My two-year blog birthday is coming up soon and while “renovating” my blog, I’ve really had a chance to look back on my old posts and see how far I’ve come in terms of photography. I’m not sure if any of you remember, but pretty much all of my photography back then was awful.
Exhibit A: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing. These were delicious! Perfectly moist with an icing that wasn’t too sweet. However, the food styling was awful, the lighting was terrible and the composition was garbage =P. But this was my second post ever, I’d have to say the first post I ever did, Jamaican Banana Fritters were slightly better composed than these were =P
Exhibit B: Yeooouch. Red Velvet Cookies with awful awful everything. Red and green when it’s not Christmas? Ew. Gross yellow lighting and awful white balance before I new how to adjust it? Over-saturated photo-editing? Oh boy. I think I got worse from Exhibit A. But I was in school and working, so the only time I had to bake was when I was at home, late at night, procrastinating my studying. What’s a girl to do with little photography knowledge, no daylight, and no proper equipment?
Exhibit C: Lemon Cheesecake Tart. I quickly learned that daylight made food look MUCH better. This was done during the summer when the days were longer and I baked a lot on the weekends to take advantage of the daylight. And I also learned about composition. Unfortunately, I still hadn’t quite picked up on food styling and simplicity. This probably would have done better without the pan underneath, nor the dirty windowsill =P.
I like to think that my photography has grown a lot since I’ve started this blog. Of course, every now and then I’ll take pictures of some food that just looks totally awful and I’ll just feel like a rookie all over again. It’s very humbling.
But I will tell you what hasn’t changed. Despite the fact that now I have so much experience with baking, failing, and baking again. I still fail sometimes. And that happens. We all just need to accept that we all make mistakes, but they’re still delicious. Remember when I mucked up five batches of macarons before my very first successful batch? I was so upset, forgetting that despite the mistakes, my cookies still tasted good, even though they were flat, bubbly and ugly =P
Sometimes we have to make the best of things, and if you mess up, just eat it and try again.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. I actually totally messed up this cake.
I was a little pressed for time and I wanted to bring this with me to class yesterday. However, I had a lot due yesterday: I had a presentation to prepare for, feedback to give on other classmate’s work, and a bibliography for my final paper. I still really wanted to bake this cake though. I had lemons from my vegan lemon donuts leftover (I still have like 6 lemons. I think I’m going to remake my lemon squares and make some vegan lemon coconut ice cream that I dreamt up last night).
I was supposed to let this cake cook COMPLETELY before I removed it from the pan. I couldn’t wait. First of all it smelled amazing, second of all, I really really really wanted to use this gorgeous glaze recipe from Arctic Garden. IT’S PURPLE. HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THAT. So I waited maybe 30 minutes for the cake to cool, but it was still a little warm. So the cake came out…but half of it was still stuck to the bottom of the pan. I panicked. The cake was too soft! I should have waited. So I carefully scraped out the chunk that was stuck to the bottom of the pan, and carefully pieced that cake back together. If you look at that photo, you can see the massive cracks. Whoops.
I figured, I’ll just cover it in glaze, nobody will notice. Well, it’s pretty noticeable =P But what the heck. Whatever. And it tastes delicious my friends. So please, try this cake out, the glaze alone is to die for. And remember, if you messed up your cake, it will still taste delicious. Unless you messed that part up. In that case, just make a new one =P You learn from your mistakes. Sometimes you just gotta turn the ugly side away from the camera.
As Ms. Frizzle in one of my favourite childhood TV shows would say, “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”
Cake adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Glaze from Arctic Garden
Blueberry and lemon make a great combo. While this cake is more blueberry than lemon, the glaze is a show stopper. I feel like I made this cake just for the glaze.
- For the cake, stir the lemon zest and sugar together and let sit for a minute or two to let the sugar absorb the lemon oils.
- Cream the sugar, zest, and butter together until fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until just incorporated.
- In another bowl, mix the salt, baking powder, and flour until incorporated.
- Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk until everything is incorporated.
- Fold in the blueberries and pour into a well-greased bundt pan.
- Bake for 1 hour at 350F until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when you poke the cake.
- Let cool on wire rack and let the cake cool completely in bundt pan before removing (or else it'll fall apart. Happened to me.)
- For the glaze, in a small pot over medium heat, cook the blueberries and lemon juice until the blueberry skins pop and the juices come out. Use a spoon to smash the berries if necessary.
- Strain the mixture and discard the solids (skins, seeds, etc.)
- Whisk in 2 cups of icing sugar (add more or less depending on how thick you want the glaze to be)
- Pour over cooled cake and let harden, or serve immediately =)