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Monday
Aug042014

Single Serving Dessert: Microwaveable Chocolate Cake in a Bowl

To some, the idea of a "single serving dessert" seems sad. Like, poor you, you don't have anyone to share dessert with.

I don't find single serving desserts sad at all. I see it as a definite reason not to have to share. It only makes one! So you can see, it's a decision that you can make to treat yourself and no one else. The recipe which follows is for a quirky little single-serving chocolate cake which you can make in the microwave. I stuffed mine with hershey's kisses so it would be a little gooey inside, but you can do whatever you want, from topping it with ice cream or fruit (if you're into health food) or even some buttercream frosting

If you started to feel panicky there, don't: you won't be sharing the toppings either.

If this all sounds quite terrible of me, so be it, but I wasn't planning on sharing dessert with you anyway.

I'm going to try something a touch different today and put all of the photos before the recipe, so that if you want to follow the recipe, you can easily follow it without picture breaks. Which way do you prefer? 

All right, here we go.

Next time you're feeling greedy and want something all for you that nobody else can have, here's how you do it. 

First, you'll mix up a couple of wet ingredients.

Then you'll add some dry ones and mix til it's smooth.

If you want, add a generous handful of (unwrapped!) chocolate candies such as Hershey's Kisses.

Then you'll put the bowl you mixed it in right in the microwave for a few minutes. It will puff up and pull away form the sides of the bowl. Actually, it will kind of look ugly. But...

Go for it. Don't share. What do you think?

Single Serving Chocolate Cake in a Bowl

Makes one

  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • a handful of chocolate candies

Procedure

  1. Mix together the sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla in a bowl. And by "a bowl" I mean the one you indend on microwaving. Use one with decently high walls, so that the cake has room to rise.
  2. Add the flour and cocoa. Mix until incorporated. Add the milk and mix until smooth. You can use a fork, spoon, or mini spatula for this.
  3. Fold in the chocolate candy.
  4. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes (if you know your microwave is a lower powered model, go four minutes. It will puff up, and then deflate once removed from microwave.
  5. What are you waiting for? Top it, if you want to, and eat.

What's your favorite dessert to not share?

Sunday
Aug032014

What a Difference a Medium Makes

What's your favorite way to color in your artwork? Here's an exploration of several of my favorite ways. You might be amazed at what a difference the medium in question can make on a finished piece. You'll learn mroe about how to make your art come to life with this fun roundup. Read the full article here.

Sunday
Aug032014

Tips for Adding Emotion to Illustrated Characters

Let me tell you how to make faces. With your art, I mean. Learn my secrets here!

Friday
Aug012014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Oreos smiling

Salt and pepper cookies: sort of like fancied up homemade oreos.

I tried to make a dull subject (perspective in art) exciting and cute. Did I succeed?

Donut doubt my devotion to these holey treats.

I'm in Puerto Rico right now, so I'm enjoying these plantain recipes in their natural element.

Although this is from 2008, this is an interesting piece on the phenomenon of shrinking ice cream cartons in stores.

I was expecting more from this collection of houses that look like cakes, but I like the idea.

I also like these cakes inspired by real buildings!

In case you missed it: a fun donut activity to distract you from work.

Add some color to your life with this exploration of ways to color in your illustrations, written by *me*.

Individual apple crisp recipe. You know what that means: it's all for you.

If you need a little Christmas, right this very minute...snowballs are tasty any time of year.

Peanut dacquoise with peanut butter mousse and glaze? I am so down with this.

Post of the week: 10 Commandments of Guilty Pleasure Desserts.

How to make buttercream even better. Yes, it's possible!

How to make cake in a mug in the microwave.

Book of the week: Peeps: Recipes and Crafts to Make with Your Favorite Marshmallow Treat. I mean, I'm just happy that the book exists, but all the better that it has adorable crafts that expand your peeps artistry beyond torturing the things in the microwave. Peeps sushi, anyone?

Tuesday
Jul292014

The Ten Commandments of Guilty Pleasure Desserts

Hear thee, hear thee!

I have alarming news about the world: it is overrun with locally produced, artisan desserts. It's a frightening time to be alive, when where bearing a Twinkie or Snowball in your hand is viewed almost as disdainfully as smoking a cigarette in front of an elementary school.  

Why is it so terrible to take deep pleasure in sub-standard, commerically produced desserts? After all, life is short, and we have the right to derive pleasure both from high quality, lovingly baked desserts, as well as the ones that don't have any benefit but our gratification.

What follows is not just a series of commandments about guilty pleasure desserts, but an ode to their very essence! Follow these commandments for a life filled with guilty yet pleasurable sugary bliss.

Thou shalt not be local


A guilty pleasure shouldn't be a locally made food, unless you happen to live down the block from the Pop-Tart factory (in which case, I've been meaning to ask, can I move in with you?)

Thou shalt not be organic


If it has the word "organic" on it, be immediately suspicious of its guilty pleasure capacity. I've never in my life seen a package of Goetze's bullseye caramels labeled "organic"...have you?

Thou shalt not bear the word "artisan"

"Artisan" is a sure fire sign of quality that is not in the sphere of guilty pleasuredom. It is not a common attribute of a guilty pleaure dessert. 

Thou shalt be pre-packaged


If a dessert item is in plastic packaging, this is a very good sign. I am not talking about plastic wrap here, but the kind of plastic cello packaging that is sealed by machines. All the better if units are individually packaged and then put in a common box, such as Little Debbie brownies.

Thou shalt possess a list of ingredients totaling one mile long


If you are in doubt about whether or not a food can be considered a guilty pleasure, take a look at the ingredient list. If it is short and you can pronounce every single word on it, immediately put it back on the shelf and keep looking. Your guilty pleasure item should contain an impressive list of ingredients, most of which you do not recognize and/or cannot pronounce. 

Thou shalt not be classified as health food, ever


If anything about a dessert item smacks of health food, give it a wide berth. I'll be the first to admit that there are exceptions: Little Debbie's oatmeal creme pies might sound fairly virtuous, and I suppose the orange content in creamsicles could lull you into a sense of health security. 

Thou shalt not possess colors readily found in nature

We eat with our eyes first, so guilty pleasure desserts benefit from a healthy dose of color. But watch out: if the color looks suspiciously like one found in nature, it might not actually be a guilty pleasure. If it has a palette which vaguely resembles the colors of a Lisa Frank trapper keeper, you're in business.

Thou shalt not cost an arm and a leg

Have you ever anyone saying "these $4.25 a pop cupcakes made with all local organic ingredients are my guilty pleasure"? No. Twinkies are a guilty pleasure, and if you shop right, you can get two whole boxes for that price.

Thou shalt not possess nutritional benefits


What kind of nutritional benefits should a guilty pleasure dessert have? It should have zero. I firmly believe that the primary benefit of a guilty pleasure dessert is on a mental level and you shouldn't sully it with physical benefits. Or, put it this way: nobody in the history of ever has eaten Snowballs because coconut is high in manganese.

Thou shalt feel right at home in a child's school lunchbox


Here's a good test for whether a dessert classifies as a guilty pleasure or not. Would a six year old kid be psyched to find it in their lunch box? If so, you may have a guilty pleasure dessert on your hands. 

What is your governing law of what constitutes a guilty pleasure? Leave a comment!

Tuesday
Jul292014

How to Add Perspective and Dimension to Your Art

Even if you draw cute cartoons, perspective know-how is a must. Master it with this sweet article.

Monday
Jul282014

Monday Funday: A Fun Donut Activity


Donut you love Mondays? 

Um, OK. I realize it's not very nice of me to ask that while I'm in Puerto Rico soaking up the sun. But let me help knock you out of the Monday doldrums with some virtual donuts!

What you see above is a sweet opportunity to hone your donut drawing skills. Bonus: if you've mastered donut drawing, that means you can draw bagels, too!

Enjoy, and happy Monday!

Sunday
Jul272014

Donut Doubt My Devotion

Seriously, sweeties. If you want a bunch of my awesome doughnut recipes all in one place, plus even more awesome doughnut stuff, you've got to check out this free doughnut download via Craftsy. You'll thank me, donut you doubt it.

Sunday
Jul272014

Creative Quilled Cakes Roundup

Quilling: it's not just for paper! Check out this awesome collection of quilled cake designs.

Friday
Jul252014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

panel6

Take a quill pill: Awesome quilled cakes.

Wine tourism. (Wine sorbet included)

A fun retro recipe: fruit cocktail cake.

NYC style rainbow Italian cookies. So sweet. So good.

What do Cubans eat for dessert? Find out some favorites here.

Tips for adding emotion to your illustrations. I'm proud of this one!

Chocolate buttermilk biscuits. Brunch just got better.

Homemade Oreos. I'm OK with this.

Mojito cheesecake. Hook me up with this stuff!

Am I the only one thinking of Halloween candy and what I'll do with it already?

Did you miss my extremely opinionated essay on what is and is not crumb cake?

This is crumb cake, btw.

Book of the week: SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist. I love this girl because she bakes, is artistic, and owns a pug. Sound familiar? Oddly, our styles are quite different in spite of the fact that we sound like twins. I'm glad: she is absolutely amazing, and if I didn't love her work so much I would be jealous.

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