Chocolate Cake Diablo and the Toaster Solution

So a few weeks ago, our toaster oven decided it would stop toasting. Since toasting was what we mostly asked it to do (I think I might like toast more than cake), we were pretty disappointed. I’ve always had toaster ovens (as opposed to pop-up toasters), and thought of them the way most people these days think of microwaves: “You don’t have one?? How can you live without it??”

We toughed it out for a couple of days, cause we don’t like throwing things away, and there were no toaster-repair shops in the phone book. But eventually we got sick of  half burnt, half baked “toast” and hauled the grime-and-crumb encrusted appliance to The Side of the Road, where it promptly got picked up by someone handier than we, who in all likelihood now enjoys perfect toast every morning, for free.

On the grocery list that day I noticed the appearance of the word “Toaster”, which is a word that all Quebecois francophones know.

So off I went to Canadian Tire, where after at least 30 minutes of serious deliberation, I bought….a POP-UP TOASTER.

Then I had to chat about it with P.

me: we just downgraded to a pop-up toaster from a toaster oven

P: what!?

P: why did you do that??
what a weird thing for you to do

me: several reasons:
1) the toast function stopped working
2) it was big
3) the oven function always burned the stuff at the back
4) it takes longer to toast and uses more electricicles
5) thought I’d break out of my lifelong toaster-oven habit
but mainly, #1
P: why break out of it? it’s a good habit
me: it was a good habit, but everything burned! Even toast.

This was part of a much longer chat (219 lines, according to gmail) which was mostly about P not studying for her Ridiculous Exam, but in which we also had a riveting exchange about tea and the relative merits and disadvantages of tea bags vs. loose tea.
All this to say, I have a pop-up toaster, which is great for toast, but not so great for re-heating things other than previously-toasted toast that you forget in the toaster and then it’s too cold for the butter to melt. This is a problem, cause what to do when you are the only one who eats cake, and you don’t have a toaster oven to re-heat frozen slices? And you need to eat cake NOW?  God, sometimes I wonder how I get through the day.
Well my friends, as we learned in school: don’t be shy to share with the class, cause surely there are others who have the same question! So it’s your lucky day: here’s the answer to “how do I enjoy my previously-frozen slice of cake RIGHT NOW, when all I have is a pop-up toaster as a defrosting device?”  With a little forethought, cake can be yours in as little as 2 minutes!
Before you freeze, you wrap each slice in a little parchment paper envelope!
You can freeze lots of slices like this, and pile ’em up in a ziplock bag. 

It then slides nicely into the toaster and it won't fall apart when you pull it out. If you have a guest, you can do 2 slices at a time!
you may not even have enough time to make yourself a coffee to go with your now defrosted cake!

Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

OK, if I were you I’d be thinking, “what is that CAKE??” well. yes. If I were getting more than 15 minutes of sleep at a time, I would be making this cake right now. As it is, I am too tired to write out the recipe, and since it is already written out here (thank you, Heidi Swanson) I’ll save myself the trouble. The only thing is, instead of putting lemon zest in (I’ve tried it, it’s good) I used a chocolate bar with CHILI AND CAYENNE in it that was too spicy to eat. Instead of the 4 oz bittersweet chocolate that is called for, I used 1 oz dark chocolate and 3 oz spicy-ass chocolate. The chili chocolate gave it just enough heat to be interesting but not overpowering. Also, I added about a teaspoon of baking powder to give it a little more rise. It was still gooey and almost-uncooked-like in the centre, but not quite as flat as the original. Friends, I am proud to present: Chocolate Cake Diablo.

Other ideas: I am sure this would be so good with a bit of flaky salt sprinkled on the top, if you can’t find the spicy-ass chocolate. And the original version is pretty wicked too, with or without the lemon zest. Orange zest? yes please. Instant espresso powder? mmhmmm. This cake tastes way better after it’s had a chance to rest, ideally overnight (yeah, right). Then it slices up nicely for those cute little parchment envelopes!

If I hadn’t eaten the last slice, I’d be toasting some up right now…


5 thoughts on “Chocolate Cake Diablo and the Toaster Solution

    1. Well, I do, cause it’s either that or eat the whole thing before it goes stale. While I am perfectly capable of eating a whole cake before it goes stale, I think it’s in my best interests not to do so. And also, having cake in the freezer is very comforting.
      Come on – let’s hear from all of you cake-freezers out there!

  1. Jonathan

    Very brave. This kind of commitment takes time… and I would have thought that the parchment paper would burn, not only itself and the cake, but your new-fangled electricicle as well. Great research. Thank you for your contribution to the world of food. JC

    1. Interesting JC, P’s friend (and mine too, considering she accompanied P all the way to Gaspé from Montreal over 2 days in a snowstorm, and she’s awesome), KM, also wondered why the parchment doesn’t burn. She also provides us with another creative way to use the parchment-in-a-pop-up-toaster method:
      KM says:
      my family was always a pop-up toaster kind of family but i have to say that i was always intensively jealous of other families who had toaster ovens because of their ability to make delicious grilled cheese sandwiches!
      (K I’d like to know how to make GCS’s in a toaster oven)

      interesting method for heating up cake. i wonder if it would also work for heating up a stale croissant, which is delicious when toasted but tends to flakily disintegrate in the toaster. but doesn’t the parchment paper burn?

      P, true to form, has the answer close at hand, but warns that she is now serious about studying for The Most Ridiculous Exam In The World: Funny you should ask! I myself recently researched (googled) that very question – well, not quite that question, as I already knew that parchment paper doesn’t burn in the oven (DUH!). But if you’d like to know WHY it doesn’t burn, you can read the handy article I found on the subject

      I was always sort of jealous of families that have pop-up toasters, but not for any real reason other than the fact that we didn’t have one. I guess it was akin to my envy of people whose families had memberships to Club Price (and whose cupboards were stocked with giant boxes of packs of gum as a result). ah. the truth comes out. The grass is always greener, girls, and the toast is always toastier…!

      I just learned that parchment will withstand up to 425 degrees fahrenheit. So you may want to heed this, if you are a safety freak. I’ve had it in the oven up to 450 F and it’s been A-OK. I don’t know how hot my toaster runs.

      I forgot to tell you all about a colleague of mine who toasts tuna sandwiches in a pop-up. No parchment. Yeah. I’m not there yet.
      – Show quoted text –

      1. KM: regarding your stale croissant, I would say that it would depend on the width of the croissant and the width of your toaster slots. If you have a toaster with extra-wide slots to accomodate those fat “bagels”, AND your stale croissant is kind of flat, then I’d be willing to give it a shot!

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