“If you can make it through a day like today, marriage is a cake walk.”

*Warning: spoilers

vegan-wedding-cake

Since I’m focusing on Mad Men in a historical, cultural, and political context this week, I wanted to do something related to JFK. There is an episode in season one devoted to the election of 1960, and then his assassination shocks the characters of Mad Men in season three’s penultimate episode.

After much deliberation, I decided to take a subtle approach with this post and focus on the aftermath of the JFK assassination in the Mad Men world. While news stories and history books can give factual evidence and the essence of an event, turning the camera in everyday people (as if Roger Sterling, the author of the title quote, is an everyday person) can tell so much more about the impact of tragedy.

mad-men-wedding

Margaret Sterling/Hargrove gets married shortly at the end of November, shortly after JFK’s assassination, in ‘The Grown Ups.’ While the characters try to force life to go on, the wedding barely happens.

mad-men-the-grown-ups

Don and Betty’s marital bliss finally comes to an end in this episode, just after baby Gene is born. With season three’s focus on life, death, marriage, and divorce, it seemed appropriate to deal with the JFK assassination upon the backdrop of Margaret’s wedding.

Using red velvet as an anomaly in an image of white wedding bliss, classic illusion vs reality is at play. And with that, I’ll let the images do the talking.

vegan-red-velvet-cake

mad-men-cake

Thanks for visiting. Come back tomorrow for slightly more levity!

Chocolate Cake and Dog Cake

chocolate cake

Last week I was faced with the task of deciding what to do with an extra chocolate sheet cake. I know, such a difficult position to be in. I wasn’t interested in making another basic frosted cake, so I grabbed some cookie cutters and started cutting out shapes. The cake was too thick for the cookie cutters to slice through, so I had to finish the job with a knife.

Yet another task arose: what to do with the cake triangles? With some leftover buttercream to work with, the obvious choice was cake sandwiches, with some peaches for good measure. Insta-dessert. Done up with a chocolate drizzle and garnish, an elegant dessert at that.

If you’d like your own cake problem, here is the basic chocolate cake recipe I used. It’s a sturdy cake, so it’ll hold up just peachy (I tried to stop myself from including the pun, but it was quite persuasive) when you take a knife to it. Also, are you sick of overly sweet cake? Me too! The flavor of this cake is more chocolatey than sweet. Enjoy the dark chocolate flavor, or add a few more tablespoons of sugar if you’d like. If you eat it with buttercream, that takes care of the sweetness quite well.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake

Makes 1 9×13-inch sheet cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy milk plus 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.
Mix together the milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk and vinegar mixture, agave nectar, canola oil, and vanilla. Whisk together all the ingredients until combined. The batter should be thick, much like muffin batter.

Pour into a 9×13-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 28-30 mins until the cake is very firm, and springs back when touched, rather than smushing down. Let cool before cutting.

Assembly: Everything was all rather improvised! I cut the cake into triangles (saving the scraps for another dessert!), then sliced each triangle in the center to make a frosting sandwich. I chopped up a peach, mixed it into a bowl of buttercream, and spread a spoonful of frosting in each triangle. Finally, I garnished each cake sandwich with a buttercream swirl and a peach slice. This made about 1 dozen sandwiches.

Chocolate cake

So why did I have all this extra cake? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like to do things like sculpting and painting a giant cake that looks like my dog. My grandma and cousin came for a visit, so that was some incentive as well, but sometimes it’s just fun to break out my cake supplies and make something crazy.

Sculpted dog cake

Drake totally loved it, I swear.

Fluffy dog

This supply of cake is pretty much never ending, so stay tuned for cake pops made with the scraps and leftover buttercream!

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