Sunday, March 26, 2006

Santa Cruz-Louden Nelson Community Center

So, we went to the boardwalk as soon as we got there.

I rode the Big Dipper with my sister-in-law and screamed until I almost had no voice left.

Then sushi and watching people surf. I could live in Santa Cruz.

The reading was lovely.

James Maughn--nicest guy and great turn out at the reading.

I loved the community center, but it's biggest draw back was that the entire right wall was covered with mirrors.

Note to future curators--no one, no one wants to read in a room full of mirrors.

We had a nice time, and my family said it was my best reading yet, which we think was directly related to the roller coaster.

Now I've got to incorporate roller coasters into every day before a reading.

Coney Island here I come.

Back to Brooklyn tomorrow.

I'm ready for my own bed and L and the girl gang.

But one last reading here in San Francisco at 5PM before I go.

(And a chocolate cake for my birthday).


Emily said...

Come for the Poetry, Stay for the Cake

For her birthday, I gave Ada 5 choices for a chocolate cake, and she chose:

Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake with Chocolate Butter Icing

Could there BE a better choice? I think not. She saved the day by adding a half cup of sugar I had forgotten. Damn glasses.

Here is the recipie. Fun. Fudgey:

1 Cup nonalkalized (natural) cocoa powder

2 t. instant espresso or instant coffee

1 Cup boiling water

1/2 Cup sour cream

2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 Cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/4 Cups flour

3/4 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to center postion and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure both cake pans fit in your oven, or you're going to have to cook them separately, which is just a pain. Generously grease two 9 by 1 1/2 inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening and (ask Ada how to) cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper or waxed paper. Grease parchment rounds, dust cake pans with flour, and tap out excess.

2. Mix cocoa and instant coffee in small bowl; add boiling water and mix until smooth. Mush the lumps on the side of the bowl so as to be sure that the chocolate is smooth. Cool to room temp. then stir in sour cream and vanilla. (The best part.)

3. Beat butter in a bowl of electric mixer(or with your immersion blender which you jimmy-rigged with a whisk. Be careful not to break the whisk. Get butter all over the underside of the cupboards, and have dear husband clean them later) set at medium high speed until smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds. Gradually sprinkle in sugar; beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 full minute after each addition. Have sister-in-law hold bowl while you steer the immersion blender with two hands.

4. Whisk in flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. With mixer on lowest speed, add about one-third of dry ingredients to batter, followed immediately by one-third of cocoa mixture. After a couple of flour blizzards, cover bowl with towel while you do this with your immersion blender so you don't get flour all over the kitchen and yourself. Mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into batter. Repeat process twice more. When batter appears blended, stop mixer and scrape bowl sides with rubber spatula. Return mixer to low speed; beat until batter looks satiny, about 15 seconds longer.

5. Divide batter evenly between pans. With rubber spatula, spread batter to pan sides and smooth top. Bake cakes until they feel firm in center when lightly pressed and skewer comes out clean or with just a crumb or two adhering , 23-30 minutes. 23 minutes is KEY. Transfer pans to wire rack; cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around perimeter of each pan, invert cakes onto racks, have mother-in-law help as the cake sticks to your hands and almost breaks (but not quite!), peel off paper liners. You COULD "Reinvert cakes onto additional racks" but why?? Cool completely before frosting.


9 ounce bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup light corn syrup

Melt chocolate and butter in a medium bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water. Stir in corn syrup. Set bowl of chocolate mixture over a larger bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, until the icing is just thick enough to spread.

7. Assemble cake: Put GOBS of icing on the first layer. Almost run out of icing. Decide, with the help of the birthday girl and her mom, that the cake looks better with icing just smooshing out the sides of the cake, rather than icing the whole thing. Use the last bit of icing on the top.

8. Have poetry reading. Get friends high on poetry and wine and cheese and smoked salmon, and then bribe them to stay for more with chocolate cake. If it's Sunday, kick them out about 10, when their sugar headaches start to kick in.

Bon Appetit!

Jim Maughn said...

I've somehow only now figured out you have a blog. Thanks for finding your way down here to give such a fantastic reading. It was a pleasure to meet you.


Jim Maughn said...

Oh, and sorry about the mirrors. We are usually in a different, mirrorless, room. They bumped us into that one because the usual room was booked.


Limonada said...

Jim, don't worry about the mirrors, it all worked out wonderfully! Thank you for a great turn out and a great time. (You didn't know I had a blog, because I just started it!)