Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mugged: White Chocolate and Marmalade Cake

-White chocolate doesn't care what you think of it. White chocolate just kinda with it like that.-

I was already having a spectacularly craptastic day at this point.

To start things off I had lost the key to my personal safe and I needed to access some of the contents inside - in particular, my social security card - in order to apply for a job.  I made my way to the closest locksmith dragging this eighty-pound, fireproof, steel behemoth along with me and when I got to the front door the locksmith had flipped his "Closed" sign. I pleaded and pressed my face against the glass weeping for help. Alas, he told me to come back tomorrow.

I crawled back to the car, defeated, called the Human Resources manager and told her I would have my card for her the next day. I then bowed my head on the steering wheel and prayed that no Windex would ever wipe my ghostly face print off the glass of the locksmith's front door and that it would haunt the locksmith mercilessly and remind him perhaps of a wasted youth gone by and hopes scattered like leaves before a hurricane. 


Anyways... next, my $30 printer cracked out on me. It lived for a good four years printing out at the rate of one single page per minute, which is abhorrent at even printing standards back in 1993. As I was headed out to a second interview I tried to print out a copy of my resume. The printer made a pathetic whine, garbled up the ink, and the lights went out never to shine again. I always knew it would die at some critical moment when it would screw me the most. I'm glad to say that it did not disappoint me in the end, which is ironic when disappointment is how I would characterize its shockingly long and agonizing life. 

Lucky for me, the kind people at Old Soul Co., a coffee shop in midtown Sacramento where I was having the interview, printed me a copy. They were also rooting me on as when the interview started they gave me a thumbs up and mouthed "Good luck!" 

I bought a bag of coffee from them and they will now have my business forever.

And then life decided to not just fuck me, but to go balls deep doing so.

At my bank I generally park in the back parking lot because it's much easier to get out from the rear entrance as the front entrance sits right at a lengthy stop light that often requires you to wait for five minutes so you can get a chance to squeak out onto the street. 

I opened the car door and sat down and as I began to pull the door closed a man rushed up and grabbed it. He pushed himself in the space between the firmly held door and the car trapping me there. His other hand was jammed in his pocket with something pointed at me; whether he was pointing a gun or if he was just pointing a finger I have no idea and I didn't really have the thought or time to debate it. 

In fact, I didn't really have much of a chance to realize what was even happening. I was simply confused and the questions flowed in with furious, simultaneous speed: Who are you? What do you want? That beanie you're wearing is ugly as sin. Why do you smell like bad Korean food? What's in your jacket pocket? Why are you holding my car door?

-"Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Oh, no, it is a gun. Shit."-

He began to say something, though I'm not sure what as I was still in a state of confusion as to what was going on. Then, suddenly, a police cruiser pulled right into the parking lot and the man took off running the other way back to the main street. The cop didn't seem to notice anything awry and continued on his way.

And then my brain suddenly clicked that last side of this back alley Rubik's Cube into place. I was about to be mugged. He was going to mug me. The cop car scared him away as he was beginning to mug me. He then ran away before he could mug me. 

What. The. Hell?

He was going to mug me.

It had happened to my friend, Stephanie, a few months back and her mugger had accomplished his goal. Here I was safe and sound and suddenly all the air was sucked out of me leaving a vacuum in my chest and my head in a daze. I can only imagine how she must have felt.

I kinda checked out for a bit and drove myself (something I probably should not have done) to a meeting with my real estate agent to see a house. I called the husband and told him what happened. He told me to tell the manager of the bank branch and call the cops, but at the moment I just wanted to busy myself.

The house was lovely and it kept my brain occupied as I analyzed lawn decorations right out of My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding, broken closet doors, and paint colors that just came out of an Argentinian whore house.

(Regardless, the bones were lovely and we made an offer. We did not get the house. Damn it.)

Once home, I sort of just wrapped myself in a blanket and sipped some tea. I popped both cats on my lap, and let the dog snuggle under my feet and we all watched American Horror Story: Asylum, which, to be honest, was not the best choice of television at this particular point in time as all the violence encouraged me to go online and buy a carbon steel deadbolt for my front door and compare prices on civilian-level tazers.

And then I went and cooked. It kept my hands from shaking, it kept my eyes from crying, and it kept my mind from asking "What if?" since that question never gives an acceptable answer. 

Bundled in my safety blanket I grabbed the first cookbook I saw, Pure Vanilla, by Shauna Server. The book had been sent to me by the publisher for reasons too obvious to get into and for a while it sat on my shelf untouched. Now, in delirium, I flipped it open and found a recipe for some lemon dream bars - essentially cookie bars with lemon curd swirled in. I decided instead to riff the recipe and use some extremely tart, bitter, and fragrant mixed citrus marmalade gifted to me by blog buddy, Elise Bauer. I had no lemon curd, nor the ingredients for it, and have always enjoyed the pairing of white chocolate and citrus.

The marmalade was made with etrog, Meyer lemon, blood orange, and kumquat and was a rather wet marmalade. As such the recipe would need a bit more flour and a longer baking time. Server refers to the texture of the base as a "cookie" but I have to disagree and say this is 100% cake and that's fine by me. The white chocolate base caramelizes nicely so the resulting cake has a crispy, slightly burnt-in-a good-way curst with a taste and texture that white chocolate offers so well.

Did the cake calm me down? No, not really. It just kept me busy.

The next day I had a piece for breakfast with a mug of over-brewed chai tea. It was fantastic. I was no longer shaken up and time, not the cake, was responsible for that; but the cake made for a good start that morning and showed me that I can be productive and make good things happen even in times when I'm a bit frightened of the world.

I suppose that counts for something.

Garrett out.

White Chocolate and Marmalade Cake
Makes 1 8x8 pan

10 ounces white chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 cup flour
1/3 cup marmalade

1. Butter an 8x8 pan and line it with a 8x14 piece of parchment paper to make removing the cake easier and less stressful for your life.

2. Place a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Place the butter and 8 ounce of the white chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted. Take off the pot and stir in the sugar, salt, vanilla paste and extract. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.

3. Carefully fold in the flour. When only a few streaks remain add the rest of the white chocolate and fold in.

4. Pour into the prepared pan. Dollop 5 or 6 spoonfuls of the marmalade on top of the batter and then swirl it all in with a knife. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F, give or take, or until a knife comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes before lifting out and cooling the rest of the way on a wire rack. Eat and be pleased with yourself.

Other Recipes That Don't Suck
Yogurt Marmalade Cake - The Pioneer Woman
Raspberry & Ganache Cake with White Chocolate - Evil Shenanigans
Yuzu White Chocolate Cupcakes - Cupcake Bakeshop
Three Citrus Marmalade - Food in Jars


  1. All week I've had this huge, ugly cry waiting to happen at the most inopportune of times and I've been sort of holding it off with tons of chocolate, then I read this and burst into tears. On the plus side, I think I have everything I need to make this cake. :) I'm really glad you're alright. I hope the job/house hunt is going well!

    1. Roshni, I'm sorry. =(

      But yes, this cake is kinda awesome and should help. Both hunts are... well, they are going.

  2. We are glad you are safe. And a little bit scared of leaving the couch post-breakfast. Power on.

  3. Oh sweet jesus what a fkd up day......im sorry garrett!! Im a new reader, found you the other day feeling sorry for myself looking for maple bacon cupcakes. I too have had my share of life handing my ass to me lately. I've decided to take perverse joy in giving life a big "FUCK YOU" both middle fingers up when it tries to beat me down. Love your writing style and your sense of humor is EPIC. Your too damn awesome to let life kick you in the balls fight back & bake on darling!

    Xo the rebel

    1. Dear the rebel,
      Thank you and thanks for not being scared off from my using the phrase "balls deep." I'm pretty such I lost a few readers with that one.

  4. Wow! Did you think "maybe all the crap luck I have had so far today was to balance out this extremely good luck of a police cruiser"? I loved how you described the printer failure. So true, they let you down at your most vulnerable moments.Glad you were merely shaken, not hurt. Be careful. You live in a crazy place. Maybe most of us do.

    1. I'm just hoping that I'm getting all my bad luck out of the way early this year...

  5. Your day sounds horrible! I hope you're feeling better! That cake looks delicious...I could really eat a piece right now! What other types of marmalades would you recommend using?

    1. Not sure... I used a homemade kind, but I imagine most will work. =)

  6. Glad that you are safe, yes it is really horrible situation. sorry for the printer too ,it stopped working when it is most needed.

    white chocolate cake looks delicious.

  7. Wait - did you receive a job offer from Old Soul? Are you working there now or in the future? Really glad he didn't get a chance to hurt you, take your money or your car!

    1. No, I just had an interview in Old Soul as opposed to an actual office so to make it a more laid back meeting.

  8. I am SO SORRY this happened to you. I was confronted by a mugger late at night walking alone. I pepper sprayed and ran all the way home. It has made me way more aware of my surroundings when I'm out and about. The violated feeling I had lasted over a week. Scary stuff.

    The Old Soul portion of the story made me smile. Very sweet of them.

  9. Delurking to wish you well from a total stranger who stalks you by reading your blog. That was actually supposed to make you feel better, not worse. I hope it had the intended effect, but given the situation you'd be perfectly justified if that came off as creepy.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're ok.

    1. Thanks Gloria. And I always appreciate stalking. Nice to know someone cares. ;)

  10. Oh Garrett! This is so scary! You were lucky!

    My friend lives over on 27th--right across the street from the girl who was mugged then murdered last week. It hurts me to hear about all this Sac violence! You stay safe! You keep that buff military husband of yours close by you at all times!

    ps Thanks for the comment on my wedding update post :) xo

  11. How terrifying!! I am so sorry that happened! Sending light and love to you.

  12. Yup, delurking. I am glad you are okay. Even though you were saved by the oblivious police car the whole thing sounds very scary.
    A picky thing: "Ertog" is a typo, you mean etrog (or esrog depending upon ones Hebrew dialect.)

    And a question: Do you really mean BOTH vanilla extract and vanilla paste, or are they options? I want to make this ASAP, it looks so yummy.

    1. Yes, I am okay. Thanks. And thanks for the ertog catch. You will want both extract and paste, but you could just double up on one or the other. =)

  13. Hmm, and I thought I was having a crappy week (well, month, actually, but...) - misery certainly does love company, huh? Am glad nothing serious happened to you - and thank you so much for a wonderful blog! You make me laugh and cry, and your recipes are so good!

  14. Ok double comment but I have to. I was searching for a cinnamon toast cookie recipe. I found a weird vegan version who's original (nonvegan) source I could not obtain. I have another one, that is maybe Ok. Continuing search, this time for cinnamon crisp cookies, I came across one for cinnamon snaps by Garrett McCord!!! You are everywhere!! I am going to make yours first. I hope your day is better, I hope all your days are better!

  15. You are wonderful. You have fabulous style, spirit and a real tonge and cheek writing style. Anyone as sassy as I think you might be is vital to this world. Stay safe and be well.

    The Black Beetle

    1. Hi, I must agree with "Anonymous" you know what is really weird is that i never get into "blogs" but for some reason yours was just to hard to pass over! Take that as it is...a compliment ) but honest I never get into these things but while searching for some certain rec'ps I ran across this and couldn't pass by. You seem to have a great personality great attitude and even more so very optomistic with much potential. I will return! :)

    2. Thanks, Ziggy! I'm so glad to hear from you and look forward to your continuing visitation to my bloggy internet home. XD

  16. Caramelised white chocolate that is slightly-burnt-in-a-good-way is incredibly tempting. Oh, you, you and your indulgent cakes that are so bad for me!

  17. Hi again. I actually failed to make this right away as I had planned, but I did make it last night. Yum! I was worried because the recipe has no leavening agent, but then neither do many Brownie recipes. However, there is no oven temperature that I could find in your description. I went with the default of 350, and it was just fine.

    Next time I make this I'll make a double batch in a 9x13 pan because this disappeared way too quickly!

    Dunno why Google insists that I am Unknown, but I'm...

    1. Oh dear, yes, you're right. 350F. Well done. Thank you, Meryl the Unknown.


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