Tag Archives: Friends

Pippa Middleton Eats Cake. This Cake.

16 Apr

chocolate Guinness cake

I keep coming accross different representations of the same quote on Pinterest: “If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.” If true, my heart might be in entertaining because my new medium of procrastination is tweaking recipes and hosting gatherings where I can have others help me ingest all the goodies I’m making!

On Sunday night, I had some friends over for dinner and as an entertainer extraordinaire I had to ensure my friends had something homemade for dessert. What’s dinner without dessert anyway? This is what I told myself, but really I had been longing to make chocolate cake and needed some help eating it. Just kidding. Ok, maybe I’m being a little bit honest here.

It was a delicious dinner and a great start to a week that I have promised myself not to include much deviation from my productive schedule. Of course, every good dinner comes with even better conversations.

Between bites of cake, one of my friends says: “Have you heard about this lady that spent $10k in plastic surgery to get Pippa Middleton’s butt?” Well, yes. “This cake is delicious by the way. 10 points for you and Pippa’s butt.”

Ever since the Royal Wedding, Pippa Middleton’s behind has had a great following worldwide. Plastic surgeons are banking on the Pippa buttlift, personal trainers are helping women break a sweat with the Pippa Middleton boot-y camp and a group of highly regarded intellectuals with a specialty in aesthetics have founded the Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society on Facebook.

I guess no one has broken the news yet that the secret to Pippa’s sought-after bottom is actually in the Guinness chocolate cake I made this weekend. Ok, so this might not be exactly true but I am sure that as an English gal Pippa does enjoy a proper pint of stout. And well it’s safe to say that very few ladies do not enjoy a good serving of chocolate.

I have tried a few chocolate cake recipes and I must tell you, this is probably the most deliciously light and moist chocolate cake I have ever baked. It is definitely worthy of the palates of today’s royals, socialites and commoners alike.  There’s a cup of Guinness in it that can be substituted for strongly brewed coffee, although I advise against it since the Guinness really brings out the chocolate flavor.  And well, why choose coffee over Guinness?

chocolate Guinness cake

Pippa’s Guinness Chocolate Cake (with Guinness-Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

For the cake:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus about 2 teaspoons for dusting the cake pans)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Guinness

For the frosting:

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons Guinness

Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the pans with about a teaspoon of flour for each pan and gently tap out any excess (there’s a good tutorial for doing this here). Preheat the oven to 350°.

Sift together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix everything for about a minute at low speed using the paddle attachment. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Heat up the the Guinness in the microwave for about a minute. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the Guinness until fully incorporated.

Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the enter of each cake comes out clean). Allow the cakes to cool, in the pans, for about 30 minutes. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper and discard.

In the meantime, melt the chocolate chips using a double boiler or use a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Stir the chocolate chips until completely melted, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Using the electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the vanilla and beat for about 1 minute, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula. Slowly beat in the confectioner’s sugar at low speed, for about 1 minute. Add the Guinness to the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated. Slowly beat this mixture into the butter until just combined.

Set a cake layer on a serving plate or cake tray, flat side down. Level the cake using a serrated knife. Evenly spread about one third of the frosting over the cake just until you reach the edge. Level the second cake and place on top of the frosted cake. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and cover the sides of the cake.

Enjoy responsibly and in moderation.

Soulmates (or Messengers of a Higher Power)

13 Feb

Miltenberg, Germany. December 2011

Soulmates: we are socialized to believe a big part of our lives should be dedicated to the search of our soulmate. That one person we were separated at birth from. That one person that we will spend the rest of our lives with because no one else has the ability to understand us as they do.

However, I have learned that you don’t search for a soulmate. Instead, they come to you when you most need them and least expect them. And they are not, at least in most cases, meant to stay around for very long. Just long enough.

Long enough, as Elizabeth Gilbert would say, “to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life.”

I am a very spiritual person and therefore believe in the existence of a higher power. You can call it God, Allah, Buddha, the Universe (or Electricity as my high school Spanish lit. teacher would say). I strongly believe these soulmates are all messengers of a higher power that come into your life just at the right moment.

They are:

the  lady that reminded you of your mom and helped you pick a nice pair of shoes at Norsdtrom one day when your world was so cloudy that even deciding on flats over platform heels  seemed overwhelming;

the high school classmate who confessed he always wanted to date you and a decade later still finds you beautiful right when you were thinking how undesirable and unattractive you were;

the acquaintance from abroad who gave you company when your insomnia kept you awake and taught you that letting go a little and going for an adventure really isn’t that bad;

the college student in your standardized test prep-course, who barely knows you, yet gave you the sweetest, unsolicited piece of advice when you were questioning whether or not to finish that course;

and finally, the lover who unintentionally gave you the push and confidence you needed to embark on a a long overdue venture that will transform your life .

Happy 26th Birthday.

20 Sep

La vida es una torre de experiencias sostenida por el tiempo. Maldito el tiempo que traiciona.

Welcome to your 26th year of life.

One day, very soon, as you are on your way to a job interview wearing pearl earrings and a corporate suit,  you will look at yourself in the mirror and say:  “Shit, I’m a grown woman”.

You will proceed to wear hip jeans and a pair of converse sneakers on the weekend (when you can get out of your grown-up woman’s attire), because  it was scary to see yourself as a grown woman in the mirror that one day.

And, you will remember that post, Tener Miedo by Ismael Serrano, one of your favorite songwriters, that you forwarded to me the other day.

You will read it again, finding comfort in his words and understanding what the fear you felt in front of the mirror that day was all about.

Because fear is like a heart monitor that beeps with every heartbeat, thus indicating we are indeed alive. Living and desperate to find out how the chapters of the rest of our lives will read.

Happy Birthday, my friend.