So a couple of weeks ago I was at my first birth of 2008. It was long. It was a rollercoaster of happenings and emotions. But it was good.
At some point during the birth I promised the mom I would make her a chocolate angel food cake and bring it over when we did our postpartum. She thought that was a great idea, and then she sunk into another contraction.
I probably would have gotten away with not making her one and never mentioning it again, as this conversation took place when she was high on endorphins and hallucinating on oxytocin. But that's not my style.
So when she invited me over for dinner the other night, I pulled my egg white stash out of the freezer and got ready to bake a cake.
January 23, 2008
Occasion: Postpartum Promises
Name of Cake: Chocolate Food Cake
Constituents: RLB's chocolate angel food cake (angel food cake plus cocoa powder and water)
Portland is having one of those "arctic freeze" moments, when it is bright and sunny and COLD and bitingly windy. If there were any moisture in the air or on the roads, there would be ice.
This means that my apartment's original 1920's single paned windows rattle in the wind, and the whole place is cold like a refrigerator. This means that room temperature in my kitchen is about 40 degrees. This means that a stash of frozen egg whites takes more than 24 hours to thaw, and as for coming to actual room temperature? That will take until May.
Now egg whites beat up fluffier and higher when they are at room temperature, but mine were never going to get there. I was just lucky enough of the egg whites defrosted for the recipe!
I was also out of Cream of Tartar, and there was no way I was going to go outside more than I had to. I mean, Cream of Tartar is only really there to stabilize the egg whites so that they don't dry out by overbeating...I didn't think it would be a problem...but just to make sure I beat the egg whites at medium-high, instead of high speed.
Which made the egg whites take FOREVER to get to stiff peaks stage, and thinking about it, I don't really think they were truly stiff peaked. But oh well; the cake rose really well anyway.
This angel food cake is really super moist--surprisingly so. It is also nice and chocolatey without being rich or overbearing, nor is it super sweet like store bought angel food cake. I think all the cocoa powder helps temper the sweetness.
This is the kicker though: the cake didn't get into the oven until 15 minutes before I was supposed to arrive at their house, and they live as far away from me as they can and still be in the Portland city limits. Which meant it would take about 30 minutes to get there, and the cake had about a 30 minute bake. So I left the cake in the oven (my roommate took care of it) and I went off to their house without the chocolate angel food cake like I said I would.
I bought some frosted brownies and vanilla ice cream instead, which was tasty but certainly no chocolate angel food cake. I promised them a cake next week, when her mom goes home and they are left to their own devices with their newborn. It will give me an excuse to check up on them.
Later the next day, I broke into the cake and paired it with a little vanilla ice cream and a 1/2 ounce of Kahlua. Excellent.
I left some cake at the home of some other doula clients that are due in April, and the rest at work for my clinic partners, two of which just had their second baby about a week ago.
You know, this seems to be a good cake to gift to people, because it is nice and chocoaltey as well as comparatively healthy. People were happy to eat it once they heard it was an angel food cake. In fact, since I am not tempting them with a cake that contains a pound and a half of butter, I am a little less the Evil Cake Lady and more a little bit of awesome.