Oh sh**. (Shit Cake)

Oh yes, I’m out of the country. Sorry for any delays in responses or little tech bugs that pop up while I’m gone. Enjoy this series of cakes while I’m off remembering what life was like before internet access.

My friend C is celiac, which means she can’t eat anything with wheat, barley, rye or unprotected oats in it. All of these grains have gluten or gliadin in them – gluten/gliadin are proteins that cross link to form a mesh in dough. It’s why bread is chewy, why cake holds together and the reason you can knead dough. It’s also toxic to people with celiac, as their bodies attack it like a virus or bacteria. It destroys their intestines whenever they eat it. Pretty much, having celiac or another gluten intolerance sucks. The only treatment is to avoid all gluten.

Gluten is found in flour, obviously, but also in modified food starch, caramel coloring, malt flavoring and MSG, among others. Try finding any prepared food that doesn’t have one of those in it. (Up until recently, Coke was not safe, nor were Rice Krispies.)

As I spent two years gluten free, I understand the challenges of eating free and the cravings that come along with it. Imagine never eating pizza, bread, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, pasta, ramen, crackers, eclairs, stuffing, fried chicken, or bagels again. 
Of course, when her birthday rolled around, I knew that I was going to conquer a gluten free cake once and for all. Flourless chocolate cakes (the dense, heavy truffle-y ones served in almost every restaurant in the world) are all well and good, but you get oh so tired of them since they are the only cake you can eat. 
Gluten free flours can be found and, in some cases, can turn out good results, but I’m a big fan of not just replacing one food with another, but trying to eat entirely around it. (I’m looking at you, diet soda and reduced fat margarine. Either drink the soda, or don’t. And please, either use butter, or decide not to.) 
Luckily, Deb came to my rescue with this cake, which she has named the Sh*t Cake. (You’ll have to read her post to find out why.)

This cake is amazing. It is my new favorite cake ever. Yes, I can eat gluten again, but with this cake, I’m not sure why I’d want to. Seriously. I haven’t shut up about this cake since I made it in April. Neither has the birthday girl. If it can win her approval, it’s a champ. 
Plus, it’s called Sh*t Cake. What could be better?
Notes: This cake is perfect. 
Sh*t Cake
Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen, frosting from me, via my mother, via some old cookbook at some point, probably. 

Allow four hours. Makes one 9″ round cake. 

Cake
12 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
6 tablespoons water
12 eggs, separated
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Frosting
3/4 cup of butter, room temperature
5-6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons milk

Cake
1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 9″ circular pans and line bottoms with circles of parchment paper.*, **
2) Melt chocolate with water in a microwave bowl. (Microwave for thirty second twice, then at 10-15 second intervals until just melted.)*** Cool to room temperature.
3) Beat yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar together until pale and lemon yellow – about 10 minutes.**** Fold in melted chocolate.
4) Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.***** Add 2/3 cup of sugar, and beat till stiff peaks form.
5) Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolks, then fold in the rest of the egg whites gently.
6) Spread 1/4 of the batter in each pan and bake until top is dry to touch, about 15 minutes.
7) Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cocoa powder dusted drying racks or cocoa powder dusted, waxed paper lined baking sheets.
8) Bake the other half of the batter for a total of four layers.
9) Transfer all four layers to the freezer to firm up for an hour. *x6

Frosting
1) Cream butter until fluffy, then add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, up to five cups.
2) Add vanilla extract and cocoa powder. Taste frosting, and add more sugar if necessary.
3) Test spreading consistency, and add milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time.

Assembly
1) Pray or cross your fingers.
2) Carefully transfer one of the frozen cake layers to a plate, and spread it with  (very) soft frosting.
3) Repeat with remaining layers, remembering that frosting covers all manner of cracks.
4) Frost entire cake.

Alternately, frost with whipped cream, as Deb does.

*I am not a big parchment paper person, but trust me, you want it here. Like, I wouldn’t try to do this without parchment paper.
** You’ll use these pans twice, so you can cut two more circles of paper now, if you want.
*** Or use a double boiler.
**** Yes, 10 minutes.
***** Don’t forget to clean your beaters amazingly well. Alternatively, you can beat the whites before the yolks, but they’ll separate a bit. And use a huge bowl. 12 whites is a lot.
*x6 (Because that’s a lot of asteriks.) Please transfer these to the freezer. It’ll make your life so much more pleasant when you put it together.

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This entry was posted in Cakes to Celebrate, Food Gifts, New York, Party Food. Bookmark the permalink.

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