Southern Lane Cake

Bourbon. Butter. Sparkles. What’s not to like?

And now, for something completely different.

I do realize that it’s Thanksgiving, but a dear friend just asked me for this recipe, bringing up all the very rich memories that go with this very rich cake. And I just felt like sharing it here. I will be celebrating Christmas quite early this year, so it’s not too soon to think about it.

Lane Cake is one of those things that is as much an event as it is a dessert. It is an incredibly rich butter cake, almost a pound cake, with an intense bourbon filling. This cake is not for the faint of heart! But it always wows the crowd.

This cake is not for the faint of heart! But it always wows the crowd.

My mother was from the deep South, and this cake was a tradition in our family at Christmas. Before my best friend, whose birthday it is today, moved away, he always asked me to make it for Christmas dinner. My mother used to make the amazing decorations shown in the photo: red and gold roses made from white chocolate. But that is almost gilding the lily. I’m no good at fancy decorating, so I just make plain white boiled frosting and sprinkle it with edible white glitter.

This Southern tradition gets its name from Emma Rylander Lane of Clayton, Alabama, who won a prize for it in the state fair. She first published the recipe under the name “Prize Cake” in her 1898 cookbook Some Good Things To Eat.

Notes: This cake MUST be made from scratch; you cannot substitute a mix in any way. And if you substitute anything else for the bourbon, don’t call it a Lane Cake.

Equipment Notes: You must use 8-inch round cake pans which are smaller than the standard size, so you may need to buy them (you need three); Williams Sonoma carries them. A stand mixer is necessary; hand-held mixers generally don’t work on the frosting. A candy thermometer is helpful for the frosting. For decorating, buy edible white glitter and/or red/green/gold Luster Dust or Shimmer Dust where cake decorating supplies are sold.

Filling:

3/4 c. raisins
1/2 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. pecans
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. bourbon
8 egg yolks
1 t. vanilla

Chop raisins and chop pecans finely. Melt butter; add sugar and bourbon; bring just to boiling to dissolve sugar. Beat yolks slightly; add a small amount of hot mixture to yolks, stirring vigorously; then add yolks back to hot mixture, stirring vigorously. Cook over low heat, stirring, until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in raisins, pecans, coconut, and vanilla. Mix well. Cool to room temperature (no cooler or it will be too stiff to spread). While filling cools, make cake.

Cake:

8 egg whites
2-1/4 c. sugar
1-1/4 c. butter, softened
2 t. vanilla
3-1/3 c. cake flour, sifted
4-1/2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 t. salt
1-1/2 c. milk

Lightly grease and flour three 8″ round cake pans. Heat oven to 375º. Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. Cream sugar and butter thoroughly until light. Add vanilla; mix. Sift dry ingredients together; add to batter alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Fold in whites carefully. Bake at 375º 18-20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Carefully remove cake from pans to cake racks and cool completely. While cake cools, make frosting.

Frosting:

2 c. sugar
few grains salt
1/3 c. corn syrup
2/3 c. water
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla

In saucepan, combine sugar, salt, syrup and water. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Cook over low heat, covered, without stirring, for 3 minutes; uncover and continue to cook over low heat until syrup spins a thread from spoon (240º on candy thermometer). Beat egg whites until stiff. Pour the syrup slowly over the egg whites, beating constantly. Beat until frosting begins to lose gloss and hold shape. Stir in vanilla. A drop or two of hot water can be added if frosting becomes too thick.

Fill cake and frost. Decorating ideas: Christmas Ribbons & Roses (see separate recipe below), sugared pecan halves, or white Cake Sparkles glitter.

Christmas Ribbons & Roses

lane cake photoThe recipe below produces a taffy-like pliable material that you can sculpt and cut into various shapes. You can color it (use paste, not liquid food color) and add Luster Dust or Shimmer Dust for a frosted effect. To make the decorations shown here:

20 oz. white chocolate
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. (or less) vodka
Gold Luster Dust (two 2g jars)
Green Luster Dust (two 2g jars)
Red Luster Dust (one 2g jar)
Paste food colors: green, red
1 c. icing for decorating
large silver dragees
toothpicks
small clean new paintbrush

Melt white chocolate in double boiler over low heat. Remove from heat; add syrup. White chocolate will separate. While still warm, divide mixture into thirds, and place the portions in separate bowls. Using paste food color, tint one third green, and one third red. (Do not use liquid food color, or material will be too soft to shape.) Knead each mixture by hand until color is blended in and material is cohesive and elastic. Discard the excess cocoa butter that comes out. Wrap portions in paper towels and plastic wrap and chill 15-30 minutes, or until firm but pliable.

While shaping roses and ribbons, if material becomes too firm, microwave 5 to 10 seconds. If it gets too soft, refrigerate 15-30 minutes, and keep batches chilled until ready to use. Your hands will get very oily; keep paper towels handy to wipe.

Make ribbons: Between sheets of foil or plastic wrap, roll out green mixture to 12 by 8 inches. Cut into eight 12-inch by 1-inch ribbons. Chill until firm. Cut four strips in half and shape into loops. (Important: shape loops first, then paint them.) In cup or shot glass, mix green Luster Dust powder with a few drops of vodka to thin to painting consistency. Brush onto one side of ribbons and both sides of loops. If paint dries as you work, thin with a little more vodka. Set aside or chill until dry (it dries rather quickly).

Make roses: Shape untinted white chocolate mixture into 1/2 inch balls. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap or wax paper; working with 20 balls at a time, flatten balls into 1-1/2 inch discs. To form a rose, first roll one disc into cone shape to form center of rose; attach each of five more discs around bottom of center cone for petals. Make some smaller roses using only five discs. Blend gold Luster Dust powder with a few drops of vodka to painting consistency. Paint roses gold. Set aside or chill until dry. Repeat with red mixture to make red roses, painting with red Luster Dust powder. If desired, place one silver dragee in center of each rose.

Pipe icing shells around bottom and top edge of cake; dot shells with a silver dragee between each. Arrange loops and ribbons on top of cake and flowing out over edge of cake. Top with red and gold roses, using icing as glue, or toothpicks as needed to position roses.

Happy Birthday, Jax!

A fresh coat of paint

When I realized that I had not changed the appearance of my blog since 2010, I decided it was time to spruce up the place a little.

I like this new theme because it is clean, with a very readable typeface. It has all the most up-to-date features, but will take some getting used to.

I will miss the deep blue of my old theme, which, to me, felt like serenity in motion. But without loss, there can be no change; without change, there can be no renewal, no growth. And our ability to change and grow in wisdom is part of our humanity.

Please pardon any awkwardness as I re-format some older posts to help them fit into this new layout.

Bigotry and Ignorance at HG Visionz Magazine, Opensimulator, Hypergrid

Bigotry is a commitment to ignorance. In the Information Age, ignorance is a choice.

Recently Walter was asked by the staff of HG Visionz, a small online magazine that covers various Opensim features, to submit an article about Littlefield Grid’s BDSM regions. At their request, Walter wrote a great article highlighting those regions on Littlefield Grid that cater to people who enjoy BDSM.

We were just informed that, even though the article was written at their request, the “staff” (which I think means one or two people) decided not to publish it because — get this — although the article was very general in nature, with no adult content, the acronym BDSM was deemed to be X-rated.

This was clearly a not-very-well-concealed pretext for displaying the prejudice of the “editor” against BDSM. Is there a fear that simply reading those four letters might make someone think about… omg… SEX?!? Well, then, I am sure that HG Visionz will also decline to publish any article that mentions lesbian, gay or transgender communities, since that acronym LGBTQ is clearly too dangerous to read.

Or, for that matter, they had better decline any article that mentions marriage, or romance, or dancing. Especially dancing. And rock music. You know, like it says in the movie Footloose, dancing leads to relaxed morality. We certainly can’t have any of that in Opensim!

Sarcasm aside, I continue to be astounded by the ignorance displayed about BDSM. Even more so, by the fervor with which some people willfully cling to that ignorance. That is what makes it rise to the level of bigotry. Bigotry is an emotional commitment to ignorance about groups of people. And in the information age, ignorance is a choice.

What’s even more astounding is the hypocrisy behind the public posturing. It is well known that “adult” activities are wildly popular throughout the virtual world. I’ll wager there are very few people who haven’t tried sex animations. And of those who have, I’m sure a hefty percentage also enjoyed at least a little bedroom bondage, if not more.

D/s relationships are founded upon love and respect.

First let me address the ignorance head-on. D/s, the foundation of BDSM and the central letters of the fearsome acronym, stands for Dominance and submission, which is a consensual agreement between a couple where one person surrenders control to the other. Within that extremely broad container, there are many different types of relationships; I’m not asserting that all are the same. But in my experience, any sexual content in most of those relationships is no more public than that of “vanilla” couples. In the eight and a half years we have been together, Walter and I have never had sex in public, only in our own home or on our own sims.

Also in my experience, D/s relationships are founded upon love and respect. I made a consensual choice. I chose to surrender control to Walter because it gives me pleasure to do that, and it gives him pleasure too. I wear a collar, which is not a symbol of slavery, but a symbol of love and commitment to the vows we made… not unlike a wedding ring.

But, you know, love and commitment… those are things that HG Visionz can’t mention in their magazine, because they seem to believe that love and commitment are not family-friendly.

Anyone with any knowledge at all of BDSM knows that the attitude of the HG Visionz “staff” is ignorant. It’s important to me to speak up about it, because perpetuating that kind of ignorance is a very, very dangerous habit.

They may believe that we should keep to ourselves and only whisper about our relationship behind closed doors. LGBTQ people have been told the same thing. Thankfully, they realized that keeping their loving relationships secret simply helped to feed the ignorance and bigotry, and the hate that grew from it. They stepped into the light, and showed the world that gay couples can be a shining example of love and commitment. They can have children and raise families that are just as wonderful (and just as flawed) as straight families. They are human, with all the promise and possibilities of any other humans. Had they remained in the shadows, the world at large might never have figured that out.

By relegating BDSM relationships to the shadows of “x-rated” content, HG Visionz Magazine is participating in the fostering of hate, by choosing to be committed to ignorance. That is bigotry.

And in the 21st century, it is a disappointment to find people still trying to justify it.

Get over it

Dear world:

Yes. I am a strong, intelligent, secure, capable, boringly normal woman who is in a D/s relationship. Get over it, already.

Do not for a moment imagine that I have low self-esteem. I own who I am, I am humble about my challenges (we all have some), and I am proud of my gifts, abilities and accomplishments.

Do not imagine that I cannot recognize spite and petty jealousy when I see it.

Do not call me a doormat. I am independent and self-sufficient and there is only -one- person who gets to tell me what to do.

Do not call me weak. My way of life requires a reserve of inner strength you only wish you had.

Do not call me passive. I made a carefully considered decision, of my own free will, with clarity of mind, heart and conscience. Our life is a mutual, consensual choice.

Do not call me a bimbo. I have exquisite taste and I don’t wander around dressed like a hooker. My sex life is as private as yours, and probably no kinkier.

And p.s. It’s none of your business anyway.

I have been given the gift of submission, the freedom to surrender, the grace to trust, the privilege to love.

If that bothers you, I’m not the one with the problem.

Everyone should be so lucky as me.

.

(reprinted from 2010)

Love Them Anyway

I had occasion to pass along this poem to a friend, and in so doing, discovered that the author has revised it slightly. I thought it a good occasion to reprise my blog post from three years ago, with the updated text. Enjoy.


love them anywayIt is a sad fact of life that “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Perhaps you have done a kindness by helping someone in need, as Androcles removed the thorn from the lion’s paw. But for every Androcles, whose lion repaid his kindness, there are ten who are attacked by the one they tried to help.

Some good Samaritans get so discouraged when this happens that they just give up, and stop helping others. If our motivation in doing kindness is to get a reward—even the reward of gratitude—we often will be disappointed.

Instead, we do kind things because that is the person we want to be. Do it for ourselves. Do it for our sense of self worth, our self respect. Do it for one’s own sake.

In his 1968 booklet, “The Silent Revolution,” Kent Keith advised, “give of your time and effort because you care and want to give, not because you are expecting anything in return… Do things because you believe in them, and the simple satisfaction of having achieved them will be enough.”

He goes on to admit that helping others often results in being attacked and mistreated by those you are trying to help. But his response was not disappointment. Instead, he proposed “Ten Paradoxical Commandments,” that rang so true even Mother Teresa posted them on the wall of her orphanage.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

We show kindness to a lot of people on Littlefield Grid. We give of ourselves without any expectation of reward or profit. Sometimes, our kindness is repaid with gratitude. But that’s not why we do it. We extend kindness because that’s who we want to be.

Sometimes, we are repaid with thoughtlessness; and, on a few rare occasions, hurtfulness from the very people we helped. Thankfully, we have some terrific folks in our community, and that rarely happens. When it does, we could be resentful. But we aren’t. We keep right on extending kindness. And we always will.

We do it anyway.

.

Six Things That Make You a Better Submissive

the submissiveA new submissive recently asked my advice. It made me smile to think that I’ve been doing this long enough, and that my contentment is so evident, that someone should think my advice worth having.

I am happy to share what I told her. Although she asked for “advice” and it is just easier, language-wise, to write it as such, I would not normally tell anyone what they should do. D/s relationships are all very different, and there is not much that is objectively “right” or “wrong” about them. What works for me, in a 24/7 TPE relationship, may not work for someone who is into “bedroom bondage” or time-limited “scenes.” With that disclaimer, I will share random thoughts that are probably valid for all submissives.

It’s your choice.

D/s relationships, even TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationships, are a consensual power exchange. “Consensual” is the important word there. You choose to surrender your power to Him, but that choice is yours. From that point on, by mutual agreement, choices are not up to you; they are His. You both enter into a consensual agreement for your mutual pleasure: you agree to give up control, and He agrees to accept it. Never forget that it is a choice; and one for which you both must take responsibility.

Let go.

Once you have submitted, go all in and relinquish control. Don’t tell Him what to do. Don’t argue. Don’t give Him 29 reasons why not. Just give in and accept His will.

I find it amusing when submissives wax poetic about “the gift of submission” and how they long for it, yet they don’t actually submit. Don’t say “Yes, if…” or “Yes, but…” Just say “Yes, Master.” Let go of your own will, and accept the gift of His domination. That thrill is what you’re in this for, isn’t it?

Don’t worry if you don’t submit fully the first time, or even the first ten times. Most subs need time for the trust to deepen. Your dominant should be helping you with that. Go easy on yourself. Listen to Him and accept His guidance.

If something absolutely goes against your grain, you need to be able to speak to your dominant about it. Which brings me to my second piece of advice.

Respect yourself.

A D/s relationship must be built on mutual respect (even if you are into humiliation). You must respect your dominant, but He also must respect you – and most importantly, you must respect yourself.

Giving control to another person can be thrilling, but you must have power before you can give it away. If you have no self-control, you aren’t ready for the discipline of a D/s relationship.

Delight in abandoning that control to another, but know where the safety switch is. Respect yourself enough not to let anyone damage your emotional, physical or financial health. Your dominant should care for you, but you have a responsibility to care for yourself, too. If you can’t care for yourself, you may lose the ability to give anything to Him. So speak up when you are in trouble; He needs to know, and it is the responsible thing to do. If your dominant does not want to hear about your needs, you may be in an abusive D/s relationship (and not in a good way).

Be generous.

Do not confuse “submissive” with “passive.” Submission may focus on being receptive and open, but this is not just about you. Pleasure should flow both ways.

Learn to be giving. Be observant; open your eyes and ears and heart, to see and hear and feel what pleases Him. Then give pleasure generously. A good dominant will do the same for you. The best dominants know what you need even more than you do.

Refrain from criticizing. Be very careful about humor; for some women, poking fun, in the guise of humor, is nothing more than thinly veiled criticism. Being critical is one of the most toxic things you can do to any relationship, D/s or otherwise. Instead of telling Him what you think He’s doing wrong, tell Him what He’s doing right. Remind Him why you admire Him. Look for and honor the best in Him.

Above all, in everything, be kind. None of us are perfect. If you want Him to forgive your shortcomings, be willing to forgive His. Compassion and simple kindness are in short supply in this world, and there’s no reason they should be, since they cost nothing to give.

Respect Him.

king and pawnI am continually horrified by the lack of simple respect shown by some submissives. Submitting to His control is only part of it. Observing correct protocol is one important way to show respect, but that should be a visible expression of a deeper conviction. If you have chosen to submit to this dominant, it should be because you respect Him. That conviction, in your heart, should be evident. Everyone should be able to tell.

You show respect in your speech and actions. You also show respect by being loyal, by being present, by being attentive, and by being faithful. It shows when you ask for His advice and guidance, and when you follow it. It shows in how you speak to Him, and how you speak about Him to others, even (especially) when He is not present. It shows when you support Him, and when you honor the people, ideas and things that are important to Him.

Lighten up.

As you give and receive pleasure, remember that laughter is one of the greatest pleasures. You don’t have to be serious and dramatic all the time. It’s okay to be funny and even silly sometimes. Just be sensitive about the timing of your silliness and keep it kind.

I don’t think I am particularly wise. These random thoughts are merely a summary of the things that I have learned by the good fortune of having been in a loving D/s relationship for eight years. For this, I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to my wonderful Master, Walter Balazic, for teaching me everything, and for being so amazing.

To all submissives, I wish you all the best as you immerse yourself in the pleasures of a D/s relationship!

 

Happy 8th Anniversary Master!

8th Anniversary

Eight years ago today, Master, you gave me your collar, and in that moment I knew infinite joy. I am yours permanently, to infinity and beyond! I love you Master 🙂

 


(The background photo: “infinity room” mirrored art installation by Yayoi Kusama 2009. The artist intended it to symbolize eternal life; to me it captures my unending happiness as yours, stretching from that day eight years ago, to infinity and beyond!)