Archive for February 15, 2017

There’s an epic musical opening tonight in the East Village and I’m in it because of cake.

February 15, 2017

Sometimes there are too many storylines you can’t pick.  In this case, the threads keep getting longer and more entwined.  I better just get started now and end up where I end up because the information is too good to keep it to myself.  Although, if you know anyone who knows me, or if you know me, you know that I don’t shut up about it.  It’s what I do everyday.  I eat cake.

Sometimes I just call it Survival Cake (not the sexiest of names).  Or what about Fun-Fun Anti-Inflammation Cake?  Listen, this cake by any other name would keep you alive and pain free enough to be jumping around with kids half your age and double your talent in a joke-folk musical about the epic tale of Gilgamesh written by your genius friend, Phoebe Kreutz.  This is my present reality, and it’s made possible by many things, including my ever-evolving recipe for turmeric cake.

It can look like this:

 That’s the lemon/vanilla version.

I make chocolate/cinnamon/cayenne too:

Is that a car dashboard in the background of that landscape of chocolate turmeric cake?  Why yes it is.  It’s part of my turmeric journey.  The turmeric journey includes an actual road trip that illustrated to me via bucket seats in a rental Kia the importance and effectiveness of this substance to my daily functioning.  I laughed that on other tours, it was pot brownies that were the medicinal snacks of choice in the minivan.  This time, it was turmeric cake and tons of it that I wouldn’t share with Charlie, because his back is fine. The ones I made on the road were pretty hardcore — made with whatever we could find at the Safeway.

But I want to give you my basic recipe before we go further, because it’s important.

  • 1 carton of eggwhites (or 10 eggwhites equivalent in whole eggs)
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed (meal or whole seeds.  I like Trader Joe’s golden toasted)
  • 2 Tbsp  chia (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour (also kind of optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Turmeric (heaping… heap it up)
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa (raw or what have you)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla if you want
  • pinch of cayenne to taste
  • sweetener of choice – sugar, maple, agave.  I use tsp or 2 of powdered stevia (the straight stuff is best, like from Trader Joe’s. Don’t get it cut with anything like dextrose if you can avoid)
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • shake or 3 of baking powder

For lemon version, just use lemon juice from one lemon or lime.  And I like to add about a tsp or so of whole pepper kernels.

You put it in a bowl, usually dry ingredients under the wet ones, and then you blend the shit out of it with a hand immersion stick blender until the batter is a batter.  Like pancake batter.  Thicker or thinner depending on your taste.  If it’s thicker, it’s likely to come out more like biscotti which is also great.  Put it in a small-ish baking pan or pie pan at about 350 for like 15-20 minutes.  Go take a shower.  Come back and press on the surface to see how done it is.  It’s usually done when you can smell it.  It smells great.  It’s the smell of anti-inflammation.  It’s the smell of pain-free mobility!!  Which, to an arthritic accordion player, drummer, singer who once missed a gig because standing up made her cry, smells pretty fucking good.

The thing that I learned about turmeric is that you have to eat a shit ton of it.  The dumb capsules say like one or two of these pills with a meal.  I don’t know; maybe that helps Barbie’s arthritis, but for my degenerative disk disease-aggravated sciatica, I had to start at two big honking tablespoons a day until I noticed a difference — the difference being I would spend less and less of my days in exhausting pain.  And now… like I said, I’m singing and dancing and acting with this very exuberant cast of Go Go Gilgamesh.  And my midtown chiropractor misses me.  We just don’t see each other like we used to.

And of course, turmeric you can take in so many different ways.  Teas, milk, curries…  You’ve heard about the golden paste?  Another sexy name.  There’s just no way to make “paste” sound like something attractive that you’d actually want to put in your mouth.

I find that the cake is the way for me, because cake is actually something I do want to put in my mouth.  Just about any time in fact.  And I love coffee.  So now I can have coffee and cake.  Also, sometimes I do an unsweetened, savory version omitting sweetener and sometimes adding an herb, like cilantro or rosemary.  The recipe is versatile and travels well.  Look, here it is with me on this bus to Washington D.C. for a gig I played there (three hours solo accordion playing Russian and cowboy songs – it’s a living).

I will write more about my initial road trip (Lusterlit West Coast BBC tour!) that opened my eyes to the effect of turmeric in my life and on my body in my next post.  It will make sense, sort of.  But I wanted to get this out there.  Get it started.  Let the tale be told.  My tale includes my participating in the telling of this one:

Go Go Gilgamesh! has five shows as a part of the 2017 Frigid New York Festival.  We open today.  TODAY.  8:50 pm at The Kraine Theater in the East Village.  85 E. 4th Street.

Get tickets here:

I know that second picture doesn’t make any sense to you, but it was yesterday morning as we were going to the theater for our 9am tech rehearsal.  Wake up and make the art!!  You don’t even know the super-human feats of maneuvering I did with two bags of costumes and two instruments on that morning commute from Bushwick to the East Village.  There was one moment when I looked at the guy behind me who wanted to get out too, and I just said, “I don’t know how to do this.”  And then somehow, I had the lip of my drum and the handle of my accordion case in one hand and 2 bags in the other and I heaved myself out before the doors closed.  It was like I was some new kind of superhero or something.  New kinds of superheroes are born everyday as new circumstances create them.  I became Remarkably Agile Overloaded Multi-Instrumentalist Actor Girl able to maneuver morning rush hour commute without killing or being killed!  And it’s not radiation that gave me my superpowers, but cake.  Mmmm… cake.  And I guess that would mean my kryptonite is still… bad conversations I can’t get out of?  Something like that.

Come to the opening of the play tonight!!  I get to play a goddess and an old man!!  It’s written by a genius and performed by brilliant people who are directed by a dedicated visionary!  And we got a very nice lighting director yesterday.  Come come!  You need to be entertained.  You’re not on this earth to not take my advice about where the great entertainment is.

© Susan Hwang 2017. Photo: Carrie Jordan, Site design by