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!

CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE

Everyone should have a rich Chocolate Pound Cake in their recipe file, preferably right up front — this dark chocolate cake is topped with a creamy chocolate ganache.

A frosted chocolate pound cake is every bit as luscious as a layer cake, but so much easier to throw together, and somehow it feels a little less decadent, too  (I’m not sure that’s true, but I’m running with it.)   A stand mixer makes this a pleasure to bake.  While it’s creaming the butter and sugar, I spray and line my loaf pan, whisk together the dry ingredients, and mix the wet.  All I have to do is crack in the eggs, and then alternate between the dry and wet to make a beautiful batter.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (i stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • wet ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • dry ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • ganache topping
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

Instructions
  1. Set oven to 325F
  2. Spray a standard 9x5 loaf pan and line it with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving the ends to hang long. This way you can life the frosted cake out for cleaner cutting.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and espresso powder.
  4. Whisk together the sour cream and milk.
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl alternately with the wet, beginning and ending with dry. Blend only until mixed, don't over beat.
  7. Turn the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread out evenly. Bake for about 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Check your cake on the early side to avoid over-cooking. Set aside to cool.
  8. To make the ganache topping, heat the cream to a simmer and remove from heat. Add the chocolate and let sit for a minute, then stir until everything is melted and glossy. Pour over the cooled cake and then let the ganache firm up in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  9. If you have used a parchment paper 'sling', gently pull the cake out of the pan to slice it.

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