rhubarb, vanilla and jasmine flower layer cake (a tentimestea birthday cake)

Today marks one year from my first post. It is also the first time I’ve taken photos on a different background–it required a roll of paper, a great deal of scotch tape, and slightly convoluted camera angles. For mixed results. I guess I’m still working on this aspect.

This past year has been a fun one. A year sounds longer than it feels and I suppose it is as I’ve spent half of it away from the blog. It still is technically a birthday though, and so I’ll continue my celebration regardless.

rhubarbcake

As is fitting on these sorts of occasions, I’ll start off with some requisite reflection on the past year. It has been quite a year–I think I’ve made some lovely new friends and followed even more and more lovely bloggers. And to think of all the things I’ve learned…

I learned that I actually like muesli. I learned what the texture of baked mochi is. I learned the Italian meringue method for macaron shells. I learned how to make a rolled cake that doesn’t crack. I learned that quiche is incredibly rich but also adaptable and really quite delicious. I learned that I know nothing about sourdough bread. I learned that I need to remember (i.e. bother) to proofread. I learned how to adjust the focus on my camera, finally! I learned that so many bloggers have so much to share, I learned that comments take time, but are so much fun to give and receive, and, finally, I learned how much I value this interactive aspect of blogging.

I knew this last point for a while, but just how much I value interaction only became apparent to me more recently (let me give you a sudden break in writing style so I can just launch right into an anecdote.) A month or two ago, along with a great deal more rejections, I had a couple photos accepted by foodgawker. I was very happy when the photos were accepted–I considered it, for some reason, very important validation of my blog as an actual food blog. And I watched as I had the greatest number of daily views ever on my blog which was (I think some of you may have to try not to laugh!) 65, a very considerable increase from usual.

And then that was all. After it had actually happened, I didn’t feel particularly happier or all that proud. And I realize now that an interested viewer who might interact, perhaps dropping a comment or an email, is so much more valuable to me than the quantity of page views. Immeasurably more valuable actually.

I realized that I didn’t really care about the breadth or width of the reach of tentimestea. What I really wanted was depth. I got to cohost my first Fiesta Friday and had a ridiculous amount of fun. I was on the cusp of becoming an avid depth-oriented blogger.

And then I went through this exhausting blog fatigue thing. A few weeks later, still forcing myself to oh gosh upload these photos, I’m here. One year later.

I don’t intend to make any commitments for the coming year. Though I’m sure I’ll still be around a year later, posting run on sentences and garbled recipes and an excess of dull photos on teak.

Even though I’m tired, I love having a blog. tentimestea has made me a motivated baker. I take notes, I think about what could be improved, I question why things turned out the way they did. Sometimes I’ll actually do something over if it turns out poorly. I love having a place to document what I make, the exhausting part is putting together the posts and making them even a fraction as good as I want them to be.

I won’t commit to posting more or posting less. I won’t commit to maintaining a certain standard of quality for this blog either. I don’t know what will happen, but regardless I’ll try to enjoy myself, as, even if I’m tired, I still want tentimestea to be something I love. And I wouldn’t love it as much as I do without the occasional reader and all the lovely bloggers (food and otherwise) that I’ve encountered.

Thank you for a marvellous year!

Recipe notes:

It is a very rhubarb-y cake. The cake itself has a golden hue from the spelt flour, and was meant to be flavoured with dried jasmine, which did not particularly come through. Between the layers is a very thin gloss of caramelized white chocolate ganache, a vanilla and jasmine pastry cream (which I was very fond of, but unfortunately was lacking in quantity) and roasted rhubarb. It’s then slathered with a liberal coating of butter…or rather Italian meringue buttercream beaten with rhubarb curd.

I found the cake, overall, to be too acidic. I think it could have been remedied with additional pastry cream–it was the most mellow and pleasant component of the cake, not overly tart as was the roasted rhubarb, or overly sweet as was the ganache, or both, as was the buttercream.

I did actually enjoy the buttercream though–it was rich and smooth and silky. It was quite sweet so I made an unsweetened rhubarb curd to beat into it, which resulted in an assertively tart flavour and a gentle pink colouring.

The cake was a bit of a struggle. Having only one pan, I made each layer successively and watched, sadly, as each layer became tougher and rose less. The batter ended up sitting for half an hour between each layer due to the time taken to bake the previous layer, wash the pan and prepare it. Next time I would mix together the butter ingredients and the dry ingredients, divide it into three, and mix each layer individually right before baking.

Altogether it was an alright cake, though rather horrible when it was cold as it made the cakes seem even tougher!

Rhubarb, vanilla and jasmine flower layer cake

40 thoughts on “rhubarb, vanilla and jasmine flower layer cake (a tentimestea birthday cake)

  1. CONGRATS ON THE ONE YEAR!!!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

    I reached one year on the 2nd of this month!! So I feel like we are blog sisters now. 😘

    Cake looks pretty and sounds pretty damn tasty. I haven’t cooked with any rhubarb this spring and now it’s basically August. Oh god. I missed the boat here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! And congratulations to you as well blog-sister πŸ˜‰
      I must have a rather different climate as our rhubarb typically starts off slow in spring and really thrives around this time of year (I have two more bags of stalks on the counter and am frankly a bit overwhelmed…so feel free to help yourself!).

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    1. Thanks Trudy! The cake was a bit of a struggle and didn’t turn out how I wanted, but was still quite fun πŸ™‚ Still working on the pictures…next time I will tape my sheet of paper horizontally on the wall instead to see if that help πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I actually quite like the taste of spelt and prefer it to some other whole grain flours. I usually like making spelt rather than whole wheat bread (whenever I make bread…which is not that often!) as it doesn’t taste bitter at all…which also makes it very appropriate for sweeter applications! Not to mention, it’s quite easy to work with, having the gluten that almond and rice flours lack.

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    1. Thanks Linda! As much as I love rhubarb, there may have been a bit too much as it did turn out to be a rather acidic cake…but I think some playing with the proportions of cake to cream to roasted rhubarb would smooth it out. πŸ™‚

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  2. Congrats on your one year blogging Laurie! It was really interesting reading all your thoughts about blogging. I had a similar experience to yours with food gawker – when someone entered one of my recipes on reddit. ‘High’ (relatively) number of views but it was like having ghost visitors who didn’t interact! πŸ™‚ So I haven’t gone near it again… I also think that blogging really helps develop baking skills. Anyway, hoping to see lots more of your stuff this coming year and I love the look of your cake here. Classy and tasty. Happy blogging and baking! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lili! Oh my, I imagine Reddit must have brought in plenty of ghosts! I suppose I don’t mind ghosts (the spookier they are, the better!), but things like foodgawker also ended up requiring a lot of effort on my behalf, and so, in the end, aren’t worth it πŸ™‚
      I wouldn’t try to challenge myself or make new things without inspiration from other bloggers–and challenges too, of course! For that I have you and so many other food bloggers to thank. It has definitely helped me improve this past year!
      πŸ™‚ I’m looking forwards to seeing what you come up with as well this coming year! Happy baking (and blogging!)!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Sometimes all the pieces don’t go together that well…in this case it was the proportions of the different components πŸ™‚ But it was a fun cake to make!

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    1. Thank you! It’s definitely understandable! After this cake I didn’t feel like making anything buttercream-y for a long time… it’s so rich and sweet. Layer cakes are fun for occasions though, aren’t they? πŸ™‚

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