Made It Monday: NOT CAKE. (ah ha ha jk of course its cake)

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! πŸ™‚

OF COURSE. O:)

Look, when I made the other two last week, or whichever week it actually was, I did a double batch of the recipe. But because I was not making GIANT WEDDING CAKES Y’ALL, it turned out that a double mix was enough for three cakes. And then same with the buttercream. So I had a spare cake, with spare icing – just enough to cover it.

Small kiddo/baby/creature is finishing up at her current daycare at the end of this term (ish; long story; at the time of cake making she defs was >.<) and I had tentatively scheduled a ‘thank you’ cake in my diary for them anyway, so YAY! Spare cake = daycare thank you cake (because they really are awesome and adore the no-longer-a-baby so much and it is delightful and warms the cockles of my hearts much muchly).

I literally had nothing planned in the house to decorate this with, and really needed to deliver the cake post haste before it became stale after sitting in the fridge all weekend, and WOW there was a spare box of Lindt balls in the pantry because when Dear Husband had picked some up for me for the other cake/s, they’d been half price and he’d snagged an extra box. Clever man.

So: Lindt-bally cake it was. Rawr.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Korean Buttercream Flowers

Y’all probably know I am super keen on Teh Tweeter, and hang out there quite a bit. I also have my Tumblr that I go through phases on, though you can never tell when that is or isn’t, because I have it scheduled to post three times a day every day, and one epic Tumblr spree maxes out my 300 posts you’re allowed to pre-schedule πŸ˜‰

I do StalkBook FaceBook occasionally, and somewhat begrudgingly, and usually through my Twitter feed, and I have an Instagram (locked to personal because I was getting WAY too many spam follows for a feed that has pictures of my kids on it).

But the place I’ve really grown to love over the years?

Pinterest.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Pinterest, home of pristine housewives and skinny white girls, place for exercises and recipes and interior design. But actually, like most algorithmically-controlled things, your Pinterest dash changes to suit what you follow and pin the most. So in my case, my feed is literally 90% cakes and Harry Potter, and I’m totally up with that. It makes a nice place to just chill and hang out and be happy, y’know? Cakes and Harry Potter: what more could a girl need? :3

So ANYway, because this has been the Term Of All Cakes, and because I have an EPIC cake weekend coming up as I do a giant formal cake for 150+ people (Do you guys want process pics of that? Or, like, a livestream while I decorate or something?? I can totally do that if people want to see!), and because Liana has been waxing lyrical about Korean KDramas lately, IDK, I just decided I wanted to share with you one of my absolute favourite styles of cakes, which is Korean buttercream flowers. One day, I will learn how to do these amazing things. For now, I will just enjoy the prettiness on Pinterest :3

All pictures are from my Cakey Goodness board on Pinterest.

 

 

So, IDK… Do you have a favourite style of cake? O:) (yeah, yeah, I get that that’s probably only me :D) Maybe a favourite flavour of cake, or just a Random Favourite Thing that shows up on your social media dashes and makes you happy? Happy is good. You should totally share something that makes you happy in the comments /nodnodnod :3

Made It Monday: Whoa, It’s More Cake!

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! πŸ™‚

Shocking, right? O:)

Anyway, these were just a couple of quick ones I threw together for work/my son’s school. And yes, they literally were quick, and yes, I literally threw them together, they are messy and technically very unsound I AM NOT TRYING TO BE MODEST OR MAKE MYSELF LOOK AMAZING I PROMISE THEY ARE JUST QUICK, MESSY CAKES, OKAY?* *panting*

* This because every time I said something like Eh, this was just a quick messy cake, is really nothing, people are all OMG BUT IT’S SOO AMAZING YOU MUST JUST BE SAYING THAT NO REALLY THIS LOOKS LIKE YOU LABOURED FOR HOOOOOOURS. Which is flattering and all, but guys. Seriously. Took me like 2.5 hours *total* for both these cakes, 3.5 if you count having to duck down to the shops for more butter and wait around for the chocolate shards to set. 2.5 hours over two nights is NOTHING. This one took sixteen with two of us working on it. Really. 2.5 hours for two cakes? Yes. That is *literally* a quick, messy throw-together. Promises :3

 

Right. Now we have *that* out of the way, le cakes!!

Is chocolate mud cake (slight overcooked, grump grump stupid unpredictable oven) torted and covered with salted caramel buttercream, drizzled with salted caramel sauce, decorated with chocolate shards and Lindt balls (the full ones are dark chocolate, the halved ones are salted caramel, naturally). Om nom nom.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Made It Monday: Cake The Fourth

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! πŸ™‚

Cake four, tonight, because that’s the order I made it in in the epic line-up of cakes this quarter πŸ™‚ This one was a white chocolate mud cake with (obviously) blackberry buttercream, filled with white chocolate ganache and lemon buttercream because I had one serving of each stashed in the freezer and figured I might as well use them! πŸ˜€ Also, if you’ve been following along on twitter/insta, this is the cake I bought the alyssum flowers for. A few flowered in time, enough that the cake looked kind of decorated (:P), but OF COURSE they all popped out like the day after *eyeroll*.

Anyway, the cake was super tasty. The lemon/blackberry/white chocolate combo is one of my favourites yet πŸ™‚

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Confirmation: Amines Are Like Drugs :P

Had to go out for dinner on Sat night to a wood-fired pizza restaurant. Dinner was delicious, as expected – and the food reactions were awful, as expected. *sigh*. It didn’t help that I made the mistake of eating a GIANT BOWL of rocket salad before realising that oops, yeah, rocket =/= lettuce and while lettuce is pretty fine for me in moderate amounts, rocket is on the DEATH DIE DO NOT EAT list >.< Urgh.

So, two extremely sleepless nights (less than 4 hours each, I think) on Sat and Sun, and then Monday evening I was just hyper as anything, feeling like I’d been drugged πŸ˜›

Interestingly, amines seem to amplify the function of my critical brain while diminishing my creative brain; I definitely can’t write while reacting to them. Sat down to try and it was all like, This sucks, This is stupid, That word is horrible, I hate this book, etc. I really just *couldn’t* get into the character’s voice, and this is a character who’s usually dead easy for me to voice. Super mega frustration.

And also interesting, part of the anxiety was amplified. Not the fear-of-the-dark, that’s separate to regular anxiety and seems to be triggered partly by a huge amount of salicylates, and partly by sustained low mood (i.e. feeling flat, tired, or otherwise negative for several days in a row – something that can be triggered by lack of sleep, which is triggered by amines, so the amines can be partly responsible for the fear-of-dark, but not directly, and certainly not after only one meal, even though it was a GIANT amine-heavy dose), but the regular, plain-old variety that’s the precursor to depression: feeling like I suck, second-guessing everything I do and especially say, and running old conversations/highly-negative moments on repeat obsessively.

It wasn’t *bad* this week, only just enough to notice it was happening, so I’m totes fine, but it IS definitely interesting. Because a lot of that kind of thinking is fear-of-judgement based, which is uber-critical brain, right?

ALSO interesting was that I powered through my marking at hitherto-unheard of speeds: I marked an entire class set in a couple of hours on Sat night + Sunday, and then another entire class set just on Monday alone – AND I didn’t even stay up late to do so, I finished it all by 8 o’clock.

You guys. That was weird.Β 

I am NOT a fast marker. It’s usually laborious and slow and tedious, and getting through two sets in essentially two days? I have NEVER done that before.

And guess what marking involves? Yep. Uber critical-brain oriented.

So it seems like amines basically affect me like a stimulant for my critical brain. For marking, that can be a great thing. For shutting up the critical brain and letting me sleep, write, or not be anxious? Not so great.

And now I want to go to a bunch of research about possible links between depression/anxiety and critical-brain activity.

Related but random other observations:

  • Writers are more neurotic as a group than other creatives. Why? What specifically is it about writing that makes our mental health vulnerable?
  • My critical brain seems to throw tantrums when it thinks I’m ignoring it. If I’ve done a lot of creative work and regular work but no hard-thinking work lately, I’m a LOT more susceptible to anxiety/self-doubt.
  • Could this type of anxiety be critical-brain overload, such as I seem to be getting when eating amines? Could writers combat critical-brain tantrums (anxiety, self-doubt) by letting the critical brain out to play, exercising it by doing, say, some soduko or something hard and thinky??

Where’s a good researcher? I need to pay someone to investigate this for me.

So anyway, to give this some semblance of a conclusion… Amines: Not For Amy! Unless I want to stay up really, really late and get some marking done πŸ˜›

MadeItMonday: Cake the Fifth

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! πŸ™‚

Yes, I’m posting these out of order, because I only just realised that I hadn’t posted Cake 4 from the holidays yet. So why am I not just posting it today? Because I promised you the Star Wars cake this week! πŸ˜€ So, this week Star Wars, next week Cake The Fourth πŸ˜‰

This one’s a gluten-free chocolate cake, filled and covered with raspberry meringue-buttercream, topped with white chocolate ganache, and wrapped with a white chocolate collar that I painted a la Star Wars πŸ™‚ The brief was pretty + light blue + Star Wars, so yeah. This was my eventual interpretation! Wrah.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

In Which Words Occur

Lo and behold, I’ve been eating ‘clean’ for two days, and even though Tuesday I still felt exhausted, I was no longer epically groggy, and actually managed to write about 1200 words before bed. So yeah. Looks like I can either cheat on food (or even not just cheat, but push the boundaries a bit), or I can have words :\

On the one hand, it kind of sucks that writing is the first thing to go. On the other, it’s SUPER nice to actually KNOW what’s going wrong with my body after all these years, and getting a good sleep at night is INCREDIBLE, and now at least I have control over what is happening, which, wow, those of you who have stuff go wrong with your body will know, control is an incredible gift.

Being food intolerant sucks, but of all the things it might have been, at least it’s the one that puts the control firmly back in my court, and I am so, so grateful.

So hopefully tonight, more words! πŸ™‚ How Not To Take Over The World is at about 16k out of about 70k, and as this is a rewrite, I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the year. I probably won’t release it until after Sanctuary 3, though, so you won’t have to wait as long between books 1 and 2… Or then again, I might just release it. /shrug. Freedom is a heady thing, ha πŸ˜€

(I realised the other day that if I can manage to release 3 titles per year, as I’ve done this year, it will still take me ~30 years to publish everything I think of as a ‘current work’ >.< And of the three titles this year, none of them were actually written this year, and publishing them ate into my writing time, sooooooo….. *cries* Too many stories, insufficiency of hours! πŸ™‚ )

MadeItMonday: CAKE THE THIRD

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! πŸ™‚

Yet more cake! Because cake is glorious, cake is wonderful, cake is life, the universe and everything. Clearly.

Anyway, this one was another commission, this time for a 60th birthday party. The birthdayee requested a sheet cake, which I don’t do many of, so I went for something a little different for the decorations. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had an 80% freakout* with cakes for a while (at least not since the heart one back in June), but I totally did with this one. But then I called my husband, who greeted me with, ‘Cake looks great!’, and I calmed down, realised what was throwing me off, and fixed it. Insanity: For all creative pursuits, not just writing! *confetti*

So this one’s a pretty glorious coconut cake, filled with raspberry jam and raspberry buttercream, covered with vanilla buttercream, and decorated with more vanilla buttercream, toasted coconut, fresh raspberries, and Lindt balls in both white chocolate and mango flavours. (I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the mango ones have no added nasties, and use pumpkin and tumeric for the colouring, heh. Go Lindt.)

Anyway, cake! Yay!

(And yes, that’s totally plotting for Sanctuary book 3 there on the table in the background, HA.)

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

MadeItMonday: CAKE THE SECOND

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! πŸ™‚

Okay, another apple-spice cake this week (see last week’s post for reference). I was commissioned to make the one I posted last week, and since making two cakes at once is barely any more work than making one, generally speaking, and since I, y’know, had a book come out around the time I was making these cakes, and since I wasn’t planning to have a formal launch since it’s a book 2 in a series and idk, that just seems weird to have a formal launch for? but since ALSO I knew there were friends who wanted a copy, I decided pretty much on the spur of the moment to have an informal launch party at home.

(10/10 highly recommend, if you have supportive fam+friends. It was SO cool to just hang out with everyone, and not everyone bought a book and that was TOTALLY FINE, but wow, quite a few people did!!)

So, I figured I might as well make that additional cake and have CAKE AT MY OWN PARTY WHAT EVEN IS THIS I MADE A CAKE LIKE ACTUALLY ENTIRELY 100% **FOR MYSELF**. Whoa. Up is down and cows are round.

So, same principle as last week in terms of flavourings, but I went with super simple decorations so it only took about 35 mins to assemble and decorate the whole thing. Woot woo!

You’ll notice the streaks in the caramel topping; I don’t know, I think I must have overcooked the cakeΒ CARAMEL, I MEANT CARAMEL when I’d made it the day before, because overnight it set SOLID. Normally it has a nice, chewy sort of texture, but this time, NOPE. BRICK SOLID. I hadn’t burned it, but obviously I did something differently. IDK. Never mind, still tasty. BUT it meant I had to do some serious melting of it to get it to a pourable consistency, and then it was – shockingly enough – HOT, and wow, did you know that buttercream is made primarily from BUTTER, and butter MELTS when it gets HOT?!

Like, I knew this, and there really wasn’t anything I could do except let it cool as much as I possibly could and then dump the whole cake in the fridge the instant I’d poured it, desperately poking and prodding to stop the caramel melting the edges of the icing and dripping down the sides…. πŸ˜€ THAT succeeded, but because I was chilling the super-firm caramel asap, there were a few little holes in the top of it, and then because it was hot and the buttercream melted, the buttercream seeped up and made those smears. BUT NEVER MIND I actually don’t even care because it was amazingly tasty and it was just for a book party so eh.

Also: YAY MORE CAKE.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚