Raw, noun: 13. unrefined sugar, oil, etc.



Bundt Cake Saturday! (On Tuesday.)

Morning: cool
Mood: relieved
Music: Alexander Desplat

And I am so glad it's September. I hate August. Bring on the apples and the autumns and Symphony season debut and the new notebooks and the crisp evenings. I'm so ready for them.

We've got a backlog of about 72 new cake recipes that need to be recorded, most of which I've been carrying in my green messenger bag on various crumpled-up scraps of paper for approximately 32 days. After an August that felt like a nonstop progression of soirees and champagne and rental cars and beaches and yoga classes hungrily squeezed in at desperate, inopportune times, I'm so glad for a minute or two of quiet and coffee brewing in the kitchen and a week that looks less like a scrawled-up crazy calendar and more like a regular routine of wash, rinse, repeat.

Yesterday we had a picnic in Dolores Park for my boy Steve's birthday; it was warm and sunny and the hipster crowds were out in full effect, lots of guitars and bras and frisbees and 3-day scruff everywhere you turned. The SF Mime Troupe was putting on their regular Labor Day performance there in the park, and though you'd think they'd have run out of snarky political material now that BushCo is out of office, they managed to pull off a zinger of a show, all built around the whole "Too Big To Fail" concept. It was a regular anti-capitalist screed there on the hill in Dolores Park, ending with a plea to donate funds for the free political theater company (huzzah!) and to buy a shirt with the Mime Troupe logo on it (irony, hello?).

Anyway. I know the rest of yous are grumbling about heading back to work today after the long holiday weekend, but my work week is your weekend, and so, I'm savoring the lazy day meant for piano-playing and catching up.

Here's the first in a long list of overdue recipes from earlier this summer. It's nothing gourmet, to be sure; throw in as many unnatural products as you can, and you come up with this recipe. But what can you do? I needed a quick last-minute recipe, wanted something chocolate-y, and was intrigued by the possibility of using in-season Bing cherries at the time. So whaddya have? A surprisingly delicious

CHOCOLATE CHERRY BUNDT CAKE

Not only did it end up cute to look at, but the flavor was unexpectedly, well, great. It'll take you about two seconds to whip this one up and throw it in the oven, but no one will ever guess that when they sample it.

INGREDIENTS

1 chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate fudge pudding
1 package black cherry instant gelatin
4 eggs
6 oz. black cherry yogurt (or chocolate, if you'd rather)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. water (could use chocolate milk, too)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. fresh chopped cherries

So easy.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour your bundt pan. Combine cake mix, pudding, gelatin, eggs, yogurt, oil, water, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for several minutes. Fold in washed and chopped cherries; stir lightly, taking care not to over-stir. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes; invert and cool completely on wire rack.

I baked this in my heart-shaped pan, which works well when you have a fairly simple recipe and aren't planning to do extensive streusels or anything. Frosting is up to you; you can whip up a chocolate fudge or buttercream frosting fairly easily, or pick up the lazy woman's version at the grocery. If you're feeling ambitious, toss in a few teaspoons of grenadine or maraschino cherry juice to flavor the frosting.

Drizzle that action over the cake, and sprinkle with a few leftover sliced cherry pieces. I clipped a few pothos leaves from the plant on my kitchen table and added those for a splash of green.

And there you go.

(And if you, like me, try to live sans gluten and sugar as much as possible, share the cake with your buddies and try the new-ish LaraBar Jocolat flavor in stores now instead, pictured above. It's a Chocolate Cherry concoction - 90% raw, they say - with just enough cherry pucker to give it some spirit. And it's built largely on dates, almonds, and organic cacao, instead of all this plastic unnatural crap.

Just sayin'. Try it.)

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