If you think Mother’s day is all love, hugs and kisses, it actually has rather depressing bloodied origins. Going back to the 1950s in West Virginia, a woman social activist called Anna Reeves Jarvis initiated the Mother’s Day work clubs with the goal of improving sanitary conditions and providing medicine for the poor. Then, during the Civil War of 1861-1865, the Mother’s Day clubs tended to wounded soldiers on both sides. Afterward she convened meetings to persuade men to lay aside their hostilities.
In the 1870s, Julia Ward Howe – better known as the composer of The Battle Hymn of the Republic – extended the works of Anna Jarvis to voting rights for women and world peace. Howe issued a Mother’s Day proclamation in 1870, an impassioned plea calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace. Part of it goes, “our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.”
In 1914, Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day, celebrating peace and motherhood in protest of extensive loss of life during the war.
Now, the relationship with my mum is at best described as lukewarm (maybe 37 degree celcius) and one-way, peppered with terse conversations and brusque replies from my side. Okay so maybe this is the way I am with everyone, not just my mother, attributed to my self-diagnosed schizoid personality disorder. At times, I attempt to practice empathy, putting myself in the shoes of my mother and others – and indeed I would think “what an ungrateful and difficult bitch this girl is being.”
Today I attempt to make peace with my mum with a cake in her favorite flavor – chocolate. I chose an ungraded version of my Dark Chocolate Eggplant Torte (yes, eggplant). And in my usual fashion of all things punny, I found this phrase “Thank you for Rasin’ Us” on Pinterest and a spark went off – aha, chocolate rum and raisin it is!
The act of creating the cake actually excites me more than presenting it to my mum, as twisted it may sound but for legitimate foodie reasons. Melting chocolate over a bain marie, you can not but help yourself to licking those leftover chocolate stains. After pouring in the batter, the total painful time to greatness is one hour, during which you dance around in the kitchen drawing up a last minute card. “Thank you for Rasin’ Us,” I scrawled in my neat penmanship in a heart-shaped cut-out card, then attached a dried flower to prettify things.
The cake came out better than before, so dense with chocolate it’s almost pure black fudge; it doesn’t ever seem to set! I garnished some strawberries on top and its tartness emanated like a beam of light through the pitch-black darkness. Oh, the bottomline is, this cake is a must-make, if you are a true chocoholic. I dared hope this cake also did sow peace with mum and create a smile in her heart, if only for that day. “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.” James 3:18.
- 1 1-lb eggplant
- 150 g dark chocolate (I used a mix of Lindt 85% and 90%)
- 1 medium (80 g) ripe banana
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup (Grade B)
- 1 teaspoon rum essence
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- ½ cup hazelnut meal
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- Coconut oil, for greasing
- Icing sugar and/or desiccated coconut, for dusting
- Strawberries, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 220°C on broil setting. Slice the eggplant lengthwise and place on a parchment-lined baking tray, cut side down. Broil for 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through and very soft. Remove the eggplant and reset the oven's heat to 180°C.
- While the eggplant cooks, melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie over boiling water.
- Let the cooked eggplant cool to the touch, then scrape the inside out of its skin. Add to a food processor, along with the banana, maple syrup and melted chocolate, rum essence and raisins. Puree until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the cacao powder, hazelnut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, then spoon the eggplant puree into the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Pour into a greased pie pan, bake at 180°C for 40 minutes.
- Remove the cake from oven, let cool in the pan, then invert out onto a serving board.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour to set the cake. Dust with icing sugar and/or desiccated coconut, then garnish with sliced strawberries or other fruits.