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Quick and Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake and my Early-life crisis





Its been a while hasn’t it? I’ve missed you guys very much :) I apologize for the delay the past few months have been quite….hectic. I’ve been going through quite a few things in my personal life that have left me without much time or desire (gasp!) to bake and blog. But that’s all going to change now. Hopefully.


To make a big story short, my biggest problem right now is that I do not know what to do. For those of you who know me well you will know that I am the kind of girl who thinks 5, 6, 8 and 10 steps ahead. I like to have a plan. Having a plan makes me happy. And as such, I have always made and modified and perfected my ‘life plan’. Many have laughed at me, others were puzzled at this teenage girl whose got her life planned and goals set for age 30 age 40 and beyond (when many adults still do not have it figured out).




So what is this plan? Well, I’ve had it planned out since 9th grade so I can tell you quite clearly. Step 1 : Obtain really good grades in high school in order to go to  university and get scholarships (check!) Step 2: Get a 4 years degree (in law and Politics) and work your ass off to get high grades and a ‘competitive’ record. (check!) Step 3: Apply to Law School, Step 4: Go to Law School, Step 5: Get a prestigious job in one of the best Law Firms in Bay Street Toronto (Canada’s equivalent to the big shot law firms in Manhattan NYC) I could go on and on and on about how this plan I have planned oh so well, but there would be no point. I have come to the conclusion that I will NOT be pursing this path anymore!





Early this summer I ended up having not a mid-life crisis, but an ‘early-life crisis’. I’m not sure I could fully explain the thought process (and believe me there was a lot of it!) but I realized that I no longer had a desire to become a lawyer! The optimistic side of me says that perhaps it’s a good thing I realized this before going to law school, going $150,000 in debt, and THEN realize I did not like it. But I cant help feeling very sad and a bit scared about all this. It is a very scary thing to go from having a plan only to have it go down the drain. Especially considering the fact that I am in my last year in my undergraduate degree, I am so very very very close to law school and all of my dreams, but now I feel I no longer want it? So what do I want? I have no idea. And for someone who NEEDS to have a plan….this is a very scary time.




Well perhaps to say that I have ‘no idea’ is unfair…I have quite a few ideas… (that’s the problem) and the reason I am stumped. The biggest issue is that the ‘options’ are very varied – from policy analyst to diplomat to getting a MBA or maybe even medical school? Thankfully because of my efforts the past 4 years I have a good enough GPA to have options. Unfortunately options can sometimes be frustrating! :p



When you are feeling the blues as I am and are not sure at all of your future, you know what helps? Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And cake too. But what’s even better than chocolate cake? EASY one bowl chocolate cake. Because the last thing you want to do when having an early life crisis is to worry about washing the dishes. I found this cake to be super decadent and I decided to sprinkle on some pomegranate for decoration, but oh my god….it improved the flavor so much more! It added an excellent contrast : nice cool sour crunch with fudgy chocolate cake.





One Bowl Chocolate Cake

* 150g unsalted butter

* 220g brown sugar

* 100g good quality dark chocolate
* 
50g Dutch-processed cocoa
* 
160ml milk

* 3 large eggs, room temperature

* 170g plain flour

* 1.5 tsp baking powder

* 1/2 tsp baking soda

* 1/2 tsp salt (skip this if using salted butter)


Method


Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 20-21cm square tin. (I used a 9 inch round)

In a large pot or mixing bowl over simmering water, add the butter, sugar, chocolate, cocoa and milk. When butter and chocolate has melted, remove from heat and whisk to combine. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Sift over the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt then gently stir to mix.
Scrape batter into tin and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in tin for 5 minutes then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack. Cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container (a quick zap in the microwave will get it all warm, melty and soft again).

Chocolate Fudge Frosting
(source)


Ingredients


* 100g good quality dark chocolate

* 50g unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature

* 150g icing sugar, sifted

* Pinch of salt
* 
1-2 Tbl of milk (I ended up using 3)


Method


In a bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate then remove from heat. Beat in softened butter (make sure it is room temp. Cold butter is bad news in this case). Sift over icing sugar and salt then beat until combined. Add enough milk until it is a spreadable consistency.


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Strawberry Cake

***Side note: Blogger has been hating me lately. I tried to post this at the end of April and it just would not post. Then I tried again a week later and the pictures wouldn't upload. Thus..this post is from then :)




*sings* I'm  baaaa-AACKKKKKK!!! :D

Miss me?

We will pretend you said yes.


I know, I know, I've been bad. Haven't updated in ages. But that will all change. I think. I hope.

I was super swamped with essays and assignments and exams...and then sprinkle in some work and personal life and there was no room for anything else!


But thankfully, I am OFFICIALLY done school. Submitted my last exam last night and am OFFICIALLY done my third year! :o I honestly can't believe it. Time has gone by SO fast. 
The past few weeks have been really tough, but Zahra has learned quite a few things!


1) Its AMAZING the amount of work you can get done without facebook!

I kept getting sick this semester and in the last week of March I got the worst case of the Flu that I have EVER GOTTEN. It was bad. like. REALLY BAD. Anywho, my crappy immune system meant that I fell really behind in school and thus April = hell month. Especially the last week. Since I always spend wayyyy too much time on facebook, I decided to 'cancel' my account until I was done exams. The problem is, that I probably go on facebook about 30 times a day? (I know. I have no life :P )

The first few days were tough....I was a druggie on with drawl and facebook was my drug. The worst part was I hadn't realized how addicted I was to it until I stopped! But the amazing part is....I ended up wasting SO MUCH LESS TIME than before and got SOOOO MUCHHHH work done. Every time I decided to go on facebook I couldn't...so I would have to study some more :) 

2) Sleep = Bitch

Why do we humans need to sleep? Why? 

Ok. Fine. Sleep isn't a problem. I actually love sleep. I really do. What I HATE is not having the OPTION to stay up as much as you like. And another thing...why do our bodies hate us? EVERY DAY this month I had to wake up bright and early (8 am for me) and go to school. EVERY TIME I would hit the snooze button about 10 times and have to DRAGGG my tired butt out of bed. And you would think that after a while I would get used to it....form a new sleep schedule? WRONG. Sleep = bitch remember? ALL month I was walking around sleep deprived. I had even developed VERY unattractive puffed up eyes. My sister actually screamed when she saw me. no lie. 

But the best part? ohhhh the best part. Today, when freedom finally wrung.... I was planning on sleeping in until 2pm to make up for all those times I wanted to sleep in but couldn't. But Sleep = Bitch, and thus that means that today, for the first day in over a month...I woke up without an alarm clock...at 6 AM!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Sleep. Why do you hate me?

3) Energy Drinks work...(sort of... see #4)

Desperate times call for desperate measures and from all the stress and lack of sleep I was forced to buy some energy drinks. At first I was really reluctant...who knows what goes into theses things? Up until now I had always passed over them, opting instead for a hot cup of tea for my caffeine rush. I ended up having to cave in and bought these mini ones form our school's mini-store and it tasted NASTY and it worked WONDERS. I would take 2 gulps and be jumping up and down!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D 

YAY! I have found a way to stay awakkeeeeeeee

4) Red Bull does not work.

Red Bull energy drinks? You know the ones that "give you wings"? I had originally planned on buying a can at the Uni store (instead of those mini amazing but they didn't have any so I was forced to buy the mini ones...so then the next day I went to the store and bought myself a nice big can. I came home and drank half of it...just waiting for the energy burst! Then I fell asleep. For 4 hours. So Clearly not only does Red Bull NOT work....it makes me SLEEPY. 

You may say thats only because I'm weird. 

But...Yah. I would have to agree.

5) Spring in Canada is never truly spring

In most countries, when spring comes, it comes to stay. Not in Canada though. NOT. IN. CANADA. In this past month we have had a few days of beautiful spring weather....birds chirping and flowers blooming and all that.....and then 3 days later we will have hail. I wish I could say I was exaggerating. I WISH. In fact 2 weeks ago it snowed 2cms!

But, despite this unintentionally negative post, I am going to choose to be positive. And celebrate the end of exams and the (hopefully?) beginning of spring with this delcioious strawberry cake! :) 



Strawberry Cake 
Yield: Serves 10
Cook Time: 50-55 minutes



Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top of cake

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan or pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
3. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Arrange strawberry slices on top of batter. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over berries.
4. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool in pan. To serve, cut into wedges. Store cake at room temperature, for up to two days.







**I thought I should include a picture of what happens when my family invades. They wait with baited breath for me to finish taking pictures...then they ATTACK!!!! This picture was taken 5 minutes after  I allowed them to grab some. Yes. That is all that there was left. 10 minutes later it was all gone.




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Long Time No See and Pizza Hut Pizza Dough

Wow! I haven’t posted since January 10th! Miss me? ;)






Long time no see huh? I thought I should post to inform you guys that no, I have not fallen off the face of the earth or been eaten by human eating zombie dolphins. Or something like that.

I’ve had a bunch of different stuff going on at the same time in my personal life that has made it impossible for me to update regularly. Long story short lets just say that life has not been nice. And I will be accepting your prayers. ;) Heres hoping that things will get better soon! (On a side note! My horoscope said that I’ve been going through a lot the past few months, but that there are new great changes coming for the better! So fingers crossed ;))


Anywho, enough about me. How have you all been? I have soooo many things I need to do food blog related wise. I was in the midst of a ‘blog renovation’ before life started sucking, so I will definitely be trying to get back to that! I also need to go check out a bunch of food blogs for all those posts I’ve missed!

Now, on to the yumminess! Growing up, making pizza was a standard in my house. On weekends my mom would ‘wing it’ and make some dough, and we would slather on some ketchup and sprinkle on some cheese and veggies. Now that I’m more of a, what would you call it….food snob? This simply wont do! I have been searching for a good pizza dough for a while now, and a little while ago I stumbled on this beauty. Pizza Hut crust clone? Yes please! I’ve got to say I was pleasantly surprised! The crust was puuuurfect … I promise you best pizza dough you will ever taste. If its not, I want YOUR recipe!


What I love about this is you can toss in the ingredients into the bread maker and have it do all the work. Do you work all day? Toss in your ingredients into the dough maker, and set your timer so that when you get home you have ready made fresh dough. Spread your pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on your toppings and you have prepped dinner in 5 minutes!


Now what do I mean when I say this crust is awesome? My definition of a perfect crust is to have a nice ‘sound’ when you tap it…nice and crunchy on the outside and soft hot bread on the inside. Mmmm…..pizza crust….




Copy Cat Pizza Hut Dough Crust

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal ( I used semolina)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Directions:
1. Add ingredients (except for cornmeal (or semolina)) to machine bread pan in order as per manufacturer's instructions. Set to "Dough" cycle.

2. Lightly grease your pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.

3. When the dough cycle is complete, roll out dough and place in pan. Let rest in pans for 10-15 minutes. Add toppings of your choice.

4. Bake at 350°F until done (approximately 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of toppings).



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New Years Resolutions


****Check out my most recent giveaway HERE and stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon!! **


Happy New Year!

Were you one of those awesome (loser) people like myself who went around saying happy 1-1-11 on January 1st, 2011? And then stopping to try to explain to everyone that yes, today is indeed the  1st day of the 1st month of 2011. I don’t know why people would roll their eyes at me. 

I thought I was a hoot!


 

On the topic of New Years, has anyone made any new years resolutions? Last year I did, and thankfully I can say that I at least have made a step in the right direction. My posting has gone up to about 20 more posts than the year before, and my hits more than quadrupled! :D  But of course, there are many more things I have planned in store for the upcoming year. The only problem is, I do not intend on making them into a new years resolution.
  
Why? Because I know better. I’m not the type of person to make myself a solid new years resolution and ever truly pull through with it 100%. I see them more as ‘guidelines’ than actual ‘have to’ tasks. I could vow to hit the gym at least 3 times a week, or change my diet and cut out all sugar, reduce stress, and never ever procrastinate again. But then again, I’m not na├»ve. I’m the kind of person who makes a new years resolution at 11:55pm that “I will never eat chocolate again.” And then at 12:03 I’ll bite into a chocolate bar and go “ops! Oh well. Maybe next year” *evil smirk* 


So I’ve decided to make some ‘general goals’ for the year. Basically working on the same ones from last year but taking it further. So, while I’m not going to promise to go vegan and healthy, I will start off this year with this delicious and healthy smoothie. Baby steps people. Baby steps.


So what New Years Resolutions have you made? :)



Berry Citrus Smoothie 

(Adapted from here)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh berries
  • 3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  •  Milk (as needed)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Flax Seed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



Place berries, yogurt, orange juice, Flax Seed, honey and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth. If its too thick pour in a little bit of milk at a time to get the consistency that you like.


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Recent Posts

Random Fun Stuff

Song of the week: Glee Season 2!!

Watching: Criminal Minds season 6 (man! its mind blowing)

Inspirational Quote:

"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself"

Random Foodie Fact:

"The world's first chocolate candy was produced in 1828 by Dutch chocolate-maker Conrad J. Van Houten."

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