My wife is facinated with the extreme cake challenges on the Food Network. My 3 year daughter has even gotten into it, often intimidating the towering cakes with her playset of food ingredients. As our community is focusing in on what spiritual gifts are, one of our teachers came up with an amazing illustration. I've asked Amy Dixon to share with us the example that she used with her ladies. As you consider your involvement within the faith family of First Euless, I pray that the Lord continues to guide you to what the Gospel has done in your life and what He wants to do through you for His body.

PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. 2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings. 

VARIATIONS:
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost. 

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes. 


"PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING
  4. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  5. 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  6. 3 cups powdered sugar
  7. 1/3 cup milk; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

The Identity-less Cake

Above is the actual recipe that I read during the class. Each person was given an index card, with an ingredient on the front in a certain quantity (i.e., 1 cup sugar, ½ cup cocoa, ¼ cup cocoa, etc.). On the back of the index card were the characteristics of that ingredient. For instance, vegetable oil only wanted to be milk, sugar was happy to be sugar, boiling water volunteered for everything, etc. There was more than enough of every ingredient to make the cake and frosting, but since not all ingredients wanted to participate or be what they were created to be, the chef had to try and bake the cake with what was available and what ingredients were willing to participate.

In the end, olive oil was used as a substitute for vegetable oil because vegetable oil only wanted to be milk (as you know, milk is more high profile and has its own ad campaign), 1/2 cup of cocoa just didn’t want to participate and the 2/3 cup cocoa couldn’t help the cake because they had prayed and knew they were only meant to be in the frosting, boiling water volunteered for everything (luckily the baker knew when to use boiling water), salt didn’t want to participate because they didn’t see how just a teaspoon made any difference, baking powder didn’t know it was different from baking soda, so it was confused about when to volunteer, etc.

At the end, our baker had a cake, but it was far from the Perfectly Chocolate cake it should have been. It didn’t taste right, didn’t look right and didn’t have the same consistency that you would expect a cake to have.

It’s so easy to see that if the ingredients would be what they were meant to be and participate when they were meant to participate we’d have an awesomely delicious chocolate cake.

Perfectly Chocolate Cake and the Church

It’s the same with spiritual gifts. If we know what our gift(s) is/are, used according to God’s purposes and participated when we were meant to, the body of Christ would like awesomely delicious as it glorified God. But, since we often don’t know our gift(s), refuse to use it, over-use it, volunteer for things we’re not gifted for, etc., we end up looking like a pale imitation of the body we are meant to be.

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To find out more about the identities that we celebrate around theGATHERING Community, check this out.