Archive | August, 2013

German Chocolate Birthday Cake

25 Aug

We had a birthday around these here parts. Ross is now one year older. I made a brunch of omelets and fresh bacon with green beans.

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It was actually lunch by the time I finished.

Then I got back in that kitchen and made cake! Everybody has had German Chocolate cake. It’s a popular cake staple in many restaurants. I got the recipe from my mom, the recipe that she, my grandma, and great-grandma have used over the years.

Let me tell you, this is a serious cake. IMG_2477

I think it took me a bit over two hours to make it. I was doing some multi-tasking though, as my kitchen was fairly full of unpacked groceries and used dishes, so that added some time. The icing is cooked, there is separating of many eggs, and beating of egg whites too, so you can imagine… I love making some cake though, so it was fun to try my hand at this classic.

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And it was worth it too. We had a birthday cake party last night and everybody loved it! We don’t have leftover cake which is a good thing. SO MUCH sugar and butter, y’all. Here’s the recipe so you can make it too.

Baker’s German Chocolate Cake

1 package (4 oz.) BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate    (I used the unsweetened version of this brand.)

1/2 cup boiling water

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour   (I only had bread flour, I realized too late, but it turned out fine, as this is a heavier cake anyway.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk   (You can easily make your own with 1 Tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup of regular milk, let sit for 10 minutes.)

Coconut Pecan Frosting

1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 slightly beaten egg yolks*

3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks butter)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups flaked coconut   (I used unsweetened.)

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Cake: Melt chocolate in water; cool. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in vanilla and chocolate. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat flour mixture into large bowl, alternating with buttermilk. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (roughly 8 minutes). Fold egg whites into batter. Pour batter into 9-inch layer pans, lined on the bottom with greased parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees F, for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool 15 minutes; remove and cool on rack. Frost cake. At this point, you can refrigerate the cake if you are not eating it right away. If you are making it the day before, I recommend wrapping the layers in plastic wrap, and waiting until the day of, to make the frosting and to frost.

Frosting: Combine first five ingredients (except coconut and pecans) in medium saucepan. Cook and stir, continually, over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in coconut and pecans. Cool until thick enough to spread.

*After cooling and sitting in the fridge for 1/2 an hour, my frosting was still too runny to use. I consulted my mom, and then I put it back on the heat, added two more egg yolks, and about a tablespoon of flour. This worked great and made it thick enough. I guess the icing can be tricky, whether it’s because it’s a big batch (you will have some icing left over), or due to weather, we don’t really know.

The Wild Feathers Interview

23 Aug

Several months ago, I got the random chance to interview the band, The Wild Feathers. It was somewhat last minute. After a few tests, I recorded the phone convo on my shitty old tech voice recorder, while crossing my fingers the whole time that it wouldn’t mess up too bad. Then I put some TV on for my two year old and prayed she wouldn’t be noisy. It worked, barely. I got paid. Then I thought to myself, it’s about time I get paid for writing, and then I got motivated to write more. I kind of wish I could have interviewed the boys in person, they’re so cute.

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Practice Sessions

12 Aug

I have been photographing some Charlotte musicians. zach2My skills are rusty, but they will improve.

casey2dustin_2These are all digital scans, but I have been in the darkroom making gelatin silver prints. They’re looking good so far considering I have no timer, no easel, and some old, old paper.

It’s a great feeling to be printing again.angela1

andy1moenda_3I have photographed Moenda, Great Architect, Blossoms, and Angela Saylor as minthill. I have more bands to photograph, and more prints to come.

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Erasure

4 Aug

Yes, that’s right. I said Erasure. I found myself sitting in my getting-hot car today because, A Little Respect had just come on the radio. I had to finish the song. Is this a guilty pleasure? I don’t even know. I also found myself immediately texting my younger brother about what was happening. He understands.  He was shamelessly singing along to Erasure before he was 10, for “there will be no shame”. Until we mock him, of course.  My older brother understands too, but he doesn’t text. That’s the only reason he didn’t get Molly’s minutiae text of the day.

Eco-Friendly Crafting with Kids, the book

3 Aug

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I love this book! It’s time you know, I am obsessed with kid crafts. In that way that many people get obsessed with food, and read cook books for fun, I read craft books (& craft blogs) for fun. Free time doesn’t exist in the quantities I would like, which is probably a good thing, or my house would be filled with… crafts. While I love crafts in general, I especially love kids crafts because they can be so simple and wonderful at the same time. Kids don’t mind playing with cardboard! Playing is important for kids (and adults too, am I right?), and so much fun too, and so there is no reason to feel silly about going wacky on kid crafting.

While there are some excellent kid craft blogs online (Mr Printables), it’s way better to have books. You can just go to your shelf (or perhaps the ground, where they are all stacked right now) at any ol’ time and cruise through, rather than having to sit, sort through tons of info, and stare at a screen, and then either print off instructions, or hand write them, or whatever. BOOKS RULE. I look forward to when Sue is older and can pick out her own projects to work on. I have started collecting crafty books, but more on that later.

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Eco-Friendly Crafting with Kids by Kate Lilley is a particular favorite of mine. It is aimed towards pre-schoolers, but there are projects for older kids too. The layout and photos in the book are nicely modern and inviting. She has great instructions and has some pretty simple crafts to make, such as the Catapult Plane, Paper Cup Popper,  and the All-in-One Bongo, Shaker & Guiro, all of which we have already made. My husband plays with the Paper Cup Popper more than my two-year old does. Kate Lilley also includes some basic crafts that all kids should make at some point such as, make your own play dough, and cardboard castles. Kate Lilley also has her own blog. Beware.

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