There is something so comforting, but equally frightening about the beginning of a new year. Maybe is that amount of unknown and change that it entails, which makes all new beginnings so long-expected. I want 2017 to be for me everything that 2016 couldn’t be: more daring, expansive and permissive with my dreams!
2016 has been a good year, because I got to work on an interesting food project for Nestle (to follow soon), I had a new solo exhibition in Romania, I have created cinemagraphs inspired by Miu Miu, Cecile Boccara and Miss Babacilu‘s products, but also Eiffel Tour, and Romania. I got to see what’s looking like behind the scenes at Opera Bastille in Paris, worked on my Florilegium’s new volume, I won the Award of Excellence from Communication Arts, I got married and had the rare opportunity to have my bridesmaid coming to my wedding all the way from the US to Romania, and worked on an extensive project proposal for SCAD that led to my next adventure to the US this January.
I am so thankful for all of this to have happened, but I feel that 2016 could have been more adventurous, surrounded by more open-minded people that know how to be professional in this modern age. I think that is such a rarity today (and it shouldn’t be) to find individuals that don’t toss out life’s principles on humaneness, friendship and professionalism. Unfortunately, there are so many people that just choose to forget to be respectful, and choose instead to be cynical and ignorant. Thus, I feel to have been limited in my endeavors by some of these said individuals, that I would have hoped for to remember to be more humane.
However, I consider all disappointments to be strong triggers for something better that awaits to be reflected on. Else, what a new year would mean, if not a reflection on what has been?! All experiences are equally important and shape us with every year in a certain way. Hence, I want 2017 to allow me to express fully my potential, in an environment of like-minded people that know and appreciate life’s principles, and care to make every life’s moment better. I am looking with so much excitement to what my new artistic experience in the US will bring to me, and I feel so thankful for those so many people at SCAD that chose to believe in my potential again. May your 2017 be sparkling with all things good!
PS: Don’t walk by this amazing Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake below, which I prepared for our New Year’s Eve here in the Czech Republic. It’s all the rage, and needs to be tried asap!
For the Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
For the Ganache
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
For the Garnish
1/3 cup homemade salted caramel sauce
salted caramel sugar pieces
tossed organic walnuts
For the Cake
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
3. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin.
4. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
For the Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes.
2. Spoon in cooled, melted chocolate (chocolate should feel cool to the touch, but still be melted. I usually cool mine for about 5 minutes) and mix on low speed to incorporate the melted chocolate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. Add in powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined.
4. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 5 minutes. Add in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until you reached the desired consistency.
5. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate and frost the top of the cake with a little less than half of the frosting. Add the next layer and frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
6.If desired, top with salted caramel chocolate pieces.
For the Ganache
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling.
2. Place chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the vanilla and honey. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit for too long or it will harden up before you spoon it over the frosting.
3. Drizzle ganache and salted caramel sauce over the cake before serving. Refrigerate any leftover cake for up 3 days.