Saturday, January 2, 2010

Cal's Chillin' Chocolate Earthquake Cake

By Cal Orey,
The Writing Gourmet

Last night I was a guest--the quake sensitive--on Coast to Coast (since then I've been doing News Segments), a popular radio program. The show was chock-full of pyschic types and it was our job to dish out 2010 Predictions. When the introduction music played Carole King's I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE--I was feeling kind of seasick, as another song's lyrics go. After all, I was tuning into potential earthquakes in both my Golden State and around the globe. If I had been thinking (and eating) chocolate, not shakers, I think it would have helped me deal with those chilling vivid images of future Earth cracks since it's a proven fact by researchers: Dark chocolate can help you to chill out...
In my new book THE HEALING POWERS OF CHOCOLATE, I do discuss how my good friend dark chocolate helped me sail through the 2008 earthquake swarm just 50 miles from my home. And yep, it was crunchy chocolate biscotti (made with extra virgin olive oil), baked by cookbook author Gemma Sciabica--not popcorn, a quake sensitives' fave--that helped me cope with the hundreds of tremors with an unknown cause. And the biscotti soothed my frazzled nerves as my seismically sensitive critters' anxiety soared (a vocal and pacing kitty; two clingy Velcro Brittanys) till a 5.0 hit home and woke me up close to midnight on April 25.
So, if you live on shaky ground, consider stocking up on dark chocolate (bars have a long shelf life); if you're sensing an oncoming quake, why not bake up this cake. (Gemma created this treat just for me and I'm sharing it with you.)
*Note: There is a recipe that calls for a store bought cake mix so the cake will fall apart easier but I chose for a more California-natural type of recipe for health's sake.
Cal's Earthquake Cake
2 cups white whole wheat flour [a bit more if you live in high altitude]
2 eggs
2/3 cup dark cocoa (Dutch)
1/2 teaspoon Danish pastry extract (Watkins)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup raspberry-creme filled dark chocolate chips [or plain dark chocolate 60-70% cacao]
1 large banana
Cheese Filling
3/4 cup ricotta, low fat
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well or use cooking spray in a 10-inch bundt tube pan. In mixing bowl, sift dry ingredients together; make well incenter. Pour in buttermilk, olive oil, eggs, and flavorings. Stir and smooth. Add chocolate chips. Pour half the cake batter into prepared pan. Spoon the filling mixture evenly over the layer of batter. Carefully pur second half of batter over the filling. Bake 55 or 60 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched in center (or when cake tester comes out clean from center). Cool cake on wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before glazing. Glaze as desired [chocolate may be nice], or, may be sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Clearly a glass of milk is needed.

1/4 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup pecans (or nuts of your choice) chopped small or ground

Before batter is poured in, sprinkle about 1/2 cup sliced almonds on bottom of prepared pan. Serves 12.


  1. In the mid-90's, we had earthquakes here in Seattle during February 2 years in a row. Oddly, enough I was sitting on the couch both times and if felt more like I was in a boat riding waves. Both times I sat petrified watching my knotty pine walls and beamed ceilings sway to and fro, knowing full well that the house was top-heavy since it had two roofs. One was a flat roof and another peaked roof was added when a previous owner remodeled the home. Both times I sure could have used a slice of this cake to calm me down! We didn't wear shoes in the house and when this happened I imediately ran outside in my stocking feet. It took me a long time to go back in, fearing aftershocks. I remember packing up the car with all kinds of food, water, clothes, supplies and a tent in case my family needed to live in the 'wild'. As I think back, tho, maybe it's a good thing I didn't know about this cake, because I might have eaten all and left only one piece!

  2. The cake is for a special occasion or just celebrating life. Dark chocolate bars, hot cocoa, truffles--all in moderation--will get you through a quake or shake-up...It truly can boost your mind, body, and spirit... A must-have in this New Year.

  3. I am going to remember if I should ever be on shaky ground, that a earthquake cake would be so much better. :-) The radio show sounded like so much fun-way cool.
    We make a very similar cake called the lava muffin and it is a chocolate lovers dream-I can only imagine how delicious your earthquake cake is going to be-
    Happy 2010! Looking forward to your posts.

  4. Hi Velva. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I've had a lava cake at a restaurant (I write about it in my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate). It's all good. Life without chocolate during ups and downs? It's not an option. Happy '10 to you and yours. I vow to keep my recipes healthy and chocolatey.

  5. Mmmm! Yummy....a marriage of lots of my faves: chocolate, olive oil and ricotta cheese!

  6. Hi Diva,
    Gemma is a wonderful Italian cook. She has made me cookies to biscotti. I love her recipes. And Sciabica EVOO? Ah, baking with flavored olive oils--orange, lemon, lime? It so works. Thanx for stopping by!