Garden Diary

So I thought because I share my other hobbies of baking and gardening on my page but blog more baking and writing I had an idea of once a month diary of what I get up to with the garden 😀

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So here is the 1st entry!

What I have done this month – MARCH

I started half of my seeds- Tomato, Cherry Tomato, X2 chilli (Cheyenne and Jalapeno), Garden Peas, Cucumber (Crystal Lemon), Pepper, Parsley, Coriander, Basil, Strawberry, Sunflower, Potatoes, Nasturtium and Snap dragons. I started them off on the windowsill then once germinated moved to the greenhouse- yep thats right I treated myself to a 3 propagators and makeshift greenhouse 😀 It survived the Gale we had!

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I also trimmed all the herbs and brought another raspberry cane so now have two 🙂 I brought some daffodils and repotted them as thought have annual in pots and perennial in the ground….

We booked in for a new fence next month so started cutting down the foliage – plus its where I want my flowers/ veg patch 😛

Williams apple seeds are growing nicely- wasnt sure if they would take but they did!

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The Garden peas are now needing support so made a little bamboo triangle. I will put some netting on them too as just bamboo wont help.

The potatoes are doing very well (started last month) and one pot is now up to the top and cannot top up and cover with more soil now…

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We also made a bee drinking station 😀

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Here are the crystal lemon seeds- only two of six have grown so far…IMG_3872

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Corriander looking good!

I have learnt lots this month -more soil if a plant gets leggy (top it up to the first set of leaves) and that after the 2nd “true” leaves that is when you can repot into bigger pots or into the ground. Its my first time growing tomatoes from seed! For potatoes I learnt to leave them until sprouts come off them (chitting) then cover with little soil- topping up each time see leaves until top of the pot (~they are now!)

Also if you gently stroke the plant it makes their stems stronger as they think they are in the wind! 😀

Loving the full up greenhouse! IMG_3871

Exciting!

🙂

 

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*Author Interview-Tammera Cooper*

Hello everyone!

How is it nearly the end of March?? So today we have an interview with Tammera 🙂

Tell us a bit about your book

Drenched Sunflowers, my debut novel, is the story of a young widow starting over in a small Southern town. It has mystery, romance, and a ghost. It is part 1 of a trilogy.

review drenched

What would say is the genre for your book?  Southern Fiction

 

Where did the inspiration come from? I was watching a documentary in 2014 about the Underground Railroad along the North Carolina Coast including Washington NC. My brain started thinking of all the people who lived and walked the streets of Washington before us. What would happen if someone found artifacts and a ghost in an old house they were renovating? The Water Street Chronicles were born.

 

How did you come up with the title for your book? Drenched Sunflowers is symbolic of the code flowers that were used to warn runaway slaves before the Civil War.  They warned freedom seekers that there were too many eyes around and the area should not be approached.

 

How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? How many drafts were there in total? I worked on the novel for four years.  There were so many drafts. When I started, I never dreamed of working with an editor.  Last year I made it happen and found a wonderful editor, Jeni Burns.  It went through two rounds of edits, and the final was ready.  Of course, I set a date for the release date thinking that proofreading, etc. would take place quickly and problem free.  Then Hurricane Florence hit.  Power outages and internet issues caused a lot of issues.  I rushed the release.  In hindsight, I realize that my readers would have understood.  The second edition has just been released to correct the errors that my readers informed me about.

 

Are there any characters in the book based on people you know?  Beth is based on my experience as a young widow.  Living in the small town that I placed the story, I had to be careful not to use people I know.  My fiancé swears that he is Sam.

 

How did you celebrate being published? Did you have a launch party?  I had a signing at the museum in town, The Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum. I loved how supportive everyone was.  There was a blog tour online. My family went out for sushi and breathed a sigh of relief.

 

Would you care to give us an extract?

BETH PEERED INTO THE DARKNESS, blinking to focus while confusion

took hold. An unfamiliar shed with a dirt floor? Water came

into the building from an unseen source. It flowed with force,

holding her feet fast to the ground. She couldn’t move. Panic

overtook her senses. She willed her feet to move, but they were as

stuck as if they were in hardened concrete. The water became

deeper. She heard a noise from the corner of the room.

A young black woman holding a bundle close to her, her eyes

huge with fear, huddled in the shadows. Beth’s eyes started to

adjust to the darkness. The girl was dressed in a long cotton

gown. Her hair wrapped with a scarf. She tried to speak, but her

mouth wouldn’t form the words. We have to get out of here. The

shed boards creaked against the strain of the water. It was going

to collapse. We have to get out. The young girl waded toward the

door. She pushed on the latch, but it was locked on the outside.

She began to scream. She banged on the door, but it only made

the building sway. The water sloshed at Beth’s waist now. The

beams supporting the roof gave way. Beth tried to dodge the

pieces as they fell, but her body refused to respond. A beam broke

free. Everything went black.

 

 

How do you beat writer’s block? Any tips? If the words aren’t flowing, I will read romance or thrillers. Another activity that breaks through the funk is writing a blog for my website, www.SouthernRomanceOnThePamlico.com. I write about whatever inspires me there.  Sometimes I will write short stories based on my characters.

 

Do you have any hobbies apart from writing? I love photography. My pics on Instagram make great writing prompts.

 

When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser? Definitely a pantster

 

Do you have any advice for fellow writers? Write every day. Even if its just a sentence during lunch break.  It will keep your brain working.

 

If your book became a film- who would you pick to play the main characters?

Beth-Clair Forlani

Sam- Chris O’Donnell

Brad-Dan Rengering

Selah-Halle Berry

Abram-Idris Elba

 

 

I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it? I have two projects on my plate right now: edits for Book 2 Sleeping Mallows, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44020669-sleeping-mallows?from_search=true, and finishing up The Water Street Chronicles in Waning Honeysuckle.

Sleeping Mallows turned out better than I expected and I can’t wait to share it with you. Savanna McCormick is a strong woman working as a cadaver dog handler.  She arrives in Washington NC to help Deputy Tim Whitaker solve the case that falls on his desk in Book 1.

 

Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet?

 

Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Tammera-L-Cooper/e/B07JFLYKRJ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1539918767&sr=8-1

 

Barnes and Nobles  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drenched-sunflowers-tammera-l-cooper/1129748644?ean=9781732866102

 

Kobo  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/drenched-sunflowers?utm_campaign=shopping_feed_us_en&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=CjwKCAjwmJbeBRBCEiwAAY4VVYpMKRp2YiyTmDUtnXYOHshmpmCAQYf4NxoNkfjyT7VoArInLIBLXxoCfRkQAvD_BwE

 

Book Depository (European and UK orders)     https://www.bookdepository.com/Drenched-Sunflowers-Tammera-L-Cooper-Jeni-Burns/9781732866102?fbclid=IwAR0z_nJspet3YkE7y9UILvjty7At5PrbgXHb-RSHCW72Zf_iKY_i8XI6X64

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Many thanks- Look forward to reading this 🙂 Thankyou for taking part!

IMG_8356 (3)Tammera Cooper is a self-published Southern author, currently working on the final book of the Water Street Chronicles. She currently lives in North Carolina by the Pamlico River with her fiancé, enjoying their own Happily Ever After. Her own life’s challenges inspire her stories of overcoming life’s tough patches with love.

x

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Matty Birthday Cake

Wow its been over a month since I baked his cake! I set myself a challenge this year to start learning how to decorate cakes better- so hubbys birthday was the first to try some techniques….

He loves WWE/RAW and so I wanted to try a wrestling cake! (normally he has a choc cake with some sort of choc icing) but wanted to try royal icing and the buttercream coating with a square cake!

So I baked a normal sponge cake (gluten free) then once cooled I made up the butter cream and coated it all over then put it in the fridge for 2-3hours so it can set. Never done this before but it helps smooth the icing over it (and helps it to stick) and make it less bumpy.

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While it was in the fridge I painted some spaghetti in black and took some black fondant to make the corners of the net.

Once the coating was dry I covered it in royal icing – smoothing as I went along and cut off the skirt (rest I used for the writing)

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The tricky part was the net construction as the spaghetti kept breaking- then some icing sugar got onto the black background and wouldnt come off.

Then it still looked unfinished until I put ribbon around it (ran out of red)

Here was the finished cake:

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It went down well 😀

Learnt alot and hope to incorporate into the next big cake!

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**Author Interview- Karen Yarborough**

Today I am chatting to Karen who I have met from an instagram loop a few months ago and been following her since 😀

Tell us a bit about your book

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The Motherless Children is a memoir that is based on my life it dives into everything that I went through as a child. The synopsis: The children were scared and confused, but most importantly, they felt lost when the one person who is supposed to love you and care for you, abandon you and cares more about the men in her life rather than her children who she left behind for what? A man who probably doesn’t love you, a life without your own children? Children are supposed to count on their parents not be forced to grow up fast and experience life without a true relationship of a mother.

 

 

What would say is the genre for your book

 

Biographies & Memoirs

 

Where did the inspiration come from?

 

My childhood. I think I have always wanted to put my story out there for a while and to really put some insight on my life from the outside looking in.

 

How did you come up with the title for your book?

 

It was the only thing I felt went with the story and my life. “The Motherless Children” is children who was truly motherless. They never felt that mother love most of their lives and never had a true relationship with their mother like most children.

 

How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? How many drafts were there in total?

 

To be honest, I battle with editing and usually I am a ‘edit as I go’ and there was probably half a dozen of rewrites and fixes even after publishing. I still have over like 20 different word documents from when I started it. I begin developing the writing on my iPhone. As I do most of my projects and then moved it to my computer. It took me awhile to get to the final look of the book to accomplish the goal of ending it and feeling happy with it.

 

Are there any characters in the book based on people you know?

 

We’ll seeing as the book is based and follows my life all the characters in my book are in my life.

 

How did you celebrate being published? Did you have a launch party?

 

Usually, I just go to dinner or just feel relieved it is done but this time around was way harder than any other book because in the end I wanted everything to be perfect. I never had a lunch party for any of my books.

 

Would you care to give us an extract?

 

How are you supposed to forgive your Mother or move on from the past when you don’t understand how someone is supposed to abandon you and expect everything to be okay and try to be in your life. In the eyes of these children all they really wanted was their mother, but they knew that was never going to be a reality because she’d never change, and she’d never put them before her or anyone else in her life.

 

How do you beat writers block? Any tips?

 

We’ll I like to listen to music as I write or sometimes when I get fed up and get a snack to help opening my brain a little bit.

 

Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?

 

Making videos, I enjoy making content.

 

When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?

 

I feel that when I write it just goes by whatever I am writing or have an idea for. So, I would feel like I do a bit of both depending on the genre of book.

 

Do you have any advice for fellow writers?

 

Keep writing and don’t give up on your dreams. There is one quote I always love to look back on to motivate or to keep me from letting my brain give up on my dreams of writing. “You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

 

If your book became a film- who would you pick to play the main characters?

 

I would love for it to come a film and I just don’t have any person in mind to be the main characters and who would be able to tell the story.

 

I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it?

 

Yes, I am currently working on a romance novel. It is called “Dear Jade’’ and it is about military and dealing with being away from the one you love after 11 years of being together and it tells the story of how life still moves on even if they’re not together and how she handles life.

 

Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet?

I have an author page on Facebook, Instagram. Website.

 

https://www.instagram.com/k_yarborough15/

 

https://www.facebook.com/KarenAYarborough/

 

https://karenyarborough.wixsite.com/mysite-1

 

 

 

All my books are available on iBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu.com, Scribd, Kobo and Goodreads.

 

Many thanks Karen and your new WIP sounds interesting! Well done for writing a tough topic.

download (2)Karen Yarborough is a self-published author through Lulu.com she has self-published 5 books: The Imaginary Friend Charlie, The Darkness Within, The Neverland Beast, Life Never Not Be You, The Motherless Children. She is currently working on “Dear Jade” and in 2018 she graduated from Southern New Hampshire University majoring a B.A. in Creative Writing and English w/con in Screenwriting.

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**Author Interview- D.Wells**

Hello everyone!

Its been a while since I have done an author interview- or anything that is not a recipe! So today we have D.Wells to chat with us 😀

Tell us a bit about your book

6 Caledon Street is a novel about a young woman called Sarah, who moves into a converted Victorian property and discovers journals written by a teenage girl, who lived there during the Edwardian era. Sarah is fascinated by the parallels running through both their lives, as she attempts to move on from a painful past. The novel follows her story, as well as the other new occupants of the house, her family and friends who have their own issues to contend with, and Sarah’s growing fascination with the Edwardian family who used to live there.

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What would say is the genre for your book

I like to call it a contemporary fiction, with an historic twist! There may be no official genre that fits that, so contemporary fiction is the closest description.

Where did the inspiration come from?

I love researching different eras and adding it as an historical aspect to a story. I then weave it into a modern setting, through flash backs or in this case, the pages of a journal. Most of my initial ideas seem to pop into my head from nowhere, although I am sure some ideas have a subconscious basis from something I may have heard, read or watched.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I always battle with titles and I really struggled to come up with this one. In the end, it was a case of ‘keep it simple, stupid.’ Most of the novel is centralised around the house itself and its previous and present occupants, so it was the most logical solution to name the novel after the actual address!

How long did it take you to finish writing the book before the first edit? How many drafts were there in total?

I’m an ‘edit as I go’ type of author. I tend to write about half a dozen chapters at a time, before I go back over and edit and redraft. I find that if I don’t do this, regardless of how much pre-planning or how many notes I’ve made, I battle to keep on track with the story. By the time I’d finished the entire manuscript, it had been redrafted about three or four times. It took nine months in total.

Are there any characters in the book based on people you know?

Not characters, no. I do slip in the odd character name that is familiar to me, though. For example, my late granddad was called Arthur. I have used that name for characters in previous books.

How did you celebrate being published? Did you have a launch party?

I first released 6 Caledon Street as an ebook and I was heavily pregnant at the time, so my celebrating was having my child a few weeks later! The novel is now being self published as a paperback and I’m sure I’ll think of something to celebrate.

Would you care to give us an extract?

Sarah gave a deep sigh of satisfaction as she drew in the first mouthful of coffee. The intense flavour mingled with its exotic scent and sent her taste buds and nerve endings tingling. Her one vice, coffee, had proved a powerful and even seductive ally after years of sleepless nights and exhausting starts to the morning. Despite having slept well the night before, Sarah almost couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on that first cup of the day.

The bay windows were flung wide open, letting in the new day sun. Winter was finally melting into Spring and the freshness of the air was no longer painfully icy, but rather cold with a hint of fragrance dancing through it. The new buds would soon emerge on the trees and after that the flowers would burst into full bloom. It was Sarah’s favourite time of year and the open windows symbolised her desire for Spring to be ushered in fully.

She sat at her oak dining room table and stared contently out the large windows. From her position she could see the tips of the trees and hedgerow which lined the garden. Beyond that was a great expanse of sky; light periwinkle grey, with wispy white clouds scattered across the horizon.

She liked that from this angle she couldn’t see what was happening on the ground. It was her own little haven, separated from the busyness of life below. It was just her, the sky and nature. Nothing else mattered.

Suddenly her reverie was disrupted by the sounds of Tchaikovsky. Her resident concert pianist was back. Sarah smiled broadly as she raised her coffee cup to her lips. The scene was now perfect, her relaxed Sunday morning complete.

How do you beat writers block? Any tips?

I go back over my notes and remind myself of where I am heading with the overall book. If that doesn’t help, I’d advise taking a break, doing something else for a while and trying again later.

Do you have any hobbies apart from writing?

I like getting out in nature with my family. I am a keen amateur photographer too, so I will often take the camera when we’re out and about.

When you write, do you consider yourself to be a plotter or a pantser?

If I am writing a full-length novel I have to plan. In the past I have planned down to each individual chapter, but I did find it sucked the joy out of it for me, so now I tend to plan a detailed beginning, middle and end, the characters and their story arcs and of course, any research that needs doing.

If I’m just writing for fun, or a short story, then I can quite happily ‘free write’ and see where it takes me.

Do you have any advice for fellow writers?

Keep writing, keep practising. Whether it gets stowed away afterwards, or whether you self publish it, blog it, enter competitions etc, it doesn’t matter – just keep writing. That’s how you’ll improve and learn. Reading lots is essential too.

If your book became a film- who would you pick to play the main characters?

To be honest, I couldn’t imagine it being made into a film. Not to say that won’t happen, though! I am planning to write some screenplays in the future and I can imagine some actors who’d be great in those parts, but that is still a way away.

I see you have new work in progress- care to tell us about it?

Yes, I am currently writing a new manuscript for another full-length novel. It follows three generations of women in one family and explores the conflicts that have damaged their relationship with one another. Again, some of the book is set in the modern day, but part of it is set in Cornwall in post-war Britain.

Lastly, where can readers find you and your book on the internet?

I have an author page on Facebook and Instagram and I plan to launch my website later this year.

IMG_4274My books are all available on Amazon. My earlier books are under my previous pen name D. van de Merwe, and upon 6 Caledon’s Street’s paperback release, it can be found under my new pen name D. Wells.

D. Wells is a self published author, having released four books and currently working on her fifth. She lives in the U.K. and is married with three children.

Many thanks for participating! Good luck with the paperback launch and look forward to updates on your next novel!

x

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Orange Sauce

Hello Everyone!

So today I thought inline with the Chinese New Year (and my mum wanting this sauce for a while but could not find it in the supermarkets) I thought I would give it a go!

I found the recipe on the bbc goodfoods site but I doubled the quantity and use cornflour instead.

Ingredients

4 cups sugar

2 tsp cornflour

1 cup orange juice

grated orange zest

1 tbsp of butter

 

Method

 

1- Add sugar, flour and zest

2-Mix then add the orange juice

3- Put it to boil for 2 mins until it turns into syrup texture/thickened up

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4- Take off the heat and whisk in the butter

 

Thats it- so quick and simple! My kitchen now smells of citrus 😀 Yum

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Enjoy! It is perfect with duck 🙂

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Old School Cake

Hello everyone!

So today I want to share what I used for the old school cake- there are so many variety’s of this recipe. It defiantly brings back lots of memories of primary school days! Works best with custard…

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Ingredients

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Icing Sugar

250ml milk

125ml oil

3 medium eggs

400g gluten free flour (I ran out of self raising so used plain flour and 3tsp baking powder)

 

How to bake

  1. Mix sugar, oil, milk and 2 eggs
  2. Add flour
  3. Scoop into square tin and bake for 50 mins at 180 for 20 then 150 for remainder
  4. Leave to cool then place onto rack
  5. Cut off the sides
  6. Ice all over (by combining icing sugar and egg white- whisk) and sprinkles
  7. Cut into 9 squares

And that is it! I made another batch with chocolate icing and self raising (and it raised the same height)

What flavour custard did you prefer to have with this classic?

Enjoy!

 

 

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Giant Peanut Buttercup

Hello everyone and happy weekend!

So I came across a video on facebook for this page called Tasty and it showed a few recipes involving peanut butter. One I saw and I had to try it!

A giant “Reese” peanut buttercup 😀 😀

This was popular on my instagram and facebook so I thought would share what I saw 🙂

So the recipe they showed 4 cups of chocolate chips to melt but I used 600g milk chocolate plus they showed:

2 cups peanut butter

2 cup icing sugar

1 cup butter

  1. I melted 300g of chocolate and spread it to the edges of the tin
  2. Put into fridge (they just said refrigerate but did not state how long so I done 2 hours)
  3. Mix up the peanut butter, sugar and butter
  4. Spread onto the chocolate
  5. Melt the other half of the chocolate then pour over
  6. Put back in fridge for a further 2 hours

That is it- so simple and clever!

Its very rich no bake pudding that is a must for all peanut butter lovers! Go check out the page Tasty for some great recipes.

Enjoy

x

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More Baking

Hello everyone!

So I have baked some more yummy treats the past few days- and my waistline is also feeling it!

I think my piping skills are getting abit better and I feel that I have more of an understanding of what nozzle gives what effect. I also know some people like to have the icing all around the cupcake and not just the middle (I prefer less icing- how about you?)

Here is my latest cupcake attempts- half are chocolate and the other is vanilla both have lemon frosting and sprinkles 🙂 they make me think of the yummy lemon ice cream on a sunny day 🙂

Our bottom oven has now been fixed so to celebrate at the weekend I made a chocolate salted caramel drip cake! (wanted to use up my homemade salted caramel) – safe to say it was moist as the caramel soaked into the sponge and by the end of the day there wasnt any left!

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Last night I mad quick peanut butter cookies but this time used the ice cream scoop – normally they not as chewy but I think the scoop helped to make them crunchy around the edge and soft and yummy in the middle 😀

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So that is all the baking news so far…. will hopefully be doing a few new recipes with peanut butter 😛 Also make some coconut ice next week- oh and I finally discovered the food network channel 😀 Do you watch it?

Have you baked anything recently?

x

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Cupcakes

Hello everyone 🙂

The other day (luckily before the bottom oven broke) I tried out two of the baking tips from my book I got at Xmas (Oh and my new piping set)

1- I didnt have any self raising flour (as you know im coeliac so every recipe or baking I do I use Gluten Free) They have not had any in stock for a few weeks now and one supermarket has stopped selling them. So I used Plain flour then used two tablespoons of baking powder

2- Used an ice cream scoop to transfer the mix to each case

The result was great! They all rised well and were all even 😀 I was very happy that they worked!50312663_2171887389728618_8607800595094437888_n

I then made two lots of frosting- Pink buttercream and the other Chocolate cream cheese.

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The buttercream frosting I used one nozzle which I think was more for writing, the second I used a rose type nozzle.

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I tried to drizzle with homemade caramel but it should have been warmed beforehand as it was stiff to work with.

So a nice quick late night baking practise!

Question: Do you like cupcakes in a dome shape or flat? This debate popped up on one of my facebook baking groups

x

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