Justin is here for the first signing of his book, Sandcastles and Other Stories, a collection of short stories that he self-published as an e-book and is now published by Green Darner Press and out in paperback. It was well reviewed in the Huffington Post, and is available widely. (Shameless promotion, I know, but perhaps the occasional lost reader who is not related to us will buy it. Our relatives have all been given copies.)
As you know, the best way to celebrate all life's occasions (birthdays, book publishings, Mondays) is with cake. I made the chocolate sour cream layers from Rosie's All Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No Holds Barred Baking Book and frosted with a butter cream from Nigella Bites.
Amos made the umbrella. It was well received.
Sour Cream Layers adapted from Rosie's etc etc etc
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 cups flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 cup coffee
1/2 cup sour cream or whole yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8" pans, line the bottoms with parchment, grease the parchment, and then dust the whole insides with flour.
Melt the chocolate. I used the microwave.
Sift the dry ingredients into the KitchenAid.
Mix the coffee, sour cream or yogurt and the canola oil thoroughly.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing on low speed until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Lastly, blend in the melted chocolate.
Put the batter in the pans (obviously) and bake for 30ish minutes depending on your oven. Don't over cook.
Let cool in pans and when completely cool frost with your favorite chocolate frosting. I like a whipped frosting that is not too greasy and I found that in this:
Fudge Frosting from Nigella Bites
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
18 T unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 confectioners sugar, sifted. Really sifted. Not optional.
1 T vanilla
Melt the chocolate. Beat the butter until light and creamy, then add the SIFTED confectioners sugar. Beat in the melted chocolate which by now should be somewhat cool, and the vanilla. Try to exercise enough restraint that there is enough frosting left to cover the cake.