Saturday, October 3, 2015

Migraines (and chocolate cake)

What do migraines and chocolate cake have in common?  Absolutely nothing, rien du tout.  But this week, I have suffered through a migraine.  I do not have them often, but as anyone who does have migraine headaches knows, you will do anything, anything at all, to get rid of one as quickly as possible.  Exedrin Migraine is my first go-to.  Sometimes that cuts it off before it gets too bad.  It's a mixture of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen.  If the headache comes on full-blown, a dark room and sleep are in order.  This week, those two remedies didn't do the job.  What do I do when I don't know what else to do?  Google.  One of my advisees last year found a remedy for his mom involving limes so I decided to try to find that.  Instead, I came up with lemon juice, hot water and Himalayan salt.  Oui, I do actually have pink Himalayan salt in my cupboard.  Remember, I worked with a French chef in Provence for eight months.  Salt is his idea of a gift.  I can still see the absoute delight on his face when my Arles 6 group came down to cook our last night before heading on to Aix-en-Provence.  Chef Érick had placed a bag of Camargue salt at everyone's place at the work space along with the evening's recipes.  I have about six different types of salt in my house.  (I replenish my supplies when I go back to France. This makes for heavy suitcases, but it is well worth it.)  

I drank the salty, lemon hot water and it really did seem to take the edge off.  I made it through the school week, along with a school-wide Homecoming pep rally. (Games cancelled due to Hurricane Joaquin)  My middle school director suggested sacrificing chickens, but I drew the line at that.  Too messy.  I didn't make it to the alumni BBQ last night, but am hoping to make it to the party tonight.  I love seeing my former students.  I decided that maybe a massage would help.  Carly at Massage Envy worked me over.  I slept well, but this morning the headache has moved over to the left side of my head.  I am back to the lemon salt water.  I did slice up a lime and rub it on my forehead (thanks, JD!) and I have rubbed Provence lavender oil into my temple.

I am now kind of sticky, but I smell good.

Going back to bed hasn't figured into my Saturday morning plans.  Washing clothes, sweeping up cat food (my cats are really messy eaters-- for some strange reason they take the food out of the bowl sometimes), and putting away dishes needed to be done.  Then I got to thinking about the chocolate cake that Senora made this week.  She makes birthday cakes for members of the middle school foreign language department.  She is the kindest, most thoughtful person I know.  And a fabulous baker.  So, I assembled the necessary ingredients and set about making my Migraine Chocolate Cake.  My head still aches, but my kitchen smells good.

It just came out of the oven.  Senora's cake, pictured at the top, with one bite gone, has a Nutella glaze on it.  She didn't use as much sugar as the recipe calls for, tested it on her husband, and decided it needed a little something-something.  Nutella to the rescue.

Mme M gave me a box of really good cocoa powder during my last visit to her home in Montépilloy, France.  Using the best possible ingredients when baking is important.  Merci, mon amie!

Many thanks to Senora and Yammie's Noshery for the recipe.  Yammie calls it Secretly Healthy Chocolate Cake.

Migraine Chocolate Cake

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I put in one full teaspoon- chocolate and cinnamon are a great combo)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup applesauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini (I used carrots because I didn't have zucchini on hand)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional-- I did not use them)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and salt.  Stir with a whisk until well mixed.
Add applesauce, egg, vanilla and zucchini/carrots and mix just until combined.  The batter is very thick.
Spoon into well greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Glaze (if desired):
1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon milk, drizzled over warm cake.
A few tablespoons warmed up Nutella drizzled over  warm cake.
Or dust with powdered sugar.
Or serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Or serve plain.  Maybe with a cup of coffee or cold milk?

Bon appétit et bon samedi to all from rainy, soggy, will we ever see the sun again North Carolina...

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