Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Food Desert Project - @BronxZoosCobra Cake


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I don't know if you followed the escape of the Bronx Zoo Cobra and its subsequent capture...but Sparky and I followed the cobra's alleged Twitter Stream closely.

We all have our favorite cobra tweets - Sparky's is
@BronxZoosCobra "Indiana Jones, why did it have to be Indiana Jones?"
Mine is
@BronxZoosCobra Enjoying a cupcake @magnoliabakery. This is going straight to my hips. Oh, wait. I don't have hips. Yesss!#snakeonthetown
And Dad's is
@BronxZoosCobra Just FYI, I've had it with Samuel L. Jackson too.
But of course, the post-capture tweet that really caught my eye read:
@BronxZoosCobra A great cake recipe: 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 cups self-rising flour, 1 saw, 1 stick butter. And mix. Bring it by the zoo...
Sparky and I couldn't resist the challenge, which is not only a recipe from a native desert dweller...it fits the requirements for the food desert project.

006First of all, bronxzooscobra,  Mia, Mrs. Justin Bieber, or whatever your name is these days - you need to read up on your Ruhlman.  Your recipe as stated is extremely wet and eggy* - somewhere closer to souffle than cake.  However, fair is fair - we decided to stick with the ingredients as written...except, since I wasn't convinced of the food-desert availability of self-rising flour, we made our own using 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  (If your food desert or Egyptian desert happens to have self-rising flour, use the recipe as stated.)

Since the cake was unflavored except for the saw, I also opted to add 1/2 tsp of almond extract, just a hint...as I figured the almond smell (so often associated with poison) might confuse anyone looking for signs of venom (after all, if it isn't drool-worthy, why make a cake at all?)  If you're not trying to liberate a famous reptile, you can flavor yours any way you want to.

009Sparky, Zuko and I dove right in:  we decided that the heavy, wet batter was going to need more lift than just self-rising flour, so first we separated the eggs and whipped the 4 egg whites until they made soft peaks.   (did you ever wonder if rattlesnakes could use those things as whisks? ) The fluffy whites went into a clean bowl, and then the butter and sugar went into the mixer and were whipped until well incorporated... then we added the egg yolks and milk and whipped it some more.  Then came the flour, added slowly with the mixer on low.

016Sparky did his usual bang-up job folding the whites into the batter, and we poured the whole thing into a well-greased and floured 8" cake pan (if you don't need the depth for hiding a saw, I'd recommend a tube pan ...preferably a springform tube pan.)  This made for a quite deep single layer.

Since the cobra left us to guess about baking times, I popped the cake into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, then turned it down to 300 and allowed it to bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the center top set (note: the center will rise and then cave in a bit; this is typical of egg-white-leavened cakes and why you want a tube pan.  Make sure it's firm to the touch before you remove it from the oven.)

The cake was allowed to cool thoroughly, and the saw inserted into the side of the cooked cake to allow for ease of removal later....

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...except we weren't sure the cobra would really like it.  After all, maybe she's getting used to captivity...after all, how different is life behind glass than life on reality TV (a life people inexplicably seem to crave!)  Plus, with all the increased airport security, I wasn't sure how we could get it to the Bronx.

So we had some...oh, well, we ate all of it...I can make another - really!

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(*Considering that eggs are the only ingredient typical of a cobra's diet, I can see why this cake was so eggy - it made for a dense, moist cake with a delicious heavy crumb.  I plan to incorporate chocolate into this recipe someday, because it has the potential to be a really spectacular chocolate cake.)

20 comments:

Malik Turley said...

What a fun challenge! Wish you'd saved us a piece... :-)

Anonymous said...

ADORABLE!!!

Arguendo | Dixi said...

Great post! Loved it!

Dan Robinson said...

This was a great post! Consider me a new fan of your blog!

stephmabry said...

Oh my gosh. Love it!!!

Foodie Baby said...

Love it!

alessar said...

The texture looks amazing!

Megan said...

That's great!

Kristen @ SEO Runner said...

Brilliantly done!
I was wondering if (when) someone would attempt this recipe.
Adore the pics and write up.

Thanks for sharing!

Colin English said...

Yummee (apart from the saw!)

Alison said...

Adorable! I am pretty smitten with that Tweeting snake, too.

Your cake looks delicious, I might need to make one in her honor :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the laugh! I enjoy keeping up with the @Bronxzooscobra also and I'm happy to see someone trying to come to her rescue. While she was on the "run", I invited her down south, as I have an ex-hub I would have loved to introduce her too but I believe she was captured before she got a chance to respond. I'm not much of a baker, but if I was I would try this "eggy" creation, sans saw. It sounded like cake to me! Have a fantastic day!
Jonna Bishop Bingham
matthewandme513@msn.com

Michele Hays said...

Um...Zuko asked us to...and we made a really strong effort...

Michele Hays said...

Thank you all - and the texture was, indeed, amazing...

BON said...

i saw "Aang" here, the avatar?! (the bald guy in the 1st picture!) hihi! ^^

dianne said...

Fantastic! I never thought to try the recipe as I thought it was just more of the @bronxzooscobra sense of humor :-)

Michele Hays said...

Thank you both...Bon, I will pass your comment on to Zuko (who is, of course, an avatar fan...)

Sara said...

AWESOME! I love this!! :)

Michele Hays said...

Thanks!

Todd Michael Cox said...

Nice! We love and appreciate the humor of this, and the respect you've given to the cobra, all of which goes a long way to ending the fear and misunderstanding that usually follow serpents around. Good work!

--The Snake Anti-Defamation League (Todd)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Snake-Anti-Defamation-League/160235860697641

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