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!

Painted Cake

Painted Cake

A moist strawberry cake with a kiss of lemon covered in delicate buttercream flowers.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 240 kcal
Author John K.

For the Cake:
  • 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour 213g
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 228g
  • 1 tsp baking powder 3g
  • ¼ tsp baking soda 1g
  • ¾ cup butter 176g, room temperature or melted
  • ¼ cup whole milk 60ml, warm
  • ¼ cup strawberry preserves 46g, strained, warm
  • ½ cup sour cream 120ml
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract 10g
  • 3 egg whites large
  • Pink food coloring
For the American Buttercream:
  • 1 lb confectioners sugar 462g
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter 228g, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp strawberry preserve strained
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice strained
  • Pink, orange and green food coloring

For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 340F. Butter and flour three 6-inch cake pans. Soak baking strips in water. Strain the strawberry preserves.
  2. Sift dry ingredients (including sugar). Whisk to combine.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. 
  4. Combine wet and dry mixtures. Whisk until combined. Add a few drops of pink food coloring until a desired consistency is reached. If the batter is lumpy, it’s okay!
  5. Add damp baking strips to the cake pans.
  6. Evenly distribute batter into pans. I like to use a kitchen scale for precision.
  7. Bake for about 30- 35 minutes or until the centers are set and springy to the touch.
For the American Buttercream:
  1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter until fluffy.
  2. Sift in half of the confectioners sugar. Mix, then add the rest.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice and combine.
  4. Reserve ¼ cup of the white buttercream to dye green for the stems and leaves.
  5. Transfer ½ the plain white buttercream from the standing mixer to a piping bag. Snip off the tip.
  6. Add in 1 tbsp of strained strawberry preserves to the remaining buttercream. Mix until combined.
  7. Save about 1-2 cups for the flowers in a separate bowl. Transfer the strawberry buttercream to a piping bag and snip off the tip.
  8. Use food coloring to dye the buttercream different shades of pink to orange for the flowers.
For the Assembly:
  1. Pipe the strawberry buttercream between each layer.
  2. Crumb coat the cake and smooth with a scraper.
  3. Pipe a thin layer of plain white buttercream on the outside of the cake. Even out with a hot scraper and offset spatula. Chill for about 30 minutes.
  4. Using a palette knife, sculpt flowers from the pink and orange buttercream. Add details, stems and leaves.
Recipe Video


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