Oh My Gosh The Last Two Weeks What The Even.

Self-indulgent post, sorry, but here we are.

You GUYS. The last two weeks have been reeeeDIKulous.

Monday: Full day of work, then 11-hour stint cake decorating (see next Monday), meaning I got to bed at 4:30am.

Tuesday: Full day of work, home for an hour to make a batch of buttercream (which takes 30 mins), then split/fill/decorate a small dietary-requirement cake to go with Monday’s epic one, then load both cakes into the car and head into town to drop them off. This took Time, and I ended up getting home around 7pm.

Wednesday: Work, then the usual rigmarole of gymnastics + swimming that sees us all home at 7.

Thursday: Work. Frantic Christmas shopping. Kid 1’s school presentation/performance/graduation night. Home at 8:30pm.

Friday: Work, but got to leave an hour early, which was nice. Additional Christmas shopping. 5-hr cake stint on two different cakes, finishing up at 1am.

Saturday: Drop off cake 1 from last night, drop off husband, head home to pack, take cake 2 to be dropped off, go meet husband and do church stuff for an hour-ish, head home to eat and finish packing, spend an hour driving out to look at a block of land, drive to Sydney. Experience Epic McDonald’s Failure for dinner, swear as a family to never eat there again unless it’s a real emergency, arrive at in-laws at 9:30pm. Kids finally asleep by 11pm. >.<

Sunday: Spent the day in Sydney doing Christmassy stuff with family, drove home (successfully avoiding a McDonald’s dinner, woo, go us), home around 9:30pm.

Monday: Morning drop-off run. 5.5 hours at home to catch up on an hour of lectures + an hour of assignments I was running behind on for some writing courses I’m doing, squeeze in a 1.5hr nap (THANK GOODNESS), pack the car to the gills with all the stuff for 2 x market stalls, go run said market stalls at the school/church Christmas Event Thing until 10pm. Packed up and home by 11.

Tuesday: Spent all morning at Kid2’s language thingo – she’s participating in a longitudinal study about childhood language acquisition and we have to go in for a few hours every 3-6 months. Kids came home and CRASHED, sleeping about 3 hrs each. Then, market round 2. But because it was the final night, SUPER pack-up, so I wasn’t home until 11:30pm.

Wednesday: Frantically deal with an editing project that had suddenly become 24-hour-turn-around-urgent. Discover the entire reason I paid to send Kid2 to daycare today for one extra day is suddenly null and void: cannot go to gym while Kid1 does gymnastics as per usual, as Kid1 has a massive temperature. >.< Skip the gym, work on edits, head to swimming with Kid2 and get home at 7, finish up edits around 11:30pm.

…Which brings us to today, and y’all, I am tired. Like, whoa. I burned the lower knuckle of my left thumb on a hot tray because I was just spacey at lunchtime. And we spent 2.5 hours out this morning socialising (which was awesome, btw) and DH & I are doing Compulsory Work Fun* tonight, so it’ll be another late night. And then tomorrow and the next night we’ll be up late also, and I just, like, wait? This was supposed to be holidays? I’m supposed to be, like, sleeping, and chilling, and remembering how to be human and stuff? Urgh.

Anyway, it’s not terrible, it’s just busy, and after this weekend I should be able to have some genuine holiday time and read some books. I’m super hoping to get through 15-20 books these hols (I’m secretly aiming for 22, but I’m not telling myself that because I’ll freak out at how impossible that is to include in my schedule πŸ˜› For reference, I usually read about 50 books per year, so you know. Over-achieving here, much.) so next week I’ll do a quick write up of what I’ve read so far, I think, and it’s nearly time to do end-of-year wraps etc (WHOA).

Also, Patreon have just taken a MASSIVE dose of humility pie, and have publicly announced that they are NOT making the awful changes to the payment system that they have planned, and they have issued formal apologies and are just generally doing their best to be a Socially Responsible Company, so that’s pretty cool and a nice bright spot: it IS possible to be corporate AND have a soul! Who knew?! So yeah: My Patreon: Check it out πŸ˜‰ I’ll probably post some bonus stuff for all patrons over the holidays (I might even write a special short story just for patrons, cause I love my patrony-people THAT MUCH), so if you’re considering it, now’s a great time to jump in for as little as $1/month.

Anyhoo. That’s about all I have brain and time for: I have another two cakes I need to get in the oven, like, NOW if they are going to be done by the time I have to go party.

Love you all, and have a happy forthcoming weekend :3 <3

A

* I didn’t say it was bad Compulsory Work Fun, FYI.

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™‚

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™‚

MadeItMonday: Star Wars Cake Design

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™‚

This week we have pre-cake (just for a change, HA). I was commissioned to do a Star Wars cake recently (pics next week ;)) and this was a sketch of one of the early designs. Even though I didn’t end up using it, it was super fun to create! And I’m kind of tempted to allocate a couple of weeks over the Christmas holidays to trying a bunch of new cake decorating techniques, and I might use this as the basis for one of those. Whee!

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 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™‚

MadeItMonday: CAKE THE FIRST

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, buckle up: it’s the Month of Cakes!! First cake off the bench is this gloriously messy number, which was commissioned for a work birthday party. It’s a spice cake (my own recipe, primarily cinnamon and ginger, a little like gingerbread but… not?) with apple curd* filling between the three layers, covered with salted caramel buttercream**, drizzled with salted caramel sauce (this amazing recipe), and topped with candied apple slices and some toasted oats+honey for a little crunch.

The devourers tell me it went down a treat. Yay! πŸ™‚

* Apple curd is super easy: make lemon curd but use real-lime-juice-lime-cordial 50/50 with water in place of the lemon juice, and add in about 1/4-1/3 of a cup of stewed apple instead of lemon rind!

** I pretty much always use Italian meringue buttercream, which is rich, siiiiilky smooth, and not as intensely sweet as regular american or vienna buttercream (though it’s much richer).

YAY! CAKE!!! <3

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™‚

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MadeItMonday: 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™‚

Okay, getting back on track with this whole blogging thing, I promise. I spent the last few weeks dealing with horrendous deadlines and blogging died ded – but hopefully I can resurrect it now and all will be well again πŸ˜€

And what better way to kick this off again than with a (slightly belated) Made It Monday about CAKE!!!

Dude. Of course it was going to be cake. Of course.

Anyway, this is the cow cake I did for the small girl’s birthday a while back. If you’ve been paying attention at all this year you’ll have heard me talk about switching from the narwhals to the cows – and I’m pretty happy I did. It turned out really well. Hopefully I’ll do a post tomorrow or Thursday wrapping up the How To Have A Pinterest Party (Without Going Insane) series, and you can see how it all turned out then πŸ˜€

For today, CAKE!

I only have a picture of it with its ears cut off, but I nabbed one with the birthday girl from my sister’s facebook page, bwa ha ha. So here you have it: plan, cake, and post-cutting. Woo! Cake!

Β  Β 

 

PS This cake was so easy – it was literally just a circle cake. I cut two ‘leaf shapes’ out of it, one on each side, rounded the snout off a little, trimmed the leaf shapes so they would butt up against the cake flat – and each leaf became one ear + one horn 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™‚

Made It Monday: I Heart 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™‚

AH HA HA, I HEART CAKE. DO YOU GET IT?!?! …Okay so maybe scroll down for the pictures and then it will make sense. Ish. Inasmuch as I ever make sense. HAR.

So this is the birthday cake I baked the other week, transformed into pretty + tasty. Birthday family was super pleased. Yay! :3 Dark chocolate mud cake (my special recipe) filled with salted caramel meringue buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, covered with vanilla meringue buttercream. I was going to have three layers of filling, alternating caramel-chocolate-caramel, but I accidentally split the cake into 3 layers instead of 4, so never mind. It still tasted great, just not quite as caramelly as it could have done, and the inside doesn’t look symmetrical, which makes me moderately cranky (but honestly, I was too sick that weekend* to care too much, so eh).

* Did not infect cake. Promise.

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™‚