This is my first Daring Bakers Challenge and I am so stoked to have a group providing me with an excuse to bake stuff!! This first challenge was to hide a vegetable in a baked good. I immediately vetoed carrot cake, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie…all things that technically met the criteria but are conventionally accepted as yummy by the general populous. My first thought was to make a cake from my childhood that is based primarily on dates, but then there was the conundrum about a date technically being a fruit (although a quick search online led to the conclusion that ultimately all edible fruits are technically vegetables. But that makes this challenge weird because then anything I make with fruit is technically hiding a vegetable…). Any way, it seemed against the spirit of the challenge, so I kept brainstorming and came up with (drum roll please)- THUNDER CAKE!!
Thunder cake is from the book Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. I used to check this book out from the school library all the time when I was in grade school – the little girl, scared of the thunderstorm has to go outside with her grandma to collect ingredients as the storm gets closer. But as they make this cake she slowly loses her fear of the thunder and is rewarded with chocolate cake and strawberries when the storm finally breaks. I have been saying since I was 5 that I was going to make this cake, and now I finally have reason to.
Here’s what you need to have your own trip back down memory lane.
1 cup of shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Gather your ingredients…
…and start baking!
1. Beat whites until they are stiff
2. Cream together the shortening, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks.
3. Fold in the egg whites
4. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
5. Stir together the water and tomatoes.
6. Fold in the dry and tomato mixtures alternating wet and dry until completely incorporated.
7. Grease and flour two 9 inch rounds.
8. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
9. Frost with chocolate frosting.
10. Top with strawberries (You must have as much glee during the strawberry topping as the grandma in the original book).
Here’s what they look like in real life (I did a cupcake version so they were easier to distribute). These were received very well – I served them to my siblings, one of whom had already stated she wasn’t going to eat anything I made with veggies. Took a bunch in to work and actually had coworkers stealing cupcakes off of other peoples desk after eating their own… so far only two people know that they had tomatoes in them, but everyone has asked when I’m bringing them again!
Shout out to Ruth for providing this awesome challenge!
(Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!)