The old woman nodded as she listened to the soft, bubbling words [of the spirit of the well]. Then she went back to the cottage, her eyes bright with resolve, her step firm with courage.
She took water from the sieve and sprinkled it over the doorstep. When she got inside she saw a cake, dark reddish brown and unappetizing to look at, on the table. ‘They didn’t even wait for me to come back with the water,’ she said to herself. ‘They were greedy as well as wicked. But thanks to the spirit of the well I know what is in that cake.’
Geoffry Palmer and Noel Lloyd, “The Horned Witches,” Nine Witch Tales, ed. Abby Kedabra (New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1998), 13.
There were a few magical things about this cake I baked for my birthday: I still had the book from which the above quote is excerpted and the cake actually worked this time.
I really didn’t work a lot on Gothic Granola in 2016 (the most I did was pay for the domain renewal and hosting services, seriously!), but I did finally repost everything from 2012-2013, with a few edits and minus a lot of pictures. Mostly, I tried to keep the posts the same, even though 2013 sucked a whole mountain of ass; I left little editor’s notes and made snarky comments in the WordPress excerpts.
I’m not sure why it seems like the social media is ablaze with 2016 hate. Personally, the times Mercury was retrograde in 2016 were hellish, but nothing compares to 2013, which was all hell all the time. 2016 was better by a mile…1,300 miles better. I worked out more, my baking was generally better (thanks for the stand mixer, Pops!), I “discovered” a lot of good music, and I wrote a LOT (just not for this blog!). Oh, and I lost 10 pounds and haven’t found them again. And I live in the mountains for real.
So, yes, I thought of this story, “The Horned Witches,” and was synchronistically pleased to see that it was from Ireland, for reasons of my writing (more on that at the end of the post). Even better, though I remember having Nine Witch Tales in my possession at some point in 2013 (as opposed to it being at my parents’ house), guess what! When I asked Ownie Mom if I still had Nine Witch Tales, she found it on my shelves and mailed it to me. Bonus!
Apropos the story I always think of when I make/eat/see red velvet cake, I reversed the curse on this cupcake recipe. In January 2013, when I still laboured under the delusion that I should give my time to undeserving people because that’s the “right thing” to do under God or whatever, I made–or attempted to make–red velvet cheezecake cake.
To mash some Buddhism into Satanism, and throw out a corrective right now:
Bless me to show kindness to the deserving, not to waste love on ingrates.
Wanna talk about compassion to self and others? Don’t waste your energy on undeserving people. Sure, the category of “undeserving” exists in conventional reality, but hey, I’m not enlightened yet, so that’s where I gotta work!
In January 2013, the cake I made did not rise and the pan was probably too big (I have a 12-inch springform pan; I have no clue why, since most cakes are made in 8- or 9-inch diameter pans). I was informed by the recipient that most likely my baking soda had reacted too soon or was bad.
Nooooo, the Universe, my spirit guides, or something was trying to tell me that you and your tribe were not to be mine–ever–and I was wasting my time even trying! For more symbolism, chemical leavening fail and flat cake indicated that there was no exaltation, no enlightenment, no advancement spiritual or otherwise, no higher perspective, to be gotten from spending (literally spending) time, money, energy, and VGF cake on these…people.
Either everyone has something to offer, or they have nothing to offer. Or they have nothing positive to offer. The via negativa, while a hard slog, also offers its lessons. So glad that’s done! That I still think about the Accursed Gathering shows how much of a scar it left on my psyche. I write too much to forget events, places, and people; instead, I revisit, reflect, and reframe in order to ultimately let go. Perspective and time are wonderful healers.
Lest you think I am becoming as sickeningly “spiritual” as I was in 2012, I’m not. (I just want to throw up reading my old 2012 posts; I disgust me, but I learned!) My great-aunt gave me an Anam Thubten teaching CD for Xmas and I am excited to listen to it.
Without further ado,
Dried Blood Red Velvet Cake
Modified from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (Cambridge: Da Capo Press, 2006).
- 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond, don’t use ricemilk)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
- 1 cup GF oat flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- (1/4 cup tapioca starch for high altitude)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup coconut sugar, blitzed to powder
- 1/2 cup organic sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup pureed cooked or raw, but peeled, beets (make sure they are smooth)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment and grease the parchment.
- In a large measuring cup, add vinegar to non-dairy milk and set aside to curdle.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift then whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, leavening, and salt.
- In a blender, blitz together the sugar, oil, beets, and extracts.
- With the stand mixer running, pour the beet mixture on the flour mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour the curdled non-dairy milk into the rest of the ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Transfer the batter to the pans and place them in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes spring back to the touch, pass the toothpick test, and have pulled away slightly from the sides of the pans.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pans on a cooling rack before decorating.
To decorate: toppings of various sorts (nuts, chocolate chips, maraschino cherries) and cream cheeze frosting.
Patch Cat says, “Chococat, this is my cake!”
Best wishes for an awesome 2017!
P.S. As promised, a very short excerpt of what I spend the rest of my time on: vampire stories.