Thursday, June 25, 2015

Poke Cake

I'm writing from the great state of Minnesota -- my forever home and my ultimate happy place. I'm sitting in a coffee shop on Bryant and 33rd, in south Minneapolis. There is a giant bicycle painted on the wall amongst stenciled pine trees and the windows are lined with flower boxes. I enjoyed an iced coffee out of a mason jar and thick pieces of toast with organic jam. I'm surrounded by lots of beards and huge headphones. Minneapolis is a strange and beautiful beast -- the city of lakes but also a Midwestern island of creativity and ingenuity with a strong work ethic and... Minnesota Nice? I do a lot of friendly chatting with strangers. My old apartment was 4 blocks from this coffee shop. I paid $475/month for a hardwood-floored, dishwasher-having 2-bedroom with a parking spot. I could bike anywhere, if I was into that sort of thing, which I was maybe... twice. But still! Why don't I live here anymore? Simply put, I want to be a TV writer, and I cannot do that here. It might be the only thing I can't do here.

I like LA.
I even miss it sometimes, and definitely the wonderful people inside it.

But I love Minneapolis.

But I also love ice cream, and you can't eat that every day. I come home and binge on thunderstorms and sweet-smelling nighttime breezes and the feel of grass that grows naturally because there's enough water to let that shit happen. I make excuses to take the familiar drive around the chain of lakes as the sun hits the water in different ways and I try not to hit the various people drunk on summer.

Whimsy abounds!

And THERE is the key word: summer. I'm not writing this in the dead of winter when cars won't even start and they close school because exposed skin freezes off. I still love Minnesota then, for different reasons, but there truly is nothing like a Minnesota summer. Ask Prince -- he gets it. Purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka? Don't have to ask me twice!

Ode to Purple Rain on Lake St

It's very easy for me to become emotionally overwhelmed when I'm home. I get tiny glimpses of a life I did have and could've had every time I meet old friends for drinks at old places and catch myself driving past the exit of my ex. It's very "Sliding Doors." Except my boobs are bigger than Gwyneth's and it's, like, the Taco Bell on Vine vs the Taco Bell on Hwy 7. There's everything to pine for and nothing to pine for. And if the man on the plane next to me had taken a break from breathing at me and hogging the arm rest, and asked me if I was happy to live in LA, I would've said, "Absolutely!" And meant it. And I would've asked him to stop breathing at me because 3 1/2 hours is too long for that shit.

I know Minneapolis isn't the right place for me to live right now, just like I KNOW I'm not supposed to be eating ice cream every day. I'm tall enough to have a leg in both cities so I'm going to do it as long as I can and I do apologize for that visual of me straddling Colorado. But truly -- if we're not doing things that make our heart happy WHAT ARE WE EVEN DOING.

Despite not really sleeping and drinking too many Grain Belts at all times, I baked a cake. For my parents? Basically. It's a reallll easy one and writing down the recipe made me feel pretty inadequate. But we all need a simple cake sometimes, and this one is perfect for summer -- easy breezy beautiful cover-cake. Get out of that kitchen! Run through a sprinkler while eating this cake with your hands like a goddamn animal! You've bought too many sundresses, so wear them, and roll down a hill like you're in a Tide commercial!

Poke Cake


1 box white cake mix
4 egg whites
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 small package jello (I used orange, but you can truly use any flavor)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
Cool Whip or whipped cream

Make the cake according to the box directions.
Let the cake cool completely, for about an hour.
Using a fork and any aggressive thoughts you may be harboring, stab the cake thoroughly and evenly.
Mix the gelatin powder with 1 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth.
Evenly pour the liquid jello mix over the cake.

Soaked cake!
Frost with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

Cool Whip is a weird treasure.
Chill and serve!

As I said, this is 100% the easiest cake in the world to make. And it's ultra delicious! My diabetic father and dairy-avoiding mother both enjoyed several pieces despite saying they wouldn't and couldn't. Bring it to a BBQ or picnic and enjoy all the praise you'll get for not bringing a veggie tray or bag of chips. 

Happy baking!

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