My brain likes dates. It’s convenient when it comes to things like birthdays and anniversaries – today, for example, is my friend Jessica’s birthday, the 4th wedding anniversary of some friends from Idaho, and also our dog’s 4th birthday. Yesterday was my friend Amy’s birthday, and also her son’s first birthday.
These things just come to me when I wake up and realize it’s (Month) (Day). It’s convenient when it comes to friends and family members, but the constant swirl of dates can also fog up my brain a bit. Even though they’re the part of the Worry Board that I don’t have to really worry about, I’m always sifting through them. And I’m so used to having a discreet number automatically attached to certain events that holidays that jump around (like Thanksgiving) totally throw me off.
On Tuesday, it occurred to me that Thanksgiving would fall on Bromley’s birthday, and that we’d be here in San Francisco. We’ve never celebrated her birthday before (really, she is a dog), but the two dates’ coincidence inspired me to mark it somehow.
So I baked my dog a cake.
The ingredients are random, for sure – I just threw in whatever I could find, whatever needed to go, keeping in mind that Scout, the neighbor’s dog, who I assumed would be the only other birthday cake participant, is on a diet. I started with the egg whites leftover from making the eggnog, and threw in a can of black refried beans, thinking their color would make the cake look a little chocolaty. I decided I’d leaven it with baking powder, but needed some sort of acid, so in went the last of the cottage cheese.
Then, stirring, whirring, spreading, baking, cooling. The cake came out looking like . . . a cake, and before I knew it, I’d cut a slice and was sitting on the floor, sharing it with my dog. One bite for you, one bite for me. It wasn’t bad. It sort of tastes like black bean bread, only not as crusty. And she certainly didn’t complain.
Bromley’s Black Bean Birthday Cake (PDF)
Recipe 326 of 365
If you’re the pathetic sap that celebrates your pets’ birthdays, try this. Top the cake with a smear of peanut butter, or perhaps a layer of puffy mashed potatoes, and serve on whatever nice china your pooch prefers.
TIME: 15 minutes active time
MAKES: A birthday cake for your dog. Mine would eat it alone, but I’m going to try to give her just a little each day and ignore the way she whines insistently below the counter where I’m keeping it. Do beans do to dogs what they do to humans?
Vegetable oil spray
1 (16-ounce) can refried black beans (I used the vegetarian kind)
6 large egg whites
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups flour
Creamy peanut butter, for “frosting” (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8” cake pan with the vegetable oil, and set aside.
In the work bowl of a food processor, whirl the beans, egg whites, cottage cheese, salt, and baking powder until uniform and smooth. Add the flour a cup at a time, pulsing between additions until incorporated. When all the flour has been mixed in (the batter will be thick), scoop it into the cake pan. Smooth down the top, and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and . . .cake-like.
Cool cake ten minutes in the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve as is, or frosted with peanut butter.
(Bromley wasn’t the only interested party . . .)