I’ve been wanting to share my sad birthday cake story for the last couple of weeks - but I’m not a great food photographer & just didn’t think a baking mishap was all that interesting. But the fact that I turned it around kind of is so . . . ?
About a month ago I had an idea that I wanted to make a cake for my kids 20th birthday. I probably haven’t made a cake since he was 2? (At some point the crazy box brownies from Trader Joe’s were just easier & way more appreciated lol). At any rate - I decided to make him the cake my mom used to make me every year for my birthday, which is Mocha Pound Cake.
I've tried the recipe a couple times as an adult (probably pre-kids), and all I could remember that it turned out kind of dry. So as I put things together I made an executive decision to use less flour, and to alter the baking time to be about 20 minutes shorter. And also to use butter instead of the margarine that the recipe called for because who uses margarine any more?!? ?
Ultimately, while the batter was fabulous ... the finished cake was so dry (despite my attempts to make it be otherwise) - it was pretty much a complete fail. ?Literally as a cake the only place it belonged was in the trash. #sadness.
But (but!) I decided to instead repurpose it! I cut the whole thing up & froze the slices in individual sandwich bags and turned it into Chocolate Bread! New name, new life . . . throw a piece in the toaster & slather it with butter? That’s some damn good toast! Even my kid gave it a thumbs up. ????
All of which is to say that sometimes when things seem crappy - maybe they just need a little bit of perspective to make them delicious. Yep - that’s my life-coach-y take on a bad baking outcome . . . you’re welcome! ?
This might also be the reason my fitness goals are taking a teeny bit longer than I think they should? ??♀️
What about you? Have you had a cooking/baking fail that you turned into something better? You know I'm dying to hear about it - leave a comment or send me a note!
Oh & if you really want to try . . . here's the recipe!
Mocha Pound Cake
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2 3/4 C Flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 C Cocoa
3 Tbsp Instant coffee powder
2 tsp Vanilla
1 C Sour Cream
Cream butter & sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Measure & mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa & coffee powder. The SIFT.
Add to creamed mixture and beat until well blended. Add vanilla & sour cream & blend well.
Spoon batter into greased & flour dusted 9 or 10 inch tube pan (bundt pan), and spread evenly. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes before inverting onto rack to cool completely.
Toast as needed. :)
Oh my gosh - I can't believe it's been almost four months since my Photography + Life Coaching retreat in Mexico . . . and I haven't really given you a full recap of how it went. That's just plain Cray!
The truth is that even though I committed to sharing about it a couple of weeks ago - I've been massively resistant. I finally took a look at that this morning to figure out why and came up with:
Both of those things are pretty silly, so I'm going to get right to the point and tell you how off-the-charts-RAD it was: It was so RAD that honestly I can't quite believe I did it and sometimes I still have to pinch myself. In fact, here are a few words from some of my retreaters . . . just so you don't think I'm only tooting my own horn. (I totally am - but gosh it's validating when other people join in!)
Before attending Eileen’s San Miguel de Allende, Mexico retreat I was feeling all dried up. I couldn’t figure out where I’d lost my spark, or how to get it back. From day one I was thrilled to discover Eileen’s retreat was like one big “Artist’s Date” with yourself (and a few soon-to-be good friends).
While basic photography skills were the focus, from the beginning she also had us doing simple and easy arts and crafts projects that loosened us up, invited us to play, and helped us toss procrastination and perfectionism out the window. All this fun had the wonderful effect of getting us in touch with intuitive knowledge of our hopes and dreams, while fueling them at the same time! Eileen is so down to Earth and authentic, it puts you instantly at ease and lets you know you're being cared for (not to mention the gorgeous retreat house and amazing private chefs from an organic farm!)
Eileen showed us how simple art-making can be an easy way to transform your daily life from dreary to sparkly. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing, fun, and life-changing retreat! - Jen M.
(I might have cried when I read that the first time. #forreal)
The truth is that I knew I could put on a fantastic retreat, I had a venue that was over-the-top, a caterer who not only made us the most delicious farm-to-table organic meals, but who loved on us like family, and a location that is to die for. San Miguel de Allende is so magical - going into it I just felt like whatever my retreaters learned from me (and each other!) would just be icing on a crazy-cool cake.
Granted, I put my heart & soul into making it exceptional - everything from the retreat activities/content to special treats for my VIP's to a Saturday morning Photo Journaling session with Jen Trulson - I can honestly say that I'm so proud of my hard work and it was a resounding success!
Some more kind words . . .
"One of my intentions for 2018 was to do more things I love, even if I had to do them solo. On Jan 4th, a friend posted about the Eye Wonder retreat and I knew this was my first opportunity to live this out! Lucky for me, it combined 4 of my favorite things - photography, travel, meeting new people and Mexican food!
Before I could think of reasons not to, I reached out to Eileen to get registered. Within a few days, I had booked a VIP spot and while I was nervous about all the details, Eileen answered every question I had leading up and I arrived ready for an adventure. I knew we'd eat well, take lots of photos, but I was not at all prepared for how beautiful all the details would be. The stunning location, delicious meals, creative sessions, and oh so lovely retreat participants all worked together to create a wonderful, relaxing environment where I felt cared for, at ease and ready to explore.
I came with some expectations to learn more about myself and photography, but left with so much more.
Look how cute we are!! And see that TALL kid on the right? Yup - I brought my teenage boy with me! I know that sounds crazy on paper - but he is seriously one of my favorite people and I know he's not going to want to hang out with me forever . . . so I took advantage of this time and included him in the trip. I'll just say that when I did the quick feedback session at the end of the weekend - these women put him in the "What We Loved" column. :) He's already asking me about next year . . . so I'm letting you know that I'm looking at the third week in March (tentatively). If you wanted to come with me to Mexico this year and weren't able to make it - message me here and I'll add you to my "first to know!" retreat email list for 2019!
I hope you'll consider it because #thisisgonnabeevenbetter
p.s. Want to see more sparkle like this in your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter below!
Meet me here on Saturdays for some weekly vibes - honoring the week that has past, and clearing the way for what's new. Gather your journal and favorite pen, along with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chai - and settle in for 30 minutes dedicated to YOU.
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