Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's a Ponderful Life

That's what I've been doing this past week -- pondering. What a strange word that is. Ponder. Pondering. Pondered. It's sort of -- uhmmm -- ponderous. But I digress ...

There's been plenty of ponder-time because my dial-up hamsters have been unusually flaky and erratic. Sometimes they seem to be practicing slow motion. Other times, they fling me off my connection in a manner very much like the hamster flung himself off the wheel in the video for the last post. It was really hard to maintain my appreciative attitude today when that kind of behavior made it cruelly difficult to listen to the radio feed for the Raiders-Broncos game, I'll tell you that. I think my particular hamsters have a mean streak because they kept cutting out the feed just as something exciting was about to happen. I missed a lot of the good stuff.

I forgave them, though, when the final score came out Raiders 31 -- Broncos 10. Oh frabjous joy! Hope lives again in my heart.

On another front entirely, much of my time this past few days has been spent researching and experimenting with a particular kind of recipe. You may recall that we did that choccy cake in a coffee mug gig a while back. One of the things I discovered is that there are two distinct trends in the cake-in-a-mug experience. One: most of the recipes you find are for chocolate cake. Two: for variety in flavor, you have to go with mixing up boxed cake mix and boxed instant pudding mix.

Okay, I ixnayed the boxed mixes right up front. What I'm looking for is something easily and quickly made with basic ingredients most likely to be on hand in any kitchen. More important, since this is a microwave project, I'm trying to produce a cake that does not come across as a microwave cake. You know -- tough and rubbery and dry and just icky. Also -- and this may shock you -- I'm looking for something in flavors other than chocolate.

Listen, you can't do chocolate ALL the time. That's just excessive and probably dangerous. Besides, I would consider myself inadequate if I were only equipped with a single obsession. If one cultivates a variety of obsessions, one will be much more flexible and capable of satisfying raging urges. Choose one from Column A and two from Column B. Or something like that.

Yet another ponder point under consideration is a recipe without eggs. I just feel uncomfortable using a whole egg for one little bitty coffee mug-sized cake. That seems ostentatious. And uneccessary. There are perfectly fine ways to do an end run around the egg. Powdered whole egg or powdered egg white is one way to do it but, dayum, that stuff is expensive. Using bananas or applesauce is, I think, the better way to go.

I managed a really close nearly successful mug cake today using fresh minced apple. It was delicious but just a teensy tad too moist. Too much apple. I will give it another shot tomorrow, adjusting the proportions. If it works out, I'll share the recipe with you. If it doesn't, I'll just have to do some more experimenting.

I know. It's a grueling job but I'm willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring a pleasing result to your table. Don't thank me. Just send chocolate.


John Bailey said...

My memory is not really awake yet, Dee, but I seem to recall us using pureed apple as an egg substitute in baking during the war/austerity years? There were lots of no-egg cake recipes back then, that I do remember. Eggs were almost as scarce and precious as onions when I wuz a kid...

Dee said...

No kidding? Onions were scarce? Oh my, that would be horrid. I consider onions a staple.

Maggie said...

I have a couple of old cookbooks that offer things like one egg cakes, two egg cakes. Look up old Sunbeam Mixmaster Recipes on the web. :)

How bout a coffee swirl cake. :)