I have been day dreaming about things I can make in an oven for many weeks now. The day-dream ping and pongs between savoury comfort meals like lamb roast, roast veggies, lasagne to strudels, bagels and delicious fluffy pear and chocolate hot cross buns (Claudia @ The Brick Kitchen is mostly responsible for the last two day dreams). I have also had vivid day dreams about working with choux pastry in my Thermomix and finally trying my hand at making some eclairs or profiteroles.
But I am happy to report that the day dreaming days are over as I have great news! I am writing this post to celebrate the start of the floor works required in our apartment. I cannot believe it has been nearly 5 weeks since we moved out of home and lived in a small hotel room and we survived! The works have started and it won’t be long until we can move back in for good.
So recently, my friend Rachel and I had a bake day. We wanted to make something really simple and easy. I have wanted to make these mini cakes ever since I tasted elderflower glaze on a donut (it was an unexpected flavour and I really liked it!) and wondered what it would be like to pair it with that delicious double coconut cake recipe I had recently tried.
The result is more delicious than I had imagined.
The subtle floral elderflower taste is perfectly paired with the moist coconut cake. It is subtle but refreshing. With Easter around the corner, I know I should be talking about chocolate and autumn flavours, but I am not quite ready to let go of summer flavours just yet.
What I love about this cake recipe is its versatility. If you are not a fan of Elderflower, you can always double the cake recipe, omit the glaze and serve a slice of decadent double coconut cake topped with warm spiced vanilla custard for the cooler nights.
I would also argue that because these are so teeny tiny, these cakes are the perfect snack size for when you want to treat yourself to something a little sweet. Not too much that it will make you regret you had it but just enough to make you feel all fuzzy and happy.
On a more serious note, it soon will be a year since I started blogging on InHappenstance. I do not blog as often as I would like but I have recently discovered that I am losing my focus and a little bit of my passion for blogging. To be honest, I have even asked the dreaded question, “Why am I blogging in the first place? Do I really have something special to share or say?”.
The truth is: blogging is hard work. It is not as easy as hitting the share button on Facebook or sharing your daily food snaps on Instagram. It is about the whole package: the right content, the right voice and the right direction. With all of that, comes the need for a focus and the ability to plan for when your inspiration dries up because it isn’t always easy to plan and create content that is interesting, inspiring and original every day.
The learning curve from creating a new blog to running a successful blog is steep. You are learning and teaching yourself a multitude of new things that might have been handy if you paid more attention in school or was remotely interested in learning. Learning about SEOs, analytics, juggling the many hats as a writer, photographer, stylist, editor, content planner etc. It is a full-time commitment that should not be taken lightly as it can consume you and your life because you are now essentially living two lives – your real life and what you want your blog life to represent.
I would be lying if I said that all I ever wanted was just to blog for myself. That, I didn’t care if no one read my blog. Of course, I want people to read my blog and like what they see/read. I seek to improve because I want my readers to enjoy my content and what I have so say. I work everyday to get better because like every skill in life, you reap the rewards of the hard work you put in.
When I started this blog, I was a big blog reader. I had over 30 blogs book marked from food blogs to style blogs and I watched as they found the voice and direction to become amazing and successful blogs. I felt inspired. I felt like I had something to say too and I could share it with the world. So, I began to read more to improve my writing. I bought a proper camera so I could take better photographs, spending hours watching tutorials to improve my photography and styling – I was pushing myself really hard to improve with each post.
When I would run out of ideas or I can’t see any massive improvements, I became my worst critic. I thought blogging would help bring out the creativity and joy I needed but it gave me no joy. It felt like my heart was willing but my brain was as fried as twice cooked chips. I even told myself that if I stopped blogging, I would have so much more time to do other things.
But I DO want to blog for the RIGHT reasons. If I am going to continue blogging, I want my blog to reflect my passions, interests and who I am. What I really want is the balance between blog life and real life. It was too exhausting taking everything so personally all the time.
So as I approach Year One of InHappenstance, I am going to ask myself a few important questions.
– Why am I blogging?
– Who am I blogging for?
– What do I get out of blogging?
I am not sure if there is a Year 2 for this blog just yet, but I really hope there is because some days, blogging really does bring me a sense of joy unlike anything else. I need to blog for the right reasons and I hope that it will renew and redefine what InHappenstance could become in the long run.
To my fellow bloggers out there, I would love to hear about your journey of blogging so far, how you keep your focus and how your blog has evolved from the start to what it is today? More importantly, I want to know if you are ever able to disconnect yourself from your blogging (especially all the food bloggers out there, how do you stay excited about food, photography and styling?)
Thanks for reading and stopping by. I hope you enjoy your long weekends wherever you are and may your Easter observations/celebrations be filled with love, family and lots of great food.
Mini Coconut Loaf with Elderflower Glaze
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 8 mini loaves
what you need
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 110g melted butter, cooled
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
- 200ml coconut milk
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- toasted almonds
- 3/4 cup of icing sugar
- 2 tablespoon elderflower cordial/concentrate
- 2 tablespoon of water (add as necessary for correct texture)
how to make it
- Preheat oven to 160 degrees (fan forced)
- Grease and lightly flour mini loaf pan (makes 8)
- In oven, toast almonds till golden in colour and set aside
- In three separate bowls (largest bowl for dry mix), prepare the following:
- Wet Mix: mix sugar, butter, 2 x egg yolks, vanilla bean paste
- Dry Mix: mix desiccated coconut, flour, baking powder and salt
- Egg White Mix: beat egg whites until stiff peaks form
- In the dry mix bowl, alternately add portions of the coconut milk and wet mix. Mix to combine, repeat until all ingredients are combined into the one bowl. Fold in egg whites.
- Pour even batter into prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, loaves are ready when they are golden in colour and toothpick comes out clean from the centre.
- Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before turning them out, allow to cool further if required.
- Make Elderflower glaze by mixing icing sugar, elderflower cordial and water. To test consistency, add water in small increments and allow to sit, if the glaze hardens over, it is a good consistency (think donut glaze)
- Cool loaves before pouring glaze over, top with almonds immediately over wet glaze to set.
Alternative serving suggestion: Serve these mini loaves warm with some spiced custard for a comforting dessert.