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Kitchen Story: The Healing Properties of Cake

October 31, 2011

It’s a weekend of feeling rather puny. So my solution is chicken soup and chocolate cake. Everyone knows about chicken soup, so let’s start there. The recipe in this story is an easy one and has an excellent kick.  If you don’t know hominy, this is a great introduction. It’s hearty and adds a great texture to the soup.  The spiciness of the soup can be moderated depending on your own preferences, but when you have a head-cold, something that makes your nose run is actually quite nice.  I use half-sharp paprika rather than smoked, which dials up the heat, and I add more Tabasco each day, so the heat level increases as the soup sits.  The love I have for this soup is rather embarrassing. I could eat it for days – morning, noon, and night. There is something about the combination of flavors of cumin and paprika…probably speaks to the eastern European part of my heritage.

So let’s talk about cake. Specifically, let’s talk about Devil’s Food Cake. You may not think that it’s good for what ails you. Sure, it’s chocolaty and rich and delicious, but is it helpful when you have a cold? I say yes. There is something about the sensation

of eating chocolate cake when you are sick that just makes you feel good.  It makes you happy. It causes you to make “yummy sounds” (if you don’t know that reference, watch Young Frankenstein again), and that beats the cold-germ-blues. Of course, there is no nutritional reason that Devil’s Food Cake helps you get better, but it sure makes you happier while you are sick.  This recipe from Bon Appétit, makes a great cake, and the frosting has a cream cheese base, so it’s got a little tang to it.

So next time you are feeling under the weather…or just want to take some preventative measures…you have my prescription.

Chicken and Hominy Soup

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-and-Hominy-Soup-237029

8 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 bunches green onions, sliced

4 teaspoons ground cumin

2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

10 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite tomatoes in juice

1 purchased roast chicken, meat shredded, skin and bones discarded

4 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

3 (15-ounce) cans golden or white hominy in juice

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add green onions, cumin, and paprika; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, chicken, and hot pepper sauce. Puree hominy with juice in processor or blender. Mix into soup; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls.

Devil’s Food Cake with Creamy Chocolate Frosting

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Devils-Food-Cake-with-Creamy-Chocolate-Frosting-102185

12 pieces

3/4 cup water

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Creamy Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter pans with 1 3/4-inch-high sides. Dust with flour; discard excess.

Bring 3/4 cup water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Whisk in cocoa to form paste. Cool slightly. Add buttermilk; whisk until blended.

Whisk flour and next 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and next 4 ingredients in large bowl until light, about 5 minutes. Beat in cocoa mixture. Add dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread  3/4 cup frosting over. Top with second layer. Spread remaining frosting over entire cake.

(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; let stand at room temperature.)

Creamy Chocolate Frosting Directions

Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until well blended.

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From → Kitchen Stories

One Comment
  1. Or, equally, the healing properties of realising your old friends are out there and scribbling still: nice work, Richard.

    I envy you the water taxi, ‘though I appreciate your inner ear problem. So much nicer than my driving with the radio but it is what you make of it, not what it is, eh?

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