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Triple-Layer Hot Chocolate Cake, or, A Study of Confidence

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Triple-Layer Hot Chocolate Cake, or, A Study of Confidence

Margaret Moon

Things are about to get real, you guys. 

Starting something new in life brings on a whole rush of emotions. It's exciting, exhilarating, all-consuming, adventuresome....it can also be a little frightening. 2015 really was a new year for me. I ended 2014 by quitting my job, packing my things, saying goodbye, and making the trek up the West Coast with my boyfriend and one scared little cat to try something new. I went from busy Los Angeles where I was born and raised to a small, closed-by-8 o'clock island in the Puget Sound where most of the residents qualify for the Senior Discount. I traded a noisy, one bedroom apartment with an hours commute to work for a quiet, old farm house  just 45 minutes from Downtown Seattle by ferry. I went from the security of a steady job in a sweet little bakery where my coworkers were more like family, to trying my hand at starting my own baking business. So far, it's been a little rough. Along with the newly found freedom and endless creativity pouring out onto every scrap of paper I can get my hands on, came the fear, tremendous self-doubt, and general anxiety I hadn't fully prepared for.

Sometimes I have so many questions swirling around in my head about what to do next, that I just don't do anything at all. I ignore my inquiries about licensing and certifications and what kind of packaging my non-existent clientele will prefer and instead spend two hours in the tub (which is now lukewarm at best,) on a Pinterest bender debating whether I'll put on pants today or just change into a new pair of pajamas. Some days though, I decide to get back in the kitchen and bake something delicious. Just because no one's buying cookies, doesn't mean I can't make some, right?

Each time I bake something, I remember how much I love creating things. It's such an emotional roller coaster! Each time, I start out eager to figure out a flavor combination that intrigues me. I excitedly write my recipe and purchase all my ingredients and get to work! Then I become unsure of how my recipe will work, fully expecting to hear an explosion from inside the oven, or to take my first bite only to wish I had been born without taste buds. But, each time, I find my recipes succeeding. I'm ecstatic! I feel confident, and professional, and like perhaps I know what I'm doing, and like all that schooling really paid off. I remind myself that I truly am good at what I do, and boy does it feel good.

My biggest example of this took place this weekend. I knew I wanted my next blog post to be something chocolate based. It had to be rich. Decadent. This recipe was going to make a statement! I decided a cake would be a good way to make that happen. It couldn't be just any cake though. "Let's get a little crazy," I said to myself, "let's add some marshmallows!" I found an old magazine clipping I had saved of a Hot Chocolate cake with homemade Marshmallows and this became my inspiration, making a few tweaks here and there until it had a more personal feel to it. I then set to work on this ambitious endeavor, which, unbeknownst to me, would become an all weekend project.  I'm sure having more than one of the same sized cake pan would've helped...  This is part of why I have chosen to break up this post into two parts.

I hadn't actually made a cake in quite some time. The components, sure, but actually assembling and decorating? The thought alone created flashbacks to my very first cake decorating class of frantically trying to stop fillings from oozing out of the middle and lopsided borders. I called on all the tips and tricks I had learned along the way. In my head,  I watched my previous boss effortlessly leveling, filling, and frosting picture-perfect cakes, just as I had watched her before from the baker's table, elbows deep in cake batter. I gathered up my courage and set to work. And you know what? All that watching and listening had stuck with me. It was, dare I say it, easy to put this cake together! I stepped back to scrutinize my work, and you know what? It looked great! It looked delicious. I actually couldn't wait to finish all the picture taking so I could eat a slice.

And there it was, that confident feeling was back. I ate my victory slice and began typing up my recipes to share with all of you. Those recipes will be in tomorrow's post, including a complete break-down of cake assembly, so as to hopefully inspire some confidence in you as well! As I said, it has been a rough start so far, but it has also been so very rewarding. We've only just begun, I can't wait to see where this all goes! Thank you to each and every one of you that have sent me such positive wishes and boatloads of support. I'm determined to show you all just what I can do. Please keep up with my journey by subscribing to my blog, sharing with your friends, and finding me on social media! 

Lovingly Yours,

Margaret Moon