Devil’s Chocolate Bomb: 12-yolk Chocolate Cake

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As a follow-up to the angel food cake we made in the last post, I made this devil’s food cake the same day to use up the 12 yolks I had on hand. The only problem was that there wasn’t actually a recipe out there that used 12 yolks in a chocolate cake. We had long since grown out of doing that, using whole eggs instead. All the 12-yolk recipes on the internet were for yellow cakes, not chocolate. So I had to make it up. And here it is. I’m quite pleased with the results.

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Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and grab yourself a bundt pan. You can do this in any pan you like, or make it into a layer cake, but because I was serving this alongside the gluten-free angel-food cake, I wanted them both to be round with holes in the middle. Butter or spray your pan and then flour it to be on the safe side.

If you can bear to part with it (and as a parent of a nearly one-year-old, that’s a big sacrifice), save 1 3/4 cup coffee from your morning brew and allow it to cool. To up the coffee insanity (unless you made espresso earlier), tip in 2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder and stir to combine.

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Chop up about 1 cup chocolate into wee pieces and toss it in the top of a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water and let that sucker melt. Let it cool a little bit so it’s not molten lava.

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In another container, whisk together 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 2 1/4 cups flour, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda.

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In the bowl of your mixer, cube up 1 cup butter (softened) and beat the crap out of it together with 1 1/2 cups sugar until it’s soft and fluffy.

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Then grab your 12 egg yolks and slide them into the mixer one at a time until they’re fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add in 2 teaspoons vanilla as well.

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Look at that yellow loveliness.

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Now beat in your melted chocolate until your batter resembles a tar pit.

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Then grab your flour/cocoa mixture and your coffee.

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Alternate adding the two ingredient groups, flour-coffee-flour-coffee-flour and mix until the batter is smooth.

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Even with a spatter shield in place I still had a bit of a mess.

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Smooth the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

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To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if it’s 35 minutes or not. I didn’t write down that part of my recipe and after having dropped one angel food cake and had to make up another it kind of slipped my mind. But I’m guessing 35 minutes. If it’s not, then it’s a little longer, maybe 45 minutes. But certainly not less than 35 minutes. So keep an eye on it. And tell me what you come up with.

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When the cake has somewhat cooled you can tip it out onto a rack to cool completely. You can see the light coloured stuff on the surface: that’s the flour/butter from the pan. If you don’t want that to show up – like if you’re not planning to ice the cake – then don’t flour it (maybe use cocoa?).

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While the cake is cooling, you can make up a ganache. Chop up another 8 oz chocolate and set it in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup whipping cream until it’s just simmering, then pour it over the chocolate and stir it occasionally until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is uniform.

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Let that cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

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Then jam it all over your cake.

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I decided seeing as I suck as icing things in an artistic fashion to kind of make it look like stucco by smacking my icing spatula against it and pulling it away.

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Then I added some chips of white chocolate that I had on hand for contrast. I could have applied them better but again, not so good with the artistic part of cake-making. I’m more into the cake-eating.

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Which is what you can do now!

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A Panacea for Winter Skin

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Mmm … paste …

Thanks, climate change. When I first moved to Ottawa over twenty years ago, winters were long and dark and dry and COLD. Like, -30°C cold. Now they’re still that cold, but interspersed with warmer, sunnier days where everything melts, potholes form, and we start to believe that the worst is behind us. For like, two days. And then it gets really cold again. And our skin really pays the price for all this temperature variation. So here’s an easy, quick and relatively cheap solution to our winter skin woes, one that everyone in the house, including the baby, can make use of. If you have eczema you might find this a lovely soothing lotion.

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In a double boiler, or a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water, plop 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup shea butter. Let that melt.

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While that’s on the go, take a heaping 1/4 cup oats (rolled or quick, not steel cut), and use a food processor or spice grinder to reduce them to a fine powder.

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Once the oil and butter have melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool for a while, until the sides start to harden. If you live in a cold place, pop some plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and chuck it outside in the snow for a bit. Or shove it in your freezer if you’re impatient. Full disclosure: I left mine outside too long and it froze solid. What you’re looking for is something mostly solid but still mixable. If it’s too liquidy then the oatmeal will sink before it’s properly mixed in.

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Sometimes having winter right outside your door is actually a convenient thing. Sometimes. But not very often.

Tip in a few teaspoons vitamin E oil and 5 drops each lavender and chamomile essential oil. The essential oils are optional if you’d prefer to go scent-free.

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Then plop in your ground oatmeal.

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Give that a serious whaz with a hand mixer until everything is uniform.

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Spoon it into a container and leave it for a few days to allow the oatmeal stuff to work its way into the oils. This lotion is a little grainy when you first rub it in, so I prefer to put it on at night, but it soaks in nicely.∗

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∗If you’re not a fan of the grains of oats, you could try a few options (I haven’t tried these but they seem logical): you could infuse the oats in the oils as you heat them and strain them out, or leave the powder in there and it might be a bit softer. Or you can take the oats out altogether and use oat straw extract – Avena sativa – instead, but this stuff is pretty pricey.

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

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When I saw this sugar scrub on The Idea Room I knew I had to give it a try. I ended up modifying it a little bit to suit my personal taste, but the end result is just as delightful: a luxurious scrub that eliminates the need for post-shower moisturizing and makes you smell absolutely edible. And if you feel you need to actually taste the scrub because it smells so amazingly, I won’t judge. I may have eaten a small amount myself (it’s yummy!).

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Start with a little bit of unsweetened dried coconut, about 1 tablespoon coconut in total.

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Give it a good whaz in your spice grinder or food processor until it forms fine crumbs. These will be great exfoliants.

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Mix the ground coconut with 1 cup granulated sugar in a bowl, together with about 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (you’ll use 1 whole lime, if you double the batch, which I did).

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Give that a good stirring, then drop in about 8 drops of your favourite essential oil (that matches with limes and coconuts, of course – I went with lemongrass, to offset the sweet fruitiness of the citrus). I also squeezed the lime I had zested, adding maybe 1 tablespoon lime juice to the mix.

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Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil and pour that into the sugar.

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Stir until you have this lovely grainy wet sandy kind of thing. By now you are probably also hungry because of how amazing it smells.

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Scoop that fluffy luxury into wee jars to give as gifts or to keep selfishly for your own use.

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I gave all mine away but I’m definitely making this again!

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Raspberry Red Grapefruit Lip Balm

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I found this tutorial for making lip balm with freeze-dried raspberries from Hello Natural and thought I’d give it a shot, with a few Ali Does It modifications, of course. I love making home-made lip balm. I find it feels much better and more luxurious on my face than the commercial brands, and I love experimenting with different oils to various effects. As long as you keep a general ratio of 3:1 oils:wax, you’re pretty much golden. The measurements I use below resulted in over 2 cups lip balm, so if you use the same ones, make sure you have plenty of containers to put your balm into.

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As for the raspberries, well, those are optional, and I think next time I’d leave them out. They settled mostly to the bottom (though that looks pretty, too), and when I mixed them up in some pots they felt grainy against the skin. They taste great, though, and you can easily and quickly lick the grains of raspberry away, but I think if I’m aiming for a tinted lip balm next time I’ll start by staining the oils I’m using rather than adding any other solids and liquids to the mix. Or I’ll try this version, with Crayons. Or maybe not. Anyway, if you’re going to use raspberries, find some freeze-dried ones. Krystopf and Atlas popped down to NYC to visit Ando and Teedz so I asked them to stop into Trader Joe’s to grab a bag or two.

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I shoved as many raspberries as I could into my spice grinder (it’s a coffee grinder dedicated to all things not coffee) and whazzed them up until they formed a fine powder.

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Be careful not to breathe that in! One 34g bag of raspberries produced for me about 1/4 cup raspberry powder.

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But look! Those seeds are no good!

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So I actually sifted the powder, a wee bit at a time, through a tea strainer to get out the seeds. I think it was worth it.

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Now that you’ve finished with that nonsense, get your melty bits ready. In the bowl of a double boiler, dump in 1 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, and 1/2 cup beeswax. I also had about 1/2 tablespoon shea butter in the bottom of a jar that was asking to be used so I added that in as well.

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Once it’s all melted, tip in your raspberry powder as well as about 20 drops essential oils. I used grapefruit. I love pink grapefruit.

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Then you start pouring. I ended up filling like 27 little pots of varying size.

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As well as half a small canning jar. I later decanted this into three wee plastic pots and kept it for my own use. I like the balm: raspberries aside, it’s nice and smooth on the lips without being goopy and provides a decent shine for a decent amount of time.

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As it sets, the raspberries will settle to the bottom. You can stir them up with a toothpick if you like.

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But I kind of like the ombre effect. Makes a great stocking stuffer/gift!

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Sage and Honey Hair Pomade

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I LOVE having short hair. I used to have very, very long hair, which went all the way down my back. It was so long I could sit on it. Now my hair is super short and there’s no going back. Every time I change the style it gets shorter. Eventually I will be bald, and I’m okay with that. Anyway, I really like to style my short hair, but it’s very fine and tends to get frizzy in the humidity. The Pie has extremely curly hair, which does the same thing. So we put various kinds of goo in it to keep it under control. This is one of those things. I like the smell of the sage oil combined with the beeswax – it’s a very nice unisex kind of scent.

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I’m not sure how much of this you want to make (I made a whole bunch to give away as gifts), but the basic proportions that I got from Momtastic are 1 teaspoon coconut oil to 1 teaspoon beeswax to 1 drop essential oil.

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Clean and dry whatever containers you’re planning to put the pomade into. I used some old tins I had lying around that I’d saved from mints or tea, plus some plastic containers out of an old shaving kit belonging to the Pie’s grandfather (though I don’t think he ever used it). To figure out how much space I had to fill with pomade, I poured water into each one and dumped it in a measuring cup ahead of time. This ended up making about 2 1/2 cups.

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Plop your ingredients in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set above a pot of barely simmering water) and melt that stuff the heck down. I didn’t bother to chop up my beeswax because I messed up my wrist temporarily, but it melted just fine as it was.

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Add in the appropriate number of drops of your essential oil. I used sage, as I mentioned, because it’s a nice relaxing herb.

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Pour the melted mixture into your containers and let it set.

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I saved the bowl scrapings for myself.

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Look at these pretty golden bars of hair loveliness!

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To use, just scrape out a pea-sized amount with your fingernail. Rub briskly between your palms to melt the wax, and then apply to wet or dry hair.

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I like to put it in while my hair is still damp and then blowdry it to set up some texture.

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Almost Not There Lemon Squares

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I made these from Amy Approved yesterday for another round of meetings at work.  They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo, so if you have any sensitivities to food you’re probably safe eating these (unless you’re allergic to nuts, coconut, or eggs, in which case you might die – don’t eat these).  In addition, unlike traditional lemon squares, where you bake the crust and then bake the filling, this filling is a stove-top deal, so it’s ideal if you need your oven for something else.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 8″ x 12″ baking dish with parchment paper.

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Grab about 2 cups raw almonds (I used blanched ones) and pulse them in a food processor until they’re in small chunks — don’t go too far, though: you don’t want almond meal.

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Mix the almonds together with 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 2 tablespoons coconut flour, and 2 large eggs.

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It looks like vomit. Gross.  Don’t let that deter you.

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Press that sticky gooeyness into the bottom of the dish and bake that for 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown.  Let that cool completely.

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For the lemon filling, crack 6 large eggs into a saucepan and add as well 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used the juice of 4 large lemons), 1/2 cup honey, and a dash of sea salt.

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I don’t feel lemon bars are complete without some lemon zest as well, but I leave that up to you.

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Whisk that all up and heat over medium.  Stir in 1/2 cup coconut oil until it’s completely melted.

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Keep whisking.

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And whisking.

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The mixture will eventually start to thicken, so you want to keep gently heating and whisking until you’ve got something resembling a thick pudding.

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When you get there, give it a few more whisks and then you can remove it from the heat and let it cool completely.

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Once the lemon goo is cool, you can smooth it over your crust.

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Feel free to garnish the tops with shredded coconut as well.

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Shove that in the freezer for about 30 minutes so everything will set and harden, then cut into bars. I just chucked mine in the fridge overnight.

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Keep these babies in the fridge to prevent them from going gooey.  If they last that long. They’re not as satisfying as a lemon square made with butter and sugar and flour but they’re still pretty tasty!

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Breakfast Brownies

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When Atlas posted this recipe to my Facebook newsfeed and suggested I make it for the next time we went over for dinner, I knew it wasn’t really a suggestion.  I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand (because as we all know I’m a huge fan of butter, eggs, and refined sugar, and that’s not likely to change any time soon), so I did make some substitutions.  If you’d like to go for the original version, just check it out at Eat Drink Love.

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Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and spray a 8″ x 8″ baking dish.  Line the dish with parchment paper so that you have two little handles sticking out.

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Grind up about 2 tablespoons flax in your coffee grinder (wipe it out before and after of course, or use a separate one). Flax is amazing for you, but it will do you no good if you don’t grind it up first.

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Add the flax to a bowl with 3/4 cup oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 cup cocoa.

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Give that a good stir.

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Find a lovely ripe banana and smush it up with a fork.

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Add that to the oat mixture, along with 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/2 cup milk.

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Stir that around and then slop it into your prepared pan.

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I forgot I was supposed to stir these in and so I sprinkled 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top.  Very decorative.

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Bake for 17-20 minutes, until the centre is solid and tests clean with a toothpick.  Set on a wire rack to cool completely.

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After cutting the brownies into little pieces, store them in the fridge.

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To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of this recipe.  I don’t like baking with coconut oil as I find it too heavy and greasy, and so that’s all I could taste, but everyone else seemed to like them just fine.