Gerbera and the Ladybug
Chocolate Zucchini Superman Cake
Chocolate Zucchini Cake Layers
I realized that it’s been a long while since I posted about food. So here is one of my go to chocolate zucchini cake recipes. It’s from Epicurious, and the only change I make is sour cream instead of buttermilk, and a little less sugar (decrease by a quarter cup). We were lucky enough to have a big crop of zucchini this year, so that beautiful, organic, easy to grow vegetable is the star of my cake. The top layer of nuts and chocolate chips add texture and sweetness to the not too sweet cake layers. This recipe is great because it’s moist, delicious, and stands up to sculpting, and layers of home made marshmallow fondant as well as cream cheese icing, which is what I made the Superman logo cake with.
Included in this post is my next piece of art, a 24×36 oil on canvas painting of a gerbera daisy. I haven’t decided what color it will be, but, there will be a little ladybug exploring the flower. You might be able to see it in this first phase, sketched on one of the petals. I’m back to using oils after experimenting with acrylic. Oils are my comfort zone, I guess! Stay tuned for phase 2. Something about the first phase of this painting reminds me of chocolate, hence why I put it together with my cake post today! Hope you enjoy my chocolate zucchini cake recipe!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (I just use 1.5 cups)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use sour cream)
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 medium)
1 6-ounce package (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each. Mix in grated zucchini. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over.
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan.
Wish is complete!
Today I decided to revamp the look of my blog, how do you like it? I think it’s fresher, and more my style than the orange theme.
Here is my most recent project, finished, except for a final coating of varnish. It is oil on 16×20 inch canvas – a lot smaller than the canvases I usually work with, so using tiny little brushes for the butterflies was different, but fun for me. It is for a beautiful little girl who just loves to blow dandelion seeds into the air when we go for walks, she closes her eyes and makes wishes. I think it’s one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen. She is the inspiration for this painting! Hope you like it too. (Some months ago, I did a very similar painting on 4×3 foot canvas, but, understandably, it was too big for this little girl’s room!)
Wish phase 1
Well, as it turns out, even with all the playing and fiddling I’ve done over the last couple of months with acrylics, I just can’t get over my first love: oils. I’m an “Oilers” girl! Can’t help it! The smoothness and blendability fits in so well with the way I like to paint. I find the fast drying acrylics, even with flow retarder, a bit frustrating at times. But I do admire the beautiful work most acrylic artists achieve with that medium.
So here is my latest commission, for a beautiful little girl. It is just in Phase 1, so this is the background layer of the painting. I knew I had achieved the look I was after when my 3 year old daughter walked up to my easel and said, “Beautiful sky, Mommy, I love the clouds. It looks like my dream!” Children are very observant, and frank, they say! I was very happy with the lights and the darks, and the blending of colors I achieved today. My next step is to let that sit for a bit and then to paint on the next layer. My blending brushes, however will need replacing from so much use, so tomorrow, it’s off to Edmonton for some art supplies. So while that is drying, I will start my next painting: Pensive. It will be a gigantic orchid -my favorite. I’ll be posting about that one very soon!
Ripples in a Dream
Ripples in a Dream II
Suminagashi on canvas has proven to be quite a challenge. Issues with paint adherence on the canvas, too much or too little surfactant, and the right viscosity of the size has taken some research, trial and error, basic chemistry, and perseverance. The process has been fun (my three year old and I had a blast playing in a big pool of jelly), and I believe the end result is worth it – unique, one of a kind abstracts. This is my most recent Suminagashi painting on 18×24″ canvas. After I originally posted the painting I went back and deepened the color on some parts of the painting, and it now looks more the way I imagined it. I wanted it to convey the action of trying to remember a dream…or contrarily, the act of forgetting one, and then vainly trying to remember it.
Funky Orchid Phase 1
Well, it’s another sick day, my kids caught the bug and are now resting at home with me, so while they recuperate quietly with games, naps, movies, healthy snacks and plenty of fluids, I decided to start on my next piece. I was going to make it funky with concentric circles a la the Percolator app, but I so love the natural beauty of flower petals that I think I’m going to leave to natural. Here it is pictured above, sketched out with the background painted in. I will keep you updated on its progress.