Audrey vs. Australia

Joel: it’s a town in Queensland.

Me:  How is it spelled? Like, C-A-N-N-E-S?

Joel: No, it’s–

Me: C-A-N–

Joel: C-A-I-R-N-S.

Me: Really?

Joel: Yeah. What?

Me: how is C-A-I-R-N-S pronounced like “cans”? There’s an A-I-R in there. 

Joel: Yeah, like CAAAAIRNS.

Me: that still doesn’t sound like cans. 

Cairns, Queensland, your gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

I mean, I’m from the Land of faux-French-dropped-letters-and-terrible-pronounciation, and even I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

Then, moments later, we had a debate on how to pronounce Sioux. And I conceded.

Oh language. You are weird.


Today, a series of events:

  • Left the house late
  • Crowded bus
  • Burnt coffee
  • Forgot the referral I’m supposed to bring for the doctor I’m about to see at the apartment
  • Crowded train
  • Cancelled train, one stop later, due to power failure
  • Scramble to find new bus stop (bus lines can be hard ok?)
  • 2 semi-frantic calls to the doctor’s office because I’m standing at their address and can’t find their office and my appointment is in 4 minutes
  • Find office at exact time of my appointment
  • Doctor is 20 minutes late
  • Pay $300 consult fee (ouch)
  • Standing room only on train back to the city
  • Walk up and down the same street for 10 minutes looking for building #87-89 and not seeing it (seriously, again?), but keep coming back to building #88. After second call to the office, realise I’m on the wrong side of the street. (D’oh)
  • After a few more minutes of walking down the opposite side of the street, find that 87-89 is a full block ahead of building 88, in reverse order and in between numbers that don’t correspond in order. Nowhere is this fun fact mentioned on the website or by the office manager who answered my 3 phone calls (yes I called a third time) trying to find the damn entrance.
  • Pay $200 for consultation because I misunderstood the website. (D’oh, again)
  • Battle angry-sad PMS demon all the way home.

Some days are just dumb and expensive. And then, some days are dumb and expensive and hormonal. But sometimes, after said dumb, expensive, hormonal day, you realise you’re sitting on your couch in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, wearing sweatpants and watching Jackass 3* and you think, “things could always be worse.” 

After all, I got a smattering of good news today that I hope comes true. And our home feels extra homey lately, and not just an apartment we live in. And PMS doesn’t last forever**. Things are lookin’ up. 

*I mean, I never thought I’d be a fan of Jackass, but hey. That’s not the worst show that I’m into. (Cough, Sisterwives, cough)

**at least until menopause. Which is kind of a shitty deal, isn’t it? Maybe things aren’t looking up. o_0

A letter to my 20 year old self

Dearest 20 year old Audrey,

Oh, you.

This is your 30 year old self, here to offer you a glimpse into what’s coming, and maybe some advice (even though you won’t take it, because you’re *really sure* only you know what’s up. Trust me, though, you don’t. Not even a little). So, here goes, some advice to you, you fragile little creature.

-take college seriously. Quit some of your jobs and focus on school. Give a shit about your classes. Take internships that are offered to you. I know it’s hard while you’re depressed. Just fight through it. The grades and knowledge will be worth it. And yes, I know you’re conflicted about leaving New York and transferring to GMU, but don’t worry. You’re going to meet people there who shape your life for the best. AND STOP SKIPPING CLASS.

-leave him the second you think you should. It will save you years of heartache and self-doubt. Stand up for yourself, and don’t let him rip you down. That’s a lesson you’re going to wish you had learned at 20.

-don’t accept that credit card with a $3000 limit. $3000 isn’t an emergency card–it’s a ticket to Trouble Town. And please start saving money. Get a therapist, not another credit card.

-while we are on the subject, stay out of H&M. You won’t own a single thing you bought there for more than a year, and you’ll save yourself about $5k.

-With all that money you save, go on every vacation offered to you, and study abroad. It gets more difficult to travel when you get older.

-study Mom whenever she makes a meal. You’ll wish you’d done that more when she’s not a phone call away.

-don’t spend so much time freaking out about not being where you think you should be. You will learn the hard way that you spent the freest years of your life digging through the “I Should Be” pile, and comparing yourselves to others.

-enjoy that metabolism. And that hair.

-stop panicking about what ifs. What ifs will be lurking around almost every decision you make, because you’re high strung. That’s you. Just relax. There’s a lot ahead for you. And even if you don’t listen to me at all, you still end up living in Australia with your soul mate. And you’ll still be writing. And you’ll be employed. And you’ll still be able to fit in most of your high school clothes. And that’s pretty much above average.


Your 30 Year Old Self

ps. Don’t get rid of that black sleeveless shirt with the lace Victorian style collar. It’s almost ridiculous how much you end up missing it.

Things I love

This Instax Wall 

IMG_3633 While I was at work on Tuesday, Joel printed out a bunch of Instax photos of our time together and hung them in the hallway leading to our bedroom. I smile everytime I walk past it. Especially at that ghetto gold wearing mean mug photo taken in 2013, which feels like a million years ago. We were devouring day old Olive Garden salad and listening to Juicy Jay when he took that photo. /hardcore

This Hoodie 

IMG_3632I have a serious love for lounge clothes. I walked past this hoodie at the ol’ Targèt back in the States more times than I can count, always wanting it, but putting it back because it just wasn’t *quite* what I wanted. Until one day, I bought it on impulse. The inside looks like terry cloth, so it feels like wearing a towel (which is awesome). It’s lightweight, and it looks vintage. The zipper has yet to stick and the fabric has yet to pull or pill. But, it’s an irreparably dingey creme color that doesn’t match much besides all my grey clothes, and the stripes make me look pregnant when zipped up.

I'm in my second trimester of butter gestation.
I’m in my second trimester of butter gestation.

Still, I kept it around because there is just something about it that makes me happy. But, in my ruthless clothes purge on Sunday, my motivation was to get rid of things I hung on to “because they made me happy”, but that I never wear. So I tossed this in the donate pile, figuring I’d find something better. When Joel saw it in the pile, he said, “but that’s your favorite hoodie!” And I thought about it. It is one of my go-to comfort pieces. Just because I don’t wear it out doesn’t mean I don’t wear it. I put it on and I’ve worn it all week. Joel says this hoodie is “Classic Audrey flavour.” And now I can never get rid of it. Way to save it from the reaping, Joel.

This Show

IMG_3635You know when you’re drunk, and you have a really deep, important, mind blowing conversation with someone and you wake up the next morning remembering only bits and pieces? Five years in, and every season premiere of Game of Thrones makes me feel the same way. No wonder the books have glossaries. But it’s still awesome.

This Sake Glass Filled with Pink Milk 

We just watched Fed Up, which let me know that I’m addicted to sugar. Which made me want to eat more sugar. Mmm. Processed Foods.

Joel bought this jar full of sake while he was in Japan. I know pink milk is basically the opposite of sake, but pink milk panda cup is the greatest.

What are you loving this week?

Cyclone City

Since Sunday night, the weather has been ridiculous. First, it was colder than it has been. Then, gale force winds, non-stop driving rain*, floods, and we woke up this morning to great thunder claps, crazy lightning, and hail. It even SNOWED in a few places. The traffic has been extra shitty, the streets are filled with tree debris, and the bins are filled with inside out umbrellas. It’s looking a bit demilitarized around here.

Cyclone carnage.

Last night, I met with Joel’s mom quickly to get some paperwork for my visa (hooray! everything is done!), and she gave me some chicken soup and bakery fresh bread. We layered up in sweats and blankets and ate, and I don’t know when we’ve ever been happier. If there’s something better than a hot shower when you’re wet and cold and tired, it’s a hot bowl of delicious mom-made-soup and fresh bread after said hot shower.

We also watched Dracula Untold, which starred a Jimmy McNulty lookalike as Dracula. It was hard not to make Dracula/Wire jokes throughout. Also, it’s a good Dracula re-tooling… mostly because it has the whole Tragedy of Darth Vadar story line and a Jimmy McNulty lookalike. And an awesome impaling scene. Just check it out. It’s fun.

I sat in bed listening to the storm this morning, and asked Joel if it would be crazy for me to call out of work because I was afraid of being struck by something from the sky–electric or icy or whatever. With the Idiot Girl week I’ve been having, I was concerned that the steel toes in Docs would be conductors. But they’re the only shoes I can wear that won’t leave my feet soaked. They also make me over 6 feet tall and apparently climbing stairs in them makes my calves so sore I can barely walk. /champion. And when Joel said I shouldn’t take my umbrella because that would be the conductor, I nearly cried.

But, being the peach he is, Joel fed me coffee, wrapped me in an extra rain coat, and shoo’d me out the door. And once I got on the street, the weather lightened up. I even saw blue skies briefly when I got to work.

IMG_3600The rain came back just in time for me to be sent home with a migraine (joy), and around 3 today, the rain pretty much stopped, it’s started again, but thankfully without the wind and storms. From what I’ve heard, this kind of weather is an Australian winter thing, and it doesn’t usually happen this hard core–unlike summer in the North, where cyclones seem to happen every two weeks.

I’m thankful for an apartment whose windows don’t leak, and for a space heater that warms our room in about 10 minutes. Also, is there anything like that firey smell of the first heating session of the year? Ha, I’m just really excited about all things cold weather right now. Did I tell you I wore socks *and* slipper boots *and* a long sleeved shirt with a jumper over it *and* sweat pants *and* sat under a blanket next to Joel and it was amazing? I don’t like how the cold weather doesn’t dry our towels all the way, but I’m really elated to not be leaving sweat trails everywhere.

We are supposed to have sunny skies tomorrow, so fingers crossed. I love rain, but even I’m over it at this point.

(See: socks not drying out all the way in cold air)

*or as my coworkers said, “it’s absolutely pissing rain.” I heart Australia.

Monday, Rainy, Monday

Is there anything better than a hot shower after you’ve been soaked by cold rain? I don’t think so.

It’s been raining and blustery since I woke up at 5:30 AM (thank you, office move and new 40 minute longer commute), which is perfect for me. I didn’t even mind so much when I was crossing the intersection and my umbrella blew inside out and my groceries got rained on and I stepped in a puddle. I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m still euphoric that it’s autumn and I can wear 2 layers and still feel chilly. Even if it’s been 2 hours and my hair is still damp. And I’ll probably feel this way until I wake up one day and I can feel frost on the windows… But even then, I’m sure I’ll remember the summer days when I would wake up with a tissue in my hand, dabbing the sweat off my face (true story, it happened more than once!), and I’ll think “this isn’t so bad.”

Life at my new office is awkward, as to be expected with any new merge. It’s like when the Stamford branch came to Scranton. Except we’re Scranton and the new office is Stamford and the building is full of Karen’s and Josh’s and it’s not nearly as fun anymore.  Ah well.

Office life.

Our weekend was crazy productive. I went on an organization tear and went  on a ruthless purge. We also started our gallery wall, which I’m really excited to finish this week. We drank 800 cups of coffee, started and finished Better Call Saul, and ate delicious — and homemade — dinners. Including Waygu beef cheeseburgers and chili-hot-dog-tater tot party. We might have gained a few pounds and our hearts are pumping a little slower today, but damn. Totes worth it.


We started American Horror Story from the first season because neither of us have finished a full season, and we’re almost done with the first season. It’s so good! Good campy cold weather viewing.

That’s about it for us today… It’s cold, and my new early bird wake up time means I’m off to bed. It kinda sucks that I’m back to a “leave the house at 6:45 AM and get back at 6:30 PM” routine. But, I’m lucky to have a job, and at least I’m not driving through it. Oh man. Thank you sweet baby Jesus for public transportation.

Meal Planning. Or, not eating beyond our means.

On Friday, we made a last minute decision to order in Chinese. Last minute as in, we had bee watching Better Call Saul for the better part of 5 hours when we suddenly hit a hangry crisis. After vaguely assessing what food we had in the kitchen, and realizing most things would need defrosting or other components of food we didn’t have, we landed on Chinese. Again. For the second Friday in a row.

After we placed our order, we realized that we did have provisions for emergency meals–like 3 different meals. And then we came to the stark realization of just how much money we have spent on eating out in the last two weeks. And then I thought of how much I’ve spent on eating out in the last two weeks.

And suddenly I wasn’t hangry or hungry or anything. I felt a bit like an addict who has been pulled into an intervention.

“Hello, my name is Audrey, and I’m addicted to restaurant meals and convenience foods.”

Now, we’ve made various pledges to ourselves in the last few months about eating better and saving money.

“This is the last time we are ordering pizza.”

“No, these are our last hoorah cookies. No more after this!”

“We need to make a meal plan. No more Oporto.”
“Right. No more Oporto.”

“Should we get Oporto?”

All the pledges have left us with are empty pizza boxes on our fridge, empty sweet containers in the rubbish, and elevated cholesterol levels. And decidedly less money in our savings account. Like, a shocking amount. But Friday night was the first time we felt legitimately shitty about it. Not just the regular shitty you feel after eating take out food, but the emotional kind of shitty. After all, you never get the money back that you waste on cheap food. Unless you’re investing in extra body weight. In which case, my investments are solid. And maybe a little wobbly.

So now that we’ve hit out Fast Food Rock Bottom, things are going to be different. We are introducing some initial changes to the way we approach food:

1) we have set a weekly food budget. And I stuck to it when I grocery shopped on Saturday, while buying essentials for 3 meals + left overs.

2) we are going to start making and pre-packing lunches at the beginning of the week. I used our left over chili from Saturday’s dinner to make my mom’s chili spaghetti for lunches all this week.

3) we are allowed 3 emergency meals a month. Because I know there are just some shitty (PMS) days when cooking or effort in the kitchen seems useless.

4) we put up a calendar to write down meal ideas and emergency meal ideas for when we are hangry. We aren’t very good at planning ahead, so we’re going to try to plan 3 days at a time, and buy our vegetables as we need them. 9/10 vegetables come to our house to die. In our fridge. While we eat pizza.

5) we will keep a pantry stocked with basics and staples– we are already pretty good at this, but we’ll get better. And I’ll hopefully soon realize that ice cream and ginger ale aren’t “staples.” As much as I want them to be.

img_3566This sounds like another of my “DIET STARTS TOMORROW!” pledges. And I’m not unaware that agonizing on spending too much money on fast food is quite a first world problem. But, we really want this to work. And so far, we are two days into our plan, and we are 2-0. The first two days are the hardest, right? Right? 

Check back in two weeks. Maybe we’ll be growing our own vegetables by then! Just hopefully we’re not collecting more pizza boxes.

Any tips on overcoming meal planning difficulties? Or any tips in general? I’d love to hear stories of Fast Food Survivors or Meal Planning Converts.

Caramel Cake: Behind the scenes

My last post was more about the feels inspired by the Back in the Day Bakery’s Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting than the actual process of making it, which itself was a doozy. An involved and kinda painful but ohhh so fun doozy. Also, attempting to make a cake from scratch, by yourself, and documenting it with a camera and note taking, by yourself, adds a whole new degree of difficulty and danger.

The recipe comes from the Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love cook book by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. You can order the book here and you can find the recipe here.  But you should just do yourself a favor, and order the book. It’s full of happiness.

And without further ado, here are some behind the scenes shots!

When your butter looks like this, you're going to need a scale.
When your butter looks like this, you’re going to need a scale.
Sifting things! Sifting was my favorite thing to do when I was kid, and surprise, it's my favorite thing to do as an adult. I heart tools.
Sifting things! Sifting was my favorite thing to do when I was kid, and surprise, it’s my favorite thing to do as an adult. I heart tools.

DSCF1614Haha, the caramel. I read the recipe over and over, wondering how I’d get caramel just from melting sugar. After a few minutes on the stove, I was still pushing sugar around. And then, out of nowhere, it started to melt into a clear liquid.

Making caramel!
Making caramel!

And the more sugar I added, the darker the liquid got. By George, it became caramel.


It was a slow, careful process, as I had to stir it constantly, add a little bit more sugar each time, and not take my eyes off of it. I felt like a scientist.

So much f*$%ing patience.
A very serious scientist. Who cooks with sunglasses as a headband.

After all the sugar melted, I followed the recipe and took it off the heat, and immediately, but slowly, added the cream. And I thought the caramel was going to explode! It instantly reared up, all the caramel seized and it smelled like someone had a wet dairy fart in the kitchen. Something tells me that my definition of “room temperature” cream and science’s definition of “room temperature” cream are different.

Ugh, dairy bomb.
Ugh, dairy bomb.

I’d have a picture of the 40 minutes me stirring/whisking/swearing at the caramel, trying to get it to melt back down, but I decided to spare the internet. This where I burned my fingers, made a huge mess, and started to wonder if it was too late to just buy an ice cream cake.

Also not pictured, an hour later removing all the burners so I can scrape caramel sauce off the stove top. Sweet.
I think I put myself at a disadvantage when I bought a $20 mixer. Apparently "5 speeds" means "2 speeds: off and SUPER EXTRA FAST"
I think I put myself at a disadvantage when I bought a $20 mixer. Apparently “5 speeds” means “2 speeds: off and SUPER EXTRA FAST”
The cake batter was so thick and creamy. I kinda wanted to curl up inside the pan and eat my way out. Instead, I ate about 3 spoons full. /no shame
The cake batter was so thick and creamy. I kinda wanted to curl up inside the pan and eat my way out. Instead, I ate about 3 spoons full. /no shame
I forgot to buy a wire rack. So I had to buy a cheap roasting pan for its rack. Ah well. Now we can roast chicken!
I forgot to buy a wire rack. So my only option was buy a cheap roasting pan for its rack. Ah well. Now we can roast chicken!

Around 9 PM, I realized both cake pans wouldn’t fit into the oven at the same time. I thought,
“I’ll just bake one at a time.”
“but that will take too long.”
“I can bake one on top of the other!”
“But then one layer will bake faster than the other.”
“But they’ll be done! And I can go to bed!”

So I baked both layers at the same time, and the layer on the bottom rack, as predicted, baked faster. And maybe too much.


But the other layer turned out great!

Better! And you can spot the caramel that didn't fully melt...
Better! And you can spot the caramel that didn’t fully melt…

The funny part is, I ended up talking to my mom for about an hour while the cakes baked. It took about 25 minutes to cook each layer, so I could have just baked them one at a time, and I would have stayed up the same amount of time. Ah well. My entire life is a rush to get to bed.

The next day, I started the frosting.

Brown sugar and butter will soon be frosting!
Brown sugar and butter will soon be frosting!
Guess what happened immediately after this photo! If you answered, “Powder sugar bomb because Audrey forgot to fold it into the sauce before she turned the mixer on” you are correct. Your prize: come clean my kitchen.
And then we had frosting!
And then we had frosting! It was yum.
yes plz
My first cake stand! A vintage looking aluminum Jamie Oliver stand that I found on sale for $18. Jamie Oliver is Australia’s Racheal Ray. I can’t escape him.
This looks like a sandwich. And I want to eat it as is.
This looks like a sandwich. And I want to eat it as is.
Crumb layer--best advice ever. You put a layer of frosting on to catch all the loose bits, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then frost it again. The second layer of frosting goes on smoother and looks great.
Crumb layer–best advice ever. You put a layer of frosting on to catch all the loose bits, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then frost it again. The second layer of frosting goes on smoother and looks great.
While the crumb layer chilled in the fridge, I made the bunting. I cut out triangles of paper, wrote on it with white out, and taped all the triangles to string, because the string was too thick for the small triangles. But it worked like a charm.
While the crumb layer chilled in the fridge, I made the bunting. I cut out triangles of paper, wrote on it with white out, and taped all the triangles to string, because the string was too thick for the small triangles. But it worked like a charm.

I just realized that I forgot to sprinkle the cake with flaky sea salt. Sheeew. At least there was sea salt in the frosting.

So there you have it! Baking fun with the almost competent baker.

Give it a whirl!

Back to Cakes

In March of 2012, I was a mess.


Like, moving out of your boyfriend’s apartment and back in with your parents, unemployed, emotional, drunk, extremely fragile mess. I joke now about my tendency to hole up in bed, in sweat pants, watching Teen Mom on repeat, but this is where it started. And I did it for about 30 hours a week, when I wasn’t obsessively rearranging my bedroom or using any opportunity to just get obliterated, in an attempt–I mean, in the worst possible way possible–to get on with my life. Basically, I was trying to dig myself out of the hole that was my life, but I just dug myself in deeper.

It was around this time that my mom and her best friend Sue went to visit Sue’s son Matt and his wife Mandy in Savannah, GA. Mandy took mom and Sue to one of her favorite local eateries, Back in the Day Bakery, and mom brought back some of their Old Fashioned Cupcakes for my dad and me. I have a very distinct memory of that day, as I often do with food that changes my life.

I was unshowered and in my pajamas and had just cancelled all my work plans when mom presented the adorable paper box to me, tied with red and white string and hand stamped with the bakery’s name. The box had a couple greasy spots on it, which immediately intrigued me. After all, grease spots most often forecast a delicious treat. Inside the box was a small cupcake covered in pink icing and white sprinkles. I grew up hating frosting and hating cupcakes because they were mostly frosting. But, I didn’t care. Suddenly I needed to eat this cupcake. I peeled the paper and shoved it frosting first into my face.


What a cupcake. Even after a 10+ hour journey in a non-air tight container, this cupcake was perfect. It had the most amazing texture. The best flavor. And it tasted real. Like the first person to have ever created a cupcake had made them in their kitchen from scratch and had delivered it to me. There was no fake sugar taste that accompanies most frosting. It was real butter cream–and all you could taste was butter and sugar. And the cake was moist and had the perfect crumble. Even the sprinkles were tasty. You could taste the attention to detail. It was incredible.

I remember when I was done eating it, I was sad. I was sad all the time back then, but this was a new, different kind of sad. I had a Lester Burnham moment and thought, “This will be the highlight of my day.” And I took a picture of the empty wrapper.

IMG_3531That cupcake, and the three more I ate immediately after, lifted my spirits in a beautifully weird way. Like, the fact that I could love something that I had so long hated made me feel like change within myself wasn’t impossible. Like I had been judging things too quickly. It was cupcake empowerment. Or it was a massive sugar high. But either way, I felt better than I had in a long time.

As with most sugar highs, the feeling was short lived. Most unfortunately. However, a few weeks later, Mandy sent my mom Back in the Day Bakery’s first cookbook that had just been released, signed by chef and co-owner, Cheryl Day. I leafed through it, hoping to find the recipe for the cupcakes that shone a light for me. And lo and behold, there it was. And that to die for butter cream frosting, too.

I took a few hours and I read the cookbook from cover to cover. I didn’t have much baking experience beyond one cobbler recipe, Toll House cookies, and Betty Crocker box mixes. I had attempted a from scratch cake and icing the summer before, but it was still pretty slip-shod. But the Days presented baking and cooking in such an accessible, and funny way that made me want to roll up my sleeves and try. So that’s what I did.

And I loved it.

That first batch of cupcakes helped in a way I didn’t fully realise at the time. Baking gave me an outlet, something to focus on. Following precise instructions gave my brain a break from worry and grief. And looking at the plate of cupcakes, frosted and sprinkled, knowing they were as delicious as the ones made in Savannah, gave me a shot in the arm. I had created something. And it was damn good. And it made everyone who tried it happy. It was the fulfillment I needed in a dark time.

I baked all summer. Some fails, some awesome successes. It was centering, calming, and exciting, even when it made me want to rip my hair out (see: double boiling). But I was productive. As I baked and cooked, life felt easier. For those moments I was in the kitchen, everything was good. And that’s how it’s been since.

Setting down to make something from scratch never fails to make me feel good and right about the world. And I give all the credit to that first batch of cupcakes, and that first cookbook that brought me some hope–something I got to tell Cheryl Day herself last summer when I finally got to go to see the bakery in Savannah.

I haven’t had many chances to bake since I’ve been in Sydney. Mostly because I didn’t have a mixer or pans, and also because I’m still learning my way around Fahrenheit and Celsius and that whole “metric system” thing. So when Joel and I were looking through Back in the Day Bakery’s new cookbook, Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love, which my mom so awesomely sent to me, and I noticed how wide his eyes got when he saw the Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting, I knew I had a baking project ahead of me. Yesssssssss.

First, there was plotting. I went to Victoria’s Basement, a kitchen and homewares store that sells items at deep, deep discount, to buy supplies. Then there were 3 trips to grocery stores to find all the ingredients. With Joel gone for two evenings, I knew I had plenty of time in case I screwed up and had to start all over. I measured out my butter and put it out to warm, and then, it began.

There was a minor catastrophe while making the caramel sauce (hello seizing caramel and 40 minutes of stirring over low heat to smooth things out), and I might have rushed things and burned my fingers and over baked one of the layers a tad, but overall, the cake was delicious. And it brought back all the good feelings that that first round of cupcakes brought.

DSCF1671DSCF1683And I’d say it was pretty damn good.

DSCF1688If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen.

Happy Birthday, Joel!

Big Joel had a Big Birthday yesterday!

And what a birthday he’s having. He took a holiday off work, which turned into a spontaneous trip to South Australia to see a once in a lifetime photo exhibition and personal tour of said exhibition by one of his heroes, Trent Parke. He picked up his pal Craig in Melbourne, and then they flew to Adelaide for the day to take in the sights.

Craig is a photographer, also. Go oggle his works!
Craig is a photographer, also. See for yourself!

Or, sight, as I learned. Apparently, there isn’t much to do in Adelaide besides the art museum and a bunch of sharks. But they did get an upgrade to business class on their flight, and Joel sat in front of Sia! No, he didn’t talk to her or ask her about Maddie. (Yes I’m frowning as I type this.)

That meant he was gone overnight, and didn’t return until late on the night of his birthday. Which gave me two evenings to make the cake that made Joel’s jaw drop when he saw it. I’ll go into the specifics about said cake later, but it was a fun, insane ordeal, and it reminded me how much I love baking. And it reminded me how much I love baking for other people. And how much I love celebrating my favourite Australian. Once he got home, plane tired and wiped out, we ordered pizza and opened presents and blew out candles and I told him I loved him about 4700 times. Because I do.

Caramel cake with salted caramel frosting… mmm…
My favourite slice of handsome.
My favourite slice of handsome.

DSCF1680Oh, Joel. I’m so very happy you were born.

… and I’m so happy that we get delicious cake for the next few days. luv ju. xoxi