It's possible to trade profitably on the Forex, the nearly $2 trillion worldwide currency exchange market. But the odds are against you, even more so if you don't prepare and plan your trades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg report, several analyses of retail Forex trading, including one by the National Futures Association (NFA), the industry's regulatory body, concluded that more than two out of three Forex traders lose money. This suggests that self-education and caution are recommended. Here are some approaches that may improve your odds of taking a profit. Prepare Before You Begin Trading Because the Forex market is highly leveraged -- as much as 50 to 1 -- it can have the same appeal as buying a lottery ticket: some small chance of making a killing. This, however, isn't trading; it's gambling, with the odds long against you. A better way of entering the Forex market is to carefully prepare. Beginning with a practice account is helpful and risk-free. While you're trading in your practice account, read the most frequently recommended Forex trading books, among them Currency Forecasting: A Guide to Fundamental and Technical Models of Exchange Rate Determination, by Michael R. Rosenberg is short, not too sweet and highly admired introduction to the Forex market. Forex Strategies: Best Forex Strategies for High Profits and Reduced Risk, by Matthew Maybury is an excellent introduction to Forex trading. The Little Book of Currency Trading: How to Make Big Profits in the World of Forex, by Kathy Lien is another concise introduction that has stood the test of time. All three are available on Amazon. Rosenberg's book, unfortunately, is pricey, but it's widely available in public libraries. "Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude," by Mark Douglas is another good book that's available on Amazon, and, again, somewhat pricey, although the Kindle edition is not. Use the information gained from your reading to plan your trades before plunging in. The more you change your plan, the more you end up in trouble and the less likely that elusive forex profit will end up in your pocket. Diversify and Limit Your Risks Two strategies that belong in every trader's arsenal are: Diversification: Traders who execute many small traders, particularly in different markets where the correlation between markets is low, have a better chance of making a profit. Putting all your money in one big trade is always a bad idea. Familiarize yourself with ways guaranteeing a profit on an already profitable order, such as a trailing stop, and of limiting losses using stop and limit orders. These strategies and more are covered in the recommended books. Novice traders often make the mistake of concentrating on how to win; it's even more important to understand how to limit your losses. Be Patient Forex traders, particularly beginners, are prone to getting nervous if a trade does not go their way immediately, or if the trade goes into a little profit they get itchy to pull the plug and walk away with a small profit that could have been a significant profit with little downside risk using appropriate risk reduction strategies. In "On Any Given Sunday," Al Pacino reminds us that "football is a game of inches." That's a winning attitude in the Forex market as well. Remember that you are going to win some trades and lose others. Take satisfaction in the accumulation of a few more wins than losses. Over time, that could make you rich!

THE BEST OF GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

German Chocolate Cake – Rich, dark chocolate cake layers, filled with a buttery, toasted coconut filling and pecan wafer crunch, topped with a classic chocolate buttercream.


I really loved how this cake turned out and will be adding it to my list of favorites! Just make sure you have a class of milk nearby with this one!

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
  • 1 3/4, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups, minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature (I use extra large eggs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hot water or hot coffee
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
FOR THE COCONUT FILLING (RECIPE SLIGHTLY ADAPTED FROM MILK BAR)
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cup toasted sweetened coconut 
FOR THE PECAN CRUNCH (RECIPE FROM MILK BAR)
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans chopped
  • 1-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate wafer cookies, chopped 
FOR THE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
  • 2 cups unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 6 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted slightly cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
INSTRUCTIONS
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, hot water or coffee and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix for about one minute, until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for about 30 seconds.
  5. Evenly distribute the batter between the pans, about 16 ounces of batter in each.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 -10 minutes before inverting them onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, you can level the cakes, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the freezer until ready to use. If you're storing the cake layers longer than a week, also wrap each layer in foil. 
FOR THE COCONUT CRACK
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13" with with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until evenly blended.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add the melted butter and stir for one minute until all the dry ingredients are wet.
  4. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low speed for about one minute, until any of the white streaks from the cream have completely blended into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg yolks, stirring them into the mixture until combined. Be careful not to over beat (aerate) the mixture, but certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous.
  6. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. You want the filling to be firmer and more set toward the outer edges of the baking pan but slightly jiggly and loose in the center. If the filling is still jiggly all over, give it another 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Let the filling cool slightly and add the toasted coconut. The filling can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
FOR THE PECAN CRUNCH
  1. Heat your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pour the pecans on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree the warm pecans with grapeseed oil, salt and brown sugar.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the pecan butter with the crushed wafer cookies. The crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. 
  5. FOR THE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and light in color, about 2 minutes.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, gradually stream in the cooled, melted chocolate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another minute.
  8. Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the salt and vanilla.
  9. Add the heavy cream and then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 5 minutes.
  10. Frosting can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.
  11. When you're ready to frost the cake, bring the frosting back to room temperature and mix by hand with a wooden spoon to push out all of the air pockets. 
ASSEMBLY
  1. Level each cake layer with a cake leveler.
  2. On a cake board, spread a dollop of frosting to act as "glue" to the cake. Place the first cake layer, top side up, on the center of the cake board. You will have a little edge of the cake board showing around the cake.
  3. Spread one half of the coconut crack filling on the cake layer, followed by one half of the pecan crunch.
  4. Place the second cake layer, top side up, on the fillings and repeat step 3.
  5. Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of fillings. Apply a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Place the cake in your freezer for 10 minutes to set the frosting.
  6. Remove the cake from the freezer and continue to frost the cake with the remainder of the frosting.
  7. If you want to pipe swirls or any decorate design on the cake, I suggest adding another half recipe of the chocolate frosting to what is listed above. 
Recipe Source : GERMANY CHOCOLATE CAKE @ cakebycourtney

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