If You’re Going to Throw Yourself a Pity Party, At Least Serve Good Cake

by Carilyn on April 13, 2016

Baking 045

Continuing the theme of “Feel Sorry For Me Because I Can’t Run”, I’ve decided to wax poetically about the joy of doing…not much (really, I’m just going to whine, but I don’t want you to run screaming so I’m trying to make it sound like you are going to get something quasi-literary out of this).

I am a compulsive doer, and not always in the I-can-run-Facebook-while-raising-three-prodigies-without-a-nanny-and-finding-a-cure-for-alopecia kind of way. More in the I-must-I-must-I-must-I-must kind of way. More in the annoying kind of way.

And most of the time it serves me well (even if it drives my loved ones crazy). I will run in hail storms and dive into freezing pools to get my workouts done. I will go to the grocery store every single day if necessary to make sure I have every ingredient for that damn Tiki Masala I promised I’d make for the dinner party. I will finish “great books” just because they are supposedly enlightening even if I think they are drivel. I will be on time to everything even if it means dragging my left leg dangling from its socket. I will. I will. I must.

So, what does someone like me do when she can’t run, when she can’t do the thing that shapes her days, weeks, months and years? And what does she do when this “can’t run” thing happens at the same time her birdies leave the nest, there’s a hard landing in Middle Age, and a bittersweet return home to aging parents (who seemed so young when she left) to care for?

She throws herself a pity party complete with chocolate cake, a good book, a cup of coffee and a very, very comfy chair, and does absolutely nothing else.

Because sometimes there just ain’t nothing you can do about any of it and no amount of motivational quotes or inspiring documentaries is going to fix any of it.

Sometimes it just sucks.

So, if you find yourself in the middle of your own shit storm, maybe this chocolate cake will help just a wee little bit. And if it doesn’t, maybe if you eat another slice the sugar rush will at least boost your serotonin levels.


Berry Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

(Adapted From King Arthur Baking)

2 cups King Arthur Cake Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/2  cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract (or plain vanilla)

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup cool, brewed coffee

4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter two 9″ round pans and cover centers with parchment paper. Set aside.

This recipes calls for you to pass the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and sugar through a strainer over your mixing bowl. If this is a pity-party cake, I would just skip this step. Be proud of yourself for making the cake in the first place and just throw it all in the bowl. It will all work out just fine, I promise. Just stir the mixture with a fork. It’s all good.

Add the butter and mix on low for 1 minute. While the mixer is running, slowly pour in the oil and continue mixing until the mixture looks like sand.

Combine vanilla, milk and cool coffee together and then add to batter. Mix for one minute on low, stop and scrape the sides and bottom, and then continue mixing for 30 more seconds.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. The batter will be thin.

Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Double the recipe if you wish to ice the sides of the cake. I prefer to leave the sides “naked”, but it’s your call. You can never go wrong with too much frosting, especially when you are blue.


After you ice the cake, cover with fresh or frozen berries of your choice. Stare at it lovingly (maybe even Instagram it), then attack it with a fork while singing an Adele song.



Ingrid April 13, 2016 at 8:17 am

I’m sorry to hear about your injury- I hope you get better quickly! Now I’m curious- what’s your Adele song of choice when throwing yourself a pity party?

Carilyn April 20, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Thank you, Ingrid 🙂 And I think any Adele song will work – they all make me weep or want to throw something.

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