Sunday, 11 October 2015

the retrograde cake

I've said it before; And I'll say it again - 

I   E A T   M Y   F E E L I N G S

and they taste

D E L I C I O U S !

the retrograde cake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

Hands up if you agree it's been a strange few weeks...

Let's blame Mercury.

Apparently it's been in retrograde.

Although, even though it's not something I follow closely, 
I swear, it seems to be in retrograde an awful lot lately...

Never fear though! It's over now.

But if you are still feeling a little down,
I've got just the thing for you - 

F E R R E R O   C A K E

the retrograde cake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

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

Grease cake tin. Heat oven to 180 C.

In a large mixing bowl - stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. 
Beat on medium speed for one minute.

Stir in boiling water (the batter will be really runny).

Fill cake tin with batter.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
Allow to cool. 
Dress up with Ferrero Rochers.

the retrograde cake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


Thursday, 8 October 2015


Here's a little note to you and to me today;
in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week 
(5-11 October 2015)

D I D   Y O U   K N O W ? ?

 The average person tells 4 lies a day or 1460 a year; 
a total of 87,600 by the age of 60. 
And the most common is: 
I'm Fine.

"That's the stigma, because, unfortunately, we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you're depressed, everyone runs the other way. That's the stigma. We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down, other than our brains. And that's ignorance. That's pure ignorance. And that ignorance has created a world that doesn't understand depression, that doesn't understand mental health."


Friday, 21 August 2015

this one's a bit sombre

Death; Loss; Sadness.

These are the kind of taboo topics that no one likes to talk about.

But here I am today, writing in a somewhat sombre tone.

And I won't apologise, because life is not always sunshine and happiness.

And that's OK.

It is in moments of loss that I become reflective.

I think most people do...

On the life of the one who has left us;
And perhaps also on the life we have led ourselves.

I become quiet.

I retreat.

I go inwards with my thoughts.

And then I judge my own emotions.

"There are others, all over the world, in a much worse situation than you, right now"

But that dust-yourself-off-and-move-on attitude is not reasonable.
It is not fair.

If you did not allow yourself to feel sadness because someone else may have it worse,
Then you should never permit yourself to feel happiness, 
because by the same logic - someone else may have it better.

Lesson of the Week :
You cannot logic yourself through emotion.

Y O U R   F E E L I N G S   A R E   V A L I D
B E C A U S E   Y O U   F E E L   T H E M

this one's a bit sombre.... your feelings are valid because you feel them >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
-- Iain Thomas


Monday, 17 August 2015

colour me pretty

 Picture this...

T H E  T I M E
Sunday afternoon.

T H E   L O C A T I O N
My lounge room;
Sun streaming through my window.

T H E  S E T T I N G
Me, on my couch, under a blanket;
Music on;
A pot of textas by my side;
And a colouring book in my lap.

T H E   A C T I V I T Y
Colouring In.

T H E   J U S T I F I C A T I O N
Experts say it generates wellness, quietness
and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.

T H E   P S Y C H O L O G Y
(aka the 'super official justification'
that brings back all kinds of memories of first year uni and Psychology 101)
"The action involves both logic, by which we colour forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colours. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress" says psychologist Gloria Martínez Ayala

T H E  O U T C O M E
Total Bliss.


* * *

I feel in every girl there lives a spirit,
a wild pixie,
that if let go, would run and dance in grassy fields
until the end of the world.

And when that girl grows up, that pixie hides,
but it's always there,
peeking out behind old eyes and reading glasses,
to one day dance again.

                                          -- source unknown

Connect with your inner-child again.
Colouring just got cool.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

a little apple pie

For those days when you just need a little warmth. 
A little comfort. 
A little love.

A   L I T T L E   A P P L E   P I E

"We must have a pie.
Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie."

                                                        -- David Mamet

T H E   P A S T R Y
1 3/4 plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 pinch of salt
185g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon chilled water
1 tablespoon milk

Sift flours and pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
Add butter and rub lightly into flour with your fingertips, 
until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir through sugar.
Add lightly beaten egg, and chilled water.
Knead together as dough forms.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Once chilled - Roll pastry out on a floured workbench ready to assemble.

T H E   F I L L I N G
1kg peeled & cored granny smith apples; cut into cubes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, caster sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

T H E   A S S E M B L Y
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk whisked together
raw sugar for sprinkling
Roll out pastry to line individual pie trays.
Fill with apple mixture.
Add small piece of butter.
Cover with rolled out pastry to create a lid.
Brush with egg/milk wash
Sprinkle with raw sugar.

On 200C for 30mins;
Then reduce heat to 160C and bake until golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

let's talk about r.b.f.

Today I had the honour of being featured on The Nereeda Network's 'Nereeda Nine'.

oh em gee

Honestly, I feel a little out of place amongst many other oh-so-talented, and frankly, intimidating men and women who have participated before me.


Because I know what I am bringing to the table... 
And it's not an impressive CV or infinite business advice.

let's talk about resting bitch face >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

Which brings me to The Topic of Today - 

R E S T I N G   B I T C H   F A C E

(Formerly known as Bitchy Resting Face as shown in this Official Google Trends Graph)

let's talk about resting bitch face >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

... a phenomenon in which the resting face lacks animation and appears to look bitchy at all times, thus leading people to believe a person must be upset, a snob or a bitch.

Trust me... It's a thing.

People, such as myself, who suffer Chronic Resting Bitch Face are often inundated with enquiry from surrounding people, including -
"What's wrong?"
"Are you okay?"
"Are you mad/sad/depressed?"
"You know...Before I got to know you, I thought you were a snobby bitch*."

How people who suffer Chronic Resting Bitch Face respond -
"I'm fine...honestly." 
"No, nothing is wrong." 
"Yes, I'm sure."

How people who suffer Chronic Resting Bitch Face want to respond - 

let's talk about resting bitch face >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
I could have posted a photo of my own RBF..
But how could I go past Sassy Barbie?!

If you too suffer from this condition, please know you are not alone.

Infact, let us stand united.

Embrace it.

Love it.

Work it.



Sunday, 9 August 2015

sunday agenda


There is no pleasure in having nothing to do;
The fun is in having lots to do
And not doing it.

Take it slow;
Give your soul a chance to catch up with your body.

Sunday Morning Pancakes

I make my pancakes from scratch.
Tipping flour from the canister into a large bowl.
Adding milk. And egg. More milk.
Some sugar. A bit more...

It's not an exact science.

In fact - it's the only time I work without a recipe.

Everything else I bake is weighed and measured.

I am usually so precise.

But not on a Sunday morning.

Not with pancakes.

There's a special kind of freedom in the guesswork.

And they taste delicious. 
Every. Single. Time.

Pancake Happiness


Friday, 7 August 2015

twelve things you would know about me ...

( ... I F   Y O U   K N O W   M E   A T   A L L )

I write a blog.

I stand in front of my freezer and eat icecream straight out of the tub.
Or tubs...
Let's be honest - There are multiple containers of various flavours to choose from.

I spend a lot of time at the beach. A Lot.
Running. Playing with Miss Emmy. Sitting. Thinking. Crying (!) Contemplating. Reading.
Rain, Hail, or Shine.
Because the beach is my happy place.

My big sister is my bestie.
We are polar opposites; yet somehow scarily similar in many ways.
We communicate multiple times a day; 
Through text, old-fashioned phone calls, or social media -
Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

I light candles throughout my house every night. 
I like the warmth and ambiance of the flicker of a flame.

I don't seem like the 'Sporty Type' but I like to run. 
And I sometimes practice Yoga. 
And although I haven't done either for a while, I also like to ski - Water and Snow.

S E V E N 
I own an electric drill and a power sander.
I am quite handy around the house...
But I struggle to sew on a button.

I HATE wearing flat shoes. 
Unless I am wearing workout clothes with sneakers - I'm either barefoot or in heels.
Yup.. I wear heels on the weekend.
Flat shoes make me feel short and fat.

I could give up watching television in a heart beat; 
But I would cry if you took the music off my iPhone.

T E N 
I sometimes eat chocolate and drink wine for dinner.

I still believe a Pinky Promise to be a legitimate, binding, contractual agreement.
Thou shall not break a Pinky Promise.

I sing in the car. 

if you knew me at all >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES


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


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