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A chocolate prescription from the Cake Mix Doctor
If losing weight or eating more sensibly is at the top of your New Year's resolutions, you may think luscious desserts are off limits - at least for the foreseeable future. But don't despair! The Cake Mix Doctor is on duty, ready to prescribe a lowfat, easy-to-prepare angel food cake that will satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet.
Anne Byrn, aka the Cake Mix Doctor, has become the guru of cake baking, a figure as well known as Betty Crocker to her legions of fans. When she was a food writer for a Nashville newspaper, Byrn asked her readers to share recipes in which they "doctored" cake mixes and came up with their own delicious baked goods. The result was a torrent of responses - more than 500 recipes came in the first week - and a phenomenally successful cookbook. The Cake Mix Doctor became the best-selling cookbook of 2000 and has almost one million copies in print.
Now Byrn has followed her fabulous first effort with a sequel focusing on the ingredient at the top of every dessert lover's wish list. Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor includes 150 recipes for chocolate cakes, cupcakes, brownies and squares - all starting with supermarket cake mixes.
Byrn says chocolate was a natural choice for her new cookbook. "I wanted something that would augment the first book, not serve as a replacement," the busy author and mother of three said during a break from her recent book tour. "This allowed me to delve into chocolate more. I love chocolate; it's very near and dear to me and my family. And chocolate cake mixes are so good."
At her public appearances and on her popular Web site (cakemixdoctor.com), Byrn hears from readers who love her cake-doctoring efforts for the time-saving factor and the tasty results. "This book makes them look good," Byrn says. "A working woman can come home, crank out a cake after dinner and take it to work the next day."
To start the New Year off right, Byrn recommends BookPage readers try an angel food cake recipe passed along by a mother at her son's preschool. Like many avid bakers, Barbara Weindling calls herself "a from-scratch kind of girl" but concedes that this doctored cake mix recipe is one of her family's favorites. Angel food cakes, which omit egg yolks and fat, are flavorful and satisfying despite their lowfat ingredients.
Barbara's Chocolate Marble Angel Food Cake
1 package (16 ounces) angel food cake mix
1 1Ú4 cups water
1 tablespoon Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Place a rack one position lower than center in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ûF. Set aside an ungreased 10-inch tube pan.
2. Place the cake mix and water in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 minute more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look well combined. Pour half of the batter into a medium-size mixing bowl, and fold the cocoa powder into it until just incorporated. Drop the white and chocolate batters, alternately, by generous tablespoons into the ungreased pan. Smooth the top with the rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.
3. Bake the cake until it is lightly browned and the crust feels firm to the touch when lightly pressed with your finger, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately turn it upside down over the neck of a glass bottle. Allow to cool for 1 hour.
4. Remove the pan from the bottle. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack, then invert it again onto a serving platter so that it is right side up.
5. Prepare the Shiny Chocolate Glaze (see next recipe). Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Slice and serve.
Shiny Chocolate Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
5 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1Ú2 teaspoons water
1. Place the chocolate chips, margarine and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate and margarine melt, 2 minutes. Add the water, 1Ú2 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is of a pouring consistency.
2. Spoon or pour this glaze over the cake.
© Anne Byrn. Reprinted from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor with permission of Workman Publishing.