I feel like I’m not a very shy person when it comes to sharing ugly details so long as it's helpful so here we go.
Motherhood has been a beautiful but HARD adjustment for me. Even saying that out loud makes me feel like a boob because 1. I only have ONE beautiful, healthy dream baby (I’ve heard adjusting to more than one kid is even harder) and 2. I am in love with my baby more than anything (honestly obsessed, I tear-up every day because I love him so much) and 3. I freaking LOVE being a mother.
I’ve learned that loving something fiercely is not the same thing as self love.
I’ve completely let the role of mother (and blossoming business owner) take over my life. It may not seem like it to some, since laundry and timely dinners are a struggle but I, to put it bluntly, was not living a life where loving me was a priority.
Because isn’t that just too selfish? I can’t take time for myself now, I have a kid to raise and a business to launch! (And doesn't watching Netflix at night with my husband count?)
And no. Watching Netflix doesn't count.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had loved ones say, “Maybe you should just focus on being a mom,”
when I’ve confessed being tired or frustrated or not finding balance between motherhood and branding.
Which is funny because the thing I wish would have been said is, “When’s the last time you did anything for yourself?“
Or, “did you eat today yet?“
Or, “let’s talk about your big dreams.”
I’ve struggled with self care for the past year and a half because launching a business / focusing on my blog has always been “for me” in my mind.
So anything else… quite literally anything else that remotely resembles self love was seen as something that was even MORE selfish because look at how much time you’re dedicating to your blog? You can’t take any more time for yourself. All of it needs to be either given to your kid or husband or your business. You don’t have time for lunch - you’ve got an email to write! You want to get stuff done right?!
By the way - all of this is said from a blogging girl who hasn’t won any major awards (yet) or authored a cookbook (yet) or is wildly raking in millions of dollars a (yet). SHOOT I’m just trying to figure out what type of business I’d love to launch and serve my people with. (That's you, chime in any time. Lol) Plus I want to briefly plug in here that the whole shame and mom-guilt thing that comes from wanting to work but still wanting to be a mom - it is 100% real. This is a topic for another day, but I had to say that out loud.
Big dreams require a lot of hustle, and a lot of work behind the scenes and years of effort in order to become an “overnight success”. They also require a lot of failures, questions and "what the heck am I doings"?
Honestly I can’t remember the last time I got a professional massage, truly practiced yoga, or took a vacation. I know it hasn’t been too many years, but the fact that I can’t remember isn’t great. (And a true sign that I’m a mom, because our brains are so overloaded with remembering everyone else's stuff.)
As women, we inherently think that anything done for ourselves just for the heck of it is seen as selfish or honestly for me, I always find a way to pour money into everyone else but me. I mean, I’ll buy myself a cookbook or an ice cream cone and call it self love.
But we cannot pour from an empty cup.
So we’ve got to find meaningful ways to fill it.
This may seem kinda counterintuitive to self love, but the big thing that is making me want to take care of myself more, is knowing that I will be able to love my people and my other people (that’s you, you’re my other people) way more.
Plus, I think I'm just super good at putting imaginary pressure on myself. And seeing as this isn't really working I'm ready for something new. You with me?
This cake was meant for Valentines Day, but the fact that it’s late is kinda perfect. Because it’s not a cake just meant for V-day but a cake for you. It’s never to late to start loving yourself. Even if you think you already do love yourself (eh hem, like me, I totally thought I was fine in this area of self love, honestly). Start incorporating just one thing a day that boosts your soul.
Just a reminder that you mama (kids or no kids) are so worth loving.
I have so much love for you. More on HOW to incorporate self love into our days, next post. xo
heartbreak cake (or really good vanilla cake with barely salty raspberry butter cream and tangy cream cheese jam filling)
inspired (and some parts adapted) from the violet bakery book by claire ptak
makes one 8x8" thick square cake, or 1 two-layer round, 8" cake (take care that the baking time will vary if you split the cake into two layers) | frosting makes about 3 1/2 cups | filling makes about 1 1/2 cups | serves 8-10
This cake is so good it will break your heart. Lol! It's also so fun cut into a heart shape and then cut crookedly down the middle, creating a "broken heart" to serve. It's not too sweet, fun to eat and not too complicated to make. Don't be discouraged by the 3 recipes. I promise they're as easy as whipping something up. You may have to clean out your electric mixing bowl a few times but it's all super easy. xo
bakers notes: 1. To make raspberry puree I found the most success using frozen raspberries that had been completely thawed to room temperature and strained of all their juices. The puree should be a thickish paste-like texture with no pooling juice. See my pic for a reference. I also don’t strain the seeds from the mixture because #lifeistooshort and seeds are good for you so there. Nobody ever ever ever minds the texture of raspberry seeds because they’re so stinking small. Just in case you needed an extra push to not strain the mixture. ;) 2. I liked the additional salt here in the frosting, but if you’re not crazy about a slightly salted buttercream, don’t add the recommended salt. Do use salted butter for this frosting though, it helps cut through the sweetness and gives a good balance to the cake. Trust me. 3. I love salted butter for the cake here too and recommend it. The cake can be made one day ahead of time, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap kept at room temperature. 4. This cake is easily doubled and baked into a 9 x 13" pan. Which I did for these blog post pictures, but please note, this is entire recipe enough for one 8" cake. ("Entire recipe" includes the cake, frosting and filling).
for the cake:
½ cup / 125g salted butter
1 cup / 200g sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon medium grain kosher salt (or sea salt)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons / 300g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅔ cup / 160g whole milk
1 recipe raspberry buttercream (below)
1 recipe tangy cream cheese filling (below)
¼ cup / 2 ounces / 60g raspberry puree with seeds, room temperature (read bakers notes carefully about this)
3 ½ cups / 500g powdered sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 ½ cups / 380g salted butter, softened to room temperature
¼ - ½ teaspoon medium grain kosher salt, optional (see bakers notes)
1 generous cup / 12 ounces / 246g cream cheese, softened to room temp
½ cup / 171g high quality raspberry jam
1-2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice (a regular lemon works just fine too and don’t stress about the size of the lemon)
zest of 1 meyer lemon (a regular lemon works just fine too, and don’t stress about the size of the lemon)
1 pint fresh black berries or raspberries or both, for filling and to decorate
for the cake:
Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C and line an 8 x 8 inch cake pan with butter, flour and parchment. So butter the whole pan first, cut and lay the parchment just for the bottom of the tin, and then butter the parchment and dust it with flour, taking care that it is well coated, but shaking/tapping out any access flour.
Measure and whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl: flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat softened butter and sugar together on a high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Mixture shouldn’t appear grainy at all.
Add vanilla, and eggs one at a time until totally incorporated. Scrape down the bowl a few times, making sure you scrape down the bottom too.
Alternately add your flour and milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Try not to over mix it all, but mix until just all together. Scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl a few times just to make sure there are no surprise pockets of flour.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes (or a little more, or less time, it just depends on your oven) Cake should be slightly golden brown on top and spring back slightly when touched. Please note if you're using two 8" round cake tins for this your baking time will reduce. I'd check your cakes after 12-15 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in the pan before taking it out.
for the frosting: (tip! make the frosting while the cake is baking, also if you don’t have a pastry bag, a zip lock bag with one corner cut, works well too. Just make sure you fill the bag before cutting the corner! ;)
In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment whip softened butter + *salt with the powdered sugar for 3 minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy and beautiful. Don’t get too attached, it will deflate slightly when we add the puree. (*See my baker’s not about salt).
While butter + sugar beat together strain raspberries from their juices using a fine mesh strainer and a medium bowl. Let the juices drip into the bowl and stir and press them a bit so the juices really all drip out. Transfer strained raspberry mush into a big bowl (leave the juices in the other bowl be and save them for something else, we won’t need them anymore for this cake) and either puree with an immersion blender or smash vigorously with the back of a wooden spoon. Raspberries should be pulverized and blended into a paste-like state.
note: It is crucial that your berries are not cold here or else your butter will curdle when you add them to the frosting. Berry puree should be room temperature.
Add puree to frosting mixture and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Beat for about 1-2 minutes or until combined and still slightly fluffy. Frosting will be a tiny bit “airy” in appearance and not completely smooth. This is totally okay. It’s the seeds.
for the filling:
Whip softened cream cheese with jam, zest and lemon juice for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scoop filling into a pastry bag and pop it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to firm up just a little bit.
Scatter your fresh berries on a paper towel to make sure they are dry and to pick out any bad ones.
Cut the cooled cake in half "sandwich style" using serrated knife and a lot of care. We're creating two layers here. Place the two halves on top of each other again. Cut out a heart shape using parchment paper and use this as a guide for turning your square cake into a heart shape. I find that a small paring knife works best for this.
Place your heart shaped layers side by side. Next fill one side the cake with the cream cheese filling (a piping bag/ zip lock bag works really well for this) taking a care to leave a tiny space around the edges. Place the black berries on top of the cream cheese filling. Next, pipe a layer of raspberry buttercream on top of the other layer of cake. Place the two filled sides together, placing the buttercream side on top of the berry-filled side. Try not to mush it, but make sure the layers are firmly placed and not wobbly. Frost the cake with the rest of the butter cream.
Top with berries and cut it into a broken heart when serving if you fancy. Keep cake tightly wrapped for up to 3-5 days in the fridge. It’s best served the day it’s made.