Thursday, April 24, 2014

weekly inspiration: blush


Check out my philosophical article on this brand new website called The Mindbite.

Do you guys read Thought Catalog? I'm an avid Buzzfeed fan, but Thought Catalog is equally addicting.  I am obsessed with Kara Nesvig's writing, it's so ambient and beautiful.  This piece almost made me cry it was so good.

It's prom season at my high school.  The most stressful part about prom season is finding a dress. I'm not super particular, my only requirement is that it had to have ruffles. I feel like there aren't many occasions to wear full out ruffles in life -- but prom is one of them.  I finally picked out my dress - it was $0 thanks to a store credit I had from last year.  #savvyshopping

As much as I love to pretend it doesn't exist, I have so much studying to do.  Subject tests are next weekend and APs are the following week, and then to top it all off I have finals.  I've realized that studying in my house is too distracting (the siren calls of the oven and overripe bananas are too loud). So I've been studying at Starbucks.  I drink buckets of Passion Iced Tea, and the other customers keep an eye on me so I stay focused.

Doge memes are TOO MUCH.  Maybe I'm late hopping on that bandwagon, but they are so funny.

It's finally nice in D.C., and I've been wearing sundresses every damn day.  My new obsession is using coconut oil as leg lotion.  It smells all tropical and keep my legs smooth all day.

Since I've been in an infinitely better mood now that the sun is out, I've been listening to tons of cheesy dance music. Everyone on Facebook is making fun of me because my Spotify is connected to my profile and I've listened to Navy Seals 100+ times.  Oops. Sorry not sorry.

With love,
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

rainbow cake

So last week I gave you a little talk about real talk.  Basically, I don't want to be a confectioners-sugar-dusted-phoney.  That's why I've decided to get crazy with some real-life confessions on here.

Confessions. That's a scary word.

So here it goes, here's my first confession.

I like reading Craigslist Personal Ads.

Disclaimer: I would never ever ever in a million years even think about posting an ad on Craigslist (or answer one), but I like to read them.


Yes, some are creepy, some are weird (ex. "I enjoy theatrical-quality tomfoolery"...what), and some are downright fake.  But some are nice.  My favorites are in the "missed connections" forum.

This is where people leave messages hoping to find people they've crossed paths with.  There is something less sinister about this forum than the others, no creepy requests, no augmented biographies pleading for a date.  Instead, there's a sort-of-sad sad sincerity in these posts.


These people couldn't get a face/aura out of their mind all day, and are now beating themselves up for not saying anything. There is hope and regret intertwined in all of the posts ("I would have talked to you but I was too shy").  The regret of not seizing the moment, the hope that maybe this little "message in a bottle" (via Craigslist) will miraculously reach that special person.


The sweet, sad thing about this is that 99 times out of 100, these ads are never reciprocated.  That person who was reading Harry Potter 5 on the train is probably back at home, flipping through the pages and eating Lean Cuisine and will never see the post on Craigslist.  But the admirer posts it anyways.


Here's one I liked:
"I wish I went and sat next to you and said hello, but obviously I didn't and here I am posting this note you will probably never read. Wherever you were going, I hope you got there safe, and that despite the rain you are having a great day" 

I like think about all of the faces I see in a day, and all of the stories, fears, and adventures that lie behind all of those faces. I'm not advocating talking to strangers.  But I guess this should inspire us to seize the moment and not miss an opportunity to speak to someone.  Yolo?

Anyways, now that I've shared something weird about myself with you all, I am going to share this weird cake recipe! It's super easy, super funky, and will knock all of your friend's socks off when you serve it.  It looks like an unassuming vanilla cake... and then BAM! Rainbow madness on the inside. Check it out.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients 
 
White cake batter, divided (you can use box mix or homemade)
Food coloring
Your favorite buttercream frosting
Rainbow sprinkles!

Prepare the cake batter, and then divide into however many colors you would like.  
Use food dye to color the batter, use a lot so that the colors turn out really nice and saturated and brilliant. 
Drop the batter into a prepared cake pan(s) and bake as normal. 
Frost, decorate with sprinkles, and enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

fried banana bread bites


At this time of year, bunnies are supposed to popping out of flower beds left and right, and baby chicks are supposed to be hatching from Easter eggs.


So far I've seen none of these things happening... I guess they just don't happen when you live in the city.


Nonetheless, bunnies and baby chicks are all symbols of rebirth and new beginnings. I've definitely had some of my own new beginnings this Spring.


For one thing, I can't sit still.  I feel this intangible energy pulsing through the air, and this fire in my throat that definitely wasn't there in December. It's hard to describe, but I feel like life right now is the opening scene of a movie, where there's just a bunch of dew and morning dust floating around and it's unclear what the movie is even about.


I am slowly getting the hang of my hostessing job.  No longer am I the girl who looks like a deer in headlights, awkwardly racking my brain for something to say as I guide people to their tables.  Some one even laughed at one of my corny jokes yesterday when they sat them at a table (I know... what?!).

I have come to terms with the mess in my room.  I now accept the fact that there will eternally be dresses and shoes and mismatched socks strewn about the floor, and I'm actually more comfortable that way than in a spick and span room.

I've learned how to properly apply self-tanner without looking like I have strange bruises everywhere (hello white shorts).

These are little changes, but I can say with confidence that I feel at peace.


Another new thing is that I have come to terms with deep-frying.  It doesn't freak me out as much as it used to.  However, I still wear Speedo swimming goggles while deep frying so oil doesn't spurt into my eyes (super dorky, yes. but would oil make me go blind? probably).  Thank goodness I conquered my fear so that I could bring you all these majestic fried banana bread bites.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1 loaf of banana bread
oil for deep frying
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Cut the banana bread into 1 inch cubes.

Preheat the oil in a heavy metal pot to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

While the oil is heating up, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.

Drop small batches of the banana bread cubes into the hot oil, fry for 3 minutes until golden brown.

Immediately roll the fried cubes in the sugar mixture, and place on a paper towel.

Repeat until you've fried all of the banana bread.

Enjoy!



© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

deep-dish apple pie pizza


Nothing's really that simple.

On this blog, I often worry that I am compelled to portray myself as this teenage Martha Stewart-wannabe, but that's not reality.

If I were Lauren Conrad or Martha Stewart, this would be different.  It is their job to look super fabulous and manicured for their readers -- exhibiting guru-like knowledge on flower arrangements and sock buns that don't look stupidFor me, this whole blogging thing is a little different.  I don't have endless funds to spend on peonies, my hair will never look good in a sock bun, and I have no authority to tell you all how to mix a pink mimosa.

my beautiful, blank pizza canvas

My goal is to get closer to you all as readers and tell it like it is.  I want you to be able to read my blog posts and be all like "whoa, she gets it!," or "omg me too." Definitely not a "my life is in shambles, how can I be more like her" (because believe me, my life is in shambles sometimes too).

Yes, I have a collection of vintage mason jars and milk bottles, I have a bin dedicated to washi tape, and I make my own granola.  But that is just one side of me.


The part that you don't see as much is the fact that I am a worrier, I enjoy a little bit (lot a bit) of mess in my room, and I am often very stubborn. Thus, along with the baker's twine, DSLR shots, and confectioners sugar comes real feelings, real mistakes, and the real joy beyond making a photogenic batch of cupcakes.  Also, I often eat things straight out of the fridge (i.e. not plated with perfect lighting and garnishes). 


One of my favorite things to eat standing up at the fridge is apple pie.  My dad used to always buy those grocery store apple pies, and I'd always keep standing up, sneaking over to the fridge and eating just a little sliver (by the end of the hour the pie was usually half eaten).  That apple pie tasted so much better than warm apple pie all served up with ice cream and whipped cream and a mint spring (mint does not belong on apple pie).  Something about the cold, gooey, finger-food nature of it made it just that amazing.

Pizza is another classic "fridge food,"  cold pizza straight from the fridge is a delecacie of its own.  It tastes nothing like pizza, but it tastes pretty good!

look at that big, fat crust!
Enough chit-chat.  Let's talk about this pizza. This is a real life recipe.

Ain't nobody got time to make real apple pie on a school night.  But we've got time for pizza pie. This pizza version of apple pie is all of the cinnamon-y apple goodness without the opressive pastry/pie crust rolling! (especially if you use store-bought pizza dough... that's real life)


The thing is, real life often tastes better than "ideal life" (a life in which I made a mile-high apple pie with a rum syrup reduction with apples that I picked from my garden). This strange amalgamation of the classy, the trashy, and the unique creates something truly spectacular.  This pizza is a wonderful hybrid between you're grandmother's apple pie (classy), Domino's Cinnastix (trashy), and a cream cheese frosting drizzled cinnamon buns (unique?). 

The end result? Something perfect to eat standing up at the fridge.


If you're looking for more easy-peasy pizza recipes to eat standing up at the fridge, you're in luck. It's Pizza Week on NoshOn.It! Checkout the hashtag #PizzaWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or check out the Pizza Week Pinterest Board.  The inspiration is endless!

Some favorites are:
Gerry's Prosciutto, Pistachio, and Burrata Pizza  
Amy's Kimchi Pizza
Shanna's Grilled Pineapple, Crispy Pork Belly, Burrata and Arugula Pizza

With love,
Erica

it's so gooey I'm gonna die!!!!!
Ingredients

for the dough:
2 packets of active dry yeast (1/4 oz. each)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for surface)

(alternatively, you could use store-bought dough)

for the filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened

for the topping:
one small apple, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter
cinnamon

First, make the pizza dough. 

Pour 1 1/2 cups of warm water into a large bowl, stir in yeast, and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy. 

Whisk in the sugar, oil, and salt.  Add flour and stir until the mixture forms a sticky dough.  Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).  

Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F. 

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the ball of dough out into a big circle. 
Now, make the filling.  Beat together the sugar and cream cheese until it becomes a uniform mixture.  Spoon this mixture evenly around the crust, about an inch from the edge.  Fold the edges over the cream cheese to seal it inside the crust.  

Lay the sliced apples out on the dough.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.  

Now, prepare the streusel.  Crumble together the 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar and butter until the butter is the size of pebbles.  Sprinkle this mixture generously all over the pizza.  Give the pizza another nice sprinkling of cinnamon. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, and enjoy while warm!


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

orange scented french toast


soak:
to lie immersed in liquid (as water): become saturated by or as if by immersion

Soaking is a magical thing. I love the idea that things can drastically improve by just sitting in liquid.  This idea of idle productivity is particularly appealing to me right now, as I am procrastinating on typing up this MASSIVE outline for finals.

Things that get better after soaking:
  1. T-shirts.  There's nothing like a soft, vintage, sun-kissed t-shirt.  I recently did a little DIY project, soaking some of my stiff, school t-shirts in a salt water bath for a few days and then machine washing them.  After a few days of soaking in salt water, they were light and soft.  Easy-peasy. 
  2. Legs.  Not quite soaking, but the absorption process is similar -- letting thick, minty lotion soak into the skin for a few hours makes such a difference.  Scaly legs put me in an awful mood.  So does lotion that smells old-ladyish.  I've recently been obsessed with Seacret Ocean Mist Body Lotion.   No, I am not being endorsed by Seacret, although I'm quite flattered if you thought so.  I get sent stuff like industrial sized jugs of almond butter and oats (not that I'm complaining), not fancy-schmancy body creams and cosmetics. 
  3. People.  No matter how awful of a mood I am in, a soak in the bath never fails to melt some of the angrys away.  
  4. Breakfast.  Ahem french toast...

This is literally just stale bread, taken to unbelievably classy heights by a quick soak in heavy cream and orange zest.  That soak turns a boring slice of bread into an eggy, custardy, zesty sensation!  

I wish more things worked like this.  I wish I could soak in a special bath and come out knowing all of the countries in the world, or maybe I could soak in a magical concoction and emerge speaking fluent Portuguese.  That would be convenient (especially with AP exams coming up).  If I could soak in some sort of magical U.S. history bath, life would be hella easier.

Maybe someday I'll soak myself in some heavy cream and orange zest and come out extraordinary. Never know!

With love,
Erica



Ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup milk *you could just use milk, but cream makes this really rich and custardy
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange
dash of salt
6 thick slices of challah bread (slightly stale is ideal)
butter for cooking
blueberries, syrup, and/or orange marmalade for serving

In a large dish, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, juice, vanilla, zest, and salt together.

Soak the bread slices in this mixture (about 15 seconds on each side)

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until it begins to sizzle.

Add as many slices of bread to the pan as will fit -- and cook until golden and crisp (about three minutes per side). Repeat until all of the bread is cooked)

Serve with orange marmalade, syrup, and some fresh blueberries!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

everyday vita: snow days and spring days

This week started out with a snow day, and ended with me running in shorts and a tank top.  Funny how that happens.  Also funny how I always seem to start my blog posts with a description of the weather.  A bit hypocritical, because I don't like it when people talk about the weather in real life... anyway...

I really like doing these weekly update posts! It's like a weekly diary, that's public!  There's something marvelously appealing about over-sharing some of the details of my life with people on the Internet.


Monday: Snow day! Although I'm kind of over this whole snow ordeal, it was really nice to have a break.  This was the last week of school before Spring break, and there were a million things to be done.  A snow day was a nice opportunity to procrastinate for just one day longer.  I made homemade pocky sticks, took a long walk with Carly, and just read by the window for a while (something I always think about doing but never actually do).


Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday:  All a blur really.  So many tests.  So many papers.  So much furious Buzzfeed scrolling to get away from it all.  I am proud of myself for getting one recipe out to you guys!  Also, a number of people at my school who read my blog came up to me and said that they agreed with my whole subtweeting argument.  It makes me immensely happy when real-life-people agree with things that I ramble about on here.  

Friday:  I had some really nice falafel, went for a run, and then ate my weight in hummus.  This wasn't as painful as I thought it would be!  I got to see my friend from Georgia, Alli G. (yes, like the Sacha Baron Cohen movie) here in D.C.! We first met in Santa Fe on a community service trip when I was a freshman, and have kept in touch since. We've seen each other around this time every year, and it's always hilarious to relive that dysfunctional trip with her, just talk about life, and see how things are going in the ATL.


Saturday:  Today, I made this crazy rainbow cake! But it's not just any cake, it's a birthday cake.  I've started a new project where I make birthday cakes for homeless children's birthday parties -- because they should be able to have sprinkly, sparkly birthday parties like everyone else.  This looks like an unassuming vanilla cake... but when cut open, it's an explosion of rainbow colors!  I dyed white cake batter all sorts of different colors and swirled them up all cool inside.  I'm already dreaming up cakes I can make for other birthday parties, if you have any ideas, let me know!


Carly was dropped off at doggy camp this morning and I miss her already. :(

Today I officially started the #100happydays project! It's awesome! Basically, you do something that makes you happy every day, tweet a picture of it, and then after 100 days, you have a nice collection of happy things to look back on.  Follow my challenge @cannella_vita.

Happy Saturday!

With love,
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

cookie monster cupcakes!


I'm sick and tired of subtweets.

Subtweets are basically the epitome of digital passive-agressiveness... precariously bordering on downright aggressive.  According to Urban Dictionary, "subtweet" is short for "subliminal tweet" which is directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name -- i.e. talking about someone behind their back (but actually directly in their face on Twitter).


Subtweeting happens all the time at my school.  There is a group of people who think they're awesome that they always have these "witty" observations about everyone else.

Examples:

"Wearing sunglasses and carrying a purse to school. #whodoyouthinkyouare."

"I feel so awkward for some people #awkward"

"I love it when girls act like they're still in middle school. It's so adorable." (condescending tone)


The funny thing is, sub-tweeting is probably the most middle school move of all.   So what if a 17-year old is concerned with their eye-health, and likes to carry a purse?  So you feel "awkward" for someone... thanks for sharing! I feel awkward for you, spending hours a day thinking of "witty" little things to say about people on Twitter!  I can see that you "love it when girls act like they're still in middle school" -- that's what you're doing!  Yay for self-love!

Subtweeting works the exact opposite of how you want it to.  First, subtweeting just makes you uncool. Second, you're blatantly admitting that whoever you're subtweeting about has the influence to occupy your mind. 

Can't we all just relax a little bit?  Let the sunglasses crew wear their sunglasses, let the awkward people be awkward, and you all can just go about acting like middle-schoolers and not bother the rest of us who just want to read our tweets in peace. I think we should all just eat a cookie and relax, even better, a cookie monster cupcake!   I was inspired to make these by a tweet I saw -- I would have seen this tweet sooner if it wasn't for all of the subtweets I had to scroll through!  *sigh*

But alas, I have realized that this blog post is sort of a "subliminal blog post" against all "subliminal tweeters."  Oh well, before I dig myself deeper into this icky, subliminal hole, let me show you all how to make cookie monster cupcakes! Yay!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1 batch of your favorite cupcake recipe
24 small chocolate chip cookies, such as Chips Ahoy.  If you're feeling ambitious you could even make your own!
48 white candy melts (for the eyes)
48 chocolate chips or brown M&Ms (for the pupils)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
blue food coloring. 

Prepare the cupcakes, and allow to cool fully. 
In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and confectioner's sugar until blended and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract and blue food coloring and beat for five more minutes. 
Fill a piping tip fitted with a star tip with the blue frosting, and pipe onto cupcakes.  Press two candy melts onto each cupcake as the "eyes" and glue on a chocolate chip with frosting as the "pupils." Cut each chocolate chip cookie in half, and place upright on the cupcake as the mouth.  Enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

weekly inspiration


~from tumblr~
~from how sweet eats~


This week, I fell hard for the protein pancake.  Doesn't taste health food-y at all.  Tastes like a pancake, acts like a protein shake.  

On a bit of a health food kick, I started drinking apple cider vinegar in the mornings and am kind of obsessed.  Doesn't drinking vinegar sound kind of badass? I think so!

To cancel all of these healthy shenanigans out, I made a coffee and doughnut cake for my friend Veda's birthday.  

Now that it's warmer outside, I need to start doing my hair more often :(.  Cupcakes and Cashmere has a tutorial... It's embarrassing how many blow-out tutorials I've attempted to follow in my lifetime (and the number of round brushes I've gotten stuck in my hair).  Fingers crossed this works!  She makes it look so easy... 

Love this blog: The Tale of a Mermaid.  

I have a new project! Making cakes for homeless children's birthdays! My first birthday party is going to be on the 27th!

Interesting article on how to order a croissant. Do you pretend to be french and say kraw-san? Is that pretentious? Do you say the American cruh-sant? Is that ignorant?  All of your questions answered here.

Love this music video, mostly for the the brief minion appearance. 

Tomorrow is St. Patty's day and I have a mad craving for Lucky Charms and green food coloring. 


Also, can I pull off a sun hat? Questions...

With love,
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

everyday vita: new beginnings



I think Spring is finally here... then again I feel like I've been saying that for the past month... and we're supposed to have a snow day tomorrow (not that I'm complaining about that at all).

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and this week was full of new beginnings.

This week I wore a skirt without tights for the first time in what feels like forever.

I was wearing that classed up outfit because, guess what?! I'm employed! I'm now the official hostess at a local brunch cafe! What you can't see in the picture are my stretchy leggings and orthopedic ballerina flats.  I was on my feet all day seating people at tables and running back and forth from my podium to the floor.  Thank the Lord for spandex and rubber soles.

I started drinking apple cider vinegar this week.  It sounds really blecky, but when mixed with apple juice and cinnamon it just tastes like diluted apple cider.  And it's supposed to be really healthy.

I bought farm fresh eggs, and they really are quite different! For one thing, the yolks are orange, not yellow!

I started running again, and realized that I am definitely a solo runner.  Some people really enjoy running in groups, I am not one of those people.  I really like to listen to books on tape when I run, and listening to books on tape in the presence of other people is considered antisocial :(.  Also, wireless headphones are a game-changer.

I put up chalkboards in my room to keep track of my to-do lists.  Question: do you ever do something slightly productive (that wasn't on your to-do list), and then proceed to write it on your to-do list just to cross it off? I do this ALL THE TIME.  Those extra things that I get done while procrastinating should be worth something. (and since this is the last week before Spring break, I have a million and one things to cross off).

I have a pretty cool "diy" post that should hopefully come up soon. I've never done anything crafty on Cannella Vita, so this should be interesting.

Happy Sunday!

With love,
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

tres leches cake!

NOBODY IS LISTENING TO YOU!


And I'm not saying that in a mean way.

When I was in elementary school, my teachers pegged me as "a shy kid."  Thing is, I was never shy -- actually I've always been a performer and a little crazypants.  In those elementary school days, I'd often be prancing around the supermarket in a crop top and cat ears proclaiming that I was Josie from Josie and the Pussycats, putting glitter glue on my eyelids (not smart if you ever plan on blinking), or singing Disney princess songs into my mom's camcorder.  Definitely not a quivering daisy.


I guess this whole predicament started out when one day, I had my head in the clouds and didn't find it necessary to say stuff.  At the beginning it was fine, I wasn't lonely or surly.  I was just rolling around the sandbox by myself thinking about things.

But then it got awkward.


People love labeling people.  Oh! You're the funny kid! Oh, you must be the precocious little genius kid!  Oh hey there, you must be the shy kid.  I learned that once you're labeled the "shy kid,"  people have all sorts of expectations of you...


People would get this surprised look on their faces whenever I said things, and when people started giving me that look, I stopped saying things.  As you can imaging, this became a vicious cycle.  My teachers didn't always help.  Teachers seem to like shy kids.  Shy kids don't break eardrums or break bookcases.  Thus, my teachers would often make an example of me -- telling the class to "stop shouting and be more like Erica."  I would smile, but this was always super awkward.  First, because kids don't like the kid who they're told to be like, and second, there was this little girl inside of me who liked to wear purple leopard print and sing "Under the Sea" really loudly in a Jamaican accent who just wasn't allowed to come out.  Imagine how awkward it would have been if one day I came out of the reading corner singing "Under the Sea" in my Jamaican accent?! I was pretty sure the ceiling would have fallen down. Once people had this expectation of me to be the "quiet" and "behaved" Erica, I stuck to it.


There were times when I thought that I lost that purple leopard print little girl.  I truly believed that I was shy...  and I hated it.  Especially as I got up in elementary school and wanted to be like Sharpay from High School Musical and I wanted boys to like me. In 5th grade, boys don't like shy girls.  And I believed that I was a shy girl.  I wished I could be like those bubbly girls who crimped their hair and wore glittery nail polish.  Nonetheless, I kept on being the nice little shy girl at school, and then when I got home, I dressed up like a mime and rapped Snoop Dogg while I rode around the house on my Waveboard (did you ever have a Waveboard?).


One day, I was dozing off during assembly.  The assembly was the drama acting out the book Hungry Hungry Caterpillar (who came up with those assemblies?!).  When I came back to my senses, I noticed that the kid who was dressed up as a watermelon slice who just recited his line looked like he was about to puke.  No, he looked worse.  He looked like he was about to get publicly executed.  And you know what I noticed? That I couldn't have told you what he said if I was offered a million bucks.  That kid was about to poop his pants over something that nobody was listening to at all.


That's right, I was not paying attention at all, and neither was half of the audience.  It was this realization that helped me "shed my shy kid image." I realized that every sentence isn't a matter of life and death, because no one's really listening anyways.  I realized that the ceiling wouldn't fall down if I emerged from the reading nook and played dress up.  I realized that no one would care if I pronounced the "g" in "trough" when we read aloud in English class.  I realized that regretting not saying something is much worse than saying something awkward.


Now that I am in high school, I am glad that I had this realization.  Sure, the "shy kid" image is sticky like condensed milk and takes time to wash off, but there have been many opportunities since I witnessed that quivering watermelon that I have spoken up without regrets -- and my life has been so much better/less awkward because of it.

Yay for super awkward transitions!  Condensed milk! It's in Tres Leches cake!  Which is the recipe I'm sharing with you all today!  This cake is super squidgy and moist because you literally pour milk all over it.  I frosted mine with cream cheese frosting for my friend Veda's birthday because she likes cream cheese frosting.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
Cake:
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk

Sauce:
1 can condensed milk (1 cup-ish)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Frosting:
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper and grease it well.  Beat butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides as you go.  Add the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until just combined.  Add buttermilk and stir slowly.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and mix together the three milks.  Cool the cake for five minutes, and then poke holes all over it with a fork.  Pour the milk all over the cake.  Let cool completely in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Beat together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer.  Beat in the vanilla.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Frost the cake. 

To make the toasted coconut, add the shredded coconut to a frying pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned.  Sprinkle over cake.



Loosely Adapted from Pati's Mexican Table

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