Food Friday–bonus–How to fake a cake

Cooking for Shabbat began last night with this soup -in- formation. What you can’t see is a tea ball filled with pickling spices and a glug of vinegar.


Earlier today I pulled out the vegetables, mashed them in a tea towel lined strained and then after the vegetable mash was cool I squeezed all of the juices out of the soup and added them back into the pot. The left over squeezed out cellulose was then thrown in the trash. If I composted, I would add those dead vegetables to the compost pile.

This morning I put up the challah, and them made the  idiot chicken.


We call it idiot chicken because you can be an idiot and still make it come out delicious. You coat the chicken with lots of herbs Provençal and then squeeze the juice of a lemon or two over the whole thing and then cook until the chicken looks completely dead.

This is the first variety of chicken each of my kids has made. It’s crazy easy to make and tastes impressive. It often gets made here on short Fridays like this one.

And now as promised, faking a cake.

My mother used to have me help as her baking assistant when I was a kid. I greased pans, chopped nuts and chocolate and washed bowls. My mother had learned how to bake from the fabulous Haligonian  balaboustas.  As my mother, ever the earnest student, worked she used to recite the tips that her teachers used to give her to know what to look for at each stage of the process.

beat until light and foamy

beat until a ribbon of batter falls from the beater

beat until pale yellow

bake until the cake pulls away from the pan slightly

I also spent a huge amount of time reading cookbooks. I used to read through my mother’s little collection of cookbooks, over and over from the time I could read until my mother moved out of the house I grew up in when my father died.


I had read cookbooks so much that once when my friends and I were all fairly drunk one of my buddies decided to cook a roast. He called out from the kitchen and asked if anyone knew how to cook a roast. A complete recipe fell out of my mouth. I had never cooked a roast but I talked my friend through searing the outside of the meat, and the whole process oven temperature and cooking times and all.

I know that most cookbooks will tell you that cake baking is a particular skill , more like that of a chemist and much less than that of a cook so NEVER EVER try to fake a cake like you might a soup.

I have been faking cakes for the past year or so,


This is my basic formula

3 eggs

1 c flour

1 c sugar

1 pinch salt


1 tsp. baking powder

liquid – 1/4- 3/4 c


Today’s cake was made with separated eggs. I have also made this basic cake with separated eggs. I beat the whites first with a pinch of salt until they were stiff.

I then beat the yolks with the sugar until they were pale yellow and fluffy. I added a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil and kept beating. I also added the grated rind of an orange


I had prepared a chopped mixtures of fruit and nuts, the preserved etrogim from Sukkot, pecans, date paste, lots of spices cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice.


I decided to turn the cake into brown spice cake so added some coffee, ( less than half a cup) some cocoa cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla and cardamom.


I had lined a bunt pan with parchment paper, put in about 1/3 of the batter and then added plops of the chopped fruit mixture, I covered the fruit with more batter, added the final plops of fruit and gently mixed the batter and fruit in the baking pan.

I baked the mixture at 375 until it was done.


Before I serve it I will sprinkle confectioner’s sugar over the whole thing. It’s a faked cake.


Shabbat Shalom on this very short Friday. Hoping that this next week will be a peaceful one.


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