Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ta da!

I have a reputation when it comes to layer cakes. And it's not a good one. So when I stepped into the kitchen to tackle mom's birthday cake yesterday, I was a little apprehensive.

I had my taste buds set on the Pioneer Woman's "Coffee Cake. Literally." As the title indicates, this is literally a coffee-flavored cake (not one of those coffee cakes you pass off as appropriate for breakfast).

Well, the layers didn't exactly slide out of the pans, and the stovetop did blaze up in flames once, but overall, the cake was a success!

Look at those perfectly aligned layers. Seriously, I was amazed - truly one of my proudest moments as a human being.

Oh yeah, it was also completely delicious. Definitely for coffee lovers (though my aunt who never touches a cup of coffee wasn't opposed to seconds).

I only made a few very minor changes...

Coffee Lovers Cake
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Instant Coffee Crystals
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • _____
  • 1-½ stick Butter
  • 1 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Instant Coffee Crystals
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • Milk
Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round baking pans.

In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a pot over medium-low heat. While that’s melting, add 3 tablespoons instant coffee to 1 cup boiling water. Set aside.

Once butter has melted, add coffee mixture to the butter in the pot. Let it come to a boil for about ten seconds, then turn off the heat. Set aside for just a minute.

In a separate bowl, add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

Pour the butter/coffee mixture into the flour mixture. Stir the mixture together gently. The purpose here isn’t to mix it together perfectly, but to cool down the heat before adding the egg mixture.

Add in the egg mixture and stir gently until well combined. Then pour into pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until set.

Allow to cool completely.

Combine all icing ingredients, adding milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. Then ice the cake. Chill for an hour before serving.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Girls Gone Wild

Well, my spring break has been craaaaazy. So far I have gone to the science museum with four of my younger cousins, attended an eight-year old's Spongebob-themed birthday party, saw The Blind Side (finally! It was as good as I had anticipated.), and visited my old office where I interned this summer (and somehow ended up sitting through a meeting with the Chamber).

It's pretty much been like Panama City. Without the beer. Or half-naked college students. (Ok, there has been a few beers. I did make it out to a country/western nightclub this past weekend. Yehawww!)

The wildness continued today as I babysat my eight-year old cousin. While playing house (yes, he's in touch with his feminine side), he suddenly looked up at me and asked, "Rebecca, if you had a husband and your husband died, and you had a baby, and then you had to go to jail, would they let you take the baby with you?"

Hmmm. I'm just hoping this isn't some kind of prophecy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good Reads

I was absolutely giddy in the library today.

Last week I was perusing the library's catalog for my next read, and saw that the status on the latest book by my one of my fav authors was "in progress." In progress, hmmm? Well when I checked today, it seems the progressing was complete and it was AVAILABLE. I raced up six flights of stairs (ok, raced up three and panted up three more) - just in case anyone was vying me for this book. But when I got to the wasn't there. Greatly saddened, but not defeated, I thought to check the restocking cart. And there (I know the suspense is killing you) was this beauty...

Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna. I am so excited to start this one. But first, I really should finish my current read, The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. It's been interesting, but nearly 500 pages on economics is about all I need for a while (thus, the complete neglect of the required reading assignments for the economics class I am currently taking).

A few (depressing) snippets I've extracted from The World is Flat relating to the job market I am entering include...

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you better start running.

(Maybe I'll just be a monkey or something. Is that an option?)


"Girls, when I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, 'Tom, finish your dinner - people in China and India are starving.' My advice to you is: Girls, finish your homework - people in China and India are starving for your jobs."

But I like this less depressing excerpt too...

There is a saying in China that whatever you put in your head and your stomach, no one can take away from you.

Well hey, I'm pretty good at loading stuff into at least one of those.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Ok, so this came up on my yahoo news feed today...

Oldest person in US dies in NH at age 114

So, before I make some potentially inappropriate comments, obviously this woman is awesome and my heart goes out to her family.

But, couldn't the associated press have chosen a photo in which Mrs. Mary Josephine doesn't look like she's shaking her cane and screaming at us? ?

I'm also curious how the newly crowned oldest American reacted to the news.
According to the article, "The oldest living American is now Neva Morris, of Ames, Iowa, at age 114 years, 216 days."
Is she like, "hell yes, the title is mine!"? I mean, these have got to be feisty ladies to stick it out all these years; I'm sure neither would be opposed to some good-natured competition.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Celebrity Sighting!

I don't get sick often, but today I am yucky. I'm pretty sure that our secretary was getting tired of saying "bless you," and that I got a disgusted look while sniffling in the grocery section of Target. Don't you hate when you're in class or at your desk and can't stop sniffling and you start getting self-conscious, knowing everybody around you is grossed out?

Yes, I'm that person.

And I'm also person that starts freaking out in the presence of celebrities (or in this case, reality TV contestants). Apparently.

Ok, not freaking out, but I was really excited when two former Biggest Loser contestants walked into the restaurant I was at the other night. And I just happened to have my camera in my purse!

For the record, they don't live in Biggest Loser attire; they just came from some publicity event.