Posts Tagged ‘how-to’

Imagine a lovely cake, iced pretty and smelling scrumptious. Imagine taking a plate in one expectant hand and a knife in the other, then cutting into the cake, removing a slice… and seeing a PIE INSIDE.

When I was in high school, a few friends and I worked together on a project for Marketing class in which we had to come up with a product, make it, and market it. Other kids made t-shirts and who knows what else, but we came up with an idea so exciting that it stayed in our minds for years: pie in a cake.

Pie. Inside of a cake. There is only one word to accompany such an idea: AWESOME.

We soon realized, however, that given time constraints and our limited abilities, pie-in-a-cake would go the way of pipe dreams. Instead, we came up with Jello Pie (which involved red Jell-O in a graham cracker crust); it tasted pretty good, and we made a funny commercial for it, which perhaps someday I will post here. I remember doing pretty well on the project, but that is neither here nor there.

Pie-in-a-cake, the dream, was lost in the sands of time—or so I thought, until I met my great friend Mary (a contributor to this little blog). Our friendship was cemented when, after (for some unremembered reason) I told her about pie-in-a-cake, she assured me that we would make it.

And make it we did. It took some careful planning and creative maneuvering, but it was worth it.

Here, in a few illustrated steps, is our journey.

Originally we thought a cherry pie inside a chocolate cake would be just the thing, but we didn’t have access to a lot of from-scratch baking supplies, and the store only had white cake. So we decided to go with white cake and a blueberry pie.

1. Get the stuff. You’ll need everything it takes to make a small pie and a big(ger) cake.

2. Make the cake batter and make the pie crust (simultaneously if possible).

Pie crust, pie filling, cake batter, icing. Disregard the apples; we were going to make another pie afterward.

3. Put some batter at the bottom of the baking pan so that the pie crust stays put and gets hidden in the middle of the cake (we didn’t want it to fall out when we lifted out the cake).

4. Set the pie crust in it and make the pie. We pre-baked the bottom portion of the pie crust.

After doing the fancy lattice work—which we thought was important to do despite the fact that it would get lost in the pie—we baked this for about ten minutes (just so the top portion of the crust would brown).

5. Bake the top layer of the cake, then pour batter over the pie and bake that. That is the bottom layer, and you’ll have to watch it bake rather than precisely following the cake’s instructions.

This was a thrilling moment for us. Also, notice the baked top layer (to the left).

6. Decorate! (If your baked layers don’t hide the pie, hide it with icing!) Serve!

"Why, look! A lovely cake! Wait a minute..."

"Is that a PIE in my cake?"

Chloë with the finished pie-in-a-cake.

Mary would like to offer you some pie-in-a-cake, and some delight. Did we mention that it was delicious?

My high school friends can be proud of Mary and I, for we lived the dream.

And now you can too.


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If only we were all this resourceful, and cared so little about what others thought.

Third time’s the charm, whatever that means.

It is becoming a tradition here on Real Life Artist that we share with you, now and then, a “grab bag” of ten assorted delightful, beautiful, interesting things.

1. A tradition within the tradition is that the first item is about actual bags, so: here is a photo of a woman that Stephanie and I saw in the park a couple of days ago. She is wearing a canvas bag for a hat.

2. Colourful Slums: These guys are absolutely real life artists! (“What do you mean by ‘real life artist‘ again?”)

To prevent kids from getting caught up in the drug trade, the Favela Painting project pays Brazil’s youth to create murals for their communities. As a result, armies of teenage artists are giving their neighborhoods new faces—ones covered in bright, cheerful colors.

If you like out-and-about art, check out our other post, “Taking to the Streets”.

3. For an alternative perspective on art in public space, check out “The Politics of Building Statues in India”. This is what happens WHEN “ART” GOES TOO FAR…. In addition to the numerous Indian political issues raised by the arguably immoderate building of stone parks and statues in Uttar Pradesh, there are environmental ones:

The sheer number of trees cut down for the expansive concrete parks housing the statues has angered environmental campaigners. Reports say nearly 20,000 trees were cut down to erect 30 giant statues of Mayawati and Kanshi Ram at a park in Noida, which adjoins capital New Delhi.

4. In keeping with the theme from #3—what happens when you use your creative powers for evil and not good—I share this and wince.

5. If your eyeballs and sensibilities need refreshment after that, don’t miss this amazing book art.

6. And here’s how to make a skirt in 30 seconds from a t-shirt (thanks to Josh for this one)!

7. This is an interview from the Huffington Post about the future of literary magazines (on paper or online?).

8. More reading material: “How Art Can Be Good”, an essay by Paul Graham. I’m not sure I entirely agree with the points he makes, but someone had to take on this topic sooner or later.

I grew up believing that taste is just a matter of personal preference. Each person has things they like, but no one’s preferences are any better than anyone else’s. There is no such thing as good taste.

Like a lot of things I grew up believing, this turns out to be false, and I’m going to try to explain why.

9. And now for something completely different: a VW bus pool table!

10. Finally, a quick roundup of some art-related “good causes”: Artists Without Borders (Tokyo-based), Art Without Borders (apparently artists have human rights too?), Art For Good (Switzerland-based educational association), Art For Good Cause (Hawaii-based organization), and finally Freedom to Create (art for social justice? I like it!).

You can also check out Grab Bags 1 & 2.


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You may remember an earlier post called Grab Bag, in which I listed a number of interesting, fun, and beautiful things that I came across on the vast Internet. They were in no particular order. It’s time for a second round, because I’m going away from the Internet for a few days and I want to leave you with something!

1. First of all, in keeping with tradition, something to do with bags: Here are 35 sewing patterns for homemade grocery bags, made out of all kinds of things (including shirts). You’ll never have to agree to paper or plastic again (ideally, your grocery store doesn’t offer either). 

2. “Missing Missy” is one of the funniest email exchanges I’ve ever read (between a secretary who’d lost her cat and a graphic designer who she hoped would make a poster about it).

3. Chocomize: Customize my own chocolate bars? Why, that sounds scrumptious!

4. “Life Reeked With Joy” is a very funny bit of rewritten history.

5. “Poets Ranked By Beard Weight” is a blog post about a forgotten hilarious book. Other great beard-dom is to be found on Wondermark, my favourite web-comic.

6. Literary “so-and-so walks into a bar” jokes (I contributed a few, and you can too)

7. It Made My Day, a blog about “little WINs”

8. I have a love/hate relationship with wilderness shirts and sweatshirts. I have hated them for years, but then began to love them when Bret started wearing them in almost every episode of “Flight of the Conchords”. Awhile ago there was a bit of a hoopla about them and BBC wrote about it. I like it when irony sweeps through society. Here is another example, e-mailed by a friend:

This reminds me of the Bic pen reviews I chanced upon last year. ALL of them are like this. Here’s my favourite:

1.0 out of 5 stars Warning!!! Not Mac Compatible!!, December 24, 2007

I recently bought these pens only to find they are not made for macs. In addition to only working with PC’s, I found that also lacked a USB 2.0 port, installation software, and were extremely susceptible to spyware. These pens are not y2k compatible and contain no slot for extra memory. All in all I was not impressed with this product.

9. On that note, there is a hilarious column on McSweeney’s called “Get to Know an Internet Commenter”, which I highly recommend if you like to giggle while rolling your eyes. If I recall correctly, the second and the last were particularly funny.

10. Finally, I have not laughed so hard (while alone, even) at a video as I did when I watched ze frank’s broom game. Watching people fall down for perfectly innocent reasons is so funny! Also, it reminded me very much of a game called Spinhugs that I invented at my dear ROBSI camp a number of years ago. The essential rules are as follows: go to an open area, spread out, start spinning around, and try to hug another person who is also spinning around. Two people win when they manage to hug each other (without falling down or whacking each other’s faces). It’s awesome. Note that we also tried Aquatic Spinhugs, but it is dangerously hard; you just don’t have enough breath to spin while treading water, and if you manage to reach someone else, you end up pulling one another down.

Le Fin

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