Saturday, 21 April 2012

How to ruin a perfectly good workout

So I'm training for a 5km race in September.  I've never run in my life, always kept up the rear and had horrible cardiovascular fitness.  When it comes to getting fit, I HAVE to do it, I have no choice anymore, because I have 3 kids to keep up with a provide a positive example for.  SO as much as possible I head out 3 times a week on my C25k running program, and finished week3 day 1 yesterday.  I feel good about it so far, but oh man was it cold..  I naturally I get home looking for comfort food.  I must resist, I know it's too tempting, it beckons me from its translucent cake carrier sitting on my counter.  No matter which way I turn, I see the maraschino cherry eyes follow me around the room.  Oh what the hell, I'm working on my fitness level at the moment, and cake wont prevent me from getting fit, just losing weight.  I cut a slice.

Vanilla cake

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla soy milk (or vanilla rice milk for soy free)
1 cup cold water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Prepare 2 round pans by greasing with either vegetable shortening or a safe margarine and dust pans with flour
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (I whisk them together)
4. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl, adding the vinegar last
5. Pour wet ingredients slowly into the dry and stir with a FORK until smooth.  DO NOT use beater, mixer or over mix it!  As soon as there are no more flour pockets, it's done.
6. Pour into prepared pans. Bake in centre of oven about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centre of cake comes out dry.
7. Cool 10 minutes in pan then carefully remove from pan and let cool completely on a rack before icing.

So I know it sounds odd, but the chemistry works out.  The vinegar and baking soda create the rising effect, and neutralise each other in flavour, the gluten in the flour binds the cake together, the vegetable oil creates the moist fluffiness of a cake with eggs.  All is good, the end result should be 2 nice cakes.  I've messed up my fair share of these types of recipes over the years by over mixing.  I know I've over mixed when the centre of my cake doesn't rise in the oven.  It means I activated too much of the baking soda while it was in the bowl.  Enjoy trying it out - and certainly enjoy the end result!  I ice it with my classic "safe buttercream" recipe.

Buttercream Icing

3/4 cup of margarine (safe)
1 tsp clear vanilla extract (regular works too, it just wont be as white)
4 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp soy milk (probably more - keep extra on hand)

1. Combine margarine and vanilla in a large bowl, beat until smooth
2. Add 1 cup at a time of icing sugar, mixing until the texture is even (it will be crumbly)
3. Add soy milk 1 tbsp at a time, beating until desired consistency is reached.

If you try it out, I'd love to hear what you think of the end result, or if you changed anything, what you changed and how it turned out!  Happy Baking from the Three Beasts Baking kitchen (that is currently littered with breakfast dishes - back to work I go).

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