The part that is progressing is, of course, the ongoing revision. That’s sort of the royal “we”, I guess, except my mother is contributing by never calling me. Thanks, Mom! (We kind of use the phone like other people might shout to somebody upstairs. “When you come down, could you bring an extra stack of towels?” Only for us it’s like, “Could you put a bag of flour out to come over here?” (My Mom’s enormous overflow pantry serves as extra supply for me during holiday baking, since she lives right across the street.))
Anyway, the revision! I put together a more-or-less-bulleted list of everybody’s general comments and I think now is the time to start reading through the ms. from the top, nudging it here and there as I go. And frequently re-reading the list, of course. The basic outline has hardly changed at all, but some scenes have moved or been deleted or (rarely) added. I think some motivations have become clearer, and a little more has been revealed about the world, and at this point I sure hope no one would read it and think, But WHY did Gulien / the king / the Kieba do this or that stupid thing?
Plus it now makes perfect sense why the Kieba chose . . . oh, actually, that would be a spoiler. Never mind. But it was a question raised by all three initial readers and now it’s solved.
Also! New title. Still a working title, but I’m much happier with it. The ms. is now named THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY. Thanks to all who made suggestions!
Also! Speaking of my mother, it was her birthday this Saturday, and QUITE happy to take a break from revising, I made a cake! Only I could not find the recipe I wanted, which was for a Bundt cake with a cheesecake filling.
It’s not like I have a shortage of recipes for fancy cakes, but I was DETERMINED to make a Bundt cake with a cheesecake filling. So when I found a recipe for a Bundt cake with a coconut filling, I seized upon it.
Only it started with a cake mix, which I never use. I mean, as far as I can tell, a chocolate cake made from a mix merely LOOKS chocolate. Such a disappointment when it turns out to have no discernable chocolate flavor! Plus I think mix cakes often have a faint but unpleasant almond-ish kind of flavor — I suspect almond flavoring is cheaper than chocolate flavoring.
But! For some reason I actually had a cake mix, acquired for some purpose long forgotten, which was sitting in the back of my pantry waiting for me to do something with it. So I combined several recipes, my memory of the cake I actually wanted to make, and a strong preference for real chocolate flavor and did this:
1 German chocolate cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 pkg instant choc pudding mix (1.7 oz) (I like instant chocolate pudding, okay? Even though I know it is not objectively good as such.)
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 C veg oil
3/4 C water
1/2 tsp coconut extract
8 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp sugar
1 C. toasted coconut
1/2 tsp coconut extract
3/4 C mini choc chips
4 oz cream cheese
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1/4 C. powdered sugar
First I combined all the filling ingredients. Then I beat together all the cake ingredients, then beat the batter for five minutes. Then I spooned half the cake batter into a (greased) Bundt pan, spooned the filling on top, added the remaining cake batter on top of that, and baked the cake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
The cake turned out of the pan just fine! Always a relief! Then I melted the chocolate with the cream cheese, stirred in the powdered sugar, and glazed the cake with a thin layer of this mixture. (This kind of icing looks greasy and suspiciously like it won’t work, but I’ve used variants of it often and it is actually easy to work with and sets up very nicely, with a shiny finish. It’s excellent for those like me who hate a super-sweet icing. Plus it makes a great filling for sandwich cookies, too, btw.) I used a glaze because I wanted a shiny cake, because I then finished it off by dusting confectioner’s gold dust across the top.
The cake turned out very pretty, nicely chocolate, distinctly coconut flavored, and really very good — it was a little dense, but moist and with a good texture. So I hereby share it with the world! If you happen to have a cake mix sitting around, this is SO MUCH BETTER than just making it according to the directions.
Tonight I get to finish both my share of the cake and (sigh) the revision.