Tag Archives: Books

Recipes – Dauntless Chocolate Cake

“At the end of the hallway she turns and says, ‘Have a piece of cake for me all right? The chocolate. It’s delicious.’”

Anyone who pays close attention to food mentioned in books will definitely have made a note of the Chocolate Cake that is the “official” food of those belonging to the Dauntless faction in Veronica Roth’s Divergent. There are a number of recipes out there on the web, but I was curious about the recipe from the “Unofficial Divergent Cookbook,” by Megan Parker.

There’s a link to the book here, but I decided to buy the cookbook for 99 cents on my Kindle. I was somewhat disappointed to find that the recipe was fairly simple. It looks like a perfectly respectable chocolate cake, but nothing really makes it special; there is nothing Daunting about it.

So I decided it needed a little something. The first thing that came to mind was that the cake needed a bit of a kick, something unexpected, something spicy. I did a quick search for chocolate cake inspired by Mexican drinking chocolate and came across a number of recipes that were spiced with cinnamon or cayenne pepper. I also liked the idea of having a very rich, or moist Devil’s food cake, and did some experimenting with different levels of butter, and cocoa.

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“’Let’s go to the cafeteria,’ Will says, ‘and eat cake.’”

Lacking an occasion to serve a cake I made a small batch of cupcakes as a portable, easy to store treat. Hopefully I captured the essence of the Dauntless and especially Triss’ spirit with these cupcakes and that you all enjoy them as well.

This recipe only makes six cupcakes but you can easily double, or triple the recipe.

½ all purpose flour
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
¼ cup unsweetened Dutch process Cocoa Powder
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less depending on taste)
3 tablespoons milk (or water if lactose)

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flou, cocia powder, baking soda, sugar, and spices) together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the egg, oil, water, vanilla, and milk
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and divide batter between six cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

For the icing I bought a can of chocolate icing and added ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. A recipe for the same kind of icing made from scratch can be found here.

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Friday Finds – The Worst Bestsellers

After hopping on the Serial bandwagon earlier this year I realized that there was a whole world of podcasts I was missing out on. I listen to some really great ones that deal with books, most notably Fresh Air from NPR and Books on the Nightstand. I never thought however, that I would find a group of people that I identify with like I do with Kait and Renata from The Worst Bestsellers.

I came across this podcast after it was mentioned on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, and it is exactly what the title claims it to be, discussions about the Worst Bestsellers. My friends and I had discussed doing something similar and starting a book club where we would read just terrible books, Modelland was always going to be the first on that list. The Modelland episode of this podcast totally hooked me in and I proceeded to work my way through their back episodes.

Essentially in each episode Kait, Renata, and a special guest give a brief overview of the book in question, go through the major plot points, discussing how absurd many things are, play a game of would you rather, and then suggest a candy pairing for the book. They also have a section called “Readers Advisory,” where they suggest books/tv shows/movies to read/watch instead of the book in question. More often than not the suggestion involves watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. This is just one of the reasons why I love this podcast; I am just so happy that there are other people in this world who acknowledge that Drag Race is the best thing on TV right now.

For those looking for a taste, I highly recommend listening to their episode on The Secret. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed quite as hard, and The Secret has become a running joke throughout the rest of their episodes (that and their “sponsorship” by ChristianMingle.com).

Not only are Kait and Renata incredibly funny, but they are also both very smart and clearly knowledgeable about books. Listening to the podcast is like sitting among a group of friends and I am so glad I found them.

(Warning: Even thought there are a number of young adult novels featured on this podcast, this is not a family show. Much of the language is explicit and the themes are mature.)

Some Books I’d Love to see them do:
Anything by Bill O’Reilly (Killing Lincoln was especially difficult to get through)
The Other Boleyn Girl (Or anything by Philippa Gregory because she can stand to be taken down a peg)

Special Post – Christmas Roundup

I got some pretty great literary themed gifts for Christmas this year, and I wanted to share them all with you. Thank you to all my family and friends for knowing me well enough to know that you can never go wrong with buying me books.

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First up is a set of Reader’s Teas from Indigo. The box states “There is nothing more agreeable than the voice of a book and the quiet of a cup of tea,” and I happen to agree. I love White Teas and am especially excited to the the White Anjou Pear. Now just to find the right book to pair it with.

2014-12-28 20.32.36From the One of a Kind Craft Show come this literary inspired pillow. My apartment is lacking in book related decor, and I love the sentiment expressed on this pillow; “I open a book, it opens my heart.” The pillow is from Lois Ward of Goodlines Décor, based in London Ontario, who makes all her products out of pre-loved fabric and non-toxic ink. You can check out her site and where to buy her products on her webpage.

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Also from the One of a Kind Craft Show is this bookbinding kit from Sprout’s Press. I posted a while ago about how much I loved everything at the Sprout’s Press booth and was so excited to open this on Christmas day. I can’t wait to try my hand at binding my own journal and will be sure to share my experience on this blog.

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Obviously a number of books were on my Christmas wish list. Santa must read this blog because Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler are both hilarious women as well as strong female role models, and anyone who reads my blog knows what a winning combination those two things are. I cannot wait to start reading these so that I can fall in love with both women even more.

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Last but not least, everyone knows that I am constantly carrying multiple books around with me and always have a need for good book bags. The one on the left depicts Queen Street West and was crafted by No Place Utopia, which creates beautiful Toronto themed artwork and decor. The tote with the typewriter is also from the One of a Kind Craft Show and was crafted by Made in Brockton Village. Both of these will definitely come in handy when lugging around my collection.

Finally I also received a gift certificate to Indigo and am torn on which books to buy. Right now I am pretty much set on The Tastemakers by David Sax, and The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray. Anything can happen when I step into a bookstore however, and I have a feeling I will be needing one of my new book bags to carry home all my purchases.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and has a very happy New Year.