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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 05/30/12

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DEVIL'S FOOD LAYER CAKE WITH PEPPERMINT FROSTING!

   This showstopping cake is layered with dark chocolate ganache and white chocolate cream, then topped with marshmallowy peppermint frosting. To give the final product pastry-shop flair, set a pile of chocolate curls in the center. Or lean chocolate shards against each other, teepee style.






Ingredients

cake

  • 2 2/3cupsall purpose flour
  • 1tablespoonbaking powder
  • 1teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1teaspoonsalt
  • 2 1/4cupssugar
  • 1cup(2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3large eggs
  • 1large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4cupsunsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2cupsice water

Dark chocolate ganache

  • 1 1/3cupsheavy whipping cream
  • 2tablespoonslight corn syrup
  • 14ouncesbittersweet chocolate, chopped

white chocolate cream

  • 12ounceshigh-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
  • 3cupschilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 1/2teaspoonspure peppermint extract

peppermint frosting

  • 2 1/4cupssugar
  • 1/2cupwater
  • 3large egg whites
  • 1tablespoonlight corn syrup
  • 1/2teaspoonpure peppermint extract
  • Bittersweet chocolate curls

Preparation

cake

  • Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in yolk. Add cocoa and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with ice water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until just blended and smooth after each addition. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto racks and cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil; store at room temperature.

Dark chocolate ganache

  • Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Before using, let stand at room temperature until soft enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

white chocolate cream

  • Place white chocolate in large heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup cream to simmer in saucepan. Pour hot cream over white chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; whisk until smooth. Whisk in extract. Cover; chill until mixture thickens and is cold, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.
  • Add 2 cups chilled cream to white chocolate cream and beat until smooth and peaks form. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk to thicken, if necessary, before using.
  • Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake layer on platter, cut side up. Spread 1/3 of dark chocolate ganache over cake. Spoon 2 cups white chocolate cream in dollops over cake; spread evenly to edges. Top with second cake layer, cut side down; spread 1/3 of ganache over, then 2 cups white chocolate cream. Repeat with third cake layer, cut side up, remaining ganache, and remaining cream. Cover with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Chill while preparing frosting.

peppermint frosting

  • Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, egg whites, and corn syrup in large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer. Whisk by hand to blend well. Set bowl with mixture over saucepan of gently simmering water; whisk constantly with hand whisk until mixture resembles marshmallow creme and ribbons form when whisk is lifted, 8 to 9 minutes. Whisk in peppermint extract. Remove bowl from over water and attach bowl to heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until mixture is barely warm to touch and very thick, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Using offset spatula and working quickly, spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle chocolate curls over top and sides. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill.


10 SIGNIFICANT EVENTS THAT FALL ON DECEMBER 25TH!!

   Most of us know December 25 by one name – Christmas. We all know the story of Christmas, but most of us don’t know when the first Christmas was celebrated. Today, the world as we know it grinds to a halt on Christmas day, shops and restaurants all close down. It is a day of peace and tranquility, yet a time of great joy, for many. However, it was not always like that. I have created a list of a few significant events, some joyful and sprit raising, others sad and astonishing, that happened on the day we have come to know solely as “Christmas”. This list is in Chronological order, all dates are AD.





10. First Christmas/325
The-First-Christmas-Jackie-Mueller-Jones




   This is the first date that Christmas was celebrated for certain on December 25. This is significant because Christmas is, arguably, the most widely celebrated holiday in the world. It is also a strange date to pick, since many astronomers and scientists agree that Jesus would have been born sometime during our current summer months.





9. England Adopts Modern Calendar/597
Julian-Calendar2




   On this date, England adopted the Julian calendar. This is a significant event because it was the beginning of the adaptation of the calendar that would become, not only America’s standard, but the standard of the entire world, uniting us in the common way we look at time.





8. Charlemagne Crowned/800
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   Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. He would become, perhaps, the most important monarch in all of Europe’s history, founding the French and German monarchies. Today, he is often referred to as the “Father of Europe.”





7. William the Conqueror Crowned/1066
Willem De Veroveraar




   William the Conqueror is crowned King of England. He successfully lead invasion forces into England and defeated King Harold Godwinson (who died in the conflict) at the famous Battle of Hastings. He would go on to lead England in reforms on building standards, fortifications, the English language and the Catholic Church.





6. The Christmas Flood Disaster/1717
Benton-Flood




   The great Christmas Flood ravaged the Netherlands and parts of Germany and Scandinavia. It was caused by a violent northwest storm, the likes of which were unknown to the population at that time. The medieval dams and dikes could not handle the amount of rainfall and failed, causing massive flooding along the coastline, which is mainly flatland. At that time there was no good warning system, and the floodwaters moved so quickly it gave people little time to escape. Approximately 14,000 people lost their lives in the disaster.




5. Washington Crosses the Delaware/1776



Washington-Delaware-L




   On this day, at approximately 11pm, Patriot General George Washington, along with 5,400 of his men, crossed the Delaware River, in order to surprise Hessian troops celebrating the Christmas Holiday. Around 8am the next day, his attack commenced. The Hessian defenders were quickly overwhelmed and fled from the town of Trenton, all at a cost of at most four American lives. While the victory was not a big strategic victory, it had a huge effect on strengthening the Patriots moral, and would lead then to continue the fight for independence. This is largely regarded as the battle that changed the course of the war.





4. The Christmas Truce/1914
Christmastruce1914 2




   This event came to be known as the Christmas truce. On this day, at midnight, during the height of World War I, the Germans began to sing Christmas Carols. As morning came, the Germans emerged from their trenches and crossed the deadly “No Man’s Land,” unarmed, shouting “Merry Christmas” in their enemies native tongue. Seeing they were unarmed, the allies emerged as well and met their enemies, shaking hands and exchanging gifts of cigarettes and plum puddings. This event showed that, even in times of great conflict, humans are silly morally good.




3. Surrender of Hong Kong/1941
Japan Surrender Hkqt



   On this day, The British garrison in the city of Hong Kong surrendered. The day after Pearl Harbor, December 8, 1941, the Japanese began bombing raids on the city. The British immediately put up a resistance and began evacuating the Chinese population to the Philippines. When the Japanese were alerted to this, they sent their navy to block off their evacuation roots, effectively cutting off the city from the sea. Attempts to flee the city by land were futile, as the Japanese army quickly surrounded the city, completely blockading it. They were cut off from any outside help, and the Japanese cut the water and power lines to the city. Facing death by dehydration, the British raised the white flag of surrender on Christmas morning. This event set up Japan for their planned invasion and takeover of China.





2. Longest Battery Powered Car Trip Ends/1985
801




   On this day, the longest road trip completed on a single battery charge ended. David Turner and Tim Pickard arrived in John o’ Groat’s, Scotland, the northernmost point in Great Britain. They had set out four days earlier from Land’s End, the southernmost point in Britain, in a battery-powered Freight Rover Leyland Sherpa driven by a Lucas electric motor. They traveled 875 miles on a single battery charge. This event was a giant step in moving automobile makers away from gasoline and fossil fuels and focusing more on electric power, leading to many of the electric and hybrid cars we have today.




1. Unsolved JonBenet Ramsey Murder/1996
Pl Jonbenet 060817 Ssv



   On this day, one of the most significant murder mysteries of our generation began with the murder of Six year-old JonBenet Ramsey. She was found under a blanket in her basement, with her hands and feet tied and her mouth taped, she had been strangled. Since this day many suspects have come up in the case, and several have even given a false confession, but evidence later proved the confessors to be lying. The chief suspects were the parents, as the ransom note for their daughter was written on paper found in their home, by writing utensils in their home, and the fact she was murdered in her own home without her parents awakening to any commotion seemed suspicious. These suspicions were raised when it was learned the parents were originally uncooperative with law enforcement. Nevertheless, a grand jury dismissed all charges against them due to lack of evidence. The case still goes unsolved even to this day.




+ Female Football Player/2002
Pg2 W Hnida 195




   University of New Mexico junior place-kicker Katie Hnida attempts to kick an extra point in a game against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl. Though her kick was blocked by UCLA, Hnida became the first woman to play in a Division I football game. The next year in 2003, she attempted two extra points and made them both, becoming the first women to ever score in a Division I football game.

FLORES DE MAYO FROM THE PHILIPPINES!





    Flores de Mayo (English: "Flowers of May") is a Catholic festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. Lasting for a month, it is held in honor of the Virgin Mary. The Santacruzan refers to the pageant on the last day of Flores de Mayo, held in honour of Reyna Elena and Constantine finding the True Cross in Jerusalem.
       The name is derived from Flores, the Spanish word for "flowers". Also known as "Flores de Maria" ("Flowers of Mary") or "Álay" (Filipino for "offering"), the term refers to the festival as a whole. It was believed that "Flores" (short term for Flores de Mayo) originated in 1865 from the town of Malolos, Bulacan, when the young girls would make a floral offering to the Virgin Mary in the parish church.





    In the Bicol region, especially in the locality of Barangay Sabang in Naga City, the Flores de Mayo is held every Wednesday and Saturday of May. It is headed by the Legion of Mary, Praesidium Cause of our Joy, with the last day called as "katapusan". The ritual is started with the rosary, with every decade followed by Spanish Marian songs.
    The traditional "MARIA" with its respective meaning is said after the recitation of the Spanish Salve and the litany. After the ceremony, simple snacks are given to the children who attended the devotion. Alabasyon is the term for the prayers sung in honour of the Holy Cross.





    In the Tagalog region, this custom and celebration started after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and after the publication circa 1867 of Mariano Sevilla's translation of the devotional "Flores de Maria"("Flowers of Mary"), also known by its longer title "Mariquit na Bulaclac na sa Pagninilaynilay sa Buong Buan nang Mayo ay Inihahandog nang manga Devoto cay Maria Santisima" ("Beautiful Flowers that in the Meditations in the Whole Month of May are Offered by Devotees to Mary Most Holy").

The Sagala

    A Sagala is a religio-historical beauty pageant held in many cities, towns, and even in small communities throughout the Philippines during the month of May. One of the most colourful aspects of this festival, the pageant depicts the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. Many movie and television personalities participate in the events and are featured in major sagala. This festival was introduced by the Spaniards and has since become part of Filipino traditions identified with youth, love, and romance.




    Prior to the Santacruzan, a novena is held in honour of the Holy Cross.
    The procession itself commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Reyna Elena and her son, the newly-converted emperor Constantine. After the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to Constantinople, there was a joyful celebration for thanksgiving.

Order of the processionThe participants of this colourful pageant would follow this typical arrangement:


  1. Matusalém (Methuselah)- bearded and bent with age, he is depicted as riding a cart and looking preoccupied with toasting some grains of sand in a pan over a fire. This is a reminder that everything in this world is passing and will end up like the dust which he is toasting.
  2. Reyna Banderáda (Queen with a banner)- a young lady dressed in a long red gown carrying a yellow triangular flag. She represents the arrival of Christianity.
  3. Aetas - Represents the animist Filipinos who have settled the islands prior to Christianisation by the Spanish.





  4. Reyna Móra (Queen Moor) - Represents the Filipinos who converted to Islam, which arrived in the Philippines two centuries before Christianity.
  5. Reyna Fe (Queen Faith) - symbolises Faith, the first of the theological virtues. She carries a cross.
  6. Reyna Esperanza (Queen Hope) - symbolises Hope, the second theological virtue. She carries an anchor.
  7. Reyna Caridád (Queen Charity)- symbolises Charity, the third theological virtue. She carries a red-coloured heart.
  8. Reyna Abogáda (Queen Lawyer) - the defender of the poor and the oppressed, she wears a black graduation cap, gown (toga), and carries a large book. She may also be a representation of Mary, Helper (Advocate) of Christians.




  9. Reyna Sentenciada (Queen Sentenced/Convicted) - has her hands bound by a rope, she stands for the Early Christians, especially the virgins, who were martyred for the faith. She is accompanied by two Roman soldiers.
  10. Reyna Justicía (Queen Justice) - a personification of Mary as the "Mirror of Justice", one of her titles in the Litany of Loreto. Her attributes are a weighing scale and a sword.
  11. Reyna Judít (Queen Judith) - represents the biblical widow Judith of Bethulia who saved her city from the Assyrians by slaying the cruel Holofernes. She carries the head of her victim in one hand and a sword in the other. She is also known as Infanta Judith.






  12. Reyna ng Sába (Queen of Sheba) - represents the Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon and was overwhelmed by his wisdom, power, and riches. She carries a jewelry box.
  13. Reyna Éster - the Jewish queen of Persia who spared her people from death at the hands of Haman through her timely intervention with King Xerxes. She carries a scepter.
  14. Samaritána (The Female Samaritan) - The woman with whom Christ spoke to at the well. She carries a jug on her shoulder.
  15. Veronica - The woman who wiped the face of Jesus; bears a veil with three imprints of the face of Jesus.
  16. Tres Marias (The Three Marys)- each Mary holds an attribute associated with her:
a. Mary of Magdala - a bottle of perfume;
b. The Virgin Mary - a handkerchief;
c. Mary, the mother of James - a bottle of oil.





  17. Marian - each figure in this group alludes to a title of the Virgin Mary or to a figure associated with her.
a. "A-V-E--M-A-R-I-A" - eight "angels": girls all wearing long white dresses and holding a letter from the word "AVE MARIA".
b. Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess) - a shepherd's staff.
c. Reyna de las Estrellas (Queen of the Stars) - a wand with a star.
d. Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose)- a bouquet of roses.
e. Reyna dela Paz (Queen of Peace) - a dove.
f. Reyna de las Profetas (Queen of the Prophets)- an hourglass.
g. Reyna del Cielo (Queen of Heaven)- a flower; accompanied by two little "angels".
h. Reyna de las Virgines (Queen of the Virgins) - a rosary (or a lily); also escorted by two little "angels".
i. Reyna de las Flores (Queen of the Flowers) - a bouquet of flowers.





  18. Reyna Eléna (Queen Helena) - the last member of the procession, she represents Helena of Constantinople who found the True Cross; this is alluded to by her attribute, a small cross or crucifix that she carries in her arms. This considerably prestigious role is usually awarded to the most beautiful girl participating in the pageant. In some communities, the identity of the woman who will portray the Reyna Eléna is kept a secret until the day of the procession.
a. Constantíno - the escort of Reyna Eléna; traditionally a young boy representing the Emperor Constantine.
    The procession is accompanied by the steady beat of the rondalla, playing and singing the Hail Mary ("Dios Te Salve"). The devotees walking with the procession hold lighted candles in their hands and sing the prayer as they go along.




    After the procession, there is a pabítin that serves as a culminating activity for all the children to enjoy. A Pabítin is a square trellis to which goodies (candies, fruits, small trinkets, etc.) are tied with strings. This trellis in turn is tied to a rope and is suspended on a strong branch or pole. Children then gather under the trellis as the it is slowly lowered. They then jump as high as they can to try to pick the goodies while someone jerks it up and down repeatedly until all the goodies are gone.
    It is customary for males attending the Santacruzan wear, to the traditional Barong Tagalog and that the females wear any Filipiniana-inspired dress.