23 July 2008

Pac-Man Fever

They have just put the TV series "Square Pegs" out on DVD, did you know that? Patty and Lauren, my pre-teen heroines 4EVA. Anyway, we were watching Disc One and along comes the episode "Pac-Man Fever". My husband, a bona fide Ms.Pac-Man savant, was completely smitten. A whole episode about his favourite game? Heaven. With his birthday around the corner, I decided to keep the Pac-Love flowing.

Easy-peasy - bake two layers of cake. Sandwich together - in this case, with homemade blackberry jam and lemon cream cheese frosting. Cover all in said frosting - food colouring makes me kind of squirmy so I left the frosting as nature intended and instead, sifted some yellow sanding sugar on the top. Cut a big wedge out for the mouth - for once, the baker gets to try the cake before debuting it. Insert a chocolate malted ball for the eye and -Voila. Pac-Cake. I dooddled with the idea of Ghost and power pellet cupcakes but for god's sake, I'm only human and I had a million other things to do that particular day. Perhaps you are more Super Human than I.

But the decoration isn't the real story. The star of this cake is the dense, moist, delicious chocolate cake. My absolute stand-by chocolate cake recipe, I've made it maybe a hundred times and it never disappoints. Plus, it's mix and bake in one pan and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now. Don't let the name put you off:

Chocolate Vinegar Cake

1.5 C flour
1 C Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
3 tbsp Cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all the dry ingredients together in an ungreased pan - a 8x8 square pan or 9" round pan works. Make three holes in the the dry, blended ingredients.

In one hole add - 1 tsp Vanilla
In the next - 6 Tbsp oil
In the last - 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Beat one egg and add 1 C water to the egg. Pour over the top.
Mix everything until completely blended.

Put in a 375 degree oven for about half an hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

What is so great about this cake is that it isn't too sweet so it stands up well to buttercream and cream cheese frosting, not like some overly-cloying bakery cakes. And it couldn't be simpler, with less clean-up.

Just to class up our celebration, I added the winning touch - the candle:

16 July 2008

Summer Mix-Up

I've always sworn I won't be one of those bloggers who start their post with "sorry I haven't posted in awhile but life is crazy man" - but it's summer, I've been on vacation in Canada and I just started my internship for the year. So, sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I've got lots of ideas and projects percolating so things are sure to be cooking soon.

In the meantime, though I love a good analog mixed tape, I'm convinced Mixwit is pretty much the perfect digital version. Remember handwriting those labels, laboriously collaging a cover, choosing songs that would fit perfectly in a 45 minute side? I do. I still hoard a few special mixes made for me over the years. This isn't quite the same - you can't give it to someone for instance, just share it- but I find the site rather elegant and easy to use. And I love the old school cassette tape skins you can choose from, which you can tweak any old way you want. Also a bonus, sign-up is not required to browse mixes and if you do sign-up, it's quick and easy and doesn't want to know a whole bunch of personal information. I use this site for a quick music fix when working on the computer - I just search for a band/singer I like and it retrieves a whole slew of mixes people have shared that include that band. A nice way to discover new music.

Just to give you an idea how it works, I made this wee summery mix in about five minutes. Obviously you can spend hours working on the perfect mix, skin etc. but I'm not that web 2.0. I mean, I remember real mixed tapes, right?


I'd love to have you share any mixes you've made with me.