Monday, February 14, 2011

Hungry for Love: Valentine's Day Can Suck It--Plus 8-Minute Microwave Mojito Cake

I like to think that my life is pretty cool. I get paid to see movies for free, interview incredibly talented people, make yummy food and occasionally pop up on the tube to see how much trouble my ginormous mouth can get me into.

Over the past couple of weeks, things have been sprinkled with even more fabulosity as I got to attend events like the Golden Globe and SAG Awards for NBC, started hitting the other side of the red carpet (above, Mel and I at the Ciroc OK! Magazine pre-Grammy party, below, an AP photo from the Remix Magazine launch party)...

...And even got some Twitter lovin' from Isaiah Mustafa, aka: The Old Spice Guy...

...After I semi-accosted him at both the Golden Globes and DGA Awards, drunkenly admitted I loved him "in a very deep way."

But tonight, with that usual Sunday agita sinking in, a lingering anxiety unshakable since childhood when Sunday meant the end of freedom and the imminent return to school, I feel lamer than usual. Why? Because tomorrow is Valentine's Day and I will be spending it alone.

Being 32, single and living in LA, where women past 25 are often viewed with the appeal of expired milk left out in the sun, not having a man is never a picnic, but no day makes it a buffet of misery and self-pity quite like February 14th.

I was raised by feminists, babysat by Naomi Wolf (no, really, I was), but am still well aware of the one constant women are beaten over the head with from the time we’re born; that if we don't find a man, get married and have babies, we’ve misspent our time on earth. Every pop song, sitcom, rom-com and storybook preaches it and even though I know can be happy and fulfilled without some dude to "complete me"--I'm pretty damn whole as is, thankyouverymuch--I'm always made to feel less-than if I find myself without an arrow through the heart from some diaper wearing perv with an overactive trigger finger.

But haven't we all been a little traumatized by Valentine's Day?

From grade school, a sense of V-Day doom is instilled the moment we first suffer the pressure of giving valentines to everyone in the class, even the kids you hate or the boy that puts worms in your hair. Then you get to junior high and have to pray that someone sends you one of those lame candy-grams that get announced in homeroom so you don't look like a flaming loser after everyone else's name is called and you're left sans red construction paper heart and chalky Rolaids-flavored "Be Mine" "Luv u" "U rock" hearts. Pretty soon you’re in high school and frantic for a date to the Valentine's Day dance to avoid the same shame. And, before you know it, you're old enough to be made to feel pathetic if you're dateless and having a wannabe Sex in the City girls night when Cupid's arrow should be striking.

I can't tell you how many Valentine's Days I suffered through single, feeling the panic rise as January ended, followed by depression and eventually terror, knowing the only love I'd get on February 14th would be from my mom and dad, until one year when I finally had a boyfriend to celebrate Valentine's Day with.

And you know what? It sucked!

I thought it would be all romantic and magical. Nope! Everywhere we went there were super long lines to eat and couples bickering as their blood sugar plummeted as they waited for tables and overpriced prix fixe meals, swarmed by tacky red balloons and wilting roses. It didn't feel special; it felt like enforced fun, which is the worst kind.

Now I know the best thing to do when it comes to Valentine's Day is chillax and try not to make a big deal out of it. It's just another day, one that has more marketing dollars behind it than most, but it doesn't mean I have to spend it guzzling cheap drugstore chocolate in a heart-shaped box to drown my single sorrows. Instead, I can make this quickie cake (complete with booze) if I need to eat my feelings, take a few deep breaths and know that February 15th is just around the corner.

8-Minute Microwave Mojito Cake
Serves 6-8

Now you can have you cake and drink it too! For those in need of a quickie—dessert that is—these cakes can be made in about ten minutes and come with the added bonus of a little buzz.

Mojito Cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon light rum
Zest of one lime
2 tablespoons chopped mint

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients, milk, rum, lime zest and mint.

Pour batter into a large, microwavable heat-and-serve container.

Place container in microwave and heat on high for eight minutes. If your microwave doesn’t have a turn table, rotate cake every 1 ½-2 minutes.

While cake is cooking, prepare first glaze.

First Glaze:
2 tablespoons chopped mint
Zest of one lime
Juice of two limes
2 tablespoons light rum
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Whisk together all ingredients.

Remove cake from microwave and run a knife along the edge of the cake, loosening from sides of bowl.

Pour glaze over hot cake, allowing it to run down sides and underneath.

Allow to cool slightly while preparing second glaze.

Second Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons water

Once first glaze is slightly set, pour second glaze over cake. Slice and serve.

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