My Chocolate Gvina Levana Cake

10 Sep

This past weekend, I promised my family that we would celebrate their new beginnings with a cake. All 3 kids returned to school – and they were all in new ganim. 

Saturday rolled around and I forgot about the cake until I was lying in bed having my Sat afternoon nap (yes, it is still a thing around here, thank the Lord).

When I woke up, my eldest joined me around the table and she reminded me that we were supposed to bake a cake. I tried to brush it off – but realized, no, Mama made a promise and I keep my promises no matter how much I’d rather do something else.

And of course, baking with eldest was delightful. Here is what we made together.

Chocolate Gvina Levana cake

My chocolate gvina levana cake is based on recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine

8” round pan, lined with baking sheet – preheat oven 175C 


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup gvina levana
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup canola oil or other mild tasting oil


  • Sift flour and cocoa powder into bowl. Ensure a light and fluffy cake. Don’t skip this step! 
  • Add baking powder, salt and sugar – mix with fork/whisk to combine dry ingredients 
  • Create well in the middle of dry ingredients – add wet ingredients (eggs, gvina levana, oil, and vanilla extract) 
  • Mix – but only in ONE direction. Always mix in one direction to keep the cake from getting dense. 

Once combined, pour into a lined round baking pan. 

Bake for 37 minutes. Let it cool on a cooling rack before eating. 


Update on life – it’s been a while

7 Sep

Where do I even begin? It’s been over a year since I last updated this blog. I haven’t forgotten you, I’m just not as keen as I once was about sharing my life.

I don’t know when that began – my internet silence. Once upon a time, I was an open book (on the internet). Now … I am a lurker. I consume but I rarely contribute content. Maybe it is all the noise on the web. Maybe it is the lack of time.

Either way – the need to share my life with internet strangers is gone. Those of you reading / following this blog aren’t strangers to me. So here is a little update.

I have 3 kids – two girls and a boy. One set of twins. All from IVF. I guess all those times I worried about getting pregnant were for naught (you gotta keep your humour even after your infertility/fertility journey).

We bought our own flat in our town. I can’t believe we managed to do this – without struggling. I mean, we saved, we got some help and we did it. Took us 5 years  to do it. We bought a starter flat – so we looked for something that we could move into with minimal updates. Painted the flat, put hardwood floors into the living room (swoon), put in screens on all the windows and added a few more cabinets in the kitchen.

We moved in Nov 2019 and it took a while to feel like home. Probably started to feel like home around May – almost 2 months into our isolation due to Covid 19 pandemic.

Man, this pandemic. Most of the time I’m mentally okay with the situation – but right now, today, my chest feels tight. I am anxious and worried – will our government / will the world’s governments actually get us out of this pandemic or is this our new status quo.

As a high risk individual – this pandemic hits close to home. I am terrified of how my body will react if I catch it. But life goes on – the kids are in school. And we are keeping our network of those we come into contact at the bare minimum. I have two new nieces, haven’t met them.  I don’t think I saw my sisters pregnant and we all live in the same country.

Sigh. 2019-2020 has been rough thus far and it ain’t over just yet. I am sure there is another dumpster fire just lurking behind the shadows, around the corner.

At least we have each other. Our health. Our loved ones are healthy and safe.

I can ‘t wait to re-read this post-pandemic and say, not only we survived but we thrived. We slowed down. We made wonderful family memories.

When did I start to see the world as a glass that is half full instead of half empty?

Oh yes, when we came out of our 3.5 years of hell trying to conceive. If I could survive that, I will survive this damn pandemic.

Corn Rye Bread

3 Jun
Corn Rye Bread from Hungry Browser 

Yield: 2 very large loaves

1.5 cups warm water (110°) 
1 pkg (1 T.) dry yeast 
1/2 tsp. sugar 
4 tsp. kosher salt 
3 cups Rye Sourdough Starter, measured after stirring down (see below for 
starter recipe)
2 cups high gluten flour 
3.5 cups all-purpose flour 
1 egg white beaten with 2 T. water for glaze 
2 tsp. caraway seeds for topping and more for inside, if desired 

The following directions are for hand kneading. If you have a heavy duty 
food processor, put all dough ingredients in work bowl after you have made 
the yeast starter. Add starter and combine. Dough will be fairly sticky. 
Don't use a food processor unless it is quite durable; this is a very 
heavy dough.

Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, sugar, and let stand until double 
(10 min.). Dissolve salt in remaining water. Mix in sourdough starter, 
then yeast mix. Add gluten flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 
optional caraway seeds; make a soft dough. Spread 1.5 cups flour on 
kneading surface and turn dough out on it. Knead, adding more flour, 
to make a soft dough. Do not over knead. The dough should be only 
slightly elastic, even a bit sticky. Form dough into a ball, and put 
in an ungreased bowl. Cover with plastic, and let rise until double 
(1.5 hours). Knead, cover with towel, and let rest for 15 minutes. 
Divide into 2 parts. Form each into 12 inch loaf. Pinch seam, and 
place seam down on cornmeal-dusted sheet. Cover and let rise until 
3/4 proof. Put a large pan with 2 inches water in oven. Preheat to 
400°. Place quarry tiles on upper shelf of oven. 
Brush loaves with egg-white glaze, slash with knife. Sprinkle seeds 
on top. Bake for 30 minutes on tiles. Brush again with glaze; bake 
an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

Rye Sourdough Starter
48 hours before beginning rye bread, make this starter: Mix 1 T. dry 
yeast in 2 cups of tepid water. Beat in 2 cups of rye flour. Add a 
small onion, peeled and halved. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 
Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Remove onion. Beat in 
1 cup tepid water and 1.5 cups rye flour. Cover and let stand for 
24 hours longer. This can be used immediately or refrigerated for 
24 hours. This preparation makes about 4 cups of starter (a bit more 
than required for the bread). 
Deli Corn Rye Bread 

yield: 1 loaf

1/2  cup cold water  
1 1/2  cups bread flour  
6  tablespoons yellow cornmeal  
1  cup cold mashed potatoes  
1  cup boiling water  
1  tablespoon caraway seeds  
1  tablespoon shortening  
 cornmeal, as needed to sprinkle on baking sheet  
2  teaspoons salt  
1/4  cup water  
1  tablespoon dry yeast, plus  
1  teaspoon dry yeast  
1/2  teaspoon cornstarch  
2 1/2  cups rye flour  
1  teaspoon caraway seeds  

Lightly grease large bowl; set aside. 
Combine cold water and cornmeal in 2 quart saucepan over medium high 
Add boiling water and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
Stir in shortening and salt. 
Let mixture cool to lukewarm. 
Combine yeast, rye, flour, potatoes and 1 tablespoon Caraway seeds in 
mixing bowl and blend. 
Add cornmeal mixture and blend thoroughly. 
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until stiff but still 
slightly sticky. 
Place in greased bowl, turning to coat entire surface. 
Cover with plastic wrap and hot damp towel and let rise in warm place 
until doubled in volume. 
Grease baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. 
Punch dough down, shape into loaf or rounds and place on baking sheet. 
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread 40 minutes. 
Combine water and cornstarch in small saucepan and bring to boil, 
boil 1 minute. 
Remove bread from oven, brush lightly with glaze and sprinkle with 
remaining caraway seeds. 
Return bread to oven for about 5 minutes, or until top is glazed and 
loaf sounds hollow when tapped. 
Cool on rack.