Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TWD: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake


For the past 8ish months, I have been doing hard core analytical chemistry. Analyzing samples of particulates collected from that torturous six weeks in Bakersfield. Analytical chemistry is fun, and I totally geek out on it, especially when it takes this number of syllables just to describe the technique: negative-ion high-performance liquid chromatography / electrospray quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Or, well, (-) LC/ESI-Q-TOF MS, which is also sexy in a chem dork kind of way. Oh yes, chemistry is sexy. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Also, I'd like to know what weird searches just got redirected to my blog thanks to the last few sentences. Whoops.

 
I've been one of the major users of this particular instrument, and have even thrown my name in the hat as a potential namer of the LC/MS. Because these suckers have personalities. They get into snits - the nasty ones that put you back two months in your research. And unless you talk nicely to them, they'll inexplicably decide to do weird things like make your reference compounds disappear or your pump back pressure oscillate. Ornery is a good word to describe them. But like most other inanimate objects, they do seem to listen and understand if I do the same. So even though it makes the others in the lab look at me funny, I chat with the LC as I get it going, pat it when it does what I want, and check in on it every couple hours when it runs my samples. I think it appreciates the attention, you know?

 
So when the lab's power supply had to be replaced, which caused a turbo pump in the MS to freeze up, which pushed out when I could get my data to a scant week before I needed it for a poster presentation? I was not happy with little mister LC/MS. But I was happy with the lab staff, who busted ass to get a refurbished pump into the instrument as quickly as possible and then were perfectly fine with me commandeering an entire week on it once it was back up. These are good people. More than just good people. They were, in my opinion, 150% deserving of cake. And balloons. And confetti. Probably beer too, but I'm a bit wary of bringing alcohol into academic buildings (although the bottle of champagne I saw in the fridge just last week was gutsy of someone).



In the interest of making this a more accessible cake to the masses, I didn't put pears and prunes in it - instead, pecans and hunks of chocolate stud this bundt. Because really, who wouldn't want a huge, cake-shaped chocolate chip cookie??

 
Last Week: Mocha Marbled Loaf Cake
Next Week: Maple Cornmeal Biscuits

10 comments:

natalia said...

I would ...and don't deserve it at all !

pxilated said...

I've forgotten all the initials referring to the MS system I used to run (CAX-PAGE-RPLC-LCLC-MSMS, or something), but I used to call him Eugene because he was grumpy like an old man and liked to nap right after you'd set him up to run overnight and then gone home. Always fun to come back in the morning and see nothing had happened.

Peggy said...

Loved your post! And you are right - who wouldn't love this cake with chocolate chips in it. It looks perfect. Thanks for baking along with me this week!!

Di said...

I miss chemistry sometimes. And analytical chem was my favorite. But I don't miss it enough to go back to it. =) Baking will have to be as close as I get.

Jennywenny said...

Nice, lucky bastards! Our analytical LCMS machines are named after cars, and the prep systems are named after natural disasters, amuses us...

TeaLady said...

Chemistry and baking. Works for me since Baking IS chemistry.

I still talk to my computer. And my weedeater. And my printer. And sometimes to people.

Bridget said...

And that's two weeks in a row we made almost the exact same variation. Although considering that both variations involved chocolate, maybe it isn't that much of a coincidence.

Mary said...

Chemistry is sexy. So is math and economics and intricate public policy. We liked this recipe too.

AngelaDean said...

Oh, I love this post. I'm a fellow engineer/chemist/baker. Nothing makes me happier than pulling something warm ans sweet out of the oven. Total geek porn.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Wow that post just went way over my head! All I know is, great adaptation of the recipe, the cake looks awesome!