Happy April Fools’ Day All
This weekend marks one year since I set up this little blog of mine. I literally cannot believe how fast that year has gone. I remember being so nervous this time last year, with my hand hovering over the publish button on my very first post. I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while because I always thought it would be something fun to do, but I just lacked the confidence in myself to do it, and was worried about what people would think and say. But then one day I just gave myself a much-needed kick up the ass, and said “F**k what anybody else thinks, I’m going to do it anyway”. I was in the middle of Masters applications at the time as well, so I thought it couldn’t hurt to have another string to my bow in the form of a blog to show an interest in writing and media.
The blog went through a few different face-lifts and name changes in the first couple of months when I was figuring out what I wanted it to be. To be honest, I’m still figuring things out. But I’m definitely happy with the way it is at the moment, because I feel it kind of represents me well. I remember doing a lot of research before setting up the blog and a lot of people were saying to have a particular niche, whether it be books or fashion or whatever. But that didn’t feel right to me. I have a lot of different interests, and as a blog is supposed to be reflective of the person writing it, I didn’t want to limit myself. I know that this isn’t the biggest blog in the world by any means, but I’ve loved coming up with stuff to write about and am excited to hopefully make it bigger and better down the line.
I thought seeing as I’m celebrating one year of blogging, what better way to celebrate than with cake. I recently bought Tanya Bakes, the bakery book released by blogger Tanya Burr. There is a recipe for the “Ultimate Celebration Cake” in there that looked amazing, so I decided to give that a bash. Skip on down to the end of this post where I’ve shared the recipe, and some small mishaps I had making it. First, I thought I’d look back at a few of the most popular posts here on The Journals of a Journalist over the past year:
5 Actresses who could play Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming. I wrote this one on a whim after seeing Captain America: Civil War last year, as it was the first MCU film to feature Spiderman. It got me thinking about who could play his most famous love interest, Mary Jane Watson. I was surprised at the reaction to it, and it got over 1,500 votes on the poll I created.
Meet the Man that rescues Dogs. Another popular post was the feature I did on Michael Baines, know as “The Man that rescues Dogs”, for his tireless work helping the stray and abandoned dogs of Thailand. This came from an assignment I had in college, whereby we were tasked with finding somebody who was making a positive change in the world. I stumbled across Michael’s Facebook page dedicated to his work and decided to get in contact. Eventually we arranged an interview over Skype (one of the first I ever did, and in my opinion, I was awful at conducting it. I’ve gotten better since I think. I hope), and Michael was great, so friendly and passionate about what he does. His story is really inspiring, and you’ll love the work he is doing if you have your own four-legged friend and couldn’t imagine life without them. I even had this published in a magazine in Canada who were doing a feature on Michael’s work, which felt amazing!
Game of Thrones: Why season 6 was one of its best and thoughts on the future. If you are like me, you will be patiently counting down the days until Game of Thrones returns in July for its seventh season. If you are even more like me, you’ll be constantly Googling rumoured release dates for the next book in the series, The Winds of Winter, to come out. Why must George R.R. Martin torture us?? So, ya if you haven’t already guessed I’m a bit of a geek. In this post, I looked back over Season 6 and gave a few theories of my own as to what may be yet to come.
9 characters FOX should consider for the next X-MEN movie. It’s true what they say, people love lists. I wrote this one just before the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, it again just being some random thoughts from me. I love movies in general, and I love speculating on castings. X-Men is probably the first superhero movie I remember going to see with my dad and younger brother when I was about 10 and I’ve always had a soft spot for the series. Once again my inner geek making an appearance!
Those are just a couple of the popular posts over the last year. I still kind of pinch myself to think anyone reads my stuff at all. I know that my blog is pretty tiny compared with others, but it’s nice to think anybody took time out of their day to read something you’ve written. Now, onto that delicious chocolate cake!
I feel like I should add a disclaimer here or something, because my efforts look nowhere near the professional looking one in the book.
For the Cake
150ml full-fat milk, 3 tablespoons of black treacle, 150g of dark chocolate, 275g of plain flour, 375g of light brown sugar, 150g of cocoa powder, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda, 3 large eggs, 300ml Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 200ml of vegetable oil, 3 21cm round loose-bottomed cake tins
For the Icing
100g of milk chocolate, 300g of butter, 450g icing sugar, 50g cocoa powder, 100g Carnation caramel
For the Ganache
100ml of double cream, 200g of dark chocolate
2 Mars bars and 2 Kinder Buenos
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your cake tins. I didn’t have the exact size tins that the recipe called for to hand, so I just improvised with what was closest.
Stir the milk, treacle and chocolate over a low heat until melted and set aside. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs, Greek yoghurt, vanilla extract and oil to this before adding the chocolate mixture and combining until smooth.
Divide the mixture between your three tins, bake for 30 minutes until springy to the touch, and leave the cakes to cool in their tins.
For the icing, cream the butter in a bowl and slowly add the icing sugar and cocoa powder until you have a smooth mixture. Melt the milk chocolate and add it to the mixture along with the caramel.
Assemble your cake by sandwiching the layers together with some of the chocolate icing and then spread the remaining icing over the top and sides.
To make the ganache, heat the double cream and add the dark chocolate, mixing until smooth. Once it has cooled, pour it over the top of the cake and ease it over the edge to form a drip effect. This was a complete disaster for me, as rather than drips it just all flowed down the cake. So in the end, I just tried smoothing it over the icing.
I had some white chocolate chips to hand as well so I melted them with some double cream and poured it over the top. It tasted lovely, but it didn’t really have the effect I thought it would. I think just melting the white chocolate on its own and pouring it over would have been better. Oh well, as they say: always a lesson, never a failure.
The recipe says to decorate the cake with Mars bars and honeycomb. I went with the Mars bars, but I hate honeycomb, so I decided to stick chunks of Kinder Bueno in instead.
So, admittedly the cake doesn’t look as polished as the one in the book, but it tasted great. And was the perfect cake for marking an occasion.
I’ll finish up by just saying thank you to each and every person who has read something on here, or followed me on social media. It really does mean the world. Here’s to the next year and beyond. ✌🏻