Celebration Chocolate Cake

Time to Celebrate!

The Back in the Swing Cookbook, which I wrote with Barbara C. Unell, has won the "Golden Globes" of the cookbook world: The International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award for 2013!

This book delivers just what it promises--recipes for eating and and living well every day after breast cancer. 

Barb and I looked through a lot of scary cancer books and decided that was not the way to go.  Of course, you need the latest research, nutritional and lifestyle info if someone you love has breast cancer.  But how are you going to start feeling good again if you accentuate the negative instead of the positive? 

We focused on real science and real food that tastes good and is good for you.  All the foods in this book have certain roles to play in getting you back in the swing.  Some build you back up. Some help you slim down. Still others perk up your appetite or help keep stray cancer cells (we all have them, every day) from multiplying.

We called on many experts to vet this information, and you'll find a sizable resource guide in the back of the book.  The result? The Back in the Swing Cookbook is a virtual survivorship center between the covers of a book. 

So, to celebrate, we're sharing our Celebration Chocolate Cake which is great for Mother's Day, graduation, holidays, awards parties, or book launches. 

Check out my friend Linda Rodriguez' fabulous new mystery novel Every Broken Trust.

Have your cake and eat it, too!

Celebration Chocolate Cake
From The Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer

It's not a party without cake. And this one-bowl, dark chocolate little number is an especially perfect match for our devotion to pumpkin and cocoa. Adapted from a recipe by dessert chef Emily Luchetti, our version ditched some of the fat and sugar but kept the joyful flavor. Use a large bowl, so you can easily whisk the batter together. Let the chocolate glaze cool a bit, and it will thicken like ganache.

Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or vinegar in 1 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

Serves 14

What You Need:
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

8 ounces neufchatel or low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not seasoned pie filling)
1/4 cup honey, agave nectar, or sorghum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Seedless red grapes, whole blackberries, pistachios, and curls of fresh orange peel

What You Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with flour and tap out any excess over the sink. Set aside.
2. For the cake, whisk the buttermilk, water, oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and salt together in a very large bowl until well blended. Whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until smooth. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
3. Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool.
4. For the filling, whisk the cheese, pumpkin, sweetener, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well blended. Place one cake layer on a plate. Spread with the filling, and top with the second layer.
5. For the glaze, heat the half-and-half in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until glossy, smooth, and dark. Let cool for 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour half of the glaze over the cake; pour the remaining glaze into a small bowl to pass at the table. Casually arrange the topping ingredients on top of the glazed cake.

Calories 336
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 6g
Carbohydrates 51g
Protein 6g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sodium 88mg

If you make the Glaze ahead of time,  gently heat it over simmering water or on the Defrost setting of the microwave so it’s pourable.