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SFMOMA's Colorful Mondrian Cake: A Recipe

One thing I've been a little obsessed with lately is the special dessert collaboration between Blue Bottle Coffee and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The coffee company has created special desserts especially to be sold at the museum, all of which are inspired by famous modern artists. My personal favorite is a cake inspired by Piet Mondrian's "Composition in Red, Yellow & Blue". Mondrian worked with virtual simplification of forms until all that was left was thick lines and blocks that varied in color meant to create a sense of movement in the piece. Now replace all those lines and blocks with chocolate and fluffy pieces of cake, and you've got yourself something as fun to eat as it is to simply look at. The SFMOMA is currently under construction until early 2016, so you can only order full cakes off the Blue Bottle website. However, since their collaboration, head pastry chef Caitlin Freeman has also published a book full of all the different art-inspired recipes called "Modern Art Desserts". Here is the recipe for adventurous Vinglers who want to create a little edible art in their kitchen! (Attached is a bonus video of Blue Bottle Coffee making their on Mondrian cakes, plus my second place favorite SFMOMA dessert, the "Ocean Park #122"-inspired Richard Diebenkorn Trifle!) Mondrian Cake You will need 1 x 20cm square tin 3 x 450g loaf tin (measuring approx 16cm x 11cm x 7cm) or 1 battenberg tin For the cakes 500g unsalted butter 500g caster sugar 5 eggs 500g sour cream or Greek yogurt 750g self-raising flour 1 tsp of salt Red, blue and yellow food coloring gels or paste For the ganache 400g dark 50% chocolate, chopped 300ml double cream Preparation 1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line the base and sides of your tins with baking paper. 2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a food processor, electric hand whisk, or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Add the eggs, one at a time, plus sour cream, self-raising flour and salt, and whisk together until smooth. 3. Spoon 900g of the mix into the 20cm square tin and put to one side. 4. Divide the remaining mixture into three bowls, with approximately 450g of cake mix in each. Color one bowl’s mixture with the blue dye, another with the red and finally, yellow. You want the colors to be vivid, so really go for it. 5. Spoon the different colored mixtures into the three separate loaf tins and place in the oven, along with the square tin, for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. (You might want to rotate the tins so that they’re evenly cooked.) Leave to cool, then transfer to wire racks. 6. Meanwhile, make the ganache, which you will use to stick the cake together and coat the outside. Put the chocolate into a bowl and heat the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Just before it boils, pour it over the chocolate. Leave to sit for five minutes, then stir until smooth. Leave to cool. 7. Place the cooled cakes on a chopping board. Using a bread knife, slice all the edges off the cakes so that you’re left with long, brightly colored rectangles, approximately 18cm in length. 8. Using a picture of your chosen Mondrian for inspiration, very carefully measure and slice the cakes to make straight-edged long rectangles. Put the cake slices together as you build your picture. 9. Line two trays with baking parchment. Piece by piece, spread the cake lengths with the chocolate ganache, using it like glue to stick your strips back together to recreate your Mondrian on one tray. Put in the fridge to firm up for about one hour – this hardens the ganache and makes the cake easier to work with. 10. Remove the cake from the fridge. Spread the ganache over the cake, using a pallet knife to smooth it over the sides and top. Transfer to the fridge for one hour to firm up. Remove from the fridge, place the second lined baking tray on top and invert the cake. Use the rest of ganache to coat the remaining edge – you may have to heat it up slightly to loosen it. Make sure the ganache is evenly spread. Place in the fridge for a final hour, then remove and allow it to reach room temperature. Finally, slice the cake, feel smug and serve.
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This is too cool! I want a slice!
very innovative
How unique! I can't wait to try it!
This is awesome!!! edible art
I love this so much!
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I Went To The Most Haunted University In The USA
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You have to drive up a steep-ass hill to get to The Ridges. It sits atop an appalachian giant overlooking the busy Ohio University campus. You can see it from almost anywhere. It's a hulking structure, mostly post-victorian with bars all over the windows. As soon as you set foot anywhere near it, you can feel the haunting presence of its ghosts. Trust me. After the great mental health collapse of the early 1900's The Ridges turned into a nightmarish place where patients were treated with electro-shock therapy, ice baths and ice-pick lobotomies (you know, that thing that happens to McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest). Essentially they jammed an ice pick through your eye socket and into your brain to "alleviate pressure" and make you a "normal" person. It ended up killing lots of people and leaving the ones that survived totally brain dead. Several freaky things happened at The Ridges before its doors were shut forever. December 1st of 1978, a patient named Margaret Schilling vanished. According to legend she was playing hide and seek with some nurses. They got distracted and stopped looking for her. She was gone for over a month, until her body was found in her room by a maintenance worker in January of 1979. The fact that someone died at the Ridges isn't too creepy, considering it was a primitive mental hospital, but this is: A stain was left on the floor of her room. And after countless bleachings and cleaning attempts the stain would re-appear. The Journal of Forensic Sciences studied the stain and revealed that it was indeed the result of human decomposition. Margaret was left there for 5 weeks. And every time someone tried to remove the mark, it came back, furthering the proof that she was haunting the grounds of the place she was left to die in. The asylum has a cemetery attached to it as well to act as the burial grounds for the patients that were admitted through the court system who had no friends or family to cover burial costs. My senior year of college I shot a short film with some Film studies graduate students in this cemetery. It was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. There was definitely bad energy all around. Walking through the cemetery, you can see the unmarked graves. People who died without a name...nobody to mourn them. The cemetery in this picture above is elevated, hidden above the grounds. Some of the stones are marked with flags for veterans who came from the Athens area, but most of them are unmarked. Blank. Nothing. [A tour of the TB ward at The Ridges.] The Tuburculosis Ward at The Ridges is by far the scariest part. This was where the most violent and disturbed people would be quarantined. Most of the They ended up tearing it down my Sophomore year of high school due to a number of things, but I think it's because it was too haunted to be kept standing. There was lead based paint everywhere, broken windows and people kept breaking into it and hurting themselves. It's like Pet Sematary up in there...if you go in, you're cursed forever. [The staff of Brick Beats Magazine at OU in front of the TB ward, hey...I'm in the middle!] So of course, I went there. Being the idiot that I've always been, I was intrigued by the antique structure and the haunted, terrifying lore attached to it. I took some of my friends, who were all working for this music magazine I had become the co-Editor-In-Chief of freshman year. We took some pictures for an issue up there. And man...just looking up at that building...the memory of it gives me the chills. This was shortly before it was torn down. On the way up, one of our cars got stuck, we ended up hearing a lot of screeching and rattling and yes...there were open windows covering us in paranormal fear. I never went back. While i could go on for years about how scary The Ridges is, I'd better move on...to the final tale I'll tell. The most haunted point on campus is Wilson hall. It lies in the center of a "pentagram" created by five cemeteries surrounding the campus. See that star in the middle? That's West Green, a major spot for dormitories and a hub for kids on campus. [Wilson Hall was featured on SyFy's "Scariest Places on Earth". Room 428 is referred to as "Satan's Dormitory"] Room 428 of Wilson hall is the most haunted place in all of Athens. A young man died there in the 1970's, his death was never ruled a suicide or a murder. It was just left unsolved. A young female student died in room 428 later, after allegedly practicing some occult rituals there. She used the room's "dark energy" to practice some kind of witchcraft that enabled her to leave her body through her spirit. People call it "astral projection". She also contacted the dead. According to legend, the girl died violently in the room, smearing her own blood on the walls. Apparently all of the dark spirits in room 428 drove her her to kill herself, but we'll never know. Wilson Hall was built on an Indian Burial ground...that may be the reason for all of the paranormal activity and deaths. School officials closed it off and turned it into a boiler room, but screams and horrific sounds could still be heard. The building is still a dormitory. Athens, Ohio was voted the 13th most haunted place in the world. THE WORLD. I haven't thought about these legends, these hauntings that occured at my alma matter in a while. And with Halloween coming up it's no surprise that they're on my mind. You may not believe in ghosts, but if you ask any Ohio University Bobcat? I'm sure they do.