Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sat Jan 19: Harvard Museums & Earthquake Cake

At S&S Deli
We went to Harvard Natural History Museum today and to the Peabody Museum - it was A's choice on what we did this last day.  

Actually we started by going out to breakfast to S&S Deli   He got the potato pancakes again, I got the raisin and pecan french toast again, and B got the salmon hash for the first time.  All delicious.  The salmon was really a nice poached piece (not chopped up) put on top of potatoes - very nice. Then we dropped off somethings at the post office. I didn't realize there was one so close, but then also I thought the card from the library was going to come in time.  I'm really sorry he didn't get the library card - it would have been cool and it was something he said he wanted.  He could check things out on the web...  Then we went to Christina's Spice Shop to get celery seed (got a large bottle for $2 - they were charging $10 or $12 at the grocery store), and then realized they would have most of the ingredients we needed to make Earthquake Cake - a recipe a quilter from Panama shared the other day. So I got chocolate nips, chocolate drops, coconut and nuts - then we stopped at the Quickie Mart type of place and got cake mix and oil.  We dropped that off at the apartment then continued on to Harvard Museums.

When we go down the street the museums are on the right.  We went in Memorial Hall first - it was beautiful. I can't believe I'll be living so close to all this stuff!  Then to the Natural History Museum.  There were exhibits on different things (evolution, color, fossils, dinosaurs, mollusks) then we cycled back to see the animals.  So many preserved animals.  It was amazing to see, but there was little except for their names next to them - I not even sure how they were arranged in all cases.  it helped to think of them as things, not as dead animals.  You could see one skeleton next to one with the fur arranged like it was going to make a leap and I wondered if the one with the fur felt more lucky - silly.  Too many animals.  All amazing standing still for us.  They even had stuffed fish!  I've never seen so many.  Then we went to see this amazing exhibit of glass flowers that were made in the 1800s - incredible - they looked like fresh leaves and petals. Then the largest collection of gems and rocks - the gypsum was huge.  Then on to the Peabody - there are 3 or 4 floors - there was too much to see in one visit.  I or we'll go back again later.  It might be that library card gets us in for free or if not we can check out passes too! 

On thing that is really great about these museums is how the professors have special exhibits arranged for their classes - they use the museums as a resource.  I've not noticed that anywhere else.  Would be so easy for SDSU UCSD USD to make arrangements with Balboa Park Museums.... Of course not on their campuses like these museums are but still.

We walked back to the side of Harvard that we had walked before to eat at Russell House Tavern.  What we got isn't on the online menu - we got a - get this - brussel sprout pizza and a fig pizza!  What a hoot!  Very nice.  The people next to us were more adventuresome - they got beef marrow that they spread on toast triangles and crispy pork bellies - I didn't see the second one but the guy said it was outstanding.

Then we walked a different way home.  Turns out we are near a Crate and Barrel and all sorts of furniture stores!

Once at home we relaxed a bit - then A and I made Earthquake Cake....

Ready for Oven
EARTHQUAKE CAKE  (From Lib-quilter Mary in Panama)

1+ c. chopped pecans and.or walnuts
1+ c. coconut
1 chocolate cake mix (or make your own from scratch)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 stick butter (1/4 pound)
1 box powdered sugar (approx 4 cups)

Spray PAM in a 9x13"  inch pan. Sprinkle nuts, then coconut on bottom of pan. Mix cake mix according to directions (see note below) and pour over nuts and coconut.


Melt butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar to the butter/cream cheese mixture. Stir to blend. Drop this mixture in blobs on top of cake mix by spoonfuls. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until done.

Note: Most often, I add 1/2 cup grated baking chocolate (preferably organic chocolate from the chocolate farm next door to us) to a packaged cake mix. And then I often sprinkle chocolate nibs on top. Nibs are the crushed (but not ground) roasted cacao beans.

It was delicious and cuts up very pretty slices with the nuts and baked in frosting peeking thru the dark cake batter.  

We had to add about 20 minutes to the baking time.  

We had with milk and enjoyed the experience of making it and eating it!

Added later:  The cake is even better after being refrigerated!


  1. Sounds like a very full but fun day. The Earthquake cake looks yummy.

    1. It was a good day - and the cake was yummy! Thanks so much for dropping by. Someday I'll write again about quilting.....

  2. Good for you June. I know you will miss him, but what a fabulous day and great memories. And thanks for trying out Mary's cake for we will all have to try it! Sue in mid Mi

    1. It was a nice day - and great to have the project at the end of it.

      He took some of the cake back with him on the plane....

      The cake sounded more complicated than it was - it's great to not need to bother with frosting. It's even better today after being in the frig. The recipe is a keeper that's for sure!

      Thank you for coming by!

      ; )


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