Monday, 3 August 2015

that time i made a wedding cake

Making someone's wedding cake wasn't on my Bucket List or anything.
But now that I've done it, I'm totally writing it on The List..
Just so I can have that sweet satisfaction of ticking it off!

 Make someone's Wedding Cake  

But it wasn't just someone..

I honestly don't think I could make a wedding cake for just any old couple..

This was probably a good thing though..

Because it meant that it wasn't your standard, fancy, fondant-frosted, rose-piped cake.

This cake was a special order.

For a special pair.

T H E   C L I E N T
Lady P and The Thomas

T H E   O C C A S I O N
Their Wedding! (eek!)

T H E   B R I E F
Make a cake.
Any flavour.
Any frosting.
Put dinosaurs on top of cake.

C R E A T I V E   L I C E N S E
The part where I decided to create a 3-tiered cake despite never stacking cake on cake before in my life. Ever.
Each layer a different flavour.
Playing dress ups with the dinosaurs...
Because even dinosaurs deserve to look a bit fancy for a special occasion.

T H E   F L A V O U R S
Tier 1. Chocolate Fudge Mud Cake
Tier 2. Chocolate and Coffee Mud Cake
Top Tier. Orange and Almond Meal Cake

M I D - C R E A T I O N   M O C K   U P

T H E   F R O S T I N G
Vanilla Cream Cheese Buttercream

It is the ideal “crusting” buttercream to create cakes with a bakery-style smooth fondant look but with the classic cream cheese buttercream taste everyone loves!

1 cup (226 grams) butter, slightly softened
12 tablespoons (144 grams) organic palm shortening
24 ounces (680 grams) chilled cream cheese
2 kg icing sugar
1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure almond extract

Beat butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy. 
Add cream cheese and extract(s); beat until fully incorporated. 
Gradually increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy.
Gradually add icing sugar, beating on low to medium-low speed, until well combined. 
Beat on high speed until well combined and smooth. 
Buttercream will be very stiff and thick. 
Before frosting cake layers, rebeat buttercream to ensure smoothness.

If not using immediately, keep bowl covered tightly to keep buttercream from drying before frosting cake or cupcakes.
The buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container. 
Before using, bring to near room temperature before beating smooth again.

T H E   U N V E I L I N G

rawr wedding cake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S   
P I P P A   A N D   T O M   

rawr wedding cake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

man vs gentleman

Hands up who else hates this new upgrade to Facebook which sees memories from your past shoved in your face at the very top of the feed, so if you're anything like me, it's the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning?!

Yeah. I knew I wasn't alone.


This new functionality did notify me recently of a status update I posted in 2011 -

I know what you're thinking...

I was profound in 2011, wasn't I?!

And I stand by this statement 100%.

In fact, this 'memory' combined with today's Season Premiere of The Bachelor are the catalysts that inspired today's post...

The Difference Between  A  M A N  and a  G E N T L E M A N

Here's a little eye candy for those of you who are inspired by 'visual examples':

man vs gentleman >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


Much like Bee vs Wasp

A gentleman can usually be distinguished from a man on appearance alone...

[If you get close enough]

A sense of style.

A signature scent.

But it's a gentleman's behaviour which really sets him apart from a 'regular' man.

A gentleman is evolved.

He has manners.

And confidence.

And ambition.

He yields a sense of power without the entitlement or the ego.

A gentleman understands the difference between saying and doing.

And most importantly - he knows how to treat a woman.

(unlike 2014 Bachelor Blake Garvey...)

Yes, Young Andie/Grasshopper.. 
There is a difference between a hot guy in a suit and a wanker in a suit who thinks he is hot.

Let's see what you've got Sam Wood.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

hey you! pay attention...

N O T E   T O   S E L F

To Me.

To You.

Listen Closely.

Pay Attention.

�� In My Home

You yourself, as much as

anybody in the entire universe,

deserve your love and affection.

                                                          -- Buddha

House bound and recovering from surgery this week has given me the time to
1. Analyse every detail of my home; and
2. Take a few photos of the pretties that surround me.

Oh.. And

3. Remind myself that I am singularly responsible for my own health and happiness.

More so, I have come to realise that I DESERVE my own affection.

As much as anybody else.

It is fascinating (and somewhat heartbreaking) that I am not willing to give my own body the time and patience that I would afford to anybody else in my life to recover from this procedure.

Instead, I have found myself feeling frustrated at being tired and drowsy from the medication.

And ironically, pushing my mind and body through the pain has resulted in what is probably a slower than desirable recovery.

What a shitty cycle to be in.

And so, having learnt this lesson myself during the week (and because I wanted to share with you that very pretty photo from my very own living room) I am going to remind you one more time -



Thursday, 23 July 2015

nice girl seeks adventurer...

I work in advertising...

So you'd think I'd be a little more across things like the latest brand relaunches and multi-platform campaigns.

But I'm not.


Turns out this tv commercial has been on air since March.

But I only saw it for the first time this week..
So let's pretend it's brand new and not judge me for bringing up old news.

Besides... given the product being advertised -
I'm probably not the target demographic.
The ad really wasn't meant for me...
(Yes. Telling myself that does help me sleep at night.)

Anyway -
the core message appeals to me.

It is how I try to live my life.

Spending time and money on experiences rather than things.

I F   Y O U ' R E   N O T   C O L L E C T I N G   E X P E R I E N C E S

T H E N   Y O U ' R E   N O T   L I V I N G

S P A R K   Y O U R   P A S S I O N

Work, play, rest, repeat. 

Life can feel a little routine sometimes but it doesn’t take much to mix things up and break the mould. 

Tap into something that gets you excited and push yourself beyond the everyday. 

Who you are tomorrow, is born from what you experience today.

Are you an Experience Collector?

I dream of adventure...  [Starts with Cupcakes]
�� Follow The Blackline by Lauren


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

the best kind of tart

A little bit of sweet; 
A little bit of sour.

When life (or that lemon tree you have been dutifully watering for the past 18 months) gives you lemons -

M A K E   L E M O N   M E R I N G U E   T A R T S

MINI LEMON MERINGUE TARTS : Who doesn't love a tart?
Who doesn't love a tart?!

The kind of lemon tarts that give you that buttery tart base crunch;
And tangy lemon curd perfection;
Topped with sweet marshmallowey meringue caramelised just a little bit from the quick flash of a blow torch flame.


T H E   T A R T   C A S E S
125g chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

30g caster sugar
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons chilled water

Combine dry ingrediants (flour, sugar, salt) in a bowl.
Using finger tips - gently rub butter into the dry mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Slowly add water, rubbing together until it forms a rough dough. 
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead to form a smooth firm dough. 
Flatten the dough into an inch thick
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Roll out the dough and cut round disks to line your pre-oiled tart cases.
Bake at 180C for 10 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool.

T H E   L E M O N   F I L L I N G
50g (1/3 cup) cornflour
125ml (1/2 cup) water
250ml (1 cup) fresh lemon juice
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
60g butter, coarsely chopped
4 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)

Combine the cornflour, water, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan. 
Use a balloon whisk to stir over medium heat for 4 minutes or until the mixture boils and thickens. 
Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for a further 1 minute. 
Remove from heat. 
Whisk in butter and egg yolks. 
Transfer to a bowl. 
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3 hours or until cooled completely.

T H E   M E R I N G U E 
4 egg whites (left over from the Lemon Filling process)
1 cup caster sugar

Use an electric beater to beat the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. 
Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoonful at a time until the mixture is thick and glossy.

T H E   A S S E M B L E Y
(to create little tarts of delicious)
Fill cooked tart cases with cooled lemon filling.
Pipe meringue over lemon filling on each tart.
Use a kitchen blow torch to gently brown the meringue.

Let's Blow Torch These Babies

I'm not gonna lie - I love any excuse to play with fire...

But if you don't have a blow torch on hand, popping these in the oven to turn golden brown will also work a treat. 
(Not as fun.. but still delicious!)

Love At First Bite


Monday, 13 July 2015

bee or wasp

Unlike the story of the Birds and the Bees.

This is a story of another kind.

This one's about Bee's and Wasp's.

It's easy to mistake one for the other.

Both have wings.

They fly.

And look kind of similar in passing.

Even if one is sitting right near you it can be hard to tell the difference.

Sometimes you have to get quite close to figure out what it really is.

You might spend some time with this creature.

Maybe even then it takes a while for you to realise.

Everyone can be categorised as either a Bee or a Wasp.

Just remember that one deserves your time; and the other does not.

starts with cupcakes


Friday, 19 June 2015

best. cheesecake. ever.

I made a cheesecake with  O N E   K I L O  of cream cheese

It was so amazing I don't even want to write about it.

I can describe it in one word  -  H E A V Y !

Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?!

Mars Bar Cheesecake - Best Cheesecake Ever >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

M A R S   B A R   C H E E S E C A K E

310g chocolate biscuits
150g butter, melted
4tbsp brown sugar
40g butter, extra
3 cups cream
3 tsp gelatine
½ cup water
1kg cream cheese, chopped, softened
1 cup caster sugar
10x mars bars, finely chopped

B I S C U I T   B A S E
Process biscuits until fine. Transfer biscuits to a medium bowl, stir in butter. Press mixture evenly over base of 20cm springform pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

B U T T E R S C O T C H   S A U C E
In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, 40g butter and 4 tablespoons of the cream. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes.

In a small heatproof jug, sprinkle gelatine over the water. Stand jug in a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until dissolved.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and caster sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. In a small bowl, beat remaining cream with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir slightly warm gelatine mixture into cream cheese mixture with half of the chopped Mars Bars; then fold in whipped cream.

Pour 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture onto the biscuit base in pan. Drizzle over 2/3 of the butterscotch sauce. Swirl the mixture to distribute the butterscotch sauce. Repeat the process with remaining cream cheese mixture, butterscotch sauce.
Refrigerate for 5 hours or until set. 


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

vulnerability is not weakness

I'm not good at being vulnerable;
showing vulnerability;
or even pronouncing the damn word correctly (if I'm completely honest).

vul·ner·a·ble  (vŭl′nər-ə-bəl) adj.

a. Susceptible to physical harm or damage: 
trees that are vulnerable to insects;

b. Susceptible to emotional injury, especially in being easily hurt: 
a lonely child who is vulnerable to teasing.

c. Susceptible to attack: 
"We are vulnerable both by water and land, without either fleet or army" (Alexander Hamilton).

d. Open to censure or criticism; assailable: 
The mayor is vulnerable to criticism on the issue.


Via Instagram  @TheGoodQuote

I blame Beyonce, Christina and Britney for their incessant singing about being a Survivor, Fighter and Stronger than yesterday for making vulnerability seem undesirable.

Their music taught girls (ok.. maybe just me) that we must we must be independent, fierce AND dirrty.

How come no one is singing about the strength of showing vulnerability ?

The raw truth of allowing the world (or even just that special someone) to see you for exactly who you are ?

Maybe if I had grown up with anthems that taught me that vulnerability is what connects one human to another, I wouldn't resist it so damn much!

OK.. probably not.

The walls I have built around me; and the barriers I have created have become somewhat of a joke among my closest friends.

- - -

"Her heart was a secret garden; 
And the walls were very high"

- - -

And whilst it may not be a direct result of singing pop lyrics into my hairbrush throughout my teens (and for many years later) -

My abstinence of vulnerability is real.

We should be teaching young girls that being ambitious, confident and intelligent is not mutually exclusive to showing vulnerability.

We should remind ourselves that closing ourselves off to the world in fear of showing vulnerability prohibits possibility.

We should be making a statement;
And shouting from the rooftops -

V U L N E R A B I L I T Y   I S   N O T   A   W E A K N E S S

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