So here’s a scenario from
my an imaginary 20-something woman’s life:
Let’s say this woman just got a job teaching as a sessional instructor at a large college in a large North American city. She’s very keen to do well on the job and practice all she’s learned about pedagogy.
Her office, as it turns out, is down the hall from the Computer Help Desk (where students and teachers alike go when their computer is on the fritz, the printer won’t work, or they can’t access emails, etc.). Each morning as she scurries by the desk toward her office, she spies a super-cute guy working behind the counter. After a few weeks, they’re smiling and nodding at each other as she rushes past to her office.
Eventually, she decides that she’d really, really like to get to know this guy. But here’s her conundrum: she’s too shy to ask him out–or even to just stop and chat with him for no apparent reason (ie, she sucks at flirting).
And then. . . she has a brilliant idea about how to get to know him better!
What do you suppose she does? (Note: you may choose more than one answer. No marks deducted for incorrect choices):
(a) Begs her office mate, who is much more outgoing than she is, to chat him up and find out if he is interested.
(b) Dons her shortest miniskirt, fishnet stockings and clingy sweater and prances about the hallway between his desk and her office, hoping he will notice her.
(c) Deliberately shoves her computer off the desk so that it comes crashing to the floor, summoning Mr. Cute Guy to her office in a hurry.
(d) Throws an end-of-semester Christmas party at her tiny apartment and invites the entire English faculty plus the Computer Help Desk staff (70+ people), just so it won’t appear too obvious that he’s invited, too.
So, which one did I–I mean, that woman–do?
Let’s just say. . . it was a really good party.
But I’m not writing this post today to tell you about how I met my Starter Husband (oh, wait, no, I mean–to tell you how Imaginary 20-Something Torontonian College English Teacher met her Starter Husband).
No, the reason I mention the Party to End All Parties is rather to relate to you how I became enamored of
a computer helpdesk geek these cheesecake-filled morsels of chocolately deliciousness.* (And, how I forged a reputation among English professors as “that gal who bakes.”).
I remember well the reaction after I posted an open invitation in our faculty lounge (“End of Term Christmas Party–All Are Welcome! Snacks and sweets provided. BYOB. Hope to see you there!”). One of the senior profs at the time–let’s call her Professor Yenta–glanced at the notice and spun around to face me.
“Wow, that’s brave–or maybe crazy,” she said. Since I had no idea what she was talking about, I likely appeared somewhat nonplussed.
“To issue an open invitation,” she explained. “To everyone. In this department? I mean, you never know who will show up. What if Professor Misanthrope decides to show? Or if Ms. Ball Breaker spends the evening at your place? I mean, that could really ruin a party.” Professor Misanthrope was well known in the deparment for the high-watt sheen on his bald head, the force of which was second only to his disdain for students. Ms. Ball Breaker, on the other hand, with her dime store hair dye, lips perpetually lemon-puckered and eyes that never smiled even when she forced the corners of her mouth upward, was disdainful of everyone. Hmm. I had just assumed that only people who knew me–or, at least, liked me–would attend.
After I’d impulsively invited 70 people into my home, it suddenly occurred to me that I’d better provide some really memorable food to compensate for the fact that we’d be crammed into the living room and hallway of a one-bedroom apartment with a galley kitchen, the entire space no more than 600 square feet.
I decided to do what I did best: bake. The final menu featured an assortment of holiday cookies like shortbreads (I think I made the original version of these), Surprise Crackles, your basic Chocolate Chip Cookies, and perhaps a few bars and brownies. But the pièce de résistance was going to be a recipe I’d found in Gourmet magazine. Individual chocolate cupcakes called Farm Cakes were each filled with a hefty dollop of cream cheese filling, the filling itself studded with chocolate chips. The cake eveloped the cheesecake inside so that unsuspecting diners bit into it to discover a hidden creamy, cool, sweet center. I knew I wanted to impress my colleagues, but felt I had to impress Mr. Computer Cutie.
I ended up baking seven dozen Farm Cakes over the course of two days, using the same 6-cup muffin tin (the only one I had at the time) over and over. The tiny sink could barely accommodate the dishes I washed, and by the time I was done, the walls were splattered with bits of cheesecake that had flown from the beaters on my hand mixer as I whipped up the cream cheese filling. But I was fairly confident the cakes would impress. After all, I might have been too shy to spend five minutes chatting at the computer Help Desk, but I had supreme confidence in my prowess in the kitchen (no, silly, not that kind! I meant baking up sweet treats. Sheesh!).
In the end, the party was a huge success. Dr. Misanthrope made a brief appearance, but he actually enjoyed himself for once (and Ms. BB never did show). Professor Yenta enjoyed herself immensely, I met quite a few of the other teachers, and even forged a couple of friendships that continue to this day. I was thrilled when people lingered until the wee hours of the morning, eventually snaking their way to the tiny bedroom where they fished through the hillock of coats and jackets to retrieve their own outwear before wishing me a Happy Holiday and heading out on their way.
The last guest to leave, though, was Computer Cutie.
Sadly, the marriage only lasted a few short years. But colleagues requested those Farm Cakes at every faculty event for many Christmases to follow.
I still had the original recipe tucked away in my recipe folder. And why toss a great recipe, just because it led to a failed marriage?
My new version, of course, is vegan, anti-candida friendly, gluten-free and low glycemic. But you know what? They tasted just as good to me as the original ones, way back when. And even though I’ve been gluten-free for four years, I still baked a dozen cupcakes. What to do with the extras?
I know: maybe I’ll throw a party. (Naw. . . . ).
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
These sweet cakes look like special occasion food, but they’re actually very easy to make. And who doesn’t love cheesecake inside of chocolate cupcakes? Note that the recipe here contains some non anti-candida diet ingredients. To make it ACD compliant, see notes at the end of the recipe.
For the Filling:
1 cup (240 ml) raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
2 Tbsp (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch fine sea salt
30-40 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp (150 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, soy or other alternative milk
3 Tbsp (45 ml) unsweetened carob chips or sugar-free chocolate chips, if allowed
For the Cupcakes:
1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened orange juice
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 tsp (10 ml) Dandy Blend or other instant coffee substitute
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp (95 ml) coconut sugar
20-30 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste (or use orange stevia if you omit the orange juice)
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond, soy or flax milk
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) your favorite nut or vegetable oil, preferably organic (I used macadamia oil; walnut oil would be great, too)
scant 1/4 cup (3.5 Tbsp or 50 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 plus 2 Tbsp (210 ml) Ricki’s All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
generous 1/4 tsp (1.5 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
generous 1/4 tsp (1.5 ml) xanthan gum
Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C). Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners, or spray with nonstick spray.
Make the filling: In a high-speed blender, blend all the filling ingredients except carob chips until perfectly smooth and velvety. Divide in half, reserving one half for another use (see below). Pour the remaining half into a small bowl and stir in the chips.
Make the cupcakes: In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vanilla, Dandy Blend, coconut sugar, stevia, almond milk and apple cider vinegar until the sugar begins to dissolve. Add the oil and whisk once more. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. Stir together until ingredients are well combined. Pour the wet mixture over the dry in the bowl and whisk just to blend–do not overmix!
Fill six cupcake liners half full. Using about 2 tsp (10 ml) of the filling for each, put a dollop of the cream cheese on top of the center of the cupcake batter, taking care that it doesn’t touch the sides of the liners. Top with about a Tbsp (15 ml) more batter, to completely cover the cheesecake filling. If you find you have enough batter to make more cupcakes, repeat the process until all the batter is used (depending on the size of your cupcake pan, you should get 6-9 cupcakes from this recipe).
Bake the cupcakes in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the cake portion comes out clean. They should be slightly puffed and domed on top (they may sink a little in the center as they cool; this is fine).
Allow to cool completely and refrigerate before consuming. These are best cold from the refrigerator. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. May be frozen.
NOTES: You may have some cheesecake filling left over; it’s great over pancakes or as a sweet dip for apple slices, or as a base for ice cream.
To make the cupcakes ACD-friendly, use 1 Tbsp lemon juice plus enough water to make 1/3 cup (80 ml) instead of the orange juice; add 5 drops more stevia; and use Dandy Blend instead of instant coffee. If desired, substitute orange flavored stevia for the stevia in the cupcake batter.
Suitable for: Candida diet Stage 3 and beyond; gluten-free; egg-free; dairy-free; low glycemic; vegan.
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Last Year at this Time: Flash in the Pan: Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
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