Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yummy chocolate cake & a life-size dollhouse

[First of all, awesome news: Dreamdark books have sold Brazilian rights!!!! Yay!!!! Yippeee yipppeeeee! I [heart] foreign editions, and I hadn't even thought about Brazil. I am THRILLLLLLED!!!!]

I made a yummy chocolate loaf cake yesterday to bring to last-minute dinner plans at a friend's house -- it's a good recipe because it's all ingredients I'm likely to have on hand (no sour cream or anything like that), and it was very moist and good. I set Clementine up on a cushy quilt on the kitchen floor, sitting up with a barrier of pillows for when she tipped over, which is less and less all the time :-) She happily played with her keys and her Sophie (thank you Amber!) and her brand-new sippy cup etc until the final steps of the recipe, involving boiling water, so papa had to swoop in and scoop her up.

From How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

1 cup soft unsalted butter
1-2/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces best bittersweet chocolate, melted
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
9 x 5-inch loaf pan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later, and grease and line the loaf pan. The lining is important as this is a very damp cake: use parchment or one of those loaf-pan shaped paper liners. *note: I didn't have parchment and didn't need it, just sprayed a non-stick loaf pan with pan spray and it came out fine*

Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer, then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: you don't want a light airy mass. Then gently add the flour, to which you've added the baking soda (Note: I also added about 1/4 c. of Dutch process cocoa now, for an even richer chocolate), alternately spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth fairly liquid batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won't come out completely clean.

Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. (I often leave it for a day or so: like gingerbread, it improves.) Don't worry if it sinks in the middle: indeed, it will do so because it's such a dense and damp cake. *note: I dusted liberally with powdered sugar after it had cooled and it looked pretty; note to self: must by rectangular platter for loaf cakes.*

Makes 8-10 slices

* * *

And look at this! A life-size dollhouse, on the plains of Saskatchewan:

Jenn* told me about it last night. Here's the scoop:

Artist Heather Benning created this life-size dollhouse from an abandoned farmhouse in Saskatchewan! One outside wall has been completely replaced with plexiglass to create the dollhouse view. Heather also decorated the house with 60’s furnishings, on account of that is when the house was apparently abandoned.

*And speaking of Jenn, looking at the sweet LOVE garland she's selling in her Etsy shop :-)
Speaking of garlands, I'm working on a garland made out of those animal characters I drew in my sketchbook recently -- they're now painted and printed and I've made one prototype Valentine's garland but it hangs funky, so I'll show it once I work out the *engineering*.

On another note, I've lost 5 lbs. since going back to Weight Watchers 2 weeks ago. So I celebrated with the above chocolate cake, ha ha. Cheers!


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh! I want to move in the doll house. :)

storyqueen said...

I want to live in the dollhouse, too!

Congrats on the 5 lbs.

And a little animal garland will be so cool, but let me be the first to cast my vote for picture book, as well. (Maybe it's a story, or maybe it's a collection of little poems, and silly songs. You know for a fact that books to be read to babies that parents enjoy as well are a real find. Just sayin'.)


Elena said...

Thanks for the recipe, Laini! The doll house is very cute.

Megsie said...

That is such a cool "doll" house. I am celebrating my WW lost weight with chips right now. It was like the universe was telling me to knock it off right in your post!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I love that dollhouse. I want to live there too! What little girl doesn't dream of moving into her dollhouse?

And I'll have to try your recipe-looks yummy!

Catherine Denton said...

Life-size dollhouse? How fun!

My word verification is Unfed. Maybe my extra pounds are supposed to come off that way.

persnickety_jen said...

That dollhouse reminds me of the one my grandfather built for me when I was little! (Although, admittedly, this has much less gingerbread-like trim.)

Congrats on the 5 pounds! Keep up the good work (and the chocolate cake rewards, haha). You look great.

Myrna Foster said...

I love the dollhouse! And congratulations on the five pounds!

holly cupala said...

Oh, I'm so glad you posted the recipe - I'm such a sucker for authors who bake. ;)

tone almhjell said...

Yum! I want chocolate cake. Maybe I'll translate the recipe ;)

Clementine sits now? Impressive. Obi Wan must have taught her well.

--jenna said...

I lived in Rio de Janeiro for five years...I'm thrilled that Portuguese editions will be available! Christmas presents, maybe???

Amber Lough said...

I think you gave me your 5lbs. Ever since Henry weaned, it's been harder for me to keep it off. Now I have to do Zumba, which is addictive and extremely exhausting.

So glad she likes the giraffe! Henry still plays with his, sometimes. Now he mostly like trucks. It's strange how he gravitated to that, without any pushing. He even makes the noises. Elizabeth thinks he's weird. Ha!

Hope your WIP is going well!

Henrietta said...

I want to live in this doll house! It is perfect! What a great idea. Sometimes I stop and look at a street of houses and think to myself - what could be going on inside each of those rooms. So many different activities and so many lives!