Mylifesamess's Blog

Buttercream Icing

Posted in baking, cooking, motivation, Organization by mylifesamess on 06/07/2011

I went to my mom’s after work today and baked a cake.  It turned out ok.  Tasty, but not very pretty.

Luckily, during my afternoon break at work, I took a moment to study my recipes a bit and discovered a difference that I hadn’t noticed when I first compared the Julia Child buttercream recipe to the one accompanying the Martha Stewart recipe.  The Martha Stewart recipe creates the syrup for the icing using egg whites and sugar.  Julia Child creates the syrup using sugar and water, then calls for it to be whisked in with egg yolks.  I’ve made the mistake before of using the wrong part of the egg because I didn’t read the recipe close enough, so I’m very glad I caught it.

The Julia Child recipe was much tastier, but it was quite a bit thinner and difficult to spread, even after whipping in additional butter.  Part of the problem could have been that the egg yolk / syrup mixture didn’t form properly while I had it sitting over the pan of simmering water.  I don’t believe I got the “ribbon” effect that Child describes.  I’ll also try to remember next time to make the icing ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge for a while to see if that might help with the firmness.

The cake portion turned out fantastically, as it did last time.  It turns out a beautifully moist cake with the perfect blend of raspberries.  I made two tiers and frosted it, then decorated the top with fresh raspberries.

I thought about posting the Julia Child recipe, but I hesitated as it may constitute copyright infringement.  The recipe I used was called “Creme au Beurre, au Sucre Cuit (French Butter Cream Made with Sugar Syrup)” from her book “The French Chef Cookbook.”

I don’t know if it’s true, but I often feel like being organized and prepared is still new to my life.  Today was a hectic day, but I enjoyed it because I had my shit together and was ready to go.  I was able to attack the daunting tasks I faced today with order and precision, and it was totally satisfying.  I’m wondering if my motivation for an organized life waxes and wanes depending on whether I feel challenged in my life.




Running After the Wagon

Posted in Uncategorized by mylifesamess on 06/04/2011

My life is better when I’m organized and effective.  That takes work…a lot of work, actually.  I go through phases.  Sometimes I’m enthusiastically organized and put together, and sometimes it’s a massive struggle to find the motivation to even take a shower.  While I don’t advocate living life always beating yourself up for not being what you think you should be, I do think that always striving to be your best is a good thing.  So, I try not to get too frustrated with myself, and just keep trying.

Speaking of frustration, my ass is broke this week.  Not technically broke, yet, but as soon as my landlord cashes my rent check, my account is going to go negative.  I make a little over $30,000 and share a cheap apartment with my boyfriend in a cheap part of the country, and yet every month, my rent check nearly zeroes out my account.  It angers me.  How are people in this country supposed to save for any sort of future when it’s so difficult to make ends meet on a salary that’s twice what minimum wage pays?

So, I think I can make it to Friday without buying gas or groceries.  I stocked my pantry pretty well last week.  My mom’s birthday, however, is this week, and while I have a card for her, I don’t have a gift.  For Mother’s Day, my sister and I took her to a really nice restaurant for a fantastic lunch.  I also gave her a gorgeous antique pin that I bought for $10 while I was hunting for stock for my Etsy store.  So, pretty much, the only thing I can afford to get her until Friday is something that I already have or something that I can make.  Right now, I’m leaning towards making her a raspberry cake with butter cream icing.  I have most of the ingredients, with the exception of the raspberries, which I can probably get Tom to buy for me as his contribution.  To make this cake, however, I’ll need to use my mom’s kitchen, as I am lacking the pans and mixer necessary to make it.  It seems awkward to use her kitchen to make her a present, especially since she’s such a neat freak and would insist on cleaning up the kitchen herself.  I may have to recruit my stepdad’s help in this.

In other news, I’m scheduled to take the FAR portion of the CPA exam in August.  I feel confident that I will totally blow it, and that makes me want to cry.  I feel so far in over my head every time I open up my review book to study.  My professional life really didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, and this is my chance to really start making some forward progress in it.  I’m going to submit my resume to some firms soon in hopes of getting hired as a low level accountant.  I figure that way, even if I fail, at least I’ll have made a little progress.

I’ll type up the recipe for the raspberry cake with butter cream icing this weekend and post it here.  I made it as cupcakes last time.  The butter cream icing in the original recipe tasted like I had just grabbed a fistful of butter and threw it against the cupcake.  I found a butter cream icing recipe in my Julia Child book which I will use instead this time.  If that’s what I end up doing.