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  • Melissa Orquiza

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting, Having Your Cake & Eating it, Too, Oprah, Zendaya, Air & Ravel

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Here's to "Having Your Cake & Eating It, Too!"

Tender Yellow Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting

Like most middle school girls, I grew up trying to make sense of the world around me, with conflicting signals everywhere. There were the everyday intricacies of going to school: How do I continue being friends with everyone when the teacher uses me as the honesty barometer when the class is goofing off? (That truly sucked by the way.) Do I continue playing sports or do I continue with the piano? How do I make that boy that talks about my chest stop? (After months of this, I grabbed his arm, raised it to the class and said “Virgin for sale! Virgin for sale!” He never bothered me again.)

But, I wouldn’t have traded growing up in the Bay Area during these formative years for anything. I was always surrounded by different people, a multitude of ideas, the allure and taste of invention, and most importantly, seeing ideas that people thought were crazy, come to fruition and help change the world, for better or for worse. (Apple, better. The E.T. video game, worse.)

Arianna Huffington was always on TV when I was growing up. She was and still is, like the home team you route for and wonder what she’ll do. As a young girl, watching a woman looking like she was dressed for a Vogue shoot, espousing political jabs at suited men on live tv, with immaculate hair and makeup, raising kids, made me wonder if the reason why people are put into a box, is because our brains just can’t handle it.

Just like the box cake mix you loved as a kid, but BETTER!

I have this theory that the more someone’s life looks completely perfect, chances are, it’s probably even more messed up than you can imagine. This inability to reconcile honesty, with the manners of civility, is still one of the hardest things for me to comprehend. Unless I have inkling as to what you are comfortable talking about, I’ll be pretty “normal” and make your laugh. In the early 2000’s, after realizing the potential of the internet and harnessing its speed of information, Arianna Huffington launched the “Huffington Post”. She talks about her journey to that launch, including working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, until one day, she woke up, semi conscious, in a pool of her own blood. Here’s her journey on Oprah’s, “Super Soul Sunday”. In many ways, this period of time has forced me to rethink what is most important to me and my close family and friends. I am so grateful for their love and support. I hope that your tribe, is just as beautiful.

My favorite quote from the podcast.

Rumi: “Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.”

More fun quotes from the wise Rumi, if you’re into it.

Why is Rumi the best selling poet in the US?

I hope this makes you smile. Here’s to "Having Your Cake and Eating It, Too!

Here’s Labrinth & Zendaya’s “All for Us”, because “Euphoria” is an amazing show. I can’t believe it’s been a year since the 1st season ended. Zendaya, Labrinth, & a good beat are always welcome in our house. Actually, good, dirty, beats are imperative in my book. (Not very apropos for a classical musician, right?)

euphoria | official song by labrinth & zendaya - “all for us” full song (s1 ep8) | HBO

Here’s Air, Live at the Niedemeyer Space. I’ve always loved their elegant mix of synths, drums and bass, for an otherworldly experience. I always feel like I’m floating when I listen to their music.

Air Full Concert - Live at the Niedemeyer Space for ARTE Concert (Binaural Show)

Here’s Ravel’s, “Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet.”

Check out the male harp player! A passionate and well done rendition. If you want a good laugh, check out the classical music trolls in the comments section of the Youtube video.

Ravel: Introduction et Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet. Maiburg, Ceysson.

If you have any ideas on food, music, or culture you want me to explore, please leave me a comment. I’m always up for a discussion. Thanks for reading! xo Melissa

Tender Yellow Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting

from Food 52, 60 Sensational Treats You Can Pull Off in a Snap, forward by Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs

Yellow Cake

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature

Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups chopped bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

2/3 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.

2. To make the cake, using a handheld electric mixer or creaming vigorously with a wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

3. Add the eggs and the yolk one at a time and mix to incorporate, scraping well after each addition. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine.

4. Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed to incorporate. Add half of the milk and mix to incorporate. Repeat with another one- third of the flour, the remainder of the milk, and finish with the flour. Mix just to combine (don’t overmix).

5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

6. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15-20 minutes, then unmold and cool completely on wire racks.

7. While the cake cools, make the frosting. Using a handheld electric mixer or creaming vigorously with a wooden spoon, beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.

8. Add the cooled and melted chocolate and mix to combine. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and salt and mix until the mixture is smooth, light, and glossy.

9. Put one layer of the cake on a serving plate and spread about one-third of the frosting evenly over the top. Set the other layer on top, bottom (flat) side up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

10. Since the icing will firm up, you can store this case by wrapping it in plastic wrap (or packing it in a plastic container) and keeping it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Thanks for reading! xo Melissa

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