Yes, indeed, the baking of this cake was inspired by Tina Fey’s now infamous sheetcaking bit on SNL’s Weekend Update. I have talked many times in the past about baking as a form of therapy. That has proved especially true in the days since Charlottesville and really, since November. I thoroughly enjoyed Tina’s witty response to that series of horrific events. I have read many interesting responses to her skit that make many good points. My personal view is to take that skit in the context of what it is, which is comedy. I don’t think Tina is literally advocating that we ignore Nazis in favor of eating cake. I think her point about letting them scream into the void is well taken, particularly in regards to internet comment sections. But then again, maybe it is my own privilege that allows me to receive it that way. I have no intention of staying home and shutting up in the face of this hatred, before or since. No, ma’am.
In any case, these past several months have been exhausting. Staying informed, engaged, taking action, but also taking care of myself emotionally and physically has been a delicate balancing act that I’m still figuring out day by day. And I only fall into one of the groups currently at risk (women). I recognize that these times are far more trying for countless others much more targeted than me. Still, sometimes holing up at home with my kids and baking something delicious is what my soul needs to be ready to face the world again.
This sheet cake is just the right amount of everything for therapy-style baking. It is slightly more involved than the most basic of cake batters, and includes soothing steps such as folding in whipped egg whites, shaving chocolate, spreading frosting. But, it’s low maintenance enough that you don’t have to fuss with smoothly frosting sides of a layer cake and little hands can even do the frosting themselves. The cake itself is not to be missed – it is dense, tender, and very chocolatey. The frosting is simple but the chocolate shavings give it a special touch. Enjoy in whatever way you need, whether that be as a celebration cake, a “Tuesday chocolate craving” cake, a “replenish your soul before going back out into the world” cake, or even a “feed the resistance” cake. Choose your own adventure.