Afternoon, y'all! I promise to be back with a little creativity tomorrow, but until then, I wanted to share my pick for this month's For the Love of Books post. With all the rain and thunderstorms we've had in my neck of the woods lately, this one was a no-brainer. Plus, I just cannot say enough about its gorgeous illustrations and heartwarming retelling of a living memory. It is written for children ages five to eight.
Thunder Cake, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, tells the story of a young girl who overcomes her fear of thunderstorms with the help of Grandmother and her Thunder Cake. In order to be real Thunder Cake, it must be in the oven before the storm arrives. So, with Grandmother by her side, encouraging her every step of the way, she quickly gathers eggs from mean old Nellie Peck Hen; milk from old Kick Cow; chocolate, sugar, and flour from the dry shed in Tangleweed Woods; and tomatoes and strawberries from the garden, all while counting each second between a flash of lightning and bellow of thunder. With each new item acquired, her bravery becomes more and more apparent; until by the time the cake had been plated and the storm had arrived, she was able to smile as the thunder roared "so hard it shook the windows and rattled the dishes in the cupboards."
3 large eggs
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pureed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two nine-inch cake pans.
In a medium bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites (reserving the yolks) until stiff peaks form, about two minutes; set aside.
In an additional medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together oil, butter, and granulated sugar until well combined and creamy, one to two minutes. Beat in yolks, vanilla, and tomato until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until combined, about two minutes; fold in egg whites until combined.
Divide batter into cake pans. Bake 33-37 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool pans on wire racks for 12 minutes; run a knife around outside edges; and invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the ganache, heat cream in small saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and whisk in chocolate until melted; whisk in butter, corn syrup and vanilla until combined. Pour and spread ganache over cooled cake layers. Enjoy!
Makes 10-12 servings
I'm thinking a little Thunder Cake would pair perfectly with dinner on this gloomy day. Off to preheat the oven. Thanks so much for reading! Be blessed!