Celebration Cupcakes Recipe – Because We Hit 2 Million Views!

celebration cupcakes

“Children take joy in their work and sometimes as adults we forget that’s something we should continue doing.”
~ Ashley Ormon

 

Sometime last Friday Cauldrons and Cupcakes hit two million views.

Two million views is cause for celebration. And we did. With cupcakes, of course!

Dear Readers, thank you so much for all of the love, support and community that you’ve blessed us with since my very first blog post. It’s true to say that often the reason I have hauled myself out of bed on my less-than-best lyme days was to spend some time with you. <3

This cupcake recipe is easy to make, moist, and can be endlessly varied. It was given to me many years ago by the mother of a boy I dated at high school. Because they were his favourite, so she thought I should know how to make them! I’ve given two of my favourite variations below. One is a Strawberries and Cream Cupcake, and one is for a Choc-Caramel Deluxe Cupcake. So easy. So yum. So party!

Let the celebration begin!!!

Bert, hopeful for cupcakes!

Bert, hopeful for cupcakes!

Cupcake Ingredients (Makes 12 large cupcakes):

3 eggs, 1/2 cup (125g) softened butter (Trust me, this recipe works so much better if the butter is soft), 3/4 cup castor sugar (superfine sugar), 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour (self rising), 1/2 cup custard powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. 2 tablespoons cocoa and 1 extra tablespoon of milk put aside.

*Note – this mixture doubles easily to make 24 cupcakes. The cupcakes will also freeze well, uniced.

Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Place twelve paper cupcake liners into a cupcake or muffin tin. (This helps them to hold their shape.)

Sift flour and custard powder together. Dump all ingredients except cocoa and extra milk into a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until combined and then  on medium speed for four minutes or until the mixture changes colour and becomes thick and creamy.

Spoon 1/2 of the mixture into the first 6 papers. Now add the cocoa and extra milk to the cake batter, mix well and then add to final six cupcake papers.

Bake in oven for twelve to fifteen minutes, depending on speed of oven. Cupcake will spring back when lightly pressed in centre. Do not overbake or they will become dry.

Cool cakes and remove paper liners.

batter

choc batter

batter

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes:

Ingredients – one cup of slightly sweetened whipped cream, strawberry jam, fresh strawberries.

*Note: I used 1 cup of thickened cream, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar to make 2 cups of slightly sweetened whipped cream. If you’re a cream nut feel free to use a little more.

Method – Using a sharp knife cut a circular piece from the top of each cake. Then remove some of the core of the cake to make a well, being careful not to go too close to the edge or to break the cake.

jam

Dice two or three strawberries (more if very small) and add to half a cup of cream. Mix well. Add a small spoonful of jam to the bottom of each cupcake well. Then fill to just above the top each cake with the strawberry cream filling.

cream

Finish each cake by adding the remaining whipped cream. Cut the small circular piece of cake into two wings, press into cream and add a few slices of strawberry to garnish.

cakes

Choc-Caramel Deluxe Cupcakes:

Ingredients – one cup of slightly sweetened whipped cream, one can of Top ‘n’ Fill Caramel, one to two tablespoons of soft brown sugar, fresh raspberries

Method – Prepare cupcakes as above, by slicing off tops and making well. Fill well with caramel. Add brown sugar to whipped cream and beat well until combined. Top cakes with whipped cream, the cupcake lid cut into ‘wings’ and a fresh raspberry. If inclined, sprinkle a little extra brown sugar on cream.

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We’re nearly at magical 2 Million!

“Sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.”
~ Angela N. Blount, Once Upon an Ever After

 

When I first started blogging, on December 11, 2011, I didn’t expect that anyone would read what I might post.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes was an experiment. An online journal in the true sense of the phrase ‘web log’. I’ve kept a journal since I was a small girl, and it seemed a natural extension to then create one using technology rather than a book and pencil.

Every day that I write a new entry, I sit in meditation for a moment, and then in prayer, and then I hold my community in my heart and ask ‘What do my readers most need to know right now? How can I best support them?’ Those simple questions have led to all manner of posts, some of which have taken me by surprise as much it might you.

My blog has evolved into this crazy kind of living memoir. My farm and my doggy family and my cows and my psychicness (LOL – awesome english, Nic!), my philosophy, the inside of my head and all those heapingly tender vulnerabilities, a snippet of my metaphysical and self-development teachings, simple recipes and my journey with lyme disease.

It’s a strange combination, I know. But it’s how I roll. My life is made up of the very ordinary, the ordinary made magical through love and gratitude, and the other kind of ordinary – the things that are commonplace for me as a psychic and channel.

As we edge towards the magical two million views mark, my sister has been constantly asking me if I’m going to have a party to celebrate (I love you, Simone!). And I think I will. A proper one, with cupcakes and gumboot dancing and pots of tea in the garden.

Of course there will also be presents. I’ve decided to put together a little gift pack that represents the themes of my blog. Won’t that be a crazy, joyful combo! And then, of course, I shall give that gift pack away to someone here in my beautiful community, to say Thank You for your love and support. More details on that in the next few days. 🙂

In the meantime, I’d love your feedback. Is there anything you’d like me to write about? Anything you’d like more of? Anything you’re just dying to know?

Because I’m here for you.

Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for supporting me and my funny little blog.

Nicole <3 xoxo

My first ever selfie, taken in the garden.  Later that day I learned to look at my arm as I snapped the shot. LOL!

My first ever selfie, taken in the garden. Later that day I learned to look up at my arm at the phone as I snapped the shot. LOL. My biggest secret? Under that glam coat I am wearing my pyjamas!

2013 – My Blog in Review

Image from Techmest

Image from Techmest

 “And it occurred to me that there is no such thing as blogging. There is no such thing as a blogger. Blogging is just writing — writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology.” ~ Simon Dumenco

 

It’s hard to believe that two years ago I started my blog with a humble post about a recipe for ice-cream plum pudding! Since then there have been 710 posts, 916 852 hits, and 6872 followers.

Something inside me has compelled me to keep blogging, to get up at an insane hour each morning to meditate and then write so that when you wake up there will be a fresh post for you.

I’ve taken my iPhone everywhere so I could snap pictures – of my farm, my food, my life.

I’ve written from my heart, and I’ve blogged almost every day. No matter where I’ve been. The only times I have not blogged have been if I have been simply too ill, and most times I’ve still found a way. I guess you could say my blog’s important to me. And more than that, YOU are important to me.

So today I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being part of my beautiful community. Thank you for being my friend.

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I’ve been struggling on this latest round of lyme meds. These drugs that were supposed to be a reprieve for the holidays have given me some of the worst herxing I’ve yet experienced, crippling me with overwhelming exhaustion, brain fog and massive unrelenting pain. It’s been hard to show up this past month or so. I’m behind on replying to your comments, although I read them all.

But I know it shall get better this year, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my life with you; a little metaphysical magic, some tasty recipes, a sprinkle of farm life and friendship, a dash of practical philosophy. My heart – on my sleeve as usual.

I love you. I’m so glad you’re here. And I’m so very grateful for your support.

I’m looking forward to a 2014 filled with writing, friendship, more great easy recipes and a whole lot of nurture and healing – for you and me both!

Much, much love to you,

Nicole ♥ xx

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 570,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 24 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you! We’re Two!!

Image from The Creative Me

Image from The Creative Me

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 
~ Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

 

Cauldrons and Cupcakes turns two today. Two years since my first uncertain foray into the world of blogging, with the auspicious post Ice-Cream Plum Pudding: Seriously easy, seriously yum!

Since then I’ve blogged recipes, farm life, gratitude, spiritual journeys, inspiration, owls, crystals and more. Not quite what I expected to be blogging about, but like the Douglas Adams quote, I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

Thank you for your support. You’re the reason I get up every morning to meditate and then sit at my desk to write. I’m so very grateful for you, and I’m glad you came into my life!

I’ll leave you with a few images from our beautiful ‘Soul Sanctuary’ Retreat, here in Byron Bay. We’re having a fabulous time. Wish you were here!

Lots and lots of love, Nicole xx 🙂

Finding the Path…

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Signs are everywhere!

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Follow Your Heart…

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Find Your Tribe.

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Create some space for relaxation, contemplation and connection.

2013-12-08 17.14.57Believe!

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2012 in review – Thanks WordPress!

So much can happen in a year. I feel humbled and honoured to have shared my journey with you over the last twelve months, and I look forward to many more shared adventures together in 2013. Thanks for your friendship and support. Wishing you all things fabulous for the year ahead. Bless ♥ Nicole xx

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog:

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 330,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

And the Winner is…

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
~ Melody Beattie

As my final November gesture to celebrate all of the support that has been shown to my fledgling blog, I offered a custom-designed healing necklace to one lucky reader.

Today I’m proud to announce that the winner is Julie Goyder.  Julie has a beautiful blog over at jmgoyder.com, and it’s really worth a visit. Julie, I’ll be contacting you shortly so that we can work out the details but for now, here’s my heartfelt congratulations!

For all of you who didn’t win, I’m sending Love, Light and Hugs.  Thank you for your encouragement and support for Cauldrons and Cupcakes. I’m honoured to share the journey with you.

And now, something to uplift you, and to help you cultivate that feeling of gratitude in your own life.  You’ll need about ten minutes – consider it a meditation!

Bless, Nicole ♥ xoxo

Win a Healing Necklace, Made Especially For You!

This is the final week of my blog supporter love-up, and I’ve saved the best ’til last.

So far the beautiful Anita has won the every.day.presence book by Simone De Haas.

This week Tammy of onelittlestranger wins a crystal just for her, chosen and channelled by me. Congratulations, Tammy! I shall be delving through my magical cupboard to find just the right stone for you. ❤

I am so very grateful for all of the support and connection that you have shown me and my blog thus far.  I had no idea when I wrote my very first (rather lame) post that things would snowball the way they have. But my intention from the beginning with Cauldrons and Cupcakes has been to uplift, to support, to inspire and encourage – and to share my life so that I demystify the supposed ‘strangeness’ of having metaphysical abilities.

The spiritual journey is also a healing journey, and so my last offering to you in this big month of celebration is this – a custom-made healing necklace, hand crafted by me, and incorporating crystals and stones that are attuned to your own vibration so that you can experience positive shift, healing and growth in some significant physical, emotional or spiritual area of your life.

Here are some examples of necklaces I’ve made thus far:

❤ Fee’s necklace:

❤ Sophie’s Strand

❤ The Three Sisters’ Stones

When I make your necklace I meditate upon you first, to ask what you most need.  I choose the beads and crystals, and as I string the necklace I say a prayer and affirmation over each bead, no matter how tiny.  Finally, when the beads are strung, I hold the necklace in my hands and say a prayer of Blessing and do a further meditation for you, then I place the necklace in my crystal grid for twenty four hours to charge it up for you. There is love in every single bead, and they are truly powerful pieces.

All you need to do to be in the draw is to leave a comment below.  It doesn’t matter where in the world you live – if you are meant to win, you shall, and I shall happily send your necklace on to you.  Wishing you luck, and peace in your heart. ❤ Nicole xx

Win a Crystal, Chosen Just for You!

Last week I announced that in honour of the unexpected success of Cauldrons and Cupcakes, and my wonderful readers,  I would give away three prizes.  The first was this beautiful little book by Simone de Haas, titled every.day.presence – and the winner is Anita!  Congratulations, Anita.

This week I am giving you an opportunity to win a crystal, chosen by me based upon your energies and needs.  From my vast collection of stones that I charged up during the Transit of Venus earlier this year, I am sure that I shall find something that perfectly suits you.  I’ll also send you some simple instructions on how to work with your new crystal in meditation, as well as a channelled personal message about the qualities of your new stone.

I love working with crystals. I use them in meditation, in healing, and to enhance my writing and creative work. I use them extensively with my students when I am teaching spiritual and metaphysical courses. I often feel like I’m handing out lollies as I gift them with little bags of stones…

Naturally I also use them for my own psychic work too!  If you don’t know much about crystals you can check out some of my posts here:

Choosing A Crystal

Cleansing and Connecting with Crystals

Healing with Crystals

Using Crystals to Access Information

Working with Crystal Grids

All you need to do to be in the running to win your own special crystal is to leave a comment below.  I’ll put all of the names into my Tibetan Singing Bowl next Monday, 22nd October, and choose one at random. The winner, and the final gift, shall be announced on Tuesday 23th October’s blog. Feel free to share this post with your friends too. I trust that we are going to make some crystal magic happen with this give-away.

Thank you again, from my heart to yours, for all of your support and company as I blog my crazy life! ♥ xoxo

Book Giveaway and a Big Thank You!

Simone de Haas’ beautiful new book – every.day.presence

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

~ Hermann Hesse

Life brings so many unexpected surprises.  My blog, and how it has been received in the world is one of them for me. This month I shall reach 250 000 hits for Cauldrons and Cupcakes, and my blog is not yet one year old!

So, I just want to say Thank You. Thank You for sharing the journey with me. Thank You for your kindness and support. Thank You for being part of my community.

To show my thanks I’m going to give away some gifts to my readers.

This week’s gift is a beautiful little book by the inimitable Simone de Haas.  Called every.day.presenceit’s a useful tool for helping you to focus energy back on yourself, in order to become more present, more real, and more authentically yourself. It is a visually rich book, with a simple but powerful message and some wonderfully inspirational messages and quotes.

This image by the clever Simone de Haas!

All you need to do to have a chance to win is to leave a comment below.  I’ll put all of the names into a hat next Monday, 15th October, and choose one at random. The winner, and the next gift, shall be announced on Tuesday 16th October’s blog. There will be three gifts in all, between now and the end of this month.

Thank you, from my heart to yours. I truly value you, and I hope that my blog plays a small part in helping YOU feel uplifted, supported and encouraged on life’s journey – with cups of tea, friendship and good snacks along the way!

Much love to you,  Nicole ♥ xx

Another of Simone de Haas’ treasures…