things before they all change.


  1. Oh lord, that looks disturbingly delicious.

  2. ...And what exactly does one have to do in order to be considered a good little whore?

  3. Ok. I'm going to take your word for it. 'Cause really. Beets (and you know how I love beets, being, probably the only person who voted for beets and lost) and NO Flour in a cake sounds like a two time loser. But, if you say it's so...

  4. I will keep this in mind, since my sister-in-law has Celiac's disease, my mother-in-law has a gluten intolerance, and my husband is now shunning starches. High maintenance lot, this family I married into.

    P.S. That was very nice of you to comfort your neighbors and not just roll your eyes at their devotion to "just a dog," like some truly mean people will do. So you can't pretend you're not a really nice person. We all know the truth.

  5. Damn you veggie lover. I might have to try this. Maybe. But eww...aren't beets like messy? The psychological effects of me eating a beet, even pureed, could be bad. FINE. I'll try it. I'll buy beets. Do you buy beets? What do they look like? Great, now I'm going to look like a dumbass wandering the grocery store. Email with beet details...and how to puree. (putting on my big girl pants right now...)

    Finny's Whore buttons need to be made. Even bloggie buttons. HA! That'd be funny. :)

  6. While I LOVE beets (I do. I really do), I do not love the idea of having frozen beet puree around. I would rather eat the beets WHOLE. What I'm getting at is do you think that canned (there. I said it.) beets would work? Please advise.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.