Just Plain Old Chocolate Cake


I don't do martyr well.  Oh sure, I play a good game.  I'll sacrifice a lot for the sake of the kids.  I don't look like your typical diva and I certainly don't act like one.  I can tell you one thing though.  I am stamping my foot on the ground and saying 'I want my hour back!'
I was reading this article... again (!) and I've realized that what upsets me most isn't what I thought it would be.  The whole calorie counting/exercise mania/to look gorgeous crap is what initially hit me.  I tried the food restriction/calorie counting in my twenties which corresponded nicely with being desperately broke and not being able to generally afford things like meat, eggs and cheese in quantities of any significance.  What I lived on I can't remember exactly but I have vague thoughts of beans and lots of them, toast, peanut butter (thank god for that one) and coffee.  What it got me was a lot of malcontent, a size 2 and digestion problems.  Glad that one's behind me.
The exercise, as you all know, is something that I'm religious about - one of the few things really.  I don't do it to be skinny.  I am a size 8 and proud.  Why I exercise is simple.  I feel wonderful, my health is off the charts (literally, as far as my insurance company is concerned) and I think better out there on my bike or on a run than I do at any other time in the day.  It's my time.  I don't do spa days (maybe spa hours but not days) to rejuvenate, I do a run.
So what finally made me mad when I read this article?  You know, after all of these years of liberation, 'equality' and authority, we women are still working at a disadvantage all the time.  We still bear the lion's share of work in the home (in most cases) whether or not we work outside of it.  We still have children and carry a lot of the responsibilities that go along with kids.  We still feel an incredible amount of pressure to look the part... well put together, of a certain size, doing all the right things.  In other words rather than freeing ourselves over the last 50 years it feels more like a 'make work' project.  I do want my hour back.


I don't want my hour back so that I can be told what I'm supposed to fill it with.  I don't want my hour back so that I can watch reality tv on cable.  I don't want my hour back so that I can wander around in a mall.  I don't want my hour to go from being told to fill it with the Jane Fonda workout to being told to fill it with... anything.  I want it to be my hour.  And that's the martyr piece that I'm not good at.  When I don't get some time - without restraint, without demands, without mental invasion - then I start to get antsy, panicky even claustrophobic.  When I go from getting up in the morning to get ourselves and kids ready, to work, to gym, to home, to laundry, to clean, to cook, to read, to sleep then I start to feel lost in there.  Today, I'm tired of feeling lost and I want to feel found.  That's it - I'm finding myself.


Today I am eating chocolate cake - maybe even multiple pieces - and I'm going for a run - maybe even a long one - because today that's how I want to fill up MY hour.


Plain Old Chocolate Cake adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen
makes 1 8x8 inch square cake

1 1/2 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3/4 cup coffee, still warm
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
3/4 cups dark cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg + 2 egg whites (or two eggs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla pod seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp melted butter or oil (coconut or veg)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk

Ganache icing: adapted from Martha Stewart
makes enough when thickened to cover 1 square chocolate cake

3/4 cup cream
4 oz chopped dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp espresso powder
2 - 4 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

Grease and flour a square 8x8 cake pan.  Set aside.
Preheat oven to 300°F.

Combine the hot coffee and chopped chocolate together and set aside.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.  Sift and mix well.  Set aside.
Whisk (or use a mixer) the eggs until lemon coloured and slightly frothy (about 1 1/2 minutes).  Add the sugar and continue to whisk until frothy and thickening slightly.  Add the melted butter and continue to whisk for about a minute.  Add in the vanilla and the coffee/chocolate mixture and whisk until well mixed.
Add in the flour mixture and gently whisk until well mixed.
Slowly add in the buttermilk mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and drop onto the floor or counter just to get out the air bubbles.
Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before removing from the pan.
To make ganache:
Bring the cream just to the boiling point in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate and salt and stir until the chocolate is melted and the cream and chocolate have completely mixed together.  Cool to room temperature (about 40 minutes), stirring regularly.
Whip using a hand mixer or whatever until it gets thick and spreadable (took me between 5 and 7 minutes)
Spread onto completely cooled cake.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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