You know that picture in your head, the impossibly perfect one? You see it when you're imagining how that royal icing flood will turn out. You see it in the back of your mind when attempting a side dutch braid. You see it clearly when you're trying to match that DIY project you saw on Pinterest. Then suddenly your flood fails, your braid is broken and your DIY is a major don't.
We probably set ridiculously high expectations for ourselves. I know I do. I'm pretty sure I can count the number of times reality matched my imagination on one hand. This is one of those times.
I'll admit I was terrified to try this frosting technique. It's trendy, it's cute and it looks super complicated. For a perfectionist like myself, I was certain it would be a flop. I was worried the consistency of the frosting would be too thick, too dry and just not friendly. I was worried my rows would start slanting and look crooked. I was worried I wouldn't have enough frosting to finish.
All my worrying was for nothing. This technique is deceptively easy to pull off and very forgiving. The recipe I used was the perfect consistency and even the exact amount.
You want to make a petal cake of your own? Sure you do!
I'm a huge fan of the written word. I love reading it, I love writing it and, above all, I love learning more about it. I'm one of those people that, when encountering a new word in a book, I immediately look up the definition. I can't read on without it. It's like stepping out your door with only one shoe on. You feel incomplete, imbalanced and unsure. You can stumble upon misconception just like a rusty nail.
I use my dictionary app more than my angry birds app. I probably google the origin of words and phrases at least five times a day. I just hunger for words, for knowledge, for understanding. I'm the sort of person that can't be content in knowing a thing, I have to know why and how and sometimes when and where too.
It fascinates me that, in the grand scheme of things, English is a relatively new language and therefore borrows from other European languages. There are few English words that you can bring to mind today that aren't influenced by another language either loosely or literally. Decimation comes from the Latin word decimatio, a punishment practice implemented by Roman generals whereby a legion would be separated into groups of ten and made to draw lots to determine the tenth to be executed. We even use words on a daily basis that are completely in another language like entrepreneur, kindergarten and chocolate.
English is this inconstant creature forever in a state of flux. It's constantly absorbing information, always influenced by culture and changing to meet our needs. We've gone from Beowulf to Romeo and Juliet to Great Expectations to Harry Potter. Fedex, dance-off and muggle are in the dictionary for crying out loud!
While it's easy to take the low road and subscribe to the opinion that popular acronyms like OMG, YOLO and LOL are somehow the architects of the English language's demise, I prefer another theory. We're just entering a different stage of evolution. Do you think Shakespeare and Dickens could carry on a coherent conversation without cliff's notes? We might resist at first, but eventually the transition will come naturally.
Words are magical. Words can frighten you, delight you, thrill you and definitely inspire you. With words I can't paint beautiful pictures before your mind's eye. With just a few words you can be saddened, overjoyed or enraged.
For example, I could tell you that this cake is the perfect balance of chocolate and orange, bitter and sweet, rich and light, dark and bright. I could tell you that beneath waves of velvety Dark Chocolate Frosting lies a cake striped with ribbons of deep chocolate and fruity orange surrounding and thick layer of aromatic Orange Curd. Each bite is so tantalizing to all five senses we may need to define a sixth or seventh. Immediately you should begin to feel the physiological effects of these few choice words. Your pupils start to dilate, your eyes widen, your mouth waters, your stomach growls and suddenly that cookie you're about to stuff in your face doesn't seem good enough.
I'd like to tell you a funny story or wax poetic about sunsets, but honestly I just don't have the time. You were probably going to skip all the words and go straight to the pretty pictures anyway.
So, much like a ninja with a smoke bomb, here are some yummy pictures of cupcakes to distract you while I make my swift exit.
I know, it's hot outside. I should be making ice cream, or popsicles, or lemonade. The last thing I should be doing is turning on the oven. But what if I made the doughnut version of lemonade? And what if I told you they only take five minutes to bake?
You'd forgive me right?
I thought so.
Not just any lemonade either. Cherry Lemonade. You'll find no boring old lemonade in this house. Actually you'll find no lemonade. Because I drank and/or ate it all.
I'm not sure what it is about lemonade that's just so undeniably refreshing. Maybe it's because it's best to drink it super cold with loads of ice cubes. Maybe it's because of that satisfying crack noise the ice makes when you drop each inside. Maybe it's because of those beads of condensation that form on the outside of the glass that make it all so inviting. Maybe it's because of the bendy straw you just have to drink it from so you don't get ice in your face every time you take a sip or because it's lemonade and it's wrong not to. Maybe it's because of that instinct you get to drink it on the porch since it's the closest you can get to lounging on a sunny beach somewhere with a floppy hat and oversized sunglasses.
Maybe it's a combination.
I always enjoy taking an classic recipe and mixing it up a bit. What could be more classic than lemonade? It's the new and improved pink lemonade! This version is just as refreshing, twice addictive and thrice adorable. Being that they're bite-sized they tend to disappear quickly. Get some before they're gone!
I'm back! Finally right? Have you ever had one of those vacations where you need another vacation just to recover from it? Yeah, that was me.
I had all these lofty ideas to post updates for you about how the visit was going salt and peppered with cute shots of chocolate daisy toppers, polka dot baking cups and an army of cupcakes. That didn't happen. That was a stupid idea. I'm stupid.
I barely had time to sleep let alone have the energy to post devilishly clever blog posts or keep my eyes open for Photoshop. The week was a whirlwind of events from a little firearm education with dad to lions and tigers and bears at the zoo. Manicures and pedicures with the ladies to Sandbanks with mom. A little Indonesian cuisine with the family to girly movies and giggling with my best friend. Curling, speeches, tours, appointments, photos, new friends, old friends... Cupcakes and lots of 'em!
I thought it would be too soon if I never saw another cupcake in my life. After a full day of baking twelve dozen cupcakes, filling twelve dozen cupcakes, frosting twelve dozen cupcakes, topping twelve dozen cupcakes and packing twelve dozen cupcakes I wasn't interested in eating even one. The three flavours were a hit at the wedding and they were nearly devoured before the photographer could snap the traditional cutting the cake photo. It was a beautiful wedding and Lisa and Jamie were the sweetest couple!
I was really excited about this particular cupcake because I personally considered it the signature flavour being that it was a fall wedding. Since I never tried it, or posted anything about the wedding like a good blogger would do, I decided just one batch wouldn't kill me. This time I took my time and planned ahead. Unlike last time when I forgot the jam entirely and accidentally bought a kilogram of whole wheat flour. This time there was no hair pulling, no exploding piping bags, no mountains of tupperware, no assembly line, no late night trips to my brother's new refrigerator. Just a little Ani DiFranco and a lot of love.