In the Kitchen: Chocolate Cake with Cookie Butter Glaze

I can’t believe I never told you about this cake. I made it for a New Year’s Eve brunch-time viewing of Doctor Who with a couple friends. I took pictures. I partially wrote about it in my head. And then… well then the semester that took over my life happened. But the semester is now over (YAY!) and I’m on what will probably be an all-too-brief summer break.

So, the cake. I found it via Shannon, who got the recipe from The First Mess.

chocolate cake

This cake, it was delicious. Perfect for a small gathering. I used regular all-purpose and whole-wheat flours. After glazing (I used Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter in my glaze),  I topped mine with toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

In the background, you can see the reality that is my kitchen. It’s small, too small for someone who bakes as often as I do (and recently made smaller by the addition of a hand-me-down stand mixer. I have gladly given up counter space for it, as it means I can make cupcakes and frostings without mixing my arm off using a handheld mixer). But that means it’s messy. All the mixing and prep work occurs in the small stretch of counter between my stove and the sink.

chocolate cake

Usually I try to take my pictures elsewhere in the apartment – like the table that doubles as a desk and craft area, but I wanted to share reality with these photos for some reason. The cake is simple, so it seemed like a good idea. Baking produces things that are delicious, but it’s definitely not tidy.

But you should try this cake, tiny kitchen or not.


Life in a nutshell

It’s been a month since I last wrote here. I KNOW.

But there has been very little to tell. I’ve had bronchitis and general allergy-related malaise for the past few weeks (mostly the bronchitis, but the allergies kicked in this week, thank you pollen).

So, a brief history of March/April in photos:

I got to meet the Mindy family’s new chickens (this is Mrs. Patmore with S in the background).
Meeting the chickens

Birthday party for a 3 year old. I made tiny funfetti cupcakes.
Frosted tiny cupcakes!

Book club (with bacon wrapped tiny sausages!).
Book Club!

Passover Seder, where S got a belated birthday gift from Sharon & danced around in Hello Kitty rain boots.
Blurry "niece" & favorite Simon (the wonder pup) at Passover Seder. #100happydays #latergram

A trip to the art museum to visit my favorite painting (at least locally. My FAVORITE painting is in New York). One of Monet’s Water Lilies.
More in scenes from the St. Louis Art Museum: another part of Monet's Water Lilies, painted between 1915-1926.

Still knitting the neon.
Pile of neon knitting. #100happydays

And since you made it that far, favorite Ziggy napping.
nap buddy

I still have two papers to write & two presentations to give before the semester is done, but it’ll get finished.

Burnout imminent

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I took on at least one thing too many this semester.

Right now I am meant to be writing up an article critique that is due tomorrow (and is also the midterm for one of my classes). I still have a lecture to watch for my online class. There is a manuscript due in about 3 weeks. Maybe 2 weeks. I’m not really sure at this point. Plus I will have grading for the TA position next week. And all I really want to do is knit.

Made it through the first full highlighter repeat. #dyeabolical #knitting #seenfromspace

This project is my current obsession. It’s a scarf (pattern is Another Way) out of my Dyeabolical highlighter minis (mine are super sized) and an undyed hank of the same base – Super Ego. How can you look at these colors and not be happy? I blame Ann. Anything neon is all her fault. KNIT KNIT KNIT.

I should be working on this critique, but it’s not gelling in my head. I can pick apart an article with the best of them, but there’s a section where I need to come up with possible explanations for their null results and UGH. I am not feeling it. Maybe tomorrow I can do it with a fresh brain (you know, one that DIDN’T have chocolate donuts for dinner).

I really wish I would have watched that lecture for the other class during Spring Break, though. It’ll also wait until tomorrow.

Yarn Harlot in St. Louis

Back in 2006, Rachel was working at Knitorious & decided to start a knit night there. I was living with Mindy at the time and we spent a lot of time hanging out at the house and knitting (and eating a lot of macaroni & cheese. I’m pretty sure we could have single handedly kept Kraft in business during those 2 years). I had also just gone through a breakup, so I needed to get out of the house & I wasn’t really going willingly. Mindy had to practically drag me out of the house (I hate meeting new people on account of being socially awkward and an introvert) and she did the legwork to find knitting groups for us to test out & one fateful Wednesday we walked over to Knitorious (which was close enough to her old house to walk to) and went to knit night. I’m not sure what it was about that first knit night, but we kept going back. And now it’s been 8 years of knit nights and friends I never would have known otherwise.

Which explains how I found myself on Tuesday night hanging out with the knitters of St. Louis at Left Bank Books for Stephanie Pearl-McPhee‘s book reading and the Knitorious pre-event reception. Of course, we talked to Stephanie for like 2 minutes & I said “we started our blogs on the same day!” and we chatted ever so briefly about that before I ran out of things to say and went all introvert and ran away.

Before I get to the reading, I have to show you Ann‘s awesome sweater. We kept joking that you could see her from space, but OMG it was bright. Awesome, but SO VERY BRIGHT.
This is essentially her own design – she took a crocheted sweater that she had started, but that just wasn’t working and transformed it into this neon work of art by knitting the sides & arms.

Anyway, after sitting for a bit and knitting, the room filled up and Stephanie came out to talk.

Yarn Harlot - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

People, she was funny. I was crying from the laughing. She told us why she can’t go back to Memphis (which is a hilarious story that involves baking soda that sounded like bacon soda). She told us about preparing for the tour and the readings, about talking to her publicist and saying that she had no idea what she’d talk about. When her publicist suggested that she READ something, Stephanie said that she spent at least 30 seconds figuring out what she should read. “Neil Gaiman? He’s pretty good. Or David Sedaris, he’s a little rough but I can make it work…” until she realized that, of course, she should read from HER book. And then she read us a story about a persistent porch dwelling skunk.

Thanks to the pre-event reception, I had my book signed early & didn’t need to wait in line for it, so no photos of me with her. But I like to think I now collect signed editions of books (I have a few from various people because I love books).

Just hanging out with the Yarn Harlot.

Alright alright alright.

So I enabled the 2-step authentication for the blog a couple weeks ago, then got annoyed every time I came to do a quick post & couldn’t just log in with one step. Ridiculous, I know, but that’s one reason I’ve not been posting.

The other reason is that things have been crazy busy. Work has been project after project – seems like as soon as I send one thing out for review, there are 3 more to take it’s place. It’s good to be busy, I just come home more tired than I would if it wasn’t quite so busy. And school has been, well, crazy. I took on too much this semester (I fully admit this) and spend most of my evenings in front of the computer doing homework or reading or, thanks to also being a TA this semester, grading. I thought it was going to be easier after my exams, but it turns out it’s just a different kind of work.

Knitting has been slow lately, even. I have finished all of 2 projects so far this year & they were both small (I am nearly done with a third, but it’s also small).

On the plus side, Spring Break is next week and even though I’m not taking time off work, I do get a break from going to classes AND I finally get to see the Yarn Harlot when she makes a stop in St. Louis. So yay.

Now that you’ve read to the end, enjoy this photo of Ziggy stealing all the warm from my space heater. Tonight I actually had to move the space heater because he had smooshed himself up against it.
Ziggy gets so close to the space heater that I think he's going to singe his fur.