Me Inc.

Life takes on different journeys throughout our youth, but the drastic transformation from being an amateur to a professional (kid to an adult) is by far the greatest feat any human has to make in this lifetime, and too many fail to make that transition. All the excuses we have made to feel good about ourselves and the way we interact with the world will lead to an unfulfilling life if we chose to remain slaves to them.

I’ve always wondered why there exists such a dark force in our society. We are given all the wrong problems to solve as youths, which leads to short lived rebellion and perhaps a transition to conformity. We aren’t really given much of another option. We have to create that option for ourselves, and self actualization is so crucial to knowing what decisions are right for you and which ones are a waste of time.

If I want to catch the momentum that comes with youth, I know I will have to start choosing differently. When the timing is right, when you have a burning desire for change and creating (for me that time is now)—it’s important to shift your attention to all the little details and minor decisions you make every day. Time and energy is valuable and where you invest that energy is what determines what you will create in your life.

So here I am, writing another blog post after setting the project aside for over 6 months.

And that’s not all,

I’ve gone pro, so you can expect consistency this time! I will be working on a portfolio, and soon launch my own site to cater for events.

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–Chocolate cake with swiss meringue buttercream icing and apple caramel glaze–

 

Ingredients

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cups hot water
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cooking oil
6 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 egg whites
1 tsp tartar

Apple cider caramel glaze

2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. apple cider
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter in cubes

Swiss meringue buttercream

4 egg whites
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks + 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
1/4 cup apple cider glaze

Decorations

Caramel popcorn
Apple blossoms

 

 

Directions

Chocolate cake

Preaheat oven to 325 F and grease a 6” cake pan and a 9” cake pan.
Dissolve cocoa powder in hot water and let cool.
Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Make well in the center and add, in the order listed, the oil, egg yolks, water/cocoa mixture, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Using large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat until very stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold into batter, 1/4 at a time, until just blended. Pour between prepared pans.
Bake 50 minutes; raise oven to 350 F and bake 10 minutes longer until cake has pulled from sides of the pan.
Invert and let cake cool thoroughly.

Apple Cider Caramel Glaze

Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan. Set aside.
Put the sugar and apple cider in another saucepan and heat on medium high until the sugar starts melting, and carefully stir with a spoon until completely melted and lightly bubbling. Reduce on low heat for 15 minutes.
Add the butter, piece by piece, and stir until melted. Carefully add the warm cream (it will bubble up) little by little and stir until smooth.
Pour caramel into a jar and let cool to room temperature while you make the buttercream.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Pour egg whites and sugar in a clean and heat proof blow. Put the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. The bowl should fit snugly and the water should not be touching the bowl.
Whisk the sugar and eggs with a whisk constantly until the sugar is completely melted. (just rub some mixture between your fingers)
remove the bowl from the heat, beat until white, fluffy and cool with a stand or electric mixer. This step can take 5-10 minutes.
When the bowl feels cool to the touch, start adding the butter, piece by piece. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdles and soupy, just keep beating until smooth! Might take around 10 minutes. Add caramel glaze and beat until smooth.

Assembly

Cut cake layers in half. Place a layer on plate and spread a coat of your buttercream. Repeat with all layers and fill in the edges. Careful with the crumbs. If you’re having trouble, spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake and let solidify in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding rest of icing.
Garnish with popcorn and caramel glaze and apple blossoms! Let your creativity rule this step.

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The bridges between our lives
Darkened by the night
Need only speak, without a sound
To fill the emptiness inside

 

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STRAWBERRY APPLE LATTICE PIE

 

Pie Crust

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup ice cold water with 1 tbsp. lemon juice
pinch of salt

 

Directions
1. Mix together the flour and salt in a bowl, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes, and mix into the flour, breaking it apart with your fingers until flaky, and no big butter chunks remain. Place in the freezer another 3 minutes.
3. Add the cold water, and kneed the dough until a smooth but firm ball forms.
4. Flatten into a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge, and let sit for about one hour.

 

Apple and strawberry filling

Ingredients
3 large green apples, cut into cubes or slices.
about 2 quarts of strawberries, stemmed and cut into slices
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. butter

 

Directions
Mix all ingredients (except the butter) together in a bowl, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes until the juices all come out.
Strain the mixture and put the liquids in a small saucepan.
Simmer the juice until reduced by half, and set aside.

Directions for the pie
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Take out the pie dough, and divide the disk in half. Roll the first half and lay out on a regular pie plate.
3. Place all the fruit filling into the crust, and pour on some of the syrup.
4. Cut the butter in small chunks, and place on top of the fruits.
5. Roll out the other half of the dough, and cut in long strips. Weave them on top of the pie to create the lattice pattern.
6. Take an egg yolk and a tbsp. of milk and whisk together until smooth.
7. Using a pastry brush, brush on the egg mixture to cover the entire crust.
8. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, and then take it out. If the apples don’t seem cooked (they probably won’t) put on a sheet of aluminum foil and place in the oven again for 10-20 minutes. The pie should be golden and the juices should be boiling.
9. Let cool for at least 20 minutes, though one hour is best. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries…

 

Enjoy!

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Black Forest Magic

One strange thing about me–I’m no big fan of chocolate. I always get really strange reactions from people when I say this, because cooking is a passion of mine, yet my tastes are rather peculiar. I suppose what gets me through is my appreciation for flavors, and the subtle balance you can use to make any cake tastes like heaven in your mouth.

This cake is probably one of the best to showcase for this. The chocolate, cherries, subtle almond liqueur taste, and the fresh creamy mascarpone cream in the middle…they all made this cake absolutely sublime. Even to me, the girl who dislikes chocolate.

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday, and I forgot to take pictures, but it was a good time! I very much encourage anyone who loves chocolate to try this one.

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BLACK FOREST CAKE

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Cake
1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup pastry flour
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp hot water

Cherries in Disaronno
250 g whole cherries (weight with pits and all)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup Disaronno liqueur
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Dark chocolate ganache
75 g dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter

Mascarpone frosting
1 tub (250 g) mascarpone cheese
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream

Decoration
milk chocolate, shaved or grated
Fresh cherries for the top

Directions

Cake
1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Melt the butter and let it cool.
3. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients -salt, sugar, egg, sour cream, melted butter and hot water. Stir until completely smooth.
4. Divide batter between the prepared cake pans.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, then let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in their pans before inverting them onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely before using.

Cherries in Disaronno
1. Pit and halve the cherries and put them in a saucepan with the lemon juice, liqueur and sugar. Let come to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring carefully every now and then, until the cherries are soft but not mushy.
2. Pour the mixture through a strainer, with a bowl underneath to reserve the liquids. Put the cherries in another bowl to cool.
3. Prick holes in the cakes with a toothpick and brush with some of the kirsch liquid. If you wish to make a thicker syrup (which you can pour over the cake), put the remaining liquid back in the sauce pan and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely.

Dark chocolate ganache
1. Chop the chocolate finely and put in a bowl.
2. Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan until hot but not boiling, then pour the cream mixture on top of the chocolate. Leave for 30 seconds, then stir until completely smooth. Leave to cool to spreadable consistency.

Mascarpone frosting
Beat the mascarpone and sugar until creamy. Add the heavy cream and whip until thick.

Assembly
1. Put the first cake layer on a serving platter or cake stand. Spread the mascarpone frosting on top. Put all of the Disaronno cherries on top, then add some grated/shaved chocolate.
2. Top with the other cake layer. Spread a thick layer of ganache on top. Decorate with fresh cherries and chocolate shavings, and if you wish, the thickened kirsch syrup.

***

Note: Ignore the little cake, I made it for a friend with a gluten allergy, the recipe is only for one large cake!

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***

I apologize; I haven’t really kept up my promise of making one cake a week, but I’m trying my best…more cakes coming soon. 🙂

Cheers!

 

Chocolate Kiwi Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

 

I made my first sale this week! This cake, one of my first original recipes, was sold to my friend Jaymin’s dad for his mother’s birthday. I was so excited when he asked me if I would sell it to him. It marks my first official sale, and my first step into possibly making a side career with this hobby?? I definitely wouldn’t mind.

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CHOCOLATE KIWI CAKE WITH BROWNED BUTTER FROSTING

Chocolate Layers

Ingredients
1 cup pastry flour
6 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cups buttermilk

Directions
1. Preheat the over to 350°F.
2. Butter and flour two 6 inch cake pans, and set aside.
3. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Incorporate the buttermilk and flour mix in alteration, and whisk until batter is smooth.
5. Pour the mix into two prepared pans, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans, and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Vanilla Layer

Ingredients
1 cup pastry flour
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. poppy seeds

Directions
1. Preheat the over to 350°F
2. Butter and flour one 6 inch cake pan, and set aside.
3. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, water, oil, and vanilla. Whisk in flour mix until batter is smooth. Add the poppy seeds.
5. Pour the mix into the prepared pan, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Browned butter frosting

Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbsp heavy cream

Directions
1. Place butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until it melts completely.
2. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until the milk solids turn brown
and the butter smells nutty, about 5-10 minuter longer. Take care not to
burn (it will continue to brown even after you remove it from the heat,
so take it off early).
3. Scrape the melted butter and browned
bits into a small bowl and chill until almost solidified but still soft
enough to be beaten with an electric mixer (about 20-30 minutes in the
freezer, an hour or so in the fridge).
4. Put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the cream until frosting is fluffy.

Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients
4 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
35 g semi sweet or dark chocolate, chopped

Directions
Put cream, honey, butter and cocoa powder in a sauce pan. Heat until very hot but not boiling. Remove pan from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth.
2. Let glaze cool. If you find that the glaze is too thick to pour when cool, reheat it very carefully – just make sure it’s not warm when you pour it over the cake.

Decorations
5 Kiwis, ripe
White candy pearls
Flowers of your choosing

Assembling the cake
1. Start with a chocolate layer, and spread a bit of icing on top. Add some sliced kiwi (about 1 kiwi) on top of the icing, and spread more icing to just fill in the cracks.
2. Add vanilla-poppy seed layer, and do the same, with icing, and another layer of kiwi.
3. Finally place chocolate layer on top, and cover the whole cake with a thin layer of icing. Place in the fridge and let cool for 10 minutes.
4. Spread on the rest of the icing, and put back in the fridge.
5. Pour glaze around the edge of the cake and make sure it runs down the sides.
6. Cut the kiwis in any shape desired to decorate the cake, and place little white pearls on the rim of the cake on top of the chocolate glaze.
7. Decorate with flowers!

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***

“The dream that meets the eye
Is not a dream.
For the dream is the wild,
free born adventure,
that keeps the mind shifting…

We see through shaded lens,
but just how shaded are those lens?

Forget what you see.
All must be images of memories,
so surreal,
so…real.

But you cannot tell,
Because your grasp on reality is slowly loosening…
As your memories fade to make new ones.
Just how much do we forget in a lifetime?

All those dreams
All those faces,
They once held,
so much meaning.

I don’t want to keep going.

I don’t want to grow old.

Please take me,

to Neverland.”

 

Neapolitan Cake

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A week has already flown by since my last post! Time to make another cake! Here is the recipe and some pretty great pictures of my Neapolitan cake. Vanilla and chocolate layers with a meringue buttercream frosting with strawberries. And yes, those are strawberry macaroons on the top.

***

Now look at this picture carefully…how many owls can you spot???

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NEAPOLITAN CAKE

Vanilla Cake

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sunflower or canola oil
2/3 cup milk

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Prepare two 15 cm (6 inch) baking pans by greasing them with butter and dusting them with flour.
3.Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in medium sized bowl, and set aside.
4. With a hand mixer, beat eggs with the sugar and vanilla until batter is three times the size. (about 10 minutes)
5. Drizzle in the oil while continuing to beat the batter.
6. Add flour mix, and milk, alternating while beating on a low setting.
7. Divide batter among the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
1 cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (3/4 cups milk, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice)
1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup strong coffee, room temperature

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Prepare 2 15 cm (6 inch) baking pans by greasing them with butter and dusting them with flour.
3.Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in medium sized bowl, and set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat eggs with the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil with a whisk, and set aside.
5.In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and coffee until smooth.
6. Add to egg mixture. Add flour mix, and beat until just mixed.
7. Divide batter among the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cakes cool in their pans for 15 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack.

Strawberry swiss meringue buttercream

Ingredients
5 large egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 3/4 sticks butter, softened and cut in cubes
150 g strawberries, frozen or fresh, pureed (makes approximately 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp puree)
Directions
1. Pour egg whites and sugar in a clean and heat proof bowl (preferably stainless steel or glass). Put the bowl over a sauce pan with simmering water. The bowl should fit snugly, and the water should not be touching the bowl.
2. Whisk the sugar end eggs with a whisk constantly until the mixture reaches about 65°C (about 140-150 F). If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, just rub some mixture between your fingers. If the sugar has melted and mixture is hot to the touch, it’s ready.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat, whip until white, fluffy and cool with a stand- or electric mixer. This step can take a 5-10 minutes.
4. When the bowl feels cool to the touch, start adding the butter, piece by piece. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled and soupy, just keep beating. Add pureed strawberries to the buttercream and whip until smooth. Can take up to 10-15 minutes.

Assembly
1. Cut the cake layers’ tops off to create flat cakes.
2. Put the first layer, either chocolate or vanilla, on a cake stand or serving platter
3. Spread a layer of buttercream on the first layer, about 1/3 of a cup should do it.
4. Put the next layer on top. Repeat step 3 until you have used all layers.
5. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake to secure any crumbs. Put the cake in the fridge (but leave the bowl of buttercream in room temperature) for 10 minutes. Remove cake from the fridge and spread another, slightly thicker layer on the cake.
6. Decorate the cake with pink macaroons and blossoms of your choosing.

Enjoy!

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***

Here’s a poem I wrote when I turned 18 last summer. I’ve thought a lot these days about our connections with others and what it means. I think us humans help each other grow in ways we could not on our own. At the same time, it’s not an uncommon thing to feel very alone. Especially these days where more of our energy is spent on getting validation through social media rather than in building strong friendships. My guess is that something will come out of this very lonely time. Maybe we will dig deeper into what it means to be human.

“We don’t need to be creative.
we just need to create.
We shift constantly, because we find ourselves again and again,
Being, as always, a turning wheel of thoughts….

I am changing but forever the same.
Because I am all, and all is in me.
The sky holds the moon, but the moon owns the sky.
And what is more meaningful? Power is just in the mind after all.

Don’t try and understand.
I just need to feel okay for a minute.
I talk to myself, convinced I’m talking to you.
Surely I’m not the wise one here.

I’m laughing out loud, thinking of the impossibility that someone is here.
We’re all gone. All of us.
Gone.
Inside, outside, anywhere that we can run to.
Is true connection even feasible?

Come anyway…
you’re invited. I love the thought of loving you,
even if it won’t truly manifest.
we can walk the roads that cover the world,
together.

Of course, its a path I could take alone.
But with you,
the dance would be twice as beautiful.

So what I’m asking is,
will you give me the pleasure
of the next dance?”

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More cakes coming soon, ciao for now!

Balsamic Strawberries

A Sweet and Sour Introduction

***

“Souls bound in body and mind,
Like lost owls,
Searching not only to find
The truth,
The flaw,
But a gateway,
Forever open,
To love.”

05/23/17

Springtime is here, and that means it’s finally time hold up two fingers to yesterday’s long, cold, harsh winter. It’s time for new beginnings—time to get excited about EVERYTHING again.

One of my most prominent traits is that I’m easily bored…sometimes with myself, but mostly with the world. I always search for ways of making it more beautiful, more exciting—more meaningful. A lot of times that’s not easy for me and I lose sight of what makes me truly feel alive: creating. Whether I write a piece of music, a poem, draw, paint a poster, or make food fit for the eyes of a Queen…it always becomes a reminder that this strange planet combined with imagination can be quite the exciting playground.

I’m an 18 year old musician, with dreams of becoming a film composer. This summer my family will be opening a restaurant in Plainfield, Vermont, and I will be made head of the pastry department. I hope to start my own business on the side to cater gourmet cakes and other desserts and pastries for weddings and other events. I also want to travel and see the world through different cultures before I can settle down, and basically, I plan on creating my life to be one crazy adventure with many, many different stages. I plan on doing everything in my power to find the cure to my seemingly chronic boredom!

And so, I am creating this blog to share all that I am with you. To show you (and further convince myself) that this planet is really where it’s at! I encourage you to follow me through this blogging journey filled with art, existential conversations, fancy foods, stories, poetry, and I will also be featuring all kinds of characters from my life that I call friends and family. To start off this sweet and sour adventure, here’s the recipe for my Fluffy Sponge Cake with Balsamic Strawberries! Isn’t it the cutest? I hope you can handle this one.

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FLUFFY SPONGE CAKE WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES

A recipe by Linda Lomelino – Call me Cupcake – http://www.callmecupcake.se

yields one 9.5 inch cake, serves 6-8

This cake doesn’t keep very well in the fridge–the strawberries tend to get a little mushy after a while, so make sure to prepare the strawberries and cream topping right before serving!

Ingredients

The sponge cake
2/3 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temperature

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
zest from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp milk

The balsamic strawberries
300 g fresh strawberries
1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest from 1/2 lemon

The topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp granulated sugar
Fresh mint leaves and wild strawberry blossoms


Directions

Sponge cake
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Butter and flour a 9-9.5-inch cake pan. Make sure you get some on the sides of the pan.
3. Melt butter and let cool.
4. Beat the eggs and sugar until lighter in color and texture, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the melted butter.
5. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Gently stir the flour
mixture into the egg mixture. Add lemon zest and milk and stir until batter is smooth.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
8. Let cake cool for 10 minutes before sliding a knife
around the edge and removing cake out of the pan. Let cool to room temperature.

Balsamic strawberries & topping
1. Hull the strawberries and cut them into thirds lengthwise. Place them in a bowl and toss with sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, vanilla and lemon zest. Cover the bowl and let stand for 30 minutes until the berries release their juices. Toss every now and then.
2. Prick holes in the cake with a knife and spoon some of the syrup from the berries on top of the cake.
3. Whip the cream with the sugar to soft peaks. Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake. Spoon strawberries on top and decorate with some mint leaves. Drizzle any leftover syrup on top of the cake.

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***

During my first semester at Bishop’s University, I met a bass-guitar player and singer, Jaymin, who was in the same rock combo as I was. As my first fellow musician friend, I invited him over one night to jam and exchange music.

As the night progressed, we both got pretty hungry, so I decided I would try and cook something. I had just moved into my dorm, and while I had a kitchen, I didn’t have much food to cook with. So I thought I’d improvise–I’d done that before with some pretty good results! My ingredients consisted of flour, salt, and eggs. No jokes, that’s all I had. Hmm…no sugar, so we can’t make cookies. (tragic) I decided I would try making eggs-on-crust. Sounds great doesn’t it? I don’t even know why I thought that was a good idea to begin with, and it turned out to be the most awful tasting piece of food I’d ever made. My pride as a cook was crushed. He ended up going home hungry, and I told him I’d somehow redeem myself one day. Well my friends, today was the day!

It’s been over a year since this happened, but it’s never too late to wipe away frightening memories for good! This is a shot of Jaymin eating my cake, and while the egg-biscuit-monstruosity isn’t very hard to beat–I think I’ve managed to make my point.

I’m not that bad of a cook you know!

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