The story behind Pi day
Normally, I’d choose a pie to celebrate the math constant π (Pi = 3.14159…) on its special day, which is coming upon us soon. Scientists the world over will likely be tucking into a delicious slice of one, perhaps a banana cream or pecan pie, during the year’s third month on its 14th day… at 1:59 pm if we are being precise… which can be annotated 3/14/1:59.
These are the numbers that make up Pi, pronounced “pie” for those who have no experience with advanced arithmetic. Well, there are many more numbers involved, more than million if you can believe it. But they are always in the same order, which makes Pi a constant.
Pies are appropriate on Pi day not only for their similar pronunciation, but also because Pi relates to the circle. However, I’ve found something else that is just as appropriate. Why not celebrate with a delicious and healthy cake that is made with only three ingredients (plus the tiniest bit of a fourth)… a fluffy, moist cake made with 3.1459 food items 🙂 🙂 :).
There are a lot of steps because although it’s easy, the technique is important for a light confection. Do try it! You have plenty of time before March 14th to give it a shot. It freezes well. Thanks to Tip Junkie for the photo at the top of the page :).
Easy 3.14-ingredient cake for Pi day
- 3 eggs
- 4.25 ounces / 120 grams cream cheese
- 4.25 ounces / 120 grams chocolate (use any type of semi-sweet chocolate, up to and including very dark chocolate, your healthiest choice!)
- the tiniest bit of stevia or sugar, to taste – instructions below
- Crack and separate the eggs. Chill the whites for as long as possible before whipping, to keep them stable when beaten.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/1756°C.
- Using a double boiler with water in the bottom pan, melt the chocolate until it is a smooth paste. A double boiler diffuses the heat from top pot, so the chocolate melts without burning. Make sure no water drops into the chocolate or it can curdle.
- Whip the chilled egg whites until they form stiff peaks and do not fall out of the bowl when it is turned upside down.
- Add the cream cheese to the chocolate in the double boiler, stirring it and allowing it to soften with the heat and mix smoothly into the chocolate.Take off the heat.
- If you used a bittersweet dark chocolate, you may need to add a little stevia. This is where the 0.14th of an ingredient comes in, as you need only a tiny bit of the stuff. I suggest you use liquid stevia and add the equivalent of 1/4 cup sugar to the egg yolks before you beat them. OK, the math isn’t perfect, but I’m a baker not a numbers whiz.
- Add the three lightly whipped egg yolks to the chocolate mixture and stir until well-combined.
- Finally, add one-third of the egg white mixture, gently folding it into the chocolate mixture. A slotted spoon works well here, pressing and lifting gently. Repeat with each one-third of the egg white mixture, working slowly until the mixture is smooth at each stage. Go slow to avoid having a thin dense cake. You don’t want the cake to lose its puff!
- Put the mixture into a well-oiled pan. You likely won’t have a pan shaped like the Greek letter Pi… So either you must carve a square cake into the desired shape… or choose a round pan and take pleasure in knowing you made your cake from 3.14 ingredients.
- I like to cut parchment paper to fit a small round cake pan, which I spray with cooking oil. The cake can slide down the sides of the cake tin as it cooks instead of sticking and causing cracks.
- Before putting the pan in the oven, drop the pan on the counter gently – just a couple of inches – to help remove any large air-bubbles.
- Stand the cake pan in a deep baking tray and pour some boiling water onto the tray around your cake pan to create a moat aroundit. I like to do this while the pan and tray are in the oven, so I don’t have to carry boiling water in a shallow tray across the kitchen.
- Bake the cake at 350°F (175°C) for 30 minutes. Then switch the oven off but leave the cake inside for another 15 minutes.
- Pop the cake onto a cooling tray and, if desired, you can ice it with my whipped goat cream, flavored with cocoa.
Happy Pi Day! Only 12 days left, so let’s get cracking.
How spun sugar takes the cake – An easy gluten free cake made with eggs and ground almonds.
Heavenly healthier chocolate angel cake – A traditional recipe with minor nods to good health.