Okay, can we talk about pop music again for a second here?
A while back, I wrote about a few of those songs you hear on the radio all the time and my myriad opinions about them for whatever reason, mostly to shit on whatever trashy artists I felt didn’t deserve their success and, of course, to point out that HEY SIA IS ON MAINSTREAM RADIO WHAT THE FUUUUCK because you just can’t not do that.
Ella. Henderson. Was cruelly subjugated to sixth place in X Factor (another reason that those reality talent shows are bullshit) a couple years ago, came roaring back with a new album entitled Chapter One starring the bomb-ass single you see right up there—Ghost. It really is amazing. She is like the little sister of Adele and Leona Lewis, as one reviewer said—an assessment I can give my stamp of approval, with the soulful influence of Adele and a more pop-ish feel like Leona Lewis. I don’t know. There’s nothing not to love here.
Yeah. Um. As mentioned last time I ventured into the realm of pop, I’m not a huge fan of Ariana Grande (and between that post and now I’ve actually listened to her first album, Yours Truly, and didn’t care for it); so it’s kind of disappointing that they had to shove her in there with the likes of Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. But then—Jessie J, so it’s all good. The whole new album, Sweet Talker, is great too, but you really can’t ignore Bang Bang. Masterpiece and Fire and a couple others are cool, though, if you want to check those out.
So yeah. Gotta love those Brit singers, right? Especially when they’re singing about ejaculation and big butts.
Speaking of big butts...
Did you really expect me to talk about pop music and NOT mention this one?
This ode to ass and possibly relationships with drug dealers has been understandably controversial and seems to be divided into three camps: 1) OMG no that’s not music think of the children! 2) OMG you go girl Nicki you slaaaaay you do whatever the fuck you want! and 3) OMG butt!!
Me, I kind of fall into the second one. Nicki Minaj has always been explicit. Maybe not to this degree, but it’s just a natural progression as you get older as an artist and need to find new ways to grab the public’s attention. The song is pretty catchy too. I mean, you can’t argue with that rhymin’ going on in the chorus.
Now let’s look at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Here you have Taylor Swift essentially parodying all of her haterz and attempting to dismiss them by saying that, no, in fact, she does not listen to your criticisms but instead “shakes them off”. And you know what? That’s cool. She can do whatever she wants to be successful, since she’s sold about a zillion more albums than any other person I know and is currently bathing in money thanks to this and her other efforts. None of that changes the fact that she is still a twenty-something who is mentally stuck in high school and makes crappy pop-ish music aimed at pre-pubescent girls.
Clearly I have a chip on my shoulder about Taylor Swift. Personally, I think she started going downhill around Red. Or maybe somewhere after Love Story, cos that was my jam back in the day.
Cool Kids by this band called Echosmith. You can tell it’s a band because there’s no way the singer would’ve gotten any kind of famous without the assistance of a few scruffy instrumentalists. The song makes me bitter, actually, about the state of our music system and how big labels decides what gets airtime and what doesn’t. Get signed, and your shitty music will be blasted all over the radio like a constant stream of musical diarrhea. “Indie” my ass.
Oh. And they think the “cool kids ... seem to fit in”? Goddamit. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
My mother loves this song, so I’m inclined to make myself like it as well if only to deal with the exorbitant amount of times she feels the need to play it at home and in the car or wherever. But you can color me confused as to the meaning of “come on to me / come on to me now”. Charli XCX, you have some explaining to do.
God this song takes me back to that time I took Spanish class. Love it. Even though I thought that contigo meant “cheese” for a while (hint: it doesn’t).
The only questionable part is Enrique Iglesias’ choice of an album title: Sex and Love. Really? How much time did he spend thinking about that? “Hmmm, what do I like? Sex! And—and love! Sex and love! Eureka!”
Let me just say I am an incredibly bitter person and for whatever reason I just don’t like Ed Sheeren despite A-Team, which was a great song, and his apparent songwriting abilities. Maybe it’s his hipsterish, folksy music? The I’m-so-artsy attitude? His annoying teenage fans with their cries of “genius!” and “he makes me cry evry tiem”?
Anyway. Thing is, this here song has resulted in a lot of slut-shaming of Ellie Goulding (the lucky subject of his oh-so-glorious songwriting) and thus it makes me irrationally angry and that’s all I have to say about that.
Oh, and one more.
One word: nah.
I’ll wrap things up now. Let’s talk about cupcakes.
|Dat ganache doe.|
So I got another cookbook. I know. It’s horrible. In my defense, I had recently been paid a sum of money for a piece of writing and was eager to squander it on another volume at the bookstore, preferably one filled with sugary shit and pretty photos. Sticky, Chewy, Mesy, Gooey fits the bill perfectly. Ignoring the cheesy title, it is an absolute dessertgasm of a book, stuffed with these amazing photos and recipes to make Paula Deen swoon. I actually felt sort of sick to my stomach as I was reading through it. And you know me. I’ve kind of got a sweet tooth. This is hardcore stuff.
Two of the more basic recipes—pound cake and ganache—caught my eye. With some of the avocado I had on hand, I could make a totally indulgent avocado pound cake fit for Halloween and top it off with some of that smooth, sexy ganache, no nutrition required. You see, most avocado pound cake recipes are intended as healthy substitutes, and that’s not what I’m going for here. I’m going for the color, the rich texture, the subtle flavor.
How is it?
|Pretty fuckin' awesome, actually.|
Let’s just say that these are kind of better than anything you can pick up at Walmart for Halloween.
Vegan avocado pound cake cupcakes with chocolate ganache and sea salt
Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
170 grams • nondairy margarine, softened • ¾ cup
56 grams • ripe avocado flesh • ¼ cup
300 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ½ cups
1.5 grams • salt • ¼ teaspoon
4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon
170 grams • silken tofu, blended until smooth • ¾ cup
200 grams • all-purpose flour • 1 ½ cups
2 grams • baking powder • ½ teaspoon
114 grams • semisweet chocolate, finely chopped • 4 ounces
120 grams • coconut milk, full-fat • ½ cup
14 grams • nondairy margarine • 1 tablespoon
22 grams • light corn syrup • 1 tablespoon
Fleur de sel
To make cupcakes, start by greasing 12 muffin tins and preheating oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat together margarine and avocado flesh until thoroughly combined. With mixer running, gradually add sugar and mix until combined. Beat in salt and vanilla. Spoon in tofu with mixer on low. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour and baking powder with a spatula.
Divide batter between muffin tins and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumb attached. Let cool for ten minutes before removing from tins, then let cool completely before topping with ganache.
To make ganache, start by placing chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl. Whisk together coconut milk, nondairy margarine, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk until butter is melted and the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour mixture into chocolate. Let stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool completely at room temperature before using.
To finish, simply drizzle ganache on each cupcake. Sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel on top. Munch.
|Twelve cupcakes? Ah, just enough for me!|
I’ve never used avocado as a cream cheese or other fat substitute in a cake before, but consider me a convert after this one. The texture is flawless—a rich, dense crumb and subtly cool flavor, thanks to the avocado, with tons of chocolaty goodness in the ganache topping. And of course salt makes everything better.
But this is only the beginning. Plan to see more from that cookbook in the near future.