Flax meal layer cake

Looking to get your daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids?  Skip the smelly fish oil gelcap and eat chocolate cake instead.  You heard me–CAKE.  Now, ground flaxseed finds its way into many (okay, most) breads in my kitchen, but I’d never thought of adding it to a cake before I found a King Arthur recipe for flaxseed-loaded chocolate cake.  The recipe contains yet another health bonus:  unsaturated vegetable oil rather than butter.

As I assembled the cake batter, I was dubious:  the flax seemed too gritty to result in tender, cakelike texture.  The peanut oil batter was watery, and I was happy to have tried out just a half-recipe as a test.  As I poured the batter into two 6″ round cake pans, I didn’t expect much.  (Oh well, failed cakes make nice pudding or whipped cream trifles.)

Boy, was I wrong.  The layers rose beautifully, the flax wasn’t the least bit gritty, and the layers were tender and light.  On days two and three, the cake’s texture improved a bit, becoming moist and almost pudding-y thanks to the flaxmeal’s hygroscopic tendencies.

I frosted the chocolate layers with coconut almond buttercream and a scattering of sugar pearls, thereby undoing any of the flaxmeal’s positive nutritional attributes.  (Or did the two merely cancel each other, leaving me with a guilt-free dessert?)

Back to those 6″ round cake pans.  Standard cake recipes make two 8 or 9 inch layers, so half a standard recipe fills the six inch rounds.  Each is 2″ deep, making plump layers thick enough to split horizontally.  Thus, it’s entirely possible to have a small layer cake, yet preserve the ideal cake to frosting ratio of a larger layer cake.  I still hold that a nice layer cake is better than a cupcake any day.

BUYING FLAX MEAL:  try to find flax meal, a/k/a ground flaxseed, packaged for culinary uses rather than as a nutritional supplement.  It will be cheaper and fresher than the “medicinal” version sold on the vitamin aisle at WalMart.  Bob’s Red Mill brand ground flaxseed is widely available in southeast Louisiana.

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