Friday, January 10, 2014

Cakepops and Writing Projects

I had been eating cakepops a long time before thinking of making my own. How could a mere mortal make a cakepop? They're always moist on the inside and seem to attract all kinds of experimentation. I've seen so many pictures of mouthwatering cakepops both beautiful and made of delicate ingredients like lavender and vanilla bean. 

I can't cook or bake and I get all trembly around an oven, but when I saw a Bella cakepop machine sitting on the bottom shelf in Tuesday Morning, my eyes grew big and I hugged the darn box. It wasn't until today that I opened the box, admired the happy-blue machine, and gathered my ingredients to see if... it actually worked. Yeah. That's kind of important.

With the help of my mom, who's been steering the family in a more healthy direction, we decided to go simple for our first try and cut back on the eggs. The cake mix was classic yellow (I didn't know that it had been elevated to "classic," did you?). Instead of eggs, we used soy flour mixed with water. Mom and I also made the executive decision of putting chocolate chips into the batter. 

The cakepop machine moved quickly - each batch bakes for five minutes; yet, after watching a video online, the baker said to observe the machine closely: you'll see steam coming out of the machine - when the steam stops, it's time to take the pops out. 

You'll see the first batch pictured above.  We, uh, had an interesting time with these egg-less pops. Some of them didn't rise, while others spilled over instead of taking the full round shape. But the taste? 

GUYS, the taste was spot-on. Moist in the middle. I mean, we may have created tons of cakepops that look like muffins / UFOs, but they were delicious. Next time, we're going to use eggs, though, and see if they turn out perfectly round. Also, I'd love to experiment with cookie batter... I have a mix of creamsicle cookies in the pantry that's just begging to transform into cakepops.

I'm in a wonderful experimenting mood. Not just with food, of course. But this is a new year and I want to put my best foot forward with everything I write. 

I ended 2013 by chugging along to meet a December 31st deadline for Jim Hensen's The Dark Crystal Author Quest. A few friends of mine told me about the contest while I was in the middle of writing my NaNoWriMo project. I got so excited about it that I carefully set aside everything and plunged into the world of The Dark Crystal. 

I grew up with Jim Hensen's work, watching The Muppet Show every night and doing the Magic Dance while berating Sarah for not staying with Jareth, the Goblin King, at the end of the Labyrinth. There was no way I was going to let this contest go by without tossing my hat in. I had less than a month and a half to submit a 10k entry that would best represent the story I wanted to tell set during the Gelfling Gathering, a time many trine (years) before the film. The winner of this contest receives the honor of writing that novel and being published under Grosset & Dunlap.

When I wasn't working, I was fully-engrossed in exploring the extensive mythology and history of The Dark Crystal. There was a lot to see, read, and digest before being able to create my own story. In the end, my 10k entry was the first three chapters of the would-be novel. I don't think I've ever written a story like it before; the process was like riding a roller coaster: a slow ride up, what with all the research, but once I started working in my Word document, it was all screaming and laughing, flipping upside down and bursting out of tunnels. Exhilarating stuff.

By December 31st, I was feeling a little like Emperor SkekSo (not to mention quoting him because it's fun):

Now I'm back to working on what was my NaNoWriMo project, We Could Fall in Love. It's refreshing to be working in this world where charms can influence weather, but more importantly love, and a motley crew of rebels are just getting starting with their plan to overthrow the head love fortuneteller.

I'm hoping to stay on schedule and finish my first draft in March (hopefully earlier. I love tight deadlines). When the manuscript's ready, you'll be able to read it... but that's all I'm going to say about that right now ;) *continues to be sneaky*

And then... there will be brand-sparkly new chapters of Boys & Bees. Oooooh yes. As I sit on the couch, ruminating over the possible cakepops I can make, I've also been mapping out the next few chapters so I'm ready when the time comes to return to Lorabeth and her bees. The circus tents are popping up, Caith's sneaking around with his double-face, and another disaster is slowly making its way to the school of apiary studies. March couldn't come fast enough, eh? :D