I feel like everyone starts a new year with the best intentions. Usually one vows to be more organized, to set goals (and actually achieve them), and to procrastinate less. The beginning of this year was no different for me. However, within the very first week of setting my goals, I managed to slip right back into my same old procrastinating, staying-up-late, excuses-making self.
As a result, I started to think hard about how I can become more proactive this year and what I ultimately want to achieve for my blog. The biggest trick for me I’ve come to realise is to not take myself too seriously. Often, I’ll draw up these big plans for myself, and instead of feeling relieved since I have everything written down on paper, I just end up feeling totally overwhelmed because I tend to set the bar far too high with everything I do. Obviously, this can leave me feeling quite despondent a lot of the time.
So, I apologise for the late wishes but happy 2018 everyone! I hope that this year brings you all the success, happiness and new adventures in the world. I’m looking really forward to seeing what this year has in store (especially since it’s my final year of studying – yikes!).
I have some exciting things up my sleeve for the blog this year, and would really love for you all to be involved. That’s why I’m going to be trying to engage with you all more, asking you for advice on what kinds of content YOU enjoy interacting with most, and collaborating with other bloggers to keep things fresh and exciting! So without further ado, let’s get this year started! (Well, for me anyways).
My first recipe of 2018 is for this vanilla sponge cake topped with fresh blueberries that I made whilst staying in a cottage in Underberg at a place called Lake Naverone. The first few days of our holiday were quite cold and wet so all I wanted was hot tea and a slice of cake. Not having access to any cake tins or an electric mixer, I had to improvise with this recipe a bit but I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s easy to follow and the result is a delicious light vanilla cake that reminds me of birthdays during primary school.
Next time you’re away and don’t have the usual implements required to bake a cake, don’t go out and buy one, make your own one fresh using this super simple recipe. (I found this recipe on the Le Creuset website here, I just had to do a few things by hand and used a roasting tray instead of a cake tin.)
For the Cake
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
For the Icing
100g butter, room temperature
60ml milk, warm
500g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a rectangular roasting tray using some butter on a piece of wax paper (or your fingers).
Heat the butter and milk in a small saucepan until the butter has just melted. Allow to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl using a whisk until light and fluffy.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold in gently, along with the butter and milk mixture.
Pour the cake batter into the greased roasting tray and bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took about 40 minutes so just keep an eye on it) or until a skewer, inserted near the centre, comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For the icing, beat the butter in a large mixing bowl. If you’re beating the butter by hand like I did, make sure it’s fairly soft before starting. Gradually add the icing sugar, alternating with the warm milk when the icing becomes too thick. Beat the icing with a whisk until light and fluffy.
Spread the icing on the cooled cake while it’s still in the tray and top with fresh blueberries. Cut square slices out of the tray and enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee!
This cake was a huge hit among my family and neighbours alike. Lake Naverone is a seriously beautiful place to stay (see pictures below) and I urge you to look at the link provided in the text above to suss it out for yourself – you’ll come back feeling so refreshed you’ll be like a completely new person!