• Tim

Permaculture Pastel: Applied Principles And the Invention of the Mole Poblano Cake

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

Waste cake, want cake. While cleaning up after a tearful and flour-covered send-off of my very first Mole Poblano cake order here in CDMX, just one week after it was invented over a three day non-stop brainstorm in how to use up the gallon of mole that I made during a one-on-one Zoom cooking class, I planted my bean in my hands and wondered why I hadn't made a second cake for myself, because duh. Knowing that I wasn't about to start the cake-baking process again that afternoon, and not knowing when my next order would be (I promised to buy a second set of springform pans to double down on my cake capacity by whenever that will be), my permaculture mind sprang into action and here's what happened in a visual essay that's easy to digest.



The Mexican Northern Re-renaissance is happening now, starting in my kitchen. I'm a sucker for chiaroscuro (light and dark) style paintings and icing a cake is very much light painting, as is photography, which is literally painting with light. Eat that, dead artists! No, really, I'd love to share some cake and gossip with the oldies but deadies.

Yeah, I'm a permaculturist. Specifically trained in Pacific Island Agriculture. I'm not certified, but I did the work. In the true spirit of permaculture, this rad mentor refused pay and only accepted barters. It's the practice that's important, he told me, not the piece of paper. So true...


So it all started with any new dad's proudest moment; sending off his baby to get eaten.

Your Uber is arriving!

The moment my cake was gone, I wanted cake. Thinking mostly with my stomach, I yoink my bowls and pans away from the sink realizing that I'm making the same mistake that irks me on cooking shows—they spend hours making a sauce or batter, do a weak pass with a wooden spoon and throw a good amount of what they've made away. No. Just, no...



Look at all that cake stuff! It's basically a tiny cake's worth. Not a cupcake, because I didn't make cupcakes. I made a cake...
This will hang in the MoMA one day. The one in New York City. No, actually, every MoMA will want one so they'll all put it in their permanent collections and lend them to each other repeatedly just to mix it up.

How could anyone let all that go to waste?

I found this step extremely satisfying, so I stopped mid-way to film it.


If there was a job where I could do this all day, it would be my job and I would do it better than anyone that ever was...was whatever someone who gets paid to do this is called.



Q. And utensils? A. And utensils.

My first thought was "this must be how cake pops were invented." I don't need to Google it. I'm 100% on this. So not wanting to waste my inspired moment re-inventing the cake pop, I did a lap around the kitchen, opening up every drawer and door, waiting for jump out at me. Then a fruit fly (technically a "fungus gnat") crossed my vision and it reminded me that I had a bunch of tiny bananas that I needed to finish. They're delicious, but I approached the fruit truck from where I bought them because they were announcing on their loudspeaking that they were selling peanuts. They didn't have peanuts because they're not in season, the lady told me, but they didn't have a recording for tiny bananas. I felt silly to have chased them down only to not buy anything, so I bought the bananas.



So regal. So tiny. Although it looks overripe, they're actually still a bit astringent at this stage.

I think of chocolate covered frozen bananas because I love them , and because the mole already has it's bigger, more masculine brother in it—the platano macho, or "plantain"—I was confident that the flavors would be well suited.



Take it all off, baby. I keep my banana peels to dehydrate and pulverize and use as a plant fertilizer.

Not the cutest, but there we've got a ways to go. So I mashed the cake crumbs into the icing and began to form it around the banana.


Hm ok well we're just getting started.

Not super sexy, but not many frozen desserts are considered "sexy," are they now. Let's be patient and



"Ok now, put a stop this," I say to myself, "immediately," while reciting the Serenity Prayer in my head, grateful that I had, indeed, and swiftly at that, been granted the wisdom to know the difference of the things that cannot be changed. I also realized that I wouldn't even want to eat this even though I had made it and knew exactly what it was. There was something terribly upsetting about the whole thing and so before I even put my phone down after this picture, I shook it off the stick and into a bowl, as if it were a creepy-crawly that creepily crawled up my arm while picnic-ing at the lake, as the oddly specific feeling came over me, complete with actual slow-mo running in place as one does when this happens.



That's much better...

So my dinner that night was a frozen bowl of mashed banana covered in chocolate mole icing, topped with cake crumbs and candied roasted sesame seeds. It was basically the well proportioned cake we all crave (more icing than anything) with a piece of fruit to calm the conscience.


Now, I know that made you all want to buy the actual cake (it's ridiculously delicious, and I'm not a sweets person, I insist in order to keep my sugar addiction at bay), but only those lucky enough to live in Mexico City can order for pick-up/delivery. Or if I'm in your city, I'll bake you one there. You can make that happen by ordering it here!



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