Sunday, March 18, 2018

Disaster Birthday Cakes

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
I apologize for not writing a post last week; it was my birthday and I was busy having fun. I suppose I should have had a backup article stashed for use, but I seem to be out of those at the moment.

But this combination of forgetfulness and birthdays made me wonder, "What do you do if someone's birthday -- especially a child's -- happens after a disaster?" After all, morale is an important part of survival, and no one wants to feel like they've been robbed of their special day. But after a disaster, you may not have running water or electricity, let alone eggs and flour, so how would you bake a cake?

The answer is startlingly simple:

1) Find a mix that requires as few ingredients as possible. 
In the past there used to be "Just add water" mixes, but they don't seem to be around any more. The best you'll probably be able to do is find a mix that calls for eggs and oil.
You may need to substitute a brownie mix for cake, but unless you're one of those people who doesn't like chocolate or brownies, this isn't a problem.

2) Use a carbonated soft drink instead of eggs and oil.
No, really. Convert each egg required by the recipe to 1/4 cup of soda. Using soda makes the brownies more cakelike and less dense than regular brownies. 

I leave it to the foodies, who will likely have sufficient oil stashed in their pantry, to determine if it mixes well with the soda or not.

3) Cook over hot coals.
If you've got a dutch oven you're all set -- if you can bake bread in it, you can bake a cake in it -- but not everyone has one. If not, then you can portion out the mix into camp mugs (like the GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup) and cook it over a camp stove or on hot coals next to the campfire. 

4) Dress it up a bit.
Add some candles, and maybe a little frosting if it's sealed in a can, and you've just made a field-expedient birthday cake. Enjoy!

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