Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Plorpmonk

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crackity Bones

Once again I have broken myself. Ive spent the majority of the last few days laying flat on the floor, my blood flowing with cheap muscle relaxants trying to calm the lightning ricocheting through my insides. Last night I managed to get into just the right position for C-Word to yank my hip bone back into place with an audible pop and a crunch. Such sweet relief. And tonight Im going back to the gym for some more torture. Wish me luck, jerkbags!

Love, Kara


The Pixies - Crackity Jones



The Pain - Oh No



Aesop Rock - Bent Life




The Big Pink - Dominoes



Imelda May - Big Bad Handsome Man







Truckers Delight



What.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pizza Hat


Norf.

Good evening all my friends. Tonight Im coming to you from C-Bags sparkling clean apartment in the ghetto. We have spent the better part of the day scrubbing our asses off and now while he whiles away the time at work Im having extremely high temperature showers alternating with mint chocolate munching. Pleasant. Also I'm wearing no pants AND downloading a brand new episode of my precious Supernatural. This is my ideal state of being.


Speaking of supernatural, everyones favourite monochromatic monarchs were in town this week. Prince "I Want To Be Your Tampon" Charles and his brother Camilla were trotting around cutting ribbons and collecting soapstone carvings, various forms of maple syrup and framed prints of historic landmarks. We Canadians give the most shitpoor gifts. BUT GUESS whose logo was printed on their feedbag? That's right, good ol D&D. I can totally say that I fed a prince. Wish he'd brought along Harry though. That ginger crotch'ed miscreant looks like he'd be a good time.

Not much else life stuff to report on. Mostly I'm in a state of disbelief that it's bloody November already. Its such a sneaky little bastard. One minute you're a slutty mermaid zombie drunkenly smearing your face on some half assed Batman and the next minute life is grey, somber and fucking freezing. I miss October.. come back to me, Octu-bray.

Well I was just wasting twenty minutes while my Boys finished downloading. I shall be leaving y'all now, for a better place. A place inhabited by a hot blonde in blue jeans with devil may care attitude. Le Sigh.

Because I'm awesome, I'll leave you with this...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shock Horror!


Good evening boys and GHOULS.

So glad you could drop in, KILL seekers! I welcome you to another agonizing installment of Kara's blog. I hope you're STARVING because tonight we shall be CARVING up some of the BEAST Halloween tunes manUNKIND has to OFF-HER. A veritable buffet of DEATH Metal and Pop ROT! You choose; BUTCHER or balladeer? This you SLAUGHTAHEAR Hahaha!



Fasten your drool cups, and ready your vomit bags, I call this putrescent pile of diseased dittys....


Thirty One Songs
of
Hallowe'en!




1. Vincent Price and Alice Cooper - Black Widow



2. The Ventures - Twilight Zone



3. Gorillaz - Ghost Train



4. Gravediggaz - Freak The Sorceress



5. Rob Zombie - American Witch



6. Gwar - Vlad The Impaler



7. Depeche Mode - Black Celebration



8. The Specials - Ghost Town



9. Zombie Prostitute - Voltaire



10. Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party



11. The Cramps - Human Fly



12. Fields of the Nephilim - Moonchild



13. Fantomas - Rosemary's Baby



14. Black Sabbath - The Wizard



15. Ennio Morricone - Bestiality



16. Pretty Balanced - Simon's Sleeping



17. Queens of the Stone Age - Burn The Witch



18. Rob Zombie - Living Dead Girl



19. Oingo Boingo - Grey Matter



20. Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead



21. Tito Tarantula - After Dark



22. Tom Waits - A Good Man is Hard to Find



23. Cat Power - Werewolf



24. Alice Cooper - Feed My Frankenstein



25. Nouvelle Vague - Killing Moon



26. Echo & The Bunnymen - No Dark Things





27. Sisters of Mercy - This Corrosion




28. Rasputina - Transylvanian Concubine




29. Cold Blank - Marshmallow Man




30. Danny Elfman - This Is Halloween




31. Zero Kama - Death Posture




Now how about some EYE SCREAM for dessert? Guaranteed to chill you to the BONE. Or perhaps you have a tooth for something even sweeter.. tales of Halloween horror, perhaps? Well, DIG in!

Vincent Price's "How to See Ghosts, or Surely Bring Them To You"

Jarvis Cocker's "Halloween Tale"

Edgar Allen Poe's "Ulalume" read by Jeff Buckley

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Campervan Ghandi


This fellow here, Mark Boyle, is living without cash for an entire year. Living in a camper on a farm he uses a stove outside to cook on rain or shine, a bike to get around on and a solar powered laptop to stay connected to the world. For food he finds it, grows it, or barters for it. He wipes his ass with newspapers and brushes his teeth with ground cuttlefish bones. Hardcore.

I have always really loved the idea that you have to be the change you wish to see in the world so I find this pretty inspiring. He is also the founder of The Freeconomy Community.

Here is an article from the Guardian all about it.

Psychobubble



Wall Of Voodoo - Ring Of Fire



Siouxsie and the Banshees ft. Marc Almond - Threat of Love




Oingo Boingo - Private Life



You know whats better than doing the dishes? Spending lengthy amounts of time analyzing yourself via internet personality tests. Yep, I know I'm the coolest cat in the ... thing that cats are in. Alley? Jazz-Funk band? Garbage Bag in the river? Pah..
Now I encourage y'all mufukkas to shimmy on over to SimilarMinds.com, take the test and post your results in my comments section so that I can judge you harshly. There's a while whackload on there so you can distract yourself from hours and hours of chores!

Here are my results:


Stability results were moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were moderately low which suggests you are, at times, overly flexible, improvised, and fun seeking at the expense of reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.

Extraversion
results were very low which suggests you are extremely reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.
Awesomeness: Off the fucking charts.

Random descriptive words: secretive, reclusive, messy, disorganized, introverted, unassertive, rarely worries, dislikes large parties, does not like to fit in, does not need to control others, solitary, ambivalent about chaos, tough, leisurely, does not respect authority, not aggressive, observer, abstract, impractical, dislikes leadership, daydreamer, bizarre, does not make friends easily, not a perfectionist, suspicious, rarely irritated, strong physical instincts, unsympathetic at times, risk taker, submissive, weird, sarcastic, strange

So I'm a strange and paranoid hippy loner who laughs when you hurt yourself. Touché, Internet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Capybara, Baby


I almost forgot to mention how jealous I am of this! Please, for the love of god, look at these pictures: World Famous Capybara.

Internet Funtimes


No explanation for that...

So I have pretty much spent the last couple of days clicking StumbleUpon over and over and over and over... the things I have seen, my friends. I can now fold napkins like a pro, turn Red Bull cans into tiny decorative boxes, bake perfect brownies, make Ikea lamps with bits of string.. magic. However I also read tales of great tragedy. Like the corpse that sat out on a balcony for a week before anyone called the police because everyone thought it was a Halloween display. The man who woke up in the hospital with an unecessary artificial rectum. And the lady that was arrested for beating the shit out of her sons for eating the last pork chop. I also learned shocking, life altering facts about the deadly poison we call bread and that it would take 16 shots of whiskey to kill me... Sounds like a challenge. A good portion of the time was spent on gritty political satire like this and that. In addition to all that; A DINOSAUR!!!





And then I popped some bubble wrap. YeeeeeahhhhH!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lactating Angela Landsbury


Bathing Flamingos: Daffodil Yellow, Retro Pink, Cherry Red, Persimmon, Leaf Green $11.50/yard.

Up at seven on a Sunday. That's A.M. Instantly regrettable. Scratchy throat, drippy nose.. nuuuggghhhets. Sipping mint tea with honey and staring out forlornly at the morning. Yellow leaves swaying against a violet sky. Very nice. The very least this morning could do is be pretty for me. I love people watching from my fourth floor window, but on Sunday mornings there are no people to spit on observe. From up here I just get the impression of hats and large breasts anyway.

The big news of the week is that my parents sold the Barrie house and bought one in Elliot Lake! Lightning bloody fast. I haven't seen the new place yet but it has a path from the backyard to the lake and a back porch so that's really all I need to hear. Well done, folks.

Going to head over to see my fluish corpse of a boyfriend and bring him out into the sunshine for the first time this week. My official task is to provide breakfast and to cushion his decent when he topples over like an old woman named Nelly. Pray to any and all gods for my safe return.

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up


Blondie - I Know But I Don't Know


Iggy Pop - The Endless Sea


Monday, October 19, 2009

Trolls in My Hair


Rah Rah - Tentacles

Kill The Dandies - She Walks Downtown

People in Planes - Moth


Mother Mother - Wrecking Ball


Jamie T - The Man's Machine


Hola Jolly Ranchers!

The internet is boring. It takes me about 82 minutes to exhaust the entire internets supply of food porn, celebrity gossip, music blogs and videos of kittens. Heartbreaking.

Lazy day... Lazy me, lazy cat, lazy eye. Even my dinner is lazy, as its composed primarily of ketchup. Look at this number pyramid and be mystified by mystery.


1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321

1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Mind blown? I know, eh?


Hey this week at work I made choux swans beside pastry chef extraordinaire Sherry Yard. I wish I had known before hand how much of The Shit this woman is and I would have made more interesting conversation. Also kidnapped her and eaten her brains to absorb her powers. We had a team of Wolfgang Pucks chefs using our kitchen, and they were like a robot army of knife wielding precision. Sherry was a sweetheart and I'm pretty happy I got to experience a pastry chef who is so excited and en
gaged with what she does for a living. Here's a link to one of her books if you're so inclined.


I think I'm going to ride my bike over to Ryerson and lay in the sauna until my brain melts out of my ears and I reach nirvana. Mhm. Yes. That'll do. Peace out.



from Enrico Ascoli - Sound Design on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We All Moan for Scones


TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me

Cat Power - Good Woman

Johnny Cash - Mary of the Wild Moor

Or.. Mon For Scones? Fall makes me hungry like the wolf. I'm trying to replace my usual cold weather comfort foods like huge bowls of macaroni and cheese with velveeta and you bake it and THEN it gets all gooey and brown and bubbly and you smear gobs all over soft french bread ughhnnghhh...... damn it.

Anyway I'm trying to replace THAT with healthful fall comforts, namely root vegetab
les.. and onions. For some reason I am binging on onions and chickpeas. Yormmp. HOWEVER I found a wee bottle of pimento left over from my southern cooking phase and a half brick of really, really old, old cheddar. Like, so old it actually was like grating an actual brick. For real.

This is just a basic scone mix I have added cheese, pimento and spices too. These are pretty much no fail in a food processor. They come out fluffy, with crunchy brown tops, and are IMMENSELY tasty. Scone perfection.


Spicy Cheddar & Pimento Scones
Makes 12
Time: 30 mins

2 cups unbleached A.P Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoon salt

1 tsp sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar

2 tsp ground red pepper

2 tsp cumin

2 tbsp chopped pimento 1 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 425°F.

Blend flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.

If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.

Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)

Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and brush a milk or egg wash on the tops. Bake until tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Curry Monster


Black Sabbath - Under The Sun

Crowded House - People are Like Suns


Elvis Perkins in Dearland - Slow Doomsday


Foghat - Slow Ride

Yesterday all I had the in the apartment for eating was a few tomatoes left over from pizza last weekend, a can of chickpeas and about 10,000 oranges. Why in Jesus, do I have so many oranges? It's like everytime I walk by a grocery store I'm compelled to buy a half dozen to add to my collection. They are nice though, these South African ones. All that nice African sunshine makes them taste like orange popsicles. Anyway, so, I made myself one heck of a curry. If you put your rice on before you start by the time the curry is finished, so is your rice and then it's going to get sexy.

I suggest serving this with some nice basmati rice and Reese Peanut Butter icecream bars. Bon Appetit.



Kara's Cheap and Easy Chickpea Curry (Chole)
Serves 4-6... or two...
Time: 20-25 minutes
Cost: .99c for chickpeas + $3 for tomatoes = $3.99

4-5 medium tomatoes
1 knobby of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped*

Olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin (seeds or powder)
6 bay leaves
2 teaspoons coriander powder
3 tbsp curry powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder (or more if you like it hot, some do)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup skim milk (optional)

3 cups (2 15 oz cans) of cooked chickpeas/Garbanzo beans
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)

salt, pepper and honey


* Note: I didnt put onions in the recipe because I was out of onions and didnt use them and it came out just fine. I would however suggest adding a small onion, chopped, in with the garlic and ginger. I was also out of veg, tofu and/or meat so you could probably throw that in too!

Blend the tomatoes make a puree.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and lightly fry the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and bay leaves for
about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add all the rest of the spices with the flour and fry another 3 minutes.

In another small pan in 1 tbsp of oil, lightly toast the almonds and then add the chickpeas til golden brown and delicious.

Add almonds and chickpeas to tomato curry base and cook for another 10-15 minutes until it has reduced some and become nice and thick. Add salt, pepper, honey to taste.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Accordion Shredder



Arousing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Busty Asian Beauties


Heh heh..

Hi

It's Me.

Kara Lackie.

Sup?

Oh I'm just here, writing a blog about writing a blog. Its going so well. Everything is pretty much either written in or about a blog or closely connected and appropriate to the matter of writing a blog. Nicely done, me.

The time is 8:15 PM. It is the third day of October and tonight is.. NUIT BLANCHE! Eee squeels of artcitement! Yeah, well, that's all fine and dandy for YOU mortals, those not shackled with the burden of pastry making duties. I have to work at midnight tonight so.. bAH! I'M MISSING OUT ON FREE INTERPRETIVE DANCE IN THE STREET! Arrrrrrrghhhhhh

Oh well. Tonight we're finishing up 1800 chocolate "jewel boxes" for the convention centre. Its going to be 8 hours of chocolate coated, bleary eyed tedium. I hope y'all take some pictures of the artistic happenings for me. It's not often I am jealous of you people.

Anyroad, I cant sleep because I spent nearly my entire day in bed watching Supernatural. Pantsless, blanketed with the kernels of popcorn that evaded my gaping gob and giggling quietely to myself. It was a good day.

Dean Winchester is fucking dreamy.

I have been working a lot this week, but it has been terrific and I'm not complaining at all. Firstly, OVERTIME, BITCHES. Secondly, its actually really relaxing, rewarding work. Its like instant gratification when the thing you have been doing for an hour comes out the oven and it has worked and then people pay money for it and eat it and get fat and smiley.

This has been my first week entirely in the pastry department and it feels damn good. I'm even starting to warm up to the idea that I am a pastry chef. I could call myself that and not feel like a sham! Thats a big deal I think.

Other than work not much has happened this week. Cory and I went to dinner at Swiss Chalet last night which was very nice, and then we saw Zombieland, which rocked so many socks. Pairs upon pairs.

Alright Im going to read for a bit, I will start blogging more though. It's nice to talk into this blank white box.

Peasout.

funny animated gif

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

FAR FAR AWAY

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dumbshit

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wicked

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mod Rom Com Fom Lom


Plomp.

OKAY SO I had the best dream.

Immediately after baking a delicious peach and plum and berry
bumble crumble I passed out on my bed with all my blankets on my face. I dreamed an entire romantic comedy. This is how it went..













I'm Drew Barrymore and I'm trying to rescue an orange cat named Smarmalade from the air vent in my house.



Then the doorbell rings! SURPRISE its my entire family come for a family reunion at 10 o clock at night! Everyone files in and starts cooking stuff in the kitchen when the doorbell rin
gs again. Low and Behold its my ex husband. Brad Pitt. White tank top and aviators. Fuck yes.


Woah.

I'm initially angry he's here, cause I have my whole family here and it makes no sense plot-wise. He explains he has come tonight because he is going away for a long time and wants to
"rekindle" our relationship one last time before he goes.. or two or three times, whatever. FUCK yes!

So we race into the basement where my family hasnt infiltrated yet, and start doing sexy Drew Barrymore Brad Pitt stuff when goddamn it, my baby cousin comes in to give me a mixtape she made me. So we decide to find somewhere private and sneak into the neighbors house cause they are away on vacation.

Only their 85 year old father isn't, and is very confused to see Brad Pitts naked ass on his couch.


Soooo after stealing some pie from his fridge, we run into the woods and start doing it by a river and ooooh its so romantic -- BAM! I fly off into the bushes and come ou
t with a fish hook in my cheek-- an old man is fly fishing in the river and has caught me right in the face. ARGGH!



This continues for a while.. breaking into a hardware store by my house and the alarms go off.. trying to do it at the back of a theatre and a sewing circle comes in called the "Chai Knitters".. they drink chai tea and knit and go see midnight movies together.


"Is this the line-up for the Brad Pitt movie?"

Finally towards the end there is even a twist! It turns out Brad Pitt is sexually frustrating me on purpose because it's just really funny. I also have a wacky sidekick; my cousin Michelle who's career is shooting wacky youtube videos. Her current artistic vision is sumo wrestlers racing up a steep hill on tiny motorcycles. Excellent.


But of course I wake up before we actually do it, and now Im eating. I'm eating so much food now. Yum..


ALSO I FOUND MY DOG! He is a Brug (Brussels Griffin Terrier and Pug) and I want him to my hairy companion for the next 8 to 14 years!!



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Brain Melt



Also..

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Puff Drunk Love


I baked a cake, BITCHES!
And some choux to boot!

This week I made another cake for the fine crew of technicians over at Ryerson University! I also whipped up a batch of choux and filled them til they nearly burst with creamy goodness. Actually some did burst and as punishment for showing such weakness they were sacrificed to my gaping gob. Yowmch!

This is my favourite thing to make. It's like magic watching them blow up in the oven into delicious balloons. I love folding whipped cream into my custard because it gives it such a nice, light, almost bubbly mouth feel. I cheated though and used can stuff.

I also dipped the choux in sugar and plunked them face first onto my silpat so when I lifted them they were wearing jaunty little sugar berets!

I ate about a dozen of the Bailey's flavoured ones for breakfast and Im pretty sure I got drunk on puffs. Puff Drunk!

This cake, I think, its pretty lovely. Its a pitch black devils food fudge bomb with chocolate chunks and the icing is a swirling cloud of marshmallowy meringue. Lovely. Going to have to make this one just for myself next time.










Kara's Creamy Poofs

Makes exactly 1 buttload (4-5 dozen?)

Poofy Bit:

1 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup all-purpose flour
8 - 9 eggs

Creamy Centre:

1 can of devonshire custard, or 2 cups of vanilla pudding, or 2 cups of pastry cream
500ml 35% cream

Whip the cream until stiff. Gently fold in the custard.

Variations: I put 2 shots of baileys in mine! You can also melt some chocolate, wait til it cools and fold that in as well.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. This has to be a proper boil or the mixture will be too greasy. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Beat mixture on medium speed until it stops steaming. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. You are looking for the paste to be stiff enough to pipe out and more or less hold its shape. Drop by tablespoonfuls or pipe mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.

When the shells are cool, pipe cream into them.

Devil's Food White Out Cake
by Dorie Greenspan
Serves 6-8

For the cake:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature

1/2 cup boiling water

4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

(I also added a bit of espresso powder, because I have a problem.)

For the filling and frosting

1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)

1 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

TO MAKE THE CAKE: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don't worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.

TO MAKE THE FILLING AND FROSTING: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.

When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable -- don't try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. Although you could keep it in the fridge in a pinch, it's really better to use it right now.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don't worry about smoothing the frosting -- it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.

Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving. (If it's more convenient, you can chill the cake for 8 hours or more; cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.)

SERVING: I think the cake is best at room temperature or just cool, but many people prefer it cold (the texture of the cake becomes fudgier after it has been refrigerated). No matter the temperature, the cake is so pretty it should be cut at the table, so bring it out on a platter and cut it into generous wedges using a serrated knife and a sawing motion.

STORING: The frosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, or longer if you have the time.