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!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE

A fluffy vanilla sponge cake filled with layers of whipped cream frosting and juicy strawberries. The classic flavors of strawberry shortcake in a rustic, yet elegant layer cake. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Keyword Strawberry Cake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 529 kcal
Author Allison - Celebrating Sweets

INGREDIENTS
CAKE:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk preferably whole or 2%
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract optional, but highly recommended
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
FILLING AND TOPPING:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream chilled
  • 3 cups sliced or diced strawberries divided
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • additional fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
CAKE:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with a circle of parchment paper, and spray the pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. 
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil. Once boiling, immediately remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract and almond extract. 
  4. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow, fluffy, and doubled in volume. This takes about 5 minutes - do not skip this step, this helps to make the cake fluffy. While still beating, slowly drizzle in the hot milk mixture. Beat in the flour mixture. 
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans (I use a generous 2 cups of batter per pan). Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until the edges are light golden, the center springs back when lightly pressed, and a cake tester comes out clean. I recommend rotating the baking pans at least once during cook time. Set the pans on a rack to cool. Run the tip of a sharp knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them, and turn them out of the pans (the layers will be fairly thin, about 1-inch high).
FILLING AND TOPPING:
  1. Combine the strawberries and jam and set aside (these will be used for the filling and topping). 
  2. Note: I sliced the strawberries for the filling (about 2 1/2 cups), and I diced the strawberries for the top of the cake (about 1/2 cup). Do both, or one or the other - your choice. You'll need about 3 cups total.
  3. For the whipped cream frosting: Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream down the side of the bowl. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl periodically. Increase the speed and continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.
  4. Assembly: Place one layer of cake on a platter. Top with whipped cream frosting, then top with about 1 1/4 cups of sliced/diced strawberries. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat. For the third/top of layer of cake, top with whipped cream frosting, then place the remaining diced/sliced strawberries in the center. Decorate the outside with whole strawberries, if desired. I like to store this cake in the fridge to keep the frosting stable. 
RECIPE NOTES
Note: There will be enough whipped cream frosting to coat the sides of the cake, if you desire. I chose to leave the sides exposed. Any extra whipped cream frosting makes a great dip for fruit. 
Cake adapted from Food Network

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