Thanks for joining me here today. I have some beautiful cupcake photos to share with you, so grab a cuppa, find a quiet place and let’s have a chat.
Thanks to everyone who requested the recipe for my healthy banana bread last week. I will be getting onto that in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out. Also, a hearty ‘hoorah’ to all of you who made my Bushwalker Biscuits from two weeks ago. I have loved all of the photos and appreciate you letting me know how much you and your families have enjoyed them.
This week I was planning on sharing my best ever chocolate cupcake recipe, as well as trying out a new method of ‘blooming’ Swiss meringue buttercream, which is a way of achieving a really dark, intense colour frosting. SMBC can be temperamental (and quite frankly as emotionally unstable as a menopausal mother) and so adding a lot of gel paste colour can alter the consistency of the buttercream making it unusable. An alternate method is to ‘bloom’ about a quarter of a cup of coloured buttercream by melting it in a microwave for ten seconds, which darkens the colour significantly. You then add this bloomed buttercream to the rest of your batch and voila! In theory you get the smoothest, richest beautifully dark colour. (You may need to repeat this blooming method a few times for a large batch of buttercream and also add extra gel paste).
‘In theory’ being the key phrase here. While in the end I did manage to get somewhat close to the deeply romantic indigo shade of blue I was after, I still ended up using two bottles of gel paste and the colour stained everything in its path. I am still trying to get it out of my fingernails four days later. Of course my buttercream split and turned out all weird (I told you it was obnoxious), but I managed to reheat it which mostly brought it back together long enough to pipe. In the end I was happy.
Anyway, by the time I got the cupcakes iced, decorated and photographed, I realised you couldn’t really see much of the delicious chocolate cupcakes, so my grand plan of sharing the recipe with you has ended up in the bin with the cupcakes. Never fear my friends, I will challenge myself to bake some chocolate cupcakes with nice plain
boring white vanilla bean frosting so you can see all the glorious details.
Meanwhile, we can still enjoy these pretty pictures. Seriously, don’t you just love the colour?! Ahhh. And how perfectly matched to the deep violet hue of the pansies. I’m still feeling it.
All this to say that one of my creative goals for this year has been to keep showing up. There have been many years where I have been unable to create, discouraged from creating or simply put it so far down on the priority list that it hasn’t existed at all. This year, with all of my children in school, after almost two decades of homeschooling, I decided it was time to bring my creativity out of the box again.
In order to grow my skills in baking, styling and photography, I realise that I need to primarily do one thing.. show up. Keep coming back into my kitchen, keep planning shoots, keep baking, try new recipes and flavour combos, keep taking photos, keep exploring and stretching my skills. I know it sounds obvious, but it has been such a revelation to me that simply by showing up again and again each week, my skills will grow and I will move closer to discovering my own unique style in an oversaturated world of cake images. I’m actually really stoked! Ha!
Speaking of unique design, do you want to know my favourite movie at the moment? Cruella. Yes!! All together now…’Cruella, Cruella, Cruella De ville….’ Have you seen it!? Oh my hat! I could hardly stay in my seat in the cinema when I saw it and actually had to text one of my grunge loving friends half way through to try and curb my excitement before I burst! It was SOO GOOD! Apart from the ridiculously stunning outfits, makeup and exquisite dresses, the startling colours and insanely over the top steam punk excess of well just about everything, the one thing that screamed out at me the whole time was;
‘This what it looks it looks like to walk into your destiny!!’
I know, I know, she is a wicked villain in the making, but wow! can’t you just see how Miss Cruella was born to walk in stylish fabulousness and brilliance. Nothing average about this diva. I love it when she fully commits to becoming Cruella after wrestling with her more pleasant alter ego Estella. There is something liberating in surrendering to your destiny, accepting and embracing your own individuality. Ahh, I love it!
One of my favourite scenes is when, as a misfit child, she stumbles into a room full of glamorously eccentric fashionistas and declares, “I just knew for the first time in my life, that I belonged.”
Have you ever had that ‘A-ha’ moment when in the midst of doing something you really love, you stop and suddenly realise that you were born to do this!? That’s how I feel about creating beauty through my cupcakes and photography. I actually believe we all have that something deep within us and sometimes it takes years, or even a lifetime to figure out what it is that makes us flourish in our own unique design. But let me encourage you my friends, if you know what it is that makes you feel alive, keep doing it! Keep showing up, keep exploring your gifts, use whatever is in your hands right now and find a way to make it work in your busy lives. Keep moving forward into your creative destiny. Unless of course you have a particular interest in the pretty black and white coats of Dalmatians, then I suggest you try pottery.
Until next week,
Love Anna xx