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Jun. 18th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Moving Home

I'm sorry to announce that I'm leaving LiveJournal.

It's something I've felt increasing pressure to do and have been mulling over for some time. LJ simply does not have the functionality I need. Everything is made laborious and unnecessarily cumbersome. Even dealing with the mass amounts of spam I'm receiving (some posts have over 100 spam comments) is the most ridiculous process. It doesn't support a huge amount of features and is incompatible with embedding just about everything. It's difficult and unintuitive for readers who aren't LJ members to use and follow along. LJ get to profit off the traffic I am driving to my blog, but don't allow me to monetise my own hard work.

All this I've looked past due to the fact that LJ is my home and has been under various accounts since 2005. But back then, LJ was a thriving community with staff who cared about its customers. It was a promising, functional site. These days, every time I see an update on LJ's Facebook page it's to apologise for more service downtime. Admittedly, my time working with LJ Media last year has soured my taste for the company. LJ appear determined to focus on their Russian market, giving minimal attention to the 'American' market. They don't even bother to update the features and polls on their own home page any more.

I've been defending LJ against its detractors as its reputation plummeted. I kept telling myself it would sort its shit out. That it would be like the old days again.

LJ is fine for social networking. But as a blogging host it's simply not good enough. I need something that's going to be reliable, not be down every week when I'm trying to update ro someone is trying to grab a recipe of mine. I don't want to leave, but if I want to give my blog the opportunity to grow into something beyond what it is then I have to make the jump. I feel like it has to be now or never.

So I want to take the time to thank those of you who've stuck by LJ and stuck by me over the last 3 years. I'm sorry to be abandoning you amazing, loyal people who always read every post and comment and tell me excitedly when you've made something and it's worked out. You guys have made this journey fun.

My blog will now be hosted at cakecrumbs.me if you wish to find me.

I'm not deleting this LJ but it won't receive any new content. My Facebook, deviantART, Tumblr and Twitter will keep giving updates as they always have been.

Jun. 14th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Cherry Bomb Dog-friendly Cake

Last Saturday was my puppy Tobias' 3rd birthday. So he's clearly not a puppy any more but shh. He'll always be my baby husky. Puppy's birthday begged for some home-baked treats. Last year he got pupcakes, and in the interim he's had lots of puppy cookies, so it was time for something a little differ



This year he got a whole cake.

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Jun. 12th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Super Mario Bros. Cake


Some of you might remember the Zelda cakes I made for Game Art HQs Link's Blacklist Tribute. Well, a little while ago another artist tribute caught my attention. It's called "Virtual Worlds We Loved" and, as the name suggests, is completely focussed on the worlds, levels or places depicted in games. I love tributes that move away from the protagonists and otherwise famous characters and allow scope for the under-appreciated, unseen, or unusual.



The tribute features 30 different artists and allowed for no repeats of games. I almost claimed about Zelda game, but instead decided to depict the first game I ever played: Super Mario Brothers. Ah, the good old days of playing the NES as a kid. We owned 3 games and I repeatedly played each of them. I fell in love with the 8-bit world so I couldn't resist the chance to bring it to life with cake.



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Jun. 4th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Chicken and Choc Dog-friendly Cookies


Rounding off the birthday box of treats I sent to my friend, these cookies were a little something to be shared. While I was sending her some noms I thought I'd send a few for her little furbabies, Rusty and Bella.



These cookies have to dairy, salt and cocoa removed to make them safe for puppy tummies. A treat you won't love, but your canid certainly will.



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May. 30th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Mocha Crème Brûlées


So many macarons lately means so many spare egg yolks. And when there's egg yolks to use up there's only one possible solution: custard. Especially when your boyfriend loves custard a little more than he loves you. I'm totally cool with that. Custard is pretty amazing. Custard is especially amazing when it's in a crème brûlée.

I love a plain crème brûlée as much as anyone, but I also love playing with the flavours. When I first started baking I used to follow all sorts of different recipes whenever I wanted a different flavour custard, but after some failures and some successes I discovered that altering a classic shouldn't mean altering the recipe. Start with a trusty blank canvass recipe and add a subtle twist.



This twist incorporates two of my favourite flavours: coffee and chocolate.

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May. 28th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Daring Bakers: Swedish Princesstårta


It's been a while since I've been able to participate in the Daring Bakers' Challenged for one reason or another. In fact, I think this might be my first challenge of the year. And what a challenge to jump back in on! This month, Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!



One of my favourite things about the Daring Bakers' challenges is getting to try things you've never head of before. The Prinsesstårta was one of those things. Brand new, but my oh my it sounded heavenly. Sponge cake, custard, jam and whipped cream -- let me at it!

When I described the challenge to my boyfriend, he said he thought the cake might be an appropriate treat for his dad's birthday cake.

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May. 24th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Commission: Earth Structural Layer Cake


A little while ago, my sister approached me with an idea. She's doing an education degree, and her and her friends had to give a series of lessons on the geological sciences to a class of primary school kids. One of their lessons involved teaching the kids about the structure of the Earth. One of her friends came up with the idea of presenting a model of the Earth made out of cake. So my sister asked me if I could make a spherical cake with all the layers of the Earth inside it.

I told her I couldn't do it. "How do you get a sphere inside a sphere inside a sphere?" I recall saying. "Oh yeah," she replied, realising what it would involve.



I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it. I don't admit defeat. Ever. But especially not with cake. Nothing is impossible is pretty much my baking motto, so to say this cake was impossible left me feeling weird. There had to be a way. A way that didn't involve carving or crumbing the cake. I kept mulling it over until I had a breakthrough.

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May. 21st, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Salted Caramel Macarons


The macaron madness continues! And shows no signs of abating. Since moving to using silicone mats I've started to run into macaron errors. I guess it's better experiencing it now then during my first try of them, but it can be frustrating. It happens most when I tweak the base recipe, so that's gonna be a given.

But making mistakes is an important part of the learning curve. Through making errors and working to correct them, I'm learning. And hey, an ugly macaron doesn't mean a bad-tasting macaron. Just an unbloggable macaron. I can deal with more excuses to bake.



Perfectly formed or not, these babies seem to disappear just as quickly as I can make them. So while they're still desired, I'll keep on baking!

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May. 17th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Domo Cookies


Early this week was one of my good friends' birthday. We have the misfortune of living on opposite sides of the country, so catchups are non-existent. She spent a long time encouraging me to join deviantART and has always been such a huge supporter of my work there since. She's always telling me how much she wants to eat the stuff I post and I keep promising her 'one day'. So for her birthday, I decided it was time I made good on my promise and attempted something I haven't before: shipping baked goods across the country.



I sent her a gift box of various baked goods, which I'll show you in upcoming blog posts, but these cookies were the main feature. Domo has always been this thing between us. I don't remember how it started. It might have been some dancing domo emoticon we always used on chat. We're so random and hyper when conversing it could have come from anywhere. But it developed into one of those 'our thing' things you have with friends. In-jokes you will cry with laughter over while everyone else stares at you like you're insane. We've sent each other various domo paraphernalia and merch over the years, and receiving it has always made me cackle wildly.

I don't remember when the idea of domo cookies popped into my head, but once it did the idea was just so obvious and perfect it began to feel like it had always been my intention.

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May. 15th, 2013

Pirate Dreams

Mille Feuille Gateau


On Sunday Cameron and I spent Mother's Day with his mum and immediate family. We started the day early, catching breakfast at a gorgeous cafe called Earthly Pleasures. It's situated in a stunning, heritage listed stone manor. The beautiful gardens, medieval architecture and the manor's removal from the surrounding roads and buildings lent to a relaxing atmosphere for the morning. Coupled with the lovely food and pleasant company, it made for a wonderful morning.



We went back to their place after breakfast and spent the afternoon chatting and munching on goodies. The time of gathering had me searching for lighter options for the cake. I wanted to avoid anything too rich or too sweet. The last thing you feel like after breakfast is a dessert that's going to make you feel like slumping on the couch for the rest of the day. So I looked to flavours that would feel a little lighter on the palatte.

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