Thursday, March 14, 2013

Swimming in Chocolate Piggy Cake

I've seen photos of this cake floating around Pinterest and Facebook for the last few weeks and finally, after some CRAZY searching I found a girl from the Netherlands who originally made this cake and someone translated her recipe!

Here ya go. Because seriously though, this is so cute it makes me wanna die. I'm so making this for myself for my 40th birthday party. Alone. To eat in my bedroom with a big spoon. Did I mention alone?  Ok fine, Mike can come.

Swimming In Chocolate Piggy cake

You will need
A 20cm sponge cake
2x 200 g milk chocolate bars
250ml of cream
Filling of choice for your pie. Layer of jam/ tinned cherries or such, and a layer of creme patisserie , cream or butter icing
3x five packet kitkats
1 packet of light pink marzipan. ( I'm thinking you'll have to use almond paste and food colouring for this or maybe get creative with some pink marshmallows? )
Big knife
Tooth pick or skewer
Flat plate or board to put your cake on

Start by making your pigs. Do your own thing as there are no instructions for this.
Put your cream in a pan over low heat
Keep stirring until it just starts to boil. In between break the chocolate bars in pieces.
When the cream is almost boiling take it from the heat and gradually add chocolate. Keep stirring until you have a nice smooth mass and then leave to cool stirring every now and again.
Cut your sponge in half and put your fillings of choice in.
Put your cake , at this stage, on a lazy Susan or something else easy enough to rotate . The sides are going to be covered with your chocolate and you don't want your serving plate/board to get messy.
Break your kitkats in two and have them ready.
If your chocolate sauce has cooled at thickened to a custard consistency you can start smearing it on the sides of your cake. Use a spatula or the back if a knife to do this. Once you've smeared it all around you can stick your kitkats on. This can be a bit tricky so place them on a slight angle against the cake. When you have gone right around quickly tie your ribbon around the cake. This will pull the kitkats up straight against your cake.
When the left over chocolate sauce is only just fluid pour it over the top of the cake. MAKE SURE IT IS NOT TOO THIN WHEN YOU DO THIS OR IT WILL SEEP BETWEEN THE KITKATS.
Before it totally sets place your little piggies on the chocolate
Place in the fridge to set.
After an hour or so you can place the cake gently on your serving plate.
Eet smakelijk. Bon appetit . 

Monday, March 4, 2013

...and They Are Mine

When I get stressed out I have a tendency to worry myself sick about the smallest things to an unhealthy level. I've learned over the years through some very personal work I've done with myself along with the help of my sweet and patient husband, how to in a sense "talk myself down".  Gratitude has played a huge part in this.

I start by saying to myself in my head "can I change this?" And if the answer is "yes", then I ask myself "Can I change this RIGHT NOW?" Usually my most stress filled moments are in the tiny, quiet and dark hours of the morning. 2 am lately, this seems to be the most common time.  If the answer is "no"...(which it ALWAYS is), I can emotionally feel myself come down from the ladder I'm standing on that feels like it's teetering on the edge of a rocky cliff.

The next thing I do is to count my blessings. I've seen so many stories in the last few years that make me appreciate exactly what I have. Appreciate them in a HUGE way. Stories about families who have lost their homes in hurricanes, people who have suffered all kinds of accidents and fires, and stories like the one about sweet Mitchell who just passed away this last weekend. These are the things that make me grateful for my life, laundry and teenage bathroom messes and all.

I sometimes feel inadequate to mother all seven of my children. Can I love them all the same?  Can I love them all enough?  And the answer comes to me simply, quietly in whispers of their hugs, when I lay in bed with my teenage sons tangled in the blankets at my feet watching movies with us. Times when I feel like I'm not getting it all done for them. Like when my 3 year old, with the hints of last weekend's adventures with gumball machine tattoos still on her arms, quietly plays on my bed near my feet,  happily imagining a charmed life with her little Disney castle and all of the princesses she's collected. I look around then and the first thing for me to do is to critique the situation, mostly with a shaded eye. "Why is Lola undressed?  Why did she take her clothes off again to play?  Why has she pulled her hair out of the ponytails I put in just this morning?  What would the neighbors say if they saw this?"

But then I force myself to do what I do so often, I take a picture. I snap a quick shot of whatever I'm worried about, and then I look at it on the screen with new eyes. What does this say about me?  What does this say about the quality of my children's lives?

And always, every single time, it says that my kids are happy, they are loved, they are warm, they are smart, they are well, they are fed, they are rested, they are loving, they feel loved, and they are mine...

Our journeys will always seem hard, that's the beauty of life. There will be struggle, that's how this journey is designed. But like Sigmund Freud said:

"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful..."