28 March 2013

Chocolate Macaroon Bundt Cake and the Importance of Water

It’s almost time. By the time I finish writing this post, Lent will be over in EST and I will be able to listen to music with lyrics again.

Yesterday and today, when I went on evening walkies, I said, screw it, I’m gonna sing out loud. I found lyrics for songs I had in my head (a mishmosh of MCR, Marilyn Manson, and Dropkick Murphys—I’m soo uber-goth, I know </sarcasmo>), pulled them up on my smartphone, and sang in the dark. In December, ‘round the time of the Aunt Mary Crea’s passing, I began singing on walks. Often I’ll have a song in my head, and the point of my music fast was to clear out my system, so to speak. Nay, I learned how deeply song lyrics resonate (word choice!) with me.

Point is, I know me some lyrics. I sing and quote ’em when any occasion arises. That’s simply me on this earth plane: I like words! Words and music are like peanut butter and jelly…or coconut and chocolate.

My mom used to make this coconut chocolate Bundt cake with chocolate ganache. I made it as probably the first vegan and gluten-free cake to be baked in Lady Neona’s Bundt pan. Since I didn’t particularly feel like making cookies for Easter, I thought this would be good Easter dessert. Unfortunately for cake qua cake, I over-baked it.  However, I’ve had an idea for a tropical Brownie Betty (Apple Brown Betty goes to Hawai’i?!) with which cake qua crumbs will work splendiferously.

You will notice I used Ener-G egg replacer powder here. You can increase the amount of arrowroot to replace it. I tend to avoid this product because it’s starch and nightshades, but I have a box of it now, and so I will use it.

Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Bundt Cake
Modified from

3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
2 tablespoons hot water
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup buckwheat
1 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains flour blend
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1/4 cup cocoa, black (or Dutch, or use all unsweetened)

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup agave
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (I always use low- or no-fat)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour the Bundt pan with a little arrowroot flour.  In a small bowl, combine the Ener-G and water and stir to dissolve.  In a large bowl, mix the rest of the filling ingredients. Pour the Ener-G mixture into the coconut mixture and stir well. It will be stiff. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, leavening, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and cocoas. Add the wet ingredients and mix well (watch for dry spots). The batter will be stiff, much like Miceli brownie batter. Working quickly, dollop about 1/3 to 1/2 of the batter inside the prepared Bundt pan. Dollop the filling on top of the batter. Finish with the remaining filling and press down gently on the batter with the back of a spatula (it will stick and be messy. Let go of your ideas of perfection). Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean, any visible coconut has browned, and the cake has cracked somewhat.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes then invert onto a rack to cool completely. You may ganache-itise when the cake is still warm. Frost at will, commander.

Chocolate Ganache

1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened chocolate almondmilk)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Heat milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles on the edges.  Remove from heat, place on a trivet, stir in the chocolate chips until they melt. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use, stirring occasionally.

As previously mentioned, I overbaked the cake as the original instructions read to bake for 55 minutes. Well, that’s too darn long for a stiff-battered cake. While it tasted dark and chocolatey and sweet, my uncle hit the nail on the head: “I wanted a glass of milk. And I don’t even drink milk!”

Back to the drawing board. And to the sink, to refill my glass.

Let’s talk about water here for a few beats. The human body is 70 per cent water and contains about 5 litres of blood. Proper hydration is essential to maintain homeostasis. I won’t go into the scientific illustration of this point here; you can read that on your own time.

I will point out from personal experience, however, that thirst is often confused with hunger. My craving for something sweet is oftentimes thirst. After trial and error, I found in 2009 that I function on about 4-5 litres of water a day (and yes, I drink tap. I live in the US where tap water is generally safe). In my current job, I can’t do that while at work because, as is the case with retail, bathroom breaks are restricted. I find myself eating more, unnecessarily, calories I’m not using—why? Because I’m thirsty and that is how my body responds. Somebody may need a new job soon, on that count among others, because the amount of water I need is not something I can change at will. I get dizzy and feel my heart beating rapidly in due course when I don’t drink enough. So on the way to and from work I now chug water to reload, as it were.

 Quite frankly, I believe one’s health is one’s greatest asset. Without health—defined as having the physical, mental, and spiritual potential ability to do what you want to do—what do you have?

In my world, the answer is obvious.  Bupkus. Nada.

So what’s my highest priority? My health. </Personal principle declaration>

Shots of the week:

Some breakfasts of champions.  On Tuesday, I had leftover pizza, tahini, flax, maple syrup, green tea, and green smoothie. The pizza was a “freezer cleanout”: hemp-parsley-cannelini “besto” (bean pesto) and Daiya pepperjack.

Right meal, wrong time:
I slept in, worked weird middle shift, and came home still hungry. I had Erewhon hemp buckwheat cereal, which is not sweet! It’s delish with unsweetened chocolate almondmilk, banana, pure peanuts peanutbutter, and zombie tea (and the obligatory tall one of water)

Cake for breakfast:
Yes, I ate this cake for breakfast. Considering how the ganache was the only source of white sugar, I felt OK during consumption. Two hours later, I was ravenous and supplemented the next meal with a protein shake one day and a granola bar the next to compensate. I learned again that if my breakfast isn’t sufficient, I spend the rest of the day making up for it and then some.

Final shot: I bought black sheets for my bed after I found a hole in the hem of the sheets I used to have. Plus 1,000 Goth points.

Reading song lyrics while not listening to the music revealed more into which I can read my life, in certain songs. I close with some words-not-mine.

So many bright lights to cast a shadow, but can I speak?
Well, is it hard understanding I’m incomplete?
--“Famous Last Words,” on The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

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