Looking back on my 21 years of life, I can't say I honestly remember full days at a time. Yes, I remember the past couple of days because of how recent they are. But past days, no. Let me take it back to last year when I went to Colombia. One weekend during that trip, I went to the city, Medellín, with my cousin. I remember the car ride, and going to the mall with him, amongst other little bits, but one of the most memorable things I remember was going to this rave called BlackDance Toxic. It was at the local airport right in the middle of the city. I don't really remember the music, because after a while all techno sounds the same. What I remember is sitting out in the open air, looking up, looking around. You see, Medellín is located in a valley so the mountains rise up around it, and at night, the mountains are all lit up. I remember laying there on the grass with my cousin and his friend, and just seeing all those lights blend in with the stars. Something about being in that environment made me forget about where I was, and the mountains became one with the sky, and lights and stars were one giant galaxy surrounding the Olaya-Herrera airport. I remember tuning everything out, and just thinking, "Wow, this is fucking gorgeous." On another occasion on another day of another year, I remember having a kind-of grown-up lunch with a friend I hadn't seen or talked to in a while. I felt like a real person, meeting someone for lunch, to talk about life and all that had happened over the course of a year or two, basically since graduation. The point is, you don't really remember whole days at a time. You remember moments that made you who you are, moments that stood out from the normal, moments that make you happy or sad, or moments that make you crack up when thinking about them (such as meeting your favorite singer and crying uncontrollably while he's hugging you, or doing yoga at a club, or yelling out "I heard you say, Hey! Hey!" as if you were the one who actually recorded the song). What are your moments like?
Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate-Pecan Frosting
adapted from: Southern Cakes: Sweet & Irresistible Recipes For Everyday Celebrations
"This handsome cake has a deep, rich, chocolate flavor without too much sweetness. But if sweet pleases you as it does me, do spread that frosting on top. You could also dust the cake with confectioners' sugar or serve it with a generous dollop of whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream."
serves 8 to 10
3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
Chocolate-Pecan Frosting (recipe follows)
1) To make the cake, heat the oven to 325F. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl, or stir with a fork to mix them well. Stir the vanilla into the evaporated milk.
2) In a large bowl, combine the butters and the shortening and beat well with a mixer at high speed until they form a smooth, fluffy mixture. Add the sugars gradually, beating well to combine them evenly.
3) Add the eggs one by one, beating well each time. Add about one third of the flour mixture, and then half the milk, beating each time at low speed only until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Mix in another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the flour in the same way.
4) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 325F for about 90 minutes, until the top of the cake is firm and dry, the sides are pulling away from the pan, and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
5) Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 15 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife, and turn it out onto a wire rack or a plate to cool completely, top side up.
1/8 cup salted butter
1/8 cup unsalted butter
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1) To make the frosting, in a small saucepan, combine the butters and the chocolate. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, add the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla, and stir well until the glaze is smooth.
2) Spread the glaze over the cake while it is still warm, or cool to room temperature and use it to ice the top of the cake. Quickly sprinkle the chopped pecans over the frosting on the top of the cake.