The Feast of Vera Rubin

Vera Rubin as an undergraduate at Vassar

“Every man and every woman is a star.” –AL I:3

Yesterday, December 25, was the 2nd anniversary of astronomer Vera Cooper Rubin’s death in Princeton, New Jersey (coincidentally, yesterday was also Isaac Newton’s birthday on the Julian calendar). While Rubin probably wouldn’t say she discovered dark matter, she did observe that stars on the outskirts of galaxies travel faster than predicted by the law of gravity, implying that galaxies have more mass than can be predicted by visible stars alone. Massive Science expands:

That extra mass became known as “dark matter,” the elusive, invisible, as-of-yet unobserved thing that scientists mostly agree makes up 90 percent of the universe. It was a fundamental, seismic shift in our understanding of the universe, akin to realizing that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around.

Learn more:

In honor of Rubin and her astronomical explorations into the depths of the universe, why not enjoy this delicious dark recipe?

Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake


  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water boiling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. (Cake may be left in rectangular pan, if desired.)
  4. Frost with One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting.

One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 tbs butter or margarine, softened
  • 2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

(Source: Hershey’s Kitchens)


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