Archive for August, 2010

Cake & Layoffs

People often ask me, “Rachel, what’s the best way to deal with getting laid off?” I then reply, “Well, make a cake, of course! Even better, put booze in it!” And so we have the Guiness Chocolate Cake.

Here’s the recipe, which I originally found here.

For the cake:

Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the icing:

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Icing: Mix confectioners sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable. (Note: this made a ton of icing. I probably could have halved the recipe and still been fine.)

Last Step: You probably had to buy either a 6-pack or a rather large bottle of Guiness, and only used one cup for the cake, so I would recommend taking the leftover beer and drowning your sorrows while the cake bakes and cools.

Okay, confession: I didn’t really run out and make a cake because I got laid off (although the layoff part is totally true). The cake was made for a dinner party with friends, and turned out really well. It was very moist and wasn’t over-chocolatey (for those who may shy away from chocolate cakes). Anyway, I don’t start my new job in Piscataway until the first week in October, so we may see a revitalization of the BBA Challenge throughout the month of September! Stay tuned.


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The following songs have been running my life for the past couple of months.

Avenue Q soundtrack – For Now

Belle and Sebastian – Another Sunny Day

Belle and Sebastian – Dress Up in You

Belle and Sebastian – The Blues are Still Blue

The Flaming Lips – Buggin’

Nada Surf – Là pour çà

Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Sufjan Stevens – No Man’s Land

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

Vampire Weekend – White Sky

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Perusing old emails today and came across this brief statement, made while I was working at the Douglass Library at Rutgers.

In other library news, I came in to work this morning to see this chubby Asian kid sitting in front of the reference desk trying to staple his sandal back together. It was funny.

Oh, how I miss the days of academic librarianship.

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Lately, quite a few of my days have started the exact same way (including today!). I put on my interview pants and my interview shirt. I walk out the front door and around the back of the house towards my car. Black portfolio in my left hand, black purse slung over my right shoulder. The heels of my black, ill-fitting, 2001-issue Steve Maddens click and clack atop the slate stones that lead me through the backyard. “Here we go again,” I think. Every time I do this, I’m briefly reminded of The Green Mile.

Maybe I’ll get this job, and then I won’t have to walk the mile anymore.

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You know how you’re always trying to get thnigs to come out perfect in art, because it’s real difficult in life.

—Annie Hall

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