Patience Cake

Have you ever baked anything with a little kid?

Fiona’s birthday party is on Saturday. She’ll be turning three. Now, I’m of the variety of parent that is, if the truth were told, entirely lazy. If I had choices in the matter we would be buying a sheet cake from the local grocery store bakery and I would not be involved in the baking or frosting process, except in a debit card capacity.

Unfortunately for me, but not for our party guests, Fiona’s food allergies preclude the easy answer. For giggles some time, try telling an underpaid bakery employee that you want to order a cake with no milk, butter, eggs, cornstarch, or corn syrup in it. Their expression is worth the few seconds it takes to ask.

So, how, you ask, is a cake made with very few of the commonly necessary ingredients?

It goes like this:

You will need:

1 large bowl
Measuring spoons and cups
1 mixing spoon
1 spatula
1 electric mixer
2 9in round pans
1 small sauce pan

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder, plus a small amount.
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp flax ground flax-seed
2/3 cup oil
2 tbsp vanilla
1 bottle of red wine

Infinite patience, a roll of paper towels, one helper under the age of six.

First turn on the oven to 350F.  Remind the small child that this means that the stove is hot and she will get burned if she touches it. Grease both of your cake pans and powder them with cocoa powder.

Combine flax-seed with 6 Tbsp of water in sauce pan. Heat on stove over medium heat, stirring as often as possible while reminding your helper not to dump the whole container of baking soda in the bowl because you’ll need some for the cake. Move the sugar so that your helper stops sticking her fingers in it. Turn off the heat and move the pan when the flax-seed goo starts to resemble the way raw egg whites separate when you stir it away from the pan. You have created two eggs.

Retrieve another bowl or convince your helper to empty her creation into the sink. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl. Measure carefully and allow your helper to dump each ingredient into the bowl. Remind your helper not to eat the sugar, because it needs to be in the cake.  Stir in milk, oil, and vanilla. Finally stir in your flax-seed goo.

Use the electric mixer to blend the ingredients until smooth.  Remind your helper not to stick her fingers in the mixer. Try not to panic when she tries to anyway. Scrap batter evenly into both cake pans. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until a dry spaghetti stick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cakes from the oven and turn out onto cooling racks. Remind your helper that the cake is for the party and she may not eat it right now. Even if she sees the cake and immediately goes to the silverware drawer and come back with a fork clenched in her little hand and a delighted grin on her face.

Now, if your anything like me (it’s okay, I understand that you’re probably better adjusted), then by the time you reach this step you’re pretty frazzled. It’s okay. This is the last and final step, pour yourself a glass of wine and wait until tomorrow to frost the cake.


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