Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Cake’

Thanks to an idea from Steph Pellegrin and PJ Hoover, today is all about sweet bites and decadent reads. So without further ado, I give you my #DESSERTEDREADS matchup:

WICKED AS THEY COME by Delilah S. Dawson

Flap copy:

When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Copers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?

Okay guys, I’m such a picky reader. Nine times out of ten, I pick up a book and toss it aside within the first fifty pages. No high concept premise, no hunky stranger keeps me reading if the writing somehow isn’t there. I’m also a bit idiosyncratic–an author has to push particular emotional buttons to keep me turning pages.

And boy, oh boy, WICKED AS THEY COME  pushed all those buttons and never let up. To say WICKED AS THEY COME resonated with me is an understatement. I read the book in one sitting, grinning all the way.  The moment Tish met Criminy Stain, I was hooked. I didn’t care what happened, as long those kept circling one another.

Tish is everything I want a heroine to be, a gal who inherited a winsome mix of ‘manners and moxie’ from her high-spirited grandmother. No wonder the locket pulled her to Criminy’s world. He cast a spell to summon his soulmate and equal, and she certainly fits the bill.

And ohhhhh, Criminy. Bludman. Gypsy King. Magician. Seductive, Sinful Smart-Aleck Savant. He’s irresistible, yet never forces his suit. For me, that makes Crim the perfect alpha male–the charmer who doesn’t make demands, but lets his best qualities command the moment. Yes, pulls out all the stops to allure Tish, but he leaves the choice to her. As he watches her and waits for her to discover her heart’s true match, the tension builds and builds. I loved every minute of it.

And I love sharing this recipe with you–BLACK MAGIC CAKE is every bit as sweet and sinful.

There are EIGHT MILKY WAY BARS in the batter of this cake. What else do you need to know?????!!!!

1 cup butter or margarine, cut up

3/4 cup chocolate syrup

8 (2.05 ounce) Milky Way bars, cut up

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan.

In 4-quart microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, syrup, and nougat bars. Heat 5 minutes, whisking once. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar, then buttermilk, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir in the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.

Pour batter into pan. Bake 1 hour 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen cake; invert onto rack to cool.

Frosting:

Melt in microwave: 1 stick butter with 3 tablespoons milk and 3 additional Milky way bars. Whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over cake.

Binge! And thanks for sharing in the #DESSERTEDREADS FUN! If you write up your own matchup, don’t forget to post it to the hashtag. And let us know if you’d like to see this type of blog-a-thon in the future! What ideas do YOU have???

Yes. I’m in heaven this week.

Unless you’ve been living under a soulless, pop-culture avoiding rock, you’ve heard about a phenomenon known as Beatles RockBand, otherwise known as Beatlemania: 2.0.

Yes, I’ve pre-ordered it. Yes, I’m getting the super-deluxo set complete with Paul’s plastic Höfner Bass guitar.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed I’ve clogged your feed with endless, breathy declarations of love for the Greatest Band of All Time. Sorry. Can’t help it if I love them Eight Days a Week. Doesn’t everyone?

If you’re ready to join the Revolution, here are some of my favorite books and articles about the Fab Four:

The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

I consider music journalist Spitz’ work the quintessential biography of the band. Yes, you’ll develop enlarged 16 amp biceps carrying this magnum opus around, but hey, all the better to strum your guitar on RockBand, right?

The book begins by painting a portrait of Liverpool society, the culture which gave birth to the Mersey sound. The reader is immersed in the world which nurtured, challenged, and molded John, Paul, George, and Ringo. From there, in depth research delivers the real scoop on the Beatles.

Where else can you read these delicious tidbits?

Both John and Paul lost their mother at a young age; the resulting grief and insecurity would cement and strengthen their relationship in a profound way.

John studied art in school, but flunked out. His subversive comic newsletter viciously lampooned both teachers and handicapped people.

Ringo Starr (a.k.a Richard Starkey) nearly died from appendicitis; a resulting infection kept him an invalid for two years. During his illness, left handed Ringo first learned to drum on everyday objects.

The lyric “I am the eggman” is a reference to a member of the Beatles’ entourage who enjoyed cracking eggs on women during, ahem, intimate encounters.

The Beatles pioneered use of the multi-track recording system, instrument feedback, and distortion in Rock and Roll music. (Okay, so maybe you already knew that…)

After reading Spitz’ biography, you’ll never see the Fab Four in the same light again. John, the gentle peace-nik? Oh, the irony. If you’re serious about understanding the Beatles’ legacy, this is the book for you.

The Rough Guide to the Beatles by Chris Ingham

While Spitz’ book is hefty doorstop, Ingham’s guide is a pocket sized compendium of band minutiae. If you don’t have time for the full length Fab Four canon, this “Beatles’ for Dummies” style paperback is for you. This one ranks high with me for great commentary on each and every Beatles’ album, song, movie, and book. It even devotes a whole chapter to the elusive 5th Beatle. There are several supposed candidates in the running; you can be the judge. (BTW, I vote for producer George Martin.).

Still hungry for more? Check out these articles:

Why the Beatles Broke Up: The Inside Story by Mikal Gilmore (Rolling Stone issue #1086)

In this special issue (available at newsstands now) Gilmore combs through every RS interview and primary source to deliver a concise, play by play analysis of The End. Yes, it’s a rehash. A well done rehash. The online supplement (available at http://www.rollingstone.com/issue1086 ) highlights a timeline of quotes from band members. Each petty and heartless snipe is listed. Heartbreaking stuff.

Paul: “John’s in love with Yoko, and he’s no longer in love with the other three of us…” (London Evening Standard, 1970)

George Harrison: “We should die. “It’s time to break up.” John Lennon, irritated by George: “Who gets the children?” (Get Back: The Unauthorized of the Beatles’ Let It Be Disaster)

Last but not least, this recent NY times article:

Generation Gap Narrows, and Beatles are a Bridge by Sam Roberts (NY Times, 8/12/09)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/12/us/12gap.html

Roberts insight into the band’s legacy are validating indeed for the like of fans everywhere. It’s no surprise the Pew Research asserts the Beatles are still the favorite band of every age group from 16-64. But hey, full disclosure, I’m biased, right?

Still hungry after reading about Everybody’s Favorite Band? Then binge on Everybody’s Favorite Chocolate Sheetcake:

This recipe came from my mother…it’s one just about every family in OK and TX has tucked away in a cookbook or file.

Ingredients:

Cake:

2 stick of butter

½ cup water

4 tbsp. cocoa

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten, by the eggman, of course

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk (no butter milk? Add 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup reg. milk)

Frosting:

1 stick butter (Yes, more of the real stuff. Use margarine, and it’s your funeral)

4 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. cinnamon

6 tbsp. milk

1 box (1lb.) powdered sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla (yes, a whole stinking tablespoon!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat margarine, water, and cocoa together over a low to medium heat. Stir, stir, stir until everything comes together…right now. Cue the bassline! Pour melted mixture over flour and sugar; add the eggs, baking soda, buttermilk, cinnamon, and salt. Bake in a sheetcake pan (better) or 9 by 13 pan (will still work) at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Frost while still a little warm. (I didn’t say Helter Skelter hot!)

Frosting Directions:

Melt butter, mix in cocoa, cinnamon, and milk. Stir, stir, stir. When you’ve smoothed it out, pour it over the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add nuts, if you’re feeling Sgt. Pepper-y. Mix well and frost the warm cake. Climb aboard the Yellow Submarine and enjoy.

Binge. This cake goes well with just about every Beatles album but Revolver. Don’t know why, it just doesn’t.

You tell me, who’s your favorite Beatle? What’s your favorite Beatles’ song? Fire away. I must warn you, any comments which hate on the Fab Four may be summarily blindfolded and shot.