The Sedan Continues to Die as GM Cuts Production

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The Lordstown plant in Warren, Ohio, builds the Chevy Cruze and is one of the plants that will be idled next year. Last year the plant paid out $250 million in wages.

GM

Today GM announced, in typically cryptic corporate-speak, that it is undergoing a “staffing transformation” and will soon have five “unallocated plants.” In other words, it’s firing a bunch of people—14,300, or thereabouts—and closing down plants. There are many reasons for the layoffs, including Trump’s new tariffs, which GM warned could add more than $700 million to its costs this year. But the major scapegoat is one that’s been a popular punching bag lately: sedans.

Nobody’s buying sedans, says GM. Accordingly, the cars to be axed are all sedans, including the Cadillac CT6 and XTS, Chevy Impala, Cruze and Volt, and Buick LaCrosse.

Part of the problem here, I might suggest, lies with GM’s absolutely bananas pricing on some of its sedans. Consider the LaCrosse: In its most humble powertrain configuration—four-cylinder, front-wheel drive—it’s possible to option a LaCrosse past $45,000. That’s for a mid-level model. A loaded Avenir can go well past $51,000. Meanwhile, $45,000 will also get you a Lexus ES350 with Premium package, navigation package, driver-assist package, and a rippin’ 302-hp V-6.

Who are the decision-makers at GM that survey this scene and say, “You know, we think people are gonna pay more for a Buick than a Lexus”? The redesigned ES is selling well, with October sales volume up 35 percent over last year’s numbers. The Toyota Avalon—the ES350’s less-expensive cousin and the car that would probably be shopped against the LaCrosse in real life—is up 4 percent for the year. A loaded Avalon Limited (which also has a V-6) costs $42,695. See the problem here? It’s not that there’s no cohort of buyers looking for a roomy, posh, soft-riding sedan. They just don’t want to overpay for one.

And it’s not just Buick. A decked-out Cadillac CT6 costs about $92,000, which is Mercedes S-Class territory. I love the CT6—it’s great to drive, offers the best stereo in the business, and is the industry champion at autonomous highway driving—but 92 grand is a lot of dough for a car that’s a size smaller than the upper-echelon Euro machines. And doesn’t offer a V-8, although apparently it’ll get one sometime before GM kills it, in finest “make the car the way it should’ve been all along and then cancel it” GM tradition.

Yes, all sedans are facing sales challenges as buyers gravitate to crossovers and trucks. But what we’re seeing with GM (and Ford and Chrysler) is an aggressive culling of the herd. Let’s hope that GM’s “unallocated” plants are able to start building whatever it is people want to buy. In the meantime, it’s looking like the only sedans we’re going to have left will be the ones that are so cool they defy the crossover-truck mania. Looking for a note of hope? So far this year, Alfa Romeo Giulia sales are up 36 percent.

Cranberry Flummery

Cranberry Flummery

Mike Garten

This sweet dish made with beaten eggs, milk, sugar, and cranberry is guaranteed to become a holiday favorite.

Note: The total time does not include cooling time. 

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Yields: 8 servings
Total Time: 0 hours 35 mins

Ingredients

1

1 10- to 12-oz pkg. fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed if frozen 

3/4 c.

granulated sugar

2 tsp.

orange zest

1/4 c.

fresh orange juice

1 tbsp.

unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2

large eggs

1

large egg yolk

1

pinch of kosher salt

1 3/4 c.

cups heavy cream, cold

4 c.

plain Greek yogurt

12

gingersnap cookies, lightly crushed

thinly sliced candied ginger, for serving

Directions

Make cranberry layer: In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, orange zest and juice, and ¼ cup water to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer until berries start to burst, 8 to 10 minutes.Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Press gently through a large mesh sieve set over a clean medium saucepan, scraping what is on the underside of the sieve into the pot. Stir in butter to melt, then stir in eggs, egg yolk, and salt. Return to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, 7 to 10 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat and let cool completely.Using an electric mixer, beat cream in a large bowl until medium peaks form. Place yogurt in a large bowl and gradually whisk in cooled cranberry mixture. Spoon rounded 1/3 cup mixture into bottom of each of eight 10-oz glasses and sprinkle with layer of crushed cookies (about 1/2 Tbsp). Spoon layer of cream (about 1/4 cup) over all and repeat layers, finishing with cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle with candied ginger.

COST PER SERVING $1.45

PER SERVING 555 calories, 39 g fat (25.5 g sat), 12 g protein, 135 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 2 g fiber

What you’ll need: Electric mixer ($16, amazon.com)

A Final for All Time, Sacrificed on the Altar of the Modern Game

At the end of it all is a game. In Madrid next Sunday, barring legal maneuvering or an indignation-driven boycott, Boca Juniors and River Plate finally will settle the second leg of the final of the 2018 Copa Libertadores. The match will take place 6,000 miles away from and two weeks after it was all meant to be over.

To reach that point, however, has been a case study of what soccer is in the 21st century, of all that it has become, that is hard to beat: a story of vested interests and power grabs, of broadcasters dictating what is on their screens, and of governments, and governing bodies, running a sport not for its own sake but for their own good.

The mess started before it started, with Conmebol’s decision to allow River to reach the final despite twice breaking the rules on the way: first by fielding an ineligible player against Racing in the round of 16, and then by looking the other way when its coach, Marcelo Gallardo, defied a touchline ban to speak to his players at halftime in the semifinals.

Then, last Saturday, came those chaotic hours after River fans had attacked the bus carrying Boca’s players and staff on its way to the Monumental. Boca, as it surveyed the injuries sustained by some of its squad, declared that it did not want — that it was not able — to play the game. Gallardo, the River coach, immediately insisted his team would not play if its opponent was in no state to do so.

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The president of Conmebol, Alejandro Dominguez, brokered an agreement to move the final to Madrid.CreditJorge Adorno/Reuters

Their voices, though, were drowned out: by Conmebol, South American soccer’s governing body, eager not to suffer the embarrassment of being forced to cancel its showpiece event; by the television networks carrying the coverage, suddenly facing hours with nothing to broadcast; by the timetable imposed on Argentina by the looming G20 summit and the tacit pressure exerted, in the buildup, by the country’s president, Mauricio Macri, who saw this game as a chance for his nation to show that it had “grown up” and could play “in peace.”

Only when Rodolfo D’Onofrio and Daniel Angelici, the presidents of River and Boca, reached what they called a “gentleman’s agreement” not to play was a decision reached; by that stage, the 70,000 fans in the stadium had been told three times — admittedly partly for reasons of crowd control — that the game would be starting momentarily. Come back Sunday, they were eventually told. At the end of it all, the fans were assured, there will be a game.

Except, no, there was not. There were only a couple of thousand fans inside the Monumental at 2 p.m. on Sunday when Alejandro Dominguez, the president of Conmebol, appeared on television to declare that the match had been canceled yet again: Boca felt it was at too much of a disadvantage, with two of its players still wearing eye patches, to play. Conmebol, Dominguez said, would decide when — and, importantly, where — to play the game at a meeting at its headquarters in Paraguay two days later.

What followed would make a comprehensive opening chapter whenever a historian comes to write the story of soccer’s cash-soaked golden age, when it became the plaything of nation states and media giants, dominated by the whims of self-aggrandizing executives and content-hungry broadcast networks.

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River Plate fans fought with the police last Saturday as organizers debated whether to press ahead with their team’s game against Boca Juniors.CreditSebastian Pani/Associated Press

First, Conmebol decided — unilaterally, with no apparent agreement and perhaps even a silent acquiescence from the Argentine government — that the country had proved itself incapable of hosting such an event.

Instead, the deciding game would be played abroad, and with both sets of fans permitted to enter. That both River Plate and Boca Juniors had agreed there had to be “equal conditions” for both teams for the contest to be fair, and that moving it overseas deprived River of its home leg of the final, did not appear to matter.

A number of cities expressed an interest in hosting, some more reasonable than others. Medellin, in Colombia, made a pitch; so, too, did Belo Horizonte, in Brazil. Miami was an option until Carlos Cordeiro, the president of U.S. Soccer, reportedly made clear his opposition. Genoa, in Italy, volunteered its services, thanks to its historic links to Boca Juniors.

The most compelling offer came from the Middle East: Doha, Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, offered a lucrative package to stage the game, with the unique selling point being its proximity to Abu Dhabi, where the winner would have to be days later for the start of FIFA’s Club World Cup.

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Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, the proposed site of the Copa Libertadores final, hosted the Champions League final in 2010.CreditManu Fernandez/Associated Press

What attracted them all — what created this perfect encapsulation of the present moment — was the history, the glamour, the authenticity of River Plate against Boca Juniors, two of the game’s most famous names in what is, arguably, soccer’s most intense rivalry. These cities, across the world, were prepared to pay for the privilege of hosting the color, the noise, the passion: the content. That is what soccer has become: an entertainment complex squabbled over by fiefs and autocrats, a way of exerting soft power and measuring importance that is worth almost any price, a circus paid for in bread.

In the end, though, Conmebol ignored all of them, preferring instead what even Dominguez himself called the “crazy” idea of staging the game in Madrid, at the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of Real Madrid. Dominguez said he had mentioned the plan in a private call with Florentino Pérez, Real’s president. Pérez agreed “within two minutes.”

Dominguez’s decision had some logic behind it: Spain has a large Argentine population, and Madrid’s Barajas airport is well-connected to Latin America. The time difference with Argentina means the game can be held at an hour attractive to broadcasters in Europe and the Americas, and the Bernabeu has a proven record of hosting major sporting events: Some 4,000 police are likely to be mobilized for next week’s game, as they were for the Champions League final in 2010. And, of course, the Bernabeu is an eye-catching setting for an eye-catching game.

What it did not have was the approval of the clubs. River Plate does not want to cede home advantage, or play in front of both sets of fans (visiting supporters were banned from the Buenos Aires games), or to give up the gate receipts it was set to earn from the biggest fixture of its year. Boca Juniors does not want to play at all, believing that River is responsible for the violent incidents around its stadium that caused the postponements, and should be forced to forfeit the game and the trophy. It has announced its intention to take its case as far as the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Nor does the decision have a moral authority. The day before the second leg was supposed to be played, Dominguez sat in an office in his luxury hotel in Buenos Aires and declared, solemnly and sincerely, that he would not “tolerate any more violence.”

“Violence is not the same as passion,” he said.

The next day, he was given chance to prove it: River, if found culpable, should have been thrown out of the tournament. Allowing the game to go ahead, in some lights, condones the incident; it sends the message that the punishment for such infractions is only a mild inconvenience, that it might yet lead to glory.

And, though Conmebol has said it will compensate River Plate for the lost revenue, that does it take into account the vast majority of fans, not the handful intent on violence but the tens of thousands who bought tickets for a game so hotly anticipated that even the napkins at the Monumental had been especially inscribed. “I was at the Superfinal,” they read.

Most of those who had tickets will not be able to travel to Madrid; flights are prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of Argentines. Some will make it, of course; that is the cost of dedication. Others will come from Spain, and from Europe and Asia, eager to be there for this little moment of history.

But what they will get will be a pale imitation, a simulacrum, designed by executives in boardrooms, decided by power brokers in private, staged for the benefit of the television cameras. This is what soccer is now, and what it may well be in years to come: UEFA is likely to see this game, should it go ahead, should Boca’s latest legal appeal fail, as a green light to take the Champions League final — its own showpiece — outside Europe: to the Middle East, to North America, to wherever the money on offer is most persuasive.

At the end of it all, there will — or there may, anyway — be a game. Once the broadcasters and the governments and the authorities have had their say, once they have decided what it will look like, and who may be allowed to attend, there will be a game. But it is not the same game as it used to be. To some extent, it is barely a game at all.

How a Times Court Decision Revolutionized Libel Law

In an effort to shed more light on how we work, The Times is running a series of short posts explaining some of our journalistic practices. Read more of this series here.

This month The New York Times won a libel suit brought by an Ohio State professor over this investigative story. Here, David McCraw, deputy general counsel at The Times, talks about the paper's history of handling libel claims.

The undertaker was drunk.

At least that is what The New York Times said. The year was 1886, and The Times was reporting on a simmering public dispute between the family of Ulysses S. Grant and an undertaker from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who showed up, apparently sauced, to take charge of the former president’s body on July 23, 1885. Not surprisingly, the Grant family declined to pay his bill (an “exorbitant and unjust” $500), and the whole sorry episode became the subject of a Times article.

That was when the undertaker, one Ebenezer Holmes, sued The Times for libel, joining the long parade of unhappy people who have lodged libel complaints against The Times over the course of the paper’s 167-year history.

While the Holmes case long ago faded into oblivion, it still captures the essence of a libel claim: A person dissatisfied with his portrayal in the paper comes to court to make the case that the article was false, his reputation has been harmed and only an award of damages can set things right.

Much has changed about libel in the 130 years since undertaker Holmes undertook to sue The Times. For one thing, libel litigation has become relatively rare, at least for The Times. For example, between 2010 and 2017, The Times had 11 libel suits, all but one of them filed in the United States. The plaintiffs have ranged from college professors and a coal industry magnate to a junior high principal, a onetime candidate for vice president and an F.B.I. informant. The one case filed abroad was brought in Moscow by a close Putin chum. No surprise how that one turned out: We lost.

The Times has fared slightly better in the United States: The newspaper has not lost a libel case brought over one of its articles for at least 50 years. Much of the legal credit for that goes to a Times court decision that has not been forgotten: Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 Supreme Court opinion that revolutionized the law of libel.

Sullivan was a 9-0 smackdown of plaintiffs who saw libel suits as a legal extortion racket to be used to silence publishers. L.B. Sullivan, the plaintiff, was a police commissioner in Montgomery, Ala. He sued The Times over an ad from supporters of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had bought space in the paper to protest the violence being visited upon civil rights demonstrators in the South — in particular, the police misconduct during a protest in Montgomery.

Sullivan claimed that the ad had besmirched his good name (even though he wasn’t mentioned) and persuaded an Alabama jury to hit The New York Times with a $500,000 verdict. It was one of dozens of libel suits being used by Southern power brokers to try to silence the press.

By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, the justices had seen enough. “This technique for harassing and punishing a free press — now that it has been shown to be possible — is by no means limited to cases with racial overtones; it can be used in other fields where public feelings may make local as well as out-of-state newspapers easy prey for libel verdict seekers,” one of the justices wrote.

The court famously held that public officials, and later all public figures, would need to show not just that an article was inaccurate and hurt their reputation, but also that the publisher acted with “actual malice” — with reckless disregard for the truth. It is a demanding standard, effectively requiring plaintiffs to show that editors knew a story was false, or had serious doubts about its accuracy, and published it anyway.

Sullivan led to a series of other court decisions that curtailed the ability of libel plaintiffs to win their lawsuits. None of it was intended to be a balancing. It was an imbalancing, a conscious decision by the courts to free journalists to pursue the truth without fear of triggering a lawsuit that could bankrupt their publisher. The Sullivan decision, like the First Amendment itself, was anchored in the belief that competing voices rather than lawsuits were the best way to get at the truth. The Times has long believed that as well. Its policy of not paying money to plaintiffs to settle libel suits in the United States against the newspaper traces back to a 1922 letter written by the publisher.

As powerful as Sullivan has been in curbing libel suits, it doesn’t really change the way newspaper lawyers go about their jobs. We still want to know whether the undertaker was really drunk and how our reporters came to know that. No lawyer here has ever reviewed a story draft, concluded it was a factual wreck and then declared it was good to go because the reporter didn’t have a reckless disregard for the truth. Whatever the Supreme Court may have said in Sullivan, getting it right is still what matters.

At The Times, Legal is asked every day to review articles and videos in advance of publication. Over time, trends emerge. We will almost always be focused on a story’s minor players, who tend to be the people most likely to sue. They are often unhappy to be in an article about someone else’s misconduct, have grievances about context or feel they should have been given more of a say. We spend lots of time considering the line between opinion (which is legally protected) and fact (which can give rise to a libel suit). And nothing more bedevils lawyers and editors than claims for “libel by implication” — when the facts may be right but a plaintiff says that the story implied something defamatory.

Undertaker Holmes’s case involved no such legal subtleties. At trial, The Times tried to prove he was drunk. That didn’t work out so well. Holmes won a $3,500 verdict. The Times soldiered on and finally got the verdict set aside on appeal — after nine years of litigating. Then as now, the decision makers at The Times thought the journalism was worth defending.

A note to readers who are not subscribers: This article from the Reader Center does not count toward your monthly free article limit.

Follow the @ReaderCenter on Twitter for more coverage highlighting your perspectives and experiences and for insight into how we work.

David McCraw is vice president and deputy general counsel of The New York Times.

College Football Conference Championships: Who Will Make the Playoff?

All five major conferences hold their championship games this weekend, setting the stage for Sunday, when the College Football Playoff selection committee will release its final rankings and determine the four-team playoff bracket.

Two of those games don’t really matter in terms of the committee’s decision. The Pacific-12 championship on Friday night between No. 10 Washington (9-3) and No. 17 Utah (9-3) does not feature a team with a realistic shot of making the national semifinals. The Atlantic Coast Conference game Saturday night, between No. 2 Clemson (12-0) and Pittsburgh (7-5), has in the Tigers a virtually assured winner and playoff shoo-in.

Undefeated Notre Dame, which is an independent and idle this weekend, is also effectively a playoff lock.

That leaves three games being played on Saturday whose outcomes will probably determine who else plays in the national semifinals, which this year will be contested in the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29. Here is a preview of each. (All times Eastern.)

Big 12 Conference

Noon, ABC

The Sooners have won several very tight games, including by 3 points at No. 15 West Virginia (8-3) last weekend and by 1 point versus Oklahoma State (6-6) last month. But with Heisman Trophy hopeful Kyler Murray leading the country’s top scoring offense (averaging more than 50 points per game), the Sooners have put up enough points to give themselves one of college football’s best records and a solid chance to make the playoff, in whose rankings they are currently fifth.

[Read about Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray, whose future is in baseball.]

First, though, they must win Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. They face the Longhorns, who, yes, are the team that handed Oklahoma its sole defeat this season, back in the Red River game in early October. Oklahoma’s defense will do its darnedest to stop Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and his offensive weapons. But, like the first game — a 45-45 draw until the Longhorns kicked a field goal with seconds to spare — expect a shootout.

Big 12 officials have said that Oklahoma players who taunt their opponents with a “horns down” hand gesture — an inversion of the pro-Texas “hook ‘em, horns” — may be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. But although its referees are expected to strive for neutrality, conference officials may be rooting privately for the Sooners. Oklahoma must win for a shot at making the playoff; otherwise, the conference will be locked out of the bracket for the third time in five seasons.

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Alabama and Georgia played for the national title in January, when freshman Tua Tagovailoa (13) led a second-half comeback for the Crimson Tide. The two teams meet again Saturday for the Southeastern Conference championship.CreditDavid Goldman/Associated Press

Southeastern Conference

4 p.m., CBS

This is the second championship game that the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs will contest in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2018. The first was for the national title, last January, when Alabama was shut out through the first half, until Coach Nick Saban made the momentous decision to bench his two-year starting quarterback in favor of a freshman backup.

The rookie brought the Tide back and won the game in overtime with a dramatic, 41-yard touchdown pass. Neither Alabama nor that quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, has looked back. The Tide have won their games this season by an average of more than five touchdowns; their closest win was a 45-23 squeaker over No. 22 Texas A&M (8-4). Tagovailoa has thrown deep bombs to Alabama’s speedy receivers in a Heisman-worthy campaign.

Georgia, coached by the former Saban defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, has looked nearly as dominant, with its sole loss a 36-16 defeat at No. 12 Louisiana State (9-3) in October. This will be the toughest defense Tagovailoa has faced, and therefore an opportunity to see if he is, in fact, mortal.

Alabama’s presence in the game is largely academic: The Tide would most likely qualify for the playoff even with a loss. The Bulldogs, by contrast, could sure use a win to stay at No. 4 in the playoff rankings — although, were they to lose a close game to the theoretical best team in the country at a neutral site, might that be a good argument for them staying put?

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An October loss to Purdue is the only blemish on Ohio State’s record.CreditMichael Conroy/Associated Press

Big Ten Conference

8 p.m., Fox

Ah, the Buckeyes and October road upsets. Last year, it was a drubbing at Iowa that kept them out of the playoff, despite victory in the annual conference title game in Indianapolis. This year, if the Buckeyes defeat the Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium and still fail to make the playoff, blame will fall on their 49-20 loss at Purdue (6-6) several weeks ago.

This Buckeyes team actually might be worse than last year’s, as evidenced by razor-thin wins over mediocre teams like Nebraska and Maryland (which took its November game against Ohio State to overtime and might have won had the Terrapins quarterback not missed an open 2-point conversion pass). This despite the fact that under the sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State’s offense has been as explosive as ever, averaging more yards per game than any team other than Oklahoma.

Ranked sixth by the selection committee, Ohio State, which played its first three games without suspended coach Urban Meyer, is not guaranteed a playoff spot if it wins; it is guaranteed not to get a playoff spot if it loses.

Northwestern has nothing to lose and are on a comparative hot streak: after losing three of its first four — including at home to Akron — it won the rest of its games, minus a 31-21 defeat to Notre Dame.

By the way, Northwestern also won its season opener … on the road at Purdue.

Double White Chocolate Cake

Double White Chocolate Cake

Mike Garten

This show-stopping double layer cake filled with raspberry jam will be the best centerpiece for your holiday dessert table.

Note: The total time does not include cooling time. 

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Yields: 16 servings
Total Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Ingredients

Cake
1 c.

unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

3 1/2 c.

all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

2 1/2 tsp.

baking powder

1/2 tsp.

baking soda

1/2 tsp.

kosher salt

4 oz.

white chocolate, chopped

1/2 c.

just-boiled water

1 1/2 c.

granulated sugar

6

large egg whites

1 tsp.

pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c.

buttermilk, at room temp

Frosting
3 oz.

white chocolate, chopped 

1/2 c.

unsalted butter (1 stick)

8 oz.

cream cheese, at room temperature (1 package) 

1 c.

confectioners’ sugar

1/2 c.

heavy cream, cold

Assembly and Decoration
1/2 c.

seedless raspberry jam

1/2 c.

raspberries

royal icing snowflake transfers (see directions below)

white sugar flowers

confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions

Make cake: Heat oven to 300°F. Butter and flour an angel food cake pan; tap out excess flour. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.Place white chocolate in a bowl, pour just-boiled water over the top, and stir until melted and smooth.Using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.Reduce mixer speed to medium and add egg whites 1 at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated, then beat in vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with buttermilk and mixing just until incorporated. Mix in white chocolate mixture.Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 75 to 80 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack to cool completely.Make frosting: Microwave chocolate on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix to combine, then mix in melted chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Once ready to use, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Stir a spoonful into cream cheese mixture, then fold in remaining whipped cream.To assemble: To assemble, cut cake in half through equator. Transfer bottom half to serving platter and spread with jam and ¾ cup cream cheese frosting; sandwich with top half. Cover cake with remaining cream cheese frosting and top with raspberries, sugar flowers, and snowflake transfers, then dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Royal icing snowflake transfers: Print or draw a 1- to 2-in. snowflake design and place under a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper. Transfer royal icing to piping bag fitted with size 2 tip and use stencil as a guide to pipe snowflakes on top. Let dry completely, then use a small offset spatula to carefully remove.

COST PER SERVING $1.03

What you’ll need: Angel food cake pan ($18, amazon.com)

Eggnog Mousse Snowmen

eggnog mousse snowmen recipe

Mike Garten

If you can’t get enough of eggnog this holiday season, turn your favorite holiday drink into a deliciously creamy mousse.

Note: The total time includes cooling.

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Yields: 8 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins

Ingredients

Mousse
2 1/2 c.

heavy cream, cold

1 1/2

cinnamon sticks

6

cloves

5

gratings whole nutmeg

20

marshmallows

3 tbsp.

unsalted butter

4 oz.

white chocolate, chopped

Decorations
2 oz.

semisweet chocolate chips 

1 oz.

red candy melts

mini chocolate chips

orange jelly beans

Frosting
4

large egg whites

1 c.

granulated sugar

1/4 tsp.

cream of tartar

pinch of salt

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup cream with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until bubbling around edges, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let spices steep at least 1 hour.Meanwhile, microwave chocolate chips at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly to thicken, then transfer to a resealable bag and cut off one corner to make a small hole. Pipe arms and buttons into insides of small glasses and let set completely. Repeat, using candy melts, for bow ties and scarves outside the glasses.Strain spiced cream into a large microwave-safe bowl. Add marshmallows, butter, and white chocolate and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.Using an electric mixer, beat remaining 2 cups cream until stiff peaks form. Stir spoonful of whipped cream into marshmallow mixture, then fold in remaining whipped cream. Transfer to prepared glasses and refrigerate while preparing frosting.Place egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl of an electric stand mixer set over a pan of barely simmering water. Whisk mixture until sugar dissolves and it is hot to the touch. Transfer to mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with large round tip. Pipe snowman heads and use mini chocolate chips for eyes and jelly beans for noses.

COST PER SERVING $1.30

Dior touches down in Tokyo for the first ever men's Cruise collection, complete with towering cyborg and kimono suiting

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Kim Jones– the artistic director of Dior menswear – must have enough flyer miles to charter a jet. In between conservation projects in Africa, the designer touched down in Tokyo to show his second men’s collection for the storied house.

With a 12-metre-high gleaming cyborg – which took 20 days to paint and three months to install – bearing down on the catwalk, Kate Moss, David Beckham and Bella Hadid filtered in to the Telecom Centre in the throbbing metropolis for the first Dior men’s “cruise” collection (that is, a range that sits between the traditional spring/summer and autumn/winter offerings).

The cyborg revolution might not be upon us yet, but if it looks anything as spectacular as this we can let our new overlords take over; the collection was a manga-tinged mash-up of Japanese futurism with the historical tailoring and couture techniques of the house of Dior.

Bella Hadid at Dior Pre-Fall 2019 Men's Collection

Bella Hadid attends the Dior pre-fall 2019 men's collection Credit: Jun Sato

"Anyone who knows me knows that I have a great affinity with Japan, and when I looked into the history of the house what amazed me was that Mr Dior did too,’’ said the British designer of his particular Tokyo rift.

Jones chose the chaotic, frenetic energy of the city as a leaping off point, from its sakura – cherry blossom – to its pulsing modernity. “It’s an astonishingly beautiful culture, and I wanted to be respectful of that.”

That this was a men’s cruise collection demonstrates how much clout parent company LVMH is putting behind the Jones era of Dior menswear since he took over in March.

Cruise collections on such an operatic scale tend to only apply to women’s fashion; this is the first of that model for men, at a time when the menswear industry is booming. And this collection made a lot of noise.

Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear tokyo

Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear Credit: Yannis Vlamos

Jones enlisted cult Japanese illustrator and sculptor Hajime Sorayama to create one of his high-shine, pneumatic “sexy robots” to tower up towards the skyscraper heavens, with the artist applying his hand to prints in the form of robo-dinosaurs, cherry blossom and a metallic rendering of the Dior logo across shirts and suits.

But for all the gleam and spectacle of the clothes – fabrics had been treated to an oxidation process normally used in bicycle-making to lend a petrol-slick patina on coats and bombers – there was serious artistry on display, straight from the workrooms of the Paris atelier with French seamstresses sewing against the neon backdrop of the city backstage.

Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear show in Tokyo

The astounding scenes during the Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear show in Tokyo

Laser-cut lace was sliced so finely it resembled feathers, while houndstooth – a hallmark of Christian Dior’s couture for the house in the 1950s – was manipulated and distorted; tradition through a hyper-realised Tokyo lens.

Rugged wool tops drizzled into panels of delicate lace – Jones employing the couture atelier of Dior for his men’s outfit – and high-shine Blade Runner accessories came from his jewellery designer, Tokyo native Yoon Ambush.

“Dior to me is about three things: elegance, tailoring and couture,” the designer said. That parlayed into the fluid new form of suiting, first unveiled during his debut in June, which turns a jacket into a hybrid of a single-breasted and double-breasted.

Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear

Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear Credit: Yannis Vlamos

Jones also continued a conversion between himself and the house’s founder. “Mr Dior employed things like obi belts and actually named one of his dresses from the ’50s ‘Tokyo’. We’ve also taken the leopard print that was a passion of his and turned it into this grey, abstract, quite minimalist print.”

Alongside the spectacle and theatrics of the catwalk, there was plenty that the man himself (and the more understated of the Dior male clientele) would have found to covet; the nubbly wool grey coats, draped and softly structured, or the impeccable suits in the slate tones of the Tokyo skyline.

A series of kimono suits in leather and silk paid homage to Dior’s temporary home, in razor-sharp cuts to temper any thoughts of costumery.

Dior pre-fall 2019 menswear tokyo

The show's finale

Yes, they were fantastical – you’d need to be a Japanese Instagram star, of which there were plenty on the front row, to pull off those oxidised coats – but equally, they were a demonstration of how to elevate men’s fashion to a strata on a par with haute couture at a time when sportswear dominates.

“My friends call me ‘safari eyes’; I’m always spotting something in the far distance that catches my attention,” said Jones. As lasers lit up his tower cyborg, he clearly knows how to hold the Dior customer’s, too.

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David Villa Will Leave New York City F.C.

David Villa, the Spanish World Cup winner who in 2014 became New York City F.C.’s first player, said on Wednesday that he would leave the club when his contract expired at the end of the year.

Villa, a striker, scored 80 goals in 124 appearances for the team and was Major League Soccer’s most valuable player in 2016. Over four seasons, much of it spent as New York City F.C.’s captain, he provided the steadying hand that allowed the expansion club to establish itself in M.L.S.

Villa, who will turn 37 on Monday, confirmed in a video posted to his social media accounts that he plans to continue playing. He said he would reveal his next destination “in a few days.”

My decision. My future. https://t.co/sjMbYqQap7

— David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) November 28, 2018

“The reason is that my mind and my body need another challenge,” Villa said. “And I feel it is the perfect time now to say bye to N.Y.C.F.C.”

Several reports on Wednesday hinted that Villa could join his former Spain teammates Fernando Torres and Andrés Iniesta in Japan’s J1 League.

Villa has been the one constant in New York City F.C.’s history, signing as the club’s first player in June 2014 — so early in its history that the team did not even have an official jersey to use at his unveiling. Villa quickly became a cornerstone player, leading the team in goals in each of his first four seasons, though that success often petered out in the postseason.

New York City F.C. missed the playoffs in its debut season but, behind Villa’s rising goals totals, qualified in the next three, falling in the conference semifinals each time. Through its growing pains — three coaches in four season, the forgettable signing of the English midfielder Frank Lampard and most recently two leg injuries this season that cost Villa weeks at a time — Villa served as the team’s stabilizing force.

“I remember the first day I showed the jersey, and the supporters were there,” Villa said in a statement released by the team. “I would have liked to give the supporters the M.L.S. Cup, but I don’t have any doubts that in the next years the club will get it for sure.”

Villa was M.L.S.’s most valuable player in 2016, when he finished second in the league in goals. (He was second again a year later, and tied for eighth this year.) He was chosen as an all-star in each of his four seasons in New York, though he missed this year’s game with an injury.

“David has been an incredible ambassador and captain to this club since the moment we signed him,” the team’s sporting director, Claudio Reyna, said, adding, “I truly believe that David will be remembered as one of the best players to ever play in M.L.S.”