525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?
- Rent Musical, 525,600 Minutes
Ah, how to summarize 2012? It has been… definitely one of the best years of my life so far. I swear I say this this every year, but honestly, I feel like every year just gets better and better, and I’m really looking forward to what 2013 holds. :)
Perhaps it’s because I’m learning to cherish my friends and family more – to relish memories, to experience life and live to the fullest, to stay curious, to continue to explore, to learn, to invest, to love, to appreciate – which just creates so much meaning and endless possibilities.
While this year was indeed filled with stumbling blocks, challenges (end of second year medical school is no joke, especially not the beast named USMLE…), inequalities, frustration, tears, heartbreak, loss – the funny thing about looking back is that I realize, in the grand scheme of things, they were only minor details. I instead, learned that I am resilient and can overcome adversity, that I can always bounce back, and that I can beat hate with love. And in the end, I really only remember the happy moments.
Let’s see (time for the highlight reel): I made one of the best decisions of my life this year. I never imagined that I would experience so much joy and reward from working in the hospital, finally doing what I love. I survived surgery (’nuff said.) I visited new cities, both alone (Chicago!) and spontaneously (Boston!). I rekindled and strengthened friendships (this winter break was proof that true friends are the ones you get back together with – and it feels like no time has past!), made new friends, and had a best friend move up to where I live. I fell in love (I had once thought the price of a relationship was the loss of my independence – but was gladly proven wrong), moved on, and now, I’m beginning to say yes. There is so much more… that I will share as the days go on. :)
For now, I will say that I celebrated the coming of the New Year with close friends, hosted by yours truly – and this epic-amazing-delicious-fantastic chocolate upon chocolate cake. It’s easy both on the eyes and the palate. Moist, decadent, yet not too sweet. Teasing, if you wish. So if you are a chocolate lover and looking to impress, you must to make this cake. And the best part? Cake mix is used as an ingredient (and still, this tastes entirely homemade *wink*.)
1 package devil’s food cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
1-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
**Tips: For a healthier version – use fat free sour cream and pudding mix. Depending on your preference of whether you want chocolate chips or melted chocolate in each bite, you can use Ghirardelli baking chips, which stay in their solid chip form as the cake bakes. I opted for breaking an XL Hershey’s dark chocolate bar because I’ve found that it not only melts as the cake bakes – but also rises to the top, creating a nice ‘ganache’ style topping.
For the decorating:
1-2 cans of Pirouettes
Handful of toasted shredded coconut
Homemade Whipped Cream Frosting (Recipe will be up next!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes.
3. Mix in the sour cream, oil.
4. Add in the beaten eggs and water.5. Mix well. (Have I mentioned how in love I am with my stand mixer? It makes a heck of a difference. I honestly want to leave my clothes at home and pack this in my suitcase to lug back to school!)
6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
7. Pour batter into 2 well-greased 8” or 9” cake pans.
8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.
9. As the cake is cooling – prepare the whipped cream frosting.
10. Fill the cake layers with whipped cream frosting. (I actually ended up slicing each layer into 2 – for a total of 4 layers… yum!)
After covering the sides of the cake with frosting, line up the pirouettes. I used only 1 can. To avoid gaps, I would recommend using 2 cans (each contains 32 sticks.) I also recommend consuming them ASAP, because they do tend to get soggy the second day. Additionally, I wrapped a ribbon around my cake to prevent the pirouettes from moving around, which helped add another decorative touch! Lastly, I topped the cake with toasted coconut, which sent this cake to heaven and back. (I titled this recipe ‘sinfully chocolate’ – due it’s roots from a devil’s food cake mix… gettit?? Haha.)
A look inside the cake (as well as more cake decorating inspiration by topping with french truffles and lining the sides with chocolate covered pretezels!):
Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below!