October 3, 2008

Thunder Cake

My boy read the book "Thunder Cake," by Patricia Polacco at school. It is a nice story about a grandmother who helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder by baking a cake as the storm approaches. The last page of the book contains the recipe for the special cake.

He thought it would be fun to bake a Thunder Cake of our own. As promised the boy brought
the secret recipe home with him from school today. We immediately started baking.

The recipe calls for tomato puree. While this is an unusual ingredient for a cake, it doesn't alter the flavor in any way. The cake is moist, chocolaty and delicious.

Thunder Cake

1 c. shortening
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs, separated
1 c. cold water
1/3 c. tomato puree
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the shortening, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the water and tomato puree.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet mixture and beat until well combined.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the cake batter, stirring gently until

Pour the batter into two greased 8 1/2 inch round pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes.

Invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

To frost the cake, use Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (recipe below).

Place one layer of the cake on a cake stand. Top with a generous layer of the buttercream.

Top with the second layer of cake. Use a small amount of frosting to give the cake a crumb coat. Top with the remaining frosting.

We sprinkled the top of our cake with some white nonpareils, so that it would look like a cloud.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 lb. butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar

6 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sifted cocoa powder

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. Whisk unti
l the sugar is dissolved and the mix is warm.

Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on high speed until the egg whites are stiff and cooled, approximately 10 minutes.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the butter to the egg whites about 1/4 cup at a time. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder.

Beat the frosting on the lowest speed for about 3-5 minutes before using.

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