Thursday, July 28

Bruise - {Strawberries, Rhubarb and Cream Crepe Cake}

The early days of the summer, in which I trained [seemingly] endlessly for my then-new job, saw many purpled patches on my body. From my own carelessness, my spine found itself battered and colored; crying out each time I lazily dropped all of myself into the unpadded driver’s seat of our go-karts. Absentmindedly, the hue of my legs shifted in response to the sudden catching of doors and stopping of gates as I forgot – time and time again - to consider the effect that the frequent battering would have on my tired skin. Consider it strange, if you will, but my ribcage also discovered spots of new color; the result of friendly by-surprise pokes from overly-eager friends with a different – but appreciated – sense of humor than most.

Then I bruised.

But I don’t so much anymore.


Please forgive me this harsh transition, dear readers, if you can. It may seem unrelated at first, which is not surprising, I know, for this occasionally disjointed space, but it ties in – I promise.

You see, earlier this year I got dumped. It’s been implied, I think, in posts since then, but I don’t believe that I ever mentioned it directly despite the rush of emotions itching to find themselves out of my head.

The hurt that came first wasn’t something I wanted to share because I knew he’d see it. Those closest to me helped me discover that he didn’t deserve to… And also that it wasn’t something I’d really want to remember.

The anger that followed couldn’t be shared either, because it wasn’t right to do. The furious hatred was mine only; to be uttered only to those who were understanding and kind enough to help me through the mess. My closest friends and family – who I am so fortunate to have – did more for me than venting here ever could. Now I have no regrets.

Out of respect – for you and him – I kept quiet. But now, months down the line, I’m finally writing this. Selfishly, I guess, for myself, but also for anyone else who might be going through something similar.

Although it felt, as first, like it would never be true, the hurt and the anger did leave me. I do remember the pain, but it lessened gradually over time as it was buried and overgrown with happier things. Deepened friendships and a heightened sense of appreciation for minutely happy things opened up like blossoms and flowers, granting me a new outlook on life.

It's been gone for some time.


In the end, it was good to get dumped. I didn’t think it possible, but I’m happier now, without a doubt, than I was then. I was meek then; naïve and unknowing in the ways of relationships and afraid to speak up. I’d forgotten that I like to be alone. I’d forgotten to be myself. I’d forgotten to actually do things with my time and had an incredibly difficult time writing for both the blog and the simple joy because of it. I’ve dated since then and I’m happy to say I’m still single. I haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for and I can thank my last failed relationship to thank for teaching me that I have every right to search for what I really want.

That there’s no shame in being single.

That I like who I am, and I won’t change myself to suit some guy.

Until it ended, I did, truthfully, love that boy and love what we shared. But at the same time, I’m happy it’s a thing of the past because I am so unbelievably grateful for how much stronger the split made me. I am more confident now, and I believe in myself and my judgments.

I’m not saying that my next breakup will be easy or that anyone else’s will either. I’m not saying that it’s simple to get over someone and I’m not saying it should be.

It’s a process, a painful but blessed one, that takes a lot out of a person. But, like everything, there’s good in it.

You will be happy again. More so, even. And you’ll be stronger. And thicker-skinned.

And with that thicker skin, you’ll find that you won’t bruise so easily anymore.

The purple fades in the end, leaving nothing but memories.

Do yourself a favor: learn from them.


I am a firm believer that a little pain does the body good, and I hope you are, too.


Strawberries, Rhubarb and Cream Crepe Cake adapted from Cream Puffs in Venice

This cake was insanely delicious. All of the components come together into a sweet, smooth and delicious treat! While making the crepes, don't be discouraged if you have a few failures. This makes quite a bit of batter, so you've got a lot of room for error. Try to keep your cool and have fun! This would be great for a party, but make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare everything a day before serving and put it all together two hours in advance of your ideal slicing time.

Printable Recipe

Crepes
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tbsp. sugar
Pinch salt
vegetable oil

Prepare this batter the day before making the cake.

In a small pan, brown the butter, being careful not to burn. Set aside. In the same pan, heat the milk until steaming and allow to col for 10 minutes.

Beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt on medium low speed until just combined, then slowly add the milk and butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.

To make the crepes, bring the batter to room temperature. In the meantime, prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper so you have a place to store cooked crepes. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Prep the pan by brushing the surface with oil, then pour in about 3 tablespoons of batter, quickly and swirling to cover the entirety of the bottom of the pan. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift flip the crepe any way you can. You can do this by lifting an edge and using your fingers, or by using an offset or regular spatula - whatever works for you! Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds and flip the crepe onto the lined baking sheet. Repeat until all batter has been used.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

1 lb strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 c chopped rhubarb
1/4 c sugar, to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cover. Let set at room temperature for about an hour to macerate and draw out juices. After an hour has passed, set uncovered pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.

Pastry Cream

1 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
1/6 c cornstarch, sifted
2 Tbsp butter, cubed and softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Fill a large bowl with ice and pull out a smaller bowl (that will fit inside) fitted with a fine-mesh sieve to hold the prepared pastry cream. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.

In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until lightened, about three minutes. When the milk comes to a boil, temper the yolks but adding about half of the hot milk to the yolks while whisking to combine. Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened but not boiling, about two minutes. Quickly press the pastry cream through the sieve in the small bowl and set the bowl in the ice bath. Stir until the temperature reaches 140F on an instant-read thermometer, then stir in the butter and vanilla. When the cream reaches room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

Assembly

1 c heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
Pastry cream
Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
Crepes
Confectioner's sugar (optional)

Whip the heavy cream with the sugar to stiff peaks. Fold in the pastry cream. Set aside.

Pick out the best-looking crepe and set aside. Put down 1 crepe on a serving platter and top with a thin layer of pastry cream (don't use too much or the cake will slide). Add another crepe and top with strawberry rhubarb sauce. Continue stacking and finish by topping with the best-looking crepe. Chill for at least 2 hours. Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Dust with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

29 comments:

  1. What a lovely and inspiring post, Kaitlin. I also recently went through a big break up and haven't really talked about it. Still too raw and painful I think. But I always try to see the positives in a situation and I know that things usually happen for a reason.

    Also, I've been dying to make a crepe cake for ages - now I really have to! This looks delicious.

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  2. Absolutely. And writing for me is the best therapy! So glad you finally got this off your chest. Enjoy being single! There's nothing absolutely bad about it! And it is so important for women (for everybody, really) to learn to be happy on their own! :) Thanks for the crepe cake recipe! Right now I'm just mentally preparing to do the rainbow cake for my son's first birthday!!! :)

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  3. What a beautiful crepe cake and a really thought provoking and honest post. Your right, it does get easier and believe it or not one day, just like a bruise it will be a distant memory - times the best healer of all. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. What a powerful post! Not only is the crepe cake absolutely beautiful, but I really feel for you with everything you went through. I am so happy that you feel empowered and you should not feel selfish for getting the situation off of your chest! I think similar situations are constantly occurring in the lives of others, and reading about your experiences, struggle, and growth could really help someone else! :)

    Also, this is my first time on your blog, but I really like it! I myself am a dessert lover and college student, and in the process of starting up my own blog. so I really relate to you and will definitely keep coming back!

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  5. HI kaitlin,

    you are so right! no one should have to change oneself for someone else, until you know it's for your own betterment:)

    I love this crepe cake, couldn't take my eyes off the photo! I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog and this would be a perfect addition to the roundup, if you'd be kind enough to send your entry in!

    http://www.funandfoodcafe.com/2011/07/buttery-throwdown-blog-event-and.html

    Thanks, and I hope you can participate in the event!

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  6. your posts are always interesting to read, i've always thought that your an amazing writer and cook.

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  7. Such a thought provoking post, i experienced something similar but i think to a lesser extent to the hurt you obviously felt. I know its pretty corny but i always think of the lyrics from a Kate Nash song I used to listen to which say 'but i wont regret, 'cause you can grow flowers from where dirt used to be', and I think its true, you have to learn from the past and use it to your advantage in the future.
    Anyway, i ramble! What i really came here to say was what a bladdy gorgeous and unique idea for a cake! I adore your blog and this post is just a prime example why :)

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  8. This is awesome! We adore crepes so much and the flavors here sound wonderful together.

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  9. Love this post! Stay strong girl, you rock :)

    This cake looks fantastically delicious, also!

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  10. My friend sent this post to me because she knows I love food, but also, my partner of 17 years, father of my three kids, essentially dumped me too earlier this year. I stopped writing my blog altogether til just a few days back and like you, my bonds with my friends and family who were my rocks deepened. It's just uncanny to read your post. It's something I could have written myself. I can't say the pain is over for me yet, but it's a million shades less harsh than it was in the beginning. Thanks for sharing. Deep down, you always know you're not the only one suffering this way or that, but it's always good to hear someone else share their similar path. :)

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  11. This looks marvelous, as does all that comes from your kitchen. I share your pain, for it seems every woman I know who is worth knowing has kissed a frog or two. Remember that you are a phenomenal human being and not dependent on any ONE person, particularly male, for kudos. You will find your prince, but sometimes it takes a journey or two of finding Self first. Congratulations, dear, on the Journey. No doubt you are a much better person for it. :) Hugs an cake across the miles. :)

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  12. With each painful experience comes strength. Thank you for this post.
    Like most here, I have known what you felt. At that time, my mother said "the best thing is to work hard & have savings - you can always someone to look after you later". She also said "you can have a full life without a man". My parents were each other's first love till my father passed away. I am now a mother of 2, having met my husband when I was busy working hard :) . I truly, truly wish you joy & good health & more fabulous baking! Warm greetings to you all the way from Dubai !

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  13. You guys are the best! Thank you for all of your kind and touching comments. You've really made my day :)

    We are all in this together!

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  14. Strength can come from broken relationships...even through death which I am learning through the loss of my husband. My granddaughter, a soon to be graduate from DeSales University with her Masters, also went through this and has learned as you...that life will be better, if it's not the right one! He's out there and you will find each other.

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  15. What an incredible post! You're an amazing writer and obviously an amazing baker. As another young blogger, your posts continue to inspire me.

    I definitely want to try making this! I've never actually tried rhubarb, although I've made strawberry rhubarb pie a few times. This sounds like an incredible recipe to try it with!
    Thanks again.

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  16. Can't print it :(

    Thanks for the post tho! Looks delish!

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  17. Beautiful post! I love that you shared that bit of wisdom that many take years to learn. I'm also glad to hear that you are happier now and have a new look on things.

    As for that insanely good looking cake over there. I have GOT to make some. I always do my crepes as the roll ups but a stacked cake sounds awesome :D

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  18. You're all so kind... Thank you so much for your insightful comments and understanding.

    I wish you all the strength in the world!

    twilightbella, thank you for mentioning the issue - I think i fixed it!

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  19. Aww, you just took me back to the day I got dumped on a park bench in Okemos. Many moons ago. Glad you've gotten past the pain. And thanks for sharing your story.

    And the recipe is totally up my alley. Some of my favorite things. Yum!

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  20. Another lovely post Kaitlin. I'm also of the mind that being single does not suck, and it's way better to be happily single than to be with someone who is undeserving of you. And heck, it's summertime and cute boys abound! Lovely cake too - aren't strawberries and rhubarb the perfect marriage?!!!

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  21. Aw, I came to comment on your amazing looking crepe cake but I gotta say your post was really great. I loved reading it, and it's so true! It's beautiful to see you realizing that you're better off after something so hurtful. Your writing really drew me in. I'm going to go check out some more posts because I really enjoyed this one :D Thanks for sharing!
    Oh, and your cake, of course, looks fabulous!

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  22. Katilin, we love your outlook and the way you tied it all in to something Sweet. Cake looks fab. On a hot summer day, nothing better than downing it with some green chai iced lemonade. Thanks for the post and keep blogging!

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  23. Hmm crepes are the best ! thanks for your cute recipe ^^

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  24. Amen! I think that not writing about it immediately was a really good decision. Everything is so blurry and crazy when it first happens. I'm really happy to read that you are more of yourself again and enjoying being alone with who you are. In being more of the true you, I'm sure you will attract more of the kind of man that is right for you.

    This recipe looks divine and these photographs are marvelous!

    xo Emily

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  25. I unfortunately had the same situation 2 years ago and he taught me to never change who I am and look before I leap. Also to make sure they're not compulsive liars. This masterpiece of yours and reading the story brought back memories of my struggle and the sweet joy of it being over, I am going home tonight with a smile and this recipe :)

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    Replies
    1. It's rough, but it's something everyone's got to go through, I think. I am glad that this post made you happy and not sad :)

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  26. This turned out really lovely, thank you for posting. It was my first foray into pastry cream and I had a hard time not helping myself to it. I tend to cook my crepes on a little higher heat, but I use a true crepe pan which has a different thickness than a normal skillet. The crepes by themselves were delicious - it took a little bit of time to get used to the thinner batter, and my first two were ugly as sin, but once I settled on a heat setting (and stopped using oil, the batter itself had enough butter to keep it from sticking) they turned out very consistent and pretty. Oh, also since rhubarb isn't in season yet but strawberries are, I cut the sugar down to 1.5 Tbsp in the strawberries, though some lemon zest would probably make it pop more. I can see why the rhubarb would add a key sour component. Thanks again!

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Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email them to me at kaitlin@whisk-kid.com.

Have a great day!