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!

Ding Dong Cake

Ding Dong Cake
This Copycat Hostess Ding Dong Cake recipe is a rich, decadent chocolate cake, with a creamy filling and chocolate ganache spread over the top!
I wish I could apologize for today’s chocolate insanity, but I’m not sorry. Sometimes you just need a little comfort food to get you through the day, the week, the month, the year. Am I right?
Growing up my mom would buy us Little Debbie snacks and Hostess snacks for our lunch boxes. We never knew what she would come home with, but I always got a little giddy when a box of Ding Dongs were in the cabinet. Tell me you remember these treats? Honestly, they tasted just like HoHo’s but a different shape.
Two layers or chocolate cake with a cream filling, all coated in chocolate.
Look familiar? Today’s Ding Dong Cake is just that, only….bigger!
This Copycat Hostess Ding Dong Cake recipe is a rich, decadent chocolate cake, with a creamy filling and chocolate ganache spread over the top!

INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 cup milk
FOR THE CREAM FILLING:
  • 5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
FOR THE GANACHE:
  • 1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
DIRECTIONS:
FOR THE CAKE:
  1. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine cooled coffee with milk*. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Slowly add in dry ingredients and alternate with the coffee/milk mixture (about 3 additions of each).
  5. Once all the ingredients are added, beat cake mixture for about 2-3 minutes until fluffy (scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed).
  6. Divide cake batter into the two cake pans. Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool about 10 minutes in pan. Invert on a wire rack and cool completely.
FOR THE CREAM FILLING:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the flour with milk, whisking until lumps removed. Turn on medium heat and continue to whisk until mixture becomes thick, like a pudding.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool completely.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar, beat until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Slowly add in the COOLED milk mixture, beating until combined. It may curdle slightly in the beginning, that's okay, keep beating until it becomes the texture of whipped cream!
FOR THE GANACHE:
  1. In a glass bowl (safe for the microwave) combine semi sweet chocolate with heavy cream. Heat for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth (you may need to heat for another 15-30 seconds). Do not over heat. Set aside while you begin to assemble the cake.
TO ASSEMBLE:
  1. Place first layer of cooled cake on a cake plate. Top it with ALL of the cream filling. Add the second layer of cake on top.
  2. Slowly pour the ganache over the cake, using an offset spatula to help cover the top and sides. Allow to set, about 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

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