Writing is like baking a cake
Posted onMarch 30, 2008byrobertstevenson
When preparing to bake a cake, to do a really good job, first you must go to the freshmarket and buy the best ingredients. Stale flower, spoiled milk, rotten eggs, and old sugar just won’t measure up. Even Chef Rino Baglio can’t transform rubbish into rum cake.
Without solid, accurate information from primary sources, even the best writers can’t pen poignant prose. Some writers have tried to cut corners, and some have shattered like (Stephen) Glass.
It’s better to borrow a lesson from the baker. Writing is much like baking a cake.
First, you’ll need to gather the best ingredients available: a half cup of quality quotes, a little alliteration and anecdotes wouldn’t hurt. Five cups of key facts and a bag of background detail are a must. To sweeten the mix, include a half pound of human interest. From the spice rack, include a teaspoon of timeliness and pinch of prominence. Stir some theme and transitions into the mix to bond all the ingredients nicely.
After blending the necessary ingredients from the best available sources, filter out the fluff, and let the mix cook in your head. Drop in the conclusion too soon, and your story might flop. It’s better to give the mixture a day or two to rise.
The process of revision is the icing on the cake that too many writers skimp on. This is what separates the apprentices from the masters. It’s always important to measure your successes and learn from your failures.
After the finishing touches, the reward for the writer, like the chef, comes in sharing the finished product with your friends. Repeat the process, and soon you’ll find that good writing is really a piece of cake.
About robertstevensonDr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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How to Bake a Cake
A cake is often associated with celebrations. While birthdays, weddings, graduation celebrations, among other similar events are marked with a variety of foods and drinks, cakes remain a key component in such events. In fact, an event in which a cake is not cut is often deemed incomplete. But how is it prepared? It can either be purchased or made at home. As many people realize, nothing is sweeter than a cake that one makes for himself, in the kitchen. This process essay gives a step by step breakdown of how to bake a chocolate cake.
To bake a chocolate cake, you need the following ingredients:
- three eggs,
- a cup of sugar,
- one-half buttermilk,
- half teaspoon baking powder,
- about a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder,
- and an equal amount of room-temperature unsalted butter,
- a quarter teaspoon salt, and a three-quarter cup of cup flour.
For chocolate ice:
- 200 g of plain chocolate,
- 200 ml of double cream will also be needed.
It is necessary for these ingredients to be gathered and measured to exact sizes.
First, preheat the oven to a temperature of 350 degrees. Next, the standard pan has to be greased well with cooking spray. This will ensure that the bar does not stick to the pan during the baking process. After that, the eggs, sugar, butter, buttermilk, and some vanilla extract are placed in a large container, preferably a bowl. A hand mixer is used to blend them well. These form the wet ingredients. Instructions regarding the butter texture must be adhered to strictly. Adhere to the recipe instructions. Use of the wrong butter texture can easily ruin the quality. In most cases, the butter should be at room temperature and this can be achieved by setting it out early before starting with the other ingredients. This will give the butter adequate time to attain room temperature when the time for its use comes.
Next, the dry ingredients, including flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt are mixed in a different bowl. Stir the mixture slowly but continuously until the ingredients are fully mixed. It is at this point that the dry mixture will be added to the wet mixture. The cook will then need to beat the new mixture on low and this has to be done until the batter is smooth. The flour should be completely dissolved and no bits of flour should be visible.
By now, the baking process is halfway through. Pour proportionately equal amounts of batter into the pans. The pans need to be greased and floured. Wasting even little bits of the mixture is undesired hence the cook will scrape sides of the bowl and ensure that all of the batter bits are in the pan.
Once this is done, the next step is to place the pan in the oven and allow it to bake for between 30 and 35 minutes. Check on the progress every five minutes to ensure the cake does not burn. Test that it is ready using a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean with no batter coatings, it is ready. Once this is achieved, bake for 2 more minutes if needed. The cook will then remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in pans for about five minutes. The next step is to place the pieces most preferably on a wire rack so that they can cool completely.
The second last step involves decoration. This has to be done through either frosting or icing. To frost the cake, it must have cooled completely as any attempt to add frost to a warm bar will result in the frost melting. The chocolate block will go well with some chocolate buttercream frosting or any other type of frosting that will be deemed appropriate.
Alternatively, it can be iced. To prepare the icing, one needs to measure both the cream and chocolate and put them in a bowl. Carefully melt the cream and chocolate over a pan of hot water. This has to be done at a low heat. Whisk the mixture until it becomes smooth and thick. Stir it then set aside for 1-2 hours to cool and thicken up. A round-blade knife is passed through the inside of the tins to loosen the blocks. The pieces are then carefully removed from the tins and a little chocolate icing is spread over one of the cakes and another is placed on top of the first. Afterward, it is moved to a serving plate and is then iced all over using the chocolate icing.
It is eating time and everybody will enjoy!
By now, you will have become an expert in baking a chocolate block. It is also necessary to know how to bake the other varieties, including vanilla and apple cake. The process is, however, almost similar. The ingredients, ability to carefully monitor the various time elements, and of course, the desire are all one needs to prepare a sweet cake.