Hi everyone and please click on the title of this post to read more. I had a really interesting discussion at a party this weekend about tables for the homeless. A woman who works with the homeless in need of furniture for their new homes was telling me that they were being advised to buy a table as their very first item for the house. The reasoning behind this is not just practical but motivational; having a table will foster eating together with the family and will also allow the children to have a place right off the bat where they can do their homework. This is a great example of how we need to thing about the big picture when we are attempting to make lifestyle changes. It is not just about the food for dinner or the homework routines but about the environment which can help facilitate these changes.
This same weekend I had a discussion with my niece Bailie about how she would love to cook all the time in her house in Colorado if she only had the ingredients and the cookware. She was able to experience the pleasure of making her Uncle, my beloved husband, a birthday cake because I had all the ingredients and bakeware in our house. We talked about how stocking a pantry and buying cookware is a long process that needs to be accomplished over time.
The notion of waiting to build our kitchens can be very frustrating for some of us who want instant gratification but don’t have the time, know-how or money to buy many things at once. If we break down the process into short term goals, however, this can make the process easier. For example, if we buy one ingredient or one cooking tool a week, we can feel as though we are inching forward towards a future of cooking by slowly stocking our pantry and cookware. (See how Bailie is on her way to more cooking confidence and why in the video below as she makes her dream chocolate cream cheese cake mentioned in the last blog post).
Here is the cake she made and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did:
Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Filling:
You will need 2 large bowls and one medium bowl.
Dry ingredients for cake in 1st bowl:
1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Wet Ingredients for cake in second bowl:
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 TBS white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
Add whisked dry ingredients to wet ingredients until combined. Pour into an 8″ round cake pan, preferably with a removable bottom ( a springform pan). In the center, pour the cream cheese filling, see below:
Cream cheese filling:
In a medium sized bowl:
8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened for a minute in the microwave
1/3 cup sugar
Beat together sugar and cream cheese and then add:
one beaten egg and
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When heated, place cake on middle rack of oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake in the center, around the filling, comes out clean with a knife. Chill in fridge until cooled. When cooled, you can frost with the following frosting or no frosting at all:
2 TBS sweet butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
6 TBS heavy cream
1 1/4 cups SIFTED (must sift because we don’t want lumps) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla and extract
Heat all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and stir until fully combined and smooth. When cooled, spread on your awesome cake and chill again in fridge. When it is chilled and frosting is a little solid, sift some powdered sugar on top. You can serve immediately or the next day but cover well with wax paper. YUM!