Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Got Eggs? The egg shortage of 2015

I recently read about the millions of chicken deaths in the Midwestern chicken farms due to some sort of bird flu, which has resulted in a shortage of eggs in the US and sky-rocketing egg prices. So, today I thought I'd share a recipe for an egg-free Black Forest Cake that I used to rely on many years ago when I was suffering from numerous food allergies that had descended upon me all at once after getting a weird immunization booster for being out of the country within the 10 years prior.  (I became allergic to all the foods in my system: milk, wheat, chicken, coffee, bananas, etc. But that's another story.)

Believe it or not, this cake was often requested at many social gatherings I went to, not only for the health-aspects of it (lower calorie), but for its great taste.  Perhaps the ingredient list will nudge you toward being creative with modifications to your own favorite recipes, if the need arises.

Black Forest Cake (from the Food Allergy News Cookbook)

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk-free, soy-free margarine (I use regular margarine now. And sometimes I substitute 1/4 margarine for 1/4 cup applesauce.)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tablespoons oil, 3 Tablespoons water, 2 tsp baking powder, beaten together
1 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

canned cherries (I skipped this part, and just frosted the cake up with vanilla frosting)

I also need to add another optional ingredient, which helps offset the absence of eggs:  a small pinch of xanthan gum. This helps the cake to rise and stay risen after baking. Don't use too much or your cake will be stiff.  A tiny bit does go a long way. However, xanthan gum is expensive. Yet, it will last forever, and you can find that you can use it in many different recipes that need help in maintenance of consistency, like custards, or cheesecake, or whatever. That is an upside to the cost, provided you do a lot of cooking and dare to be adventurous in the kitchen. Xanthan gum also helps if you are gluten/wheat intolerant and need to bake with alternative flours, such as rice or tapioca or others. I found it especially helpful in those types of recipes I when had to develop them, because I couldn't eat anything else.

Back to the directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans (I used a 13x9, instead). Cream together the sugar and margarine. Add the water and beat together. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the mixture. Add oil, water, and baking powder mixture. Add vanilla and beat well. Pour the batter into pans. Bake 30 minutes.

When cooled, spread canned cherries on top of one layer, put the other layer on top and frost with chocolate frosting.

Again, I used a 13 x 9 pan to make a single layer chocolate cake that I topped with vanilla frosting. Explore and enjoy your own!