Gluten-Free Pound Cake

As a celebratory gesture for our last class of anatomy, I baked a cake for my tutorial group and what better shape to make it in than that of the kidney (we were doing kidneys this past week). Since one of the members of my group is celiac, I made sure that it was safe for her to eat. Because I wanted to carve out the cake and because, as I’ve already said, I watch too much Cake Boss, I knew that the cake of choice would be pound cake (it’s real good for carving). So I looked up a recipe for gluten-free pound cake, even though I have never made regular pound cake before. The recipe I found was organic, but my variation is plain old not-organic. To make it organic again, simply buy organic versions of all of the ingredients.

Gluten-Free Pound Cake (from Diana’s Desserts)


  • 3 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  2. Cream butter in a large mxing bowl and gradually add sugar, beating between additions.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add vanilla.
  4. Blend in dry ingredients gradually, alternating with milk, and beginning and ending with dry ingredients mixture.
  5. Spread batter into two greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pans, or into one 9×9 and get one GIANT cake (like I did)
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F/160 degrees C for about one hour (mine took about 1:30), or until done (when baking with rice flour, it can take a bit longer to cook.)
  7. Let cake stand in pans for ten minutes, then remove and cool completely on a baking rack.

Kidney cake 1Cake coming out of oven (it’s HUGE)

Kidney cake 2Rough cuts

Kidney cake 3Mostly final shape (minus ureter and adrenal gland)

Kidney cake dirty icedDirty icing

All iced up (with buttercream frosting)Final cake (with ureter and adrenal gland)

It probably would have looked really cool with fondant, but that’s still a bit out of my cake making expertise. Mike really wants to try though, so really all we need is an excuse to make another cake. For the frosting I used the same buttercream recipe as before.

Pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin muffins

Anatomy has almost consumed my life, but it will all be over soon. In the meantime, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins. Nothing says fall like pumpkin. Moo (the cat) likes pumpkin too.

Pumpkin muffins (adapted from


  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 “eggs” – to make the muffins healthier, I use ground flax as a substitute (for each egg, use 1 tablespoon flax to 2 tablespoons of boiling water)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners or use one of those silicon muffin “tins”, they’re awesome, no greasing, no paper and no stuck muffins.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together 2 cups pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and “eggs” (flax mixture). Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Arteries and veins of the upper limb

This and my other scientific images have now been moved over to Sketchy, my new website dedicate exclusively to scientific and medical images!

See it there!

Arteries and veins quiz (Illustrator)

This week is upper limb week in school. As part of my homework, I had to teach the arteries and veins of the upper limb (arm and hand) to the rest of the group. One of the girls starting doing nice fill-in-the-blanks type questions and it works so well. So I decided that why ruin a good thing? Of course I spent more time drawing the picture and making it pretty than actually studying the vessels, but at least I was looking at them. Right? Right?

And of course, the answers:

Arteries and veins (with answers)

The lonely mouse

Group-housed mice (Illustrator)

School has been busy to say the least. Fun and interesting, but busy. I did get all of the revisions on my paper done though, and it’s been resubmitted and accepted (WOOT!). Now it’s on to the poster. I decided that I should make my poster extra pretty, since it’s going to the huge neuro conference that’s happening in Chicago in a couple weeks. The only thing better would be if I was actually going with it. So in an effort to snazzify my poster (which would otherwise just be a bunch of graphs, such is life for a behavioural researcher, people who do histology get to actually have photos), I decided that some vector art might do the trick. So I whipped up these puppies mice. There’s actually another mouse that goes with them, since the study was investigating housing. So these are the group-housed ones and on the other side of the poster I’ll have the lonely mouse who is all alone. Poor mousey. I bet we all have days like that, I suppose we should just be happy that someone didn’t permanently move us to individual housing.

I’ll post a copy of the poster when it’s done. Which feels like never right now.

Seal (name chop)

Chinese seals, Left: mine, Right: Mike's

For quite a while I’ve wanted a seal, the name kind, not the mammalian kind. So when my birthday came around this year, I figured that it would be a cool thing to ask for. Of course, being on the east coast of Canada, it’s not like there’s a seal carver on every street corner. Or any street corner for that matter. So the internet search began. There are a lot of internet sites that will provide this service, so it was hard trying to find one that was legit and also well thought out. I didn’t just want my name in some generic font on the bottom of a rock. Luckily in my search I came across Chinese 4 Arts.

The thing that really caught my attention with this site is the artist who runs it, Chengwei Fang, is actually a scientist by day, artist by night, which of course I can relate to. Plus his gallery was really good. Mike and I decided that we might as well both get one and since it was my birthday gift, he did all of the communications with Chengwei. The whole process was really personal and really fast and the results are awesome! We just got them in the mail this week and I’m so so pleased with how they turned out. Mine’s the red on white, while Mike’s the white on red. I can’t recommend Chengwei enough, he was amazing to work with and produced two unique and beautiful seals.

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