If you had to choose one dessert, what would it be?
Let me go into some of my health issues, because it's relevant to the topic of chocolate cake, I promise. A year ago next month, I finally nailed down the source of my ongoing exhaustion, stomach problems, and a chronic nasty skin rash on my forearms: gluten.
I had been to a lot of doctors over the years for these symptoms individually. They told me that it was stress, anxiety, too much coffee, and/or being overweight. For the rash, they shrugged and prescribed hydrocortisone cream (which makes my skin peel off, and also does not help the rash). Not once had a doctor ever suggested that these problems might all be related, or that they might have a dietary cause. Basically, they blamed the victim, called it good, and moved on to the next patient.
When my symptoms cleared up 24 hours after I stopped eating gluten as an experiment, I was 100% sold. I quit gluten cold turkey, donated my gluten-full pantry goods to a food bank, and never looked back.
Fast forward to last week, when I was talking to a friend who had a similar experience. Except that instead of quitting gluten cold turkey, she was having problems cutting it out of her diet. However, she had found that gluten in the form of baked goods didn't make her sick.
I was intrigued at this thought. Could there be different kinds of gluten? What if I could eat baked goods? WHAT IF I COULD HAVE CAKE?
For some reason, out of all the baked goods in existence, my mind kept coming back to the idea of a big slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Nothing excessive or gross, like one of those "Fudge Bomb Death Delight Chocolate Madness" desserts they serve at Applebee's or wherever. Just a regular old slice of cake with frosting.
A slice of rich, moist chocolate cake with a decent chocolate icing is, I'm convinced, one of the world's perfect desserts. It may seem ordinary to many people, but its ordinariness is a miracle. Chocolate cake has no pretensions. It's not fancy. It's not exclusive. It doesn't have a kiwi lime reduction glaze or a piped filling. It's just plain delicious.
To conclude the story, I bought an individual slice of cake from a nearby bakery. It was amazing, but also I felt sick for several days afterward and broke out into a rash around my elbows and the corners of my mouth. I suppose the experiment was worthwhile, though I obviously would have preferred better results. No more cake for me, I'm afraid!