Do you enjoy reading?
I do. So very much so. When Little was first born I read through more books than I can remember while nursing with one arm and reading on my Kindle with the other.
I have fallen out of the habit. Since Little became more mobile I have seemingly lost my ability to concentrate for more than 10 minutes at a time. Even when he is bed I struggle to stay focused on a book however engaging.
Till this past week.
I have a sweet dear friend whom I love to pieces. She is beautiful outside and in and so very very ambitious. Do you know what she did? SHE WROTE A BOOK. An honest to goodness novel. And a spectacular one at that.
I tore through the book. For someone with little to no down time finishing a book in under a week is kinda a big deal. I think it took me 5 days. Once you hit chapter 25/26 you are toast till the end. I am warning you.
Brooke is like family to me. She is so terribly talented in to many arenas. She and her husband had a lovely sweet baby girl about four months before we had Little. Truly my kindred spirit.
We often joke that we need to be sisterwives. Half the time I am not joking. Half the time I am sure she isn’t either. Maybe more.
This weekend I was honored to make this lovely cake for her book release party. Did I mention she WROTE A NOVEL? And what a lovely evening it was. She made the most tempting appetizers and delicious dinner. We all got to mingle and talk about how amazingly awesome she is and how awesome her book is.
Which is all so very very true.
The book is titled Marked by Glory and is the tale of Amy Masters. Born of noble blood and completely unaware of the fact, she is swiftly thrust into the world of the supernatural when a pair of late night intruders forcibly tattoo her birthright on her. It is a story of love, loss, battle, and destiny. A wickedly good read.
So you know what? I want you to read her book. Partly because I am beyond proud of her and partly because it is just so good.
Shameless promotion but you can buy it here on Amazon or here on Barnes and Noble.
I am offering you the chance to WIN a copy. I should preface that it is currently in ebook format so I will send it to your Kindle or Nook (you can get an app for free if you have a smart phone). If you are technologically challenged and patient and you want a physical copy and you win we can wait till it is in print in about a month and I will mail you a copy.
So… comment on this post and tell me what your favorite book is. All comments made by midnight Nov 21st, 2013 will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this fabulous book. One entry per person for commenting. You can get a second entry if you share this post on facebook and then come back here AND comment that you shared the post.
And yes. I made a cake. It was delicious. And pretty.
But seriously just go read the book.
One year ago today:Pumpkin Crème Candies
Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese
From Key Ingredient
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (4 ounces)
3/4 cups cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat three 8-inch cake pans butter. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the boiling water; the batter will be very thin.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans (a scale works great for this). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Make the cream cheese filling and chocolate buttercream (see recipes below). When you’re ready to assemble the cake, remove the layers from the refrigerator. If needed, level each layer with a serrated knife or cake leveler.
Place the bottom layer on a cake plate. Evenly spread about 3/4 cup of the cream cheese filling over the cake, leaving about 1/2 inch margin around the edges. Top with the second layer and repeat. Finally, top with the third layer. Apply a thin layer of chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. This is only a crumb coat, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply a final layer of chocolate buttercream, as well as any desired embellishments.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Add the vanilla and beat one minute more. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.
In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the sugar/cocoa mixture about 1/2 cup at a time. Halfway through this process, add the milk and vanilla. Once all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.