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A Letter to My Past Self

A letter to my past self to reflect on 2017 and start a new year with a new mindset.

A letter to my past self

Dear 2017 Raquel,

Being a fan of Back to the Future and Doctor Who, I am very aware of the consequences of interfering with timelines and spoilers. However, I was challenged by Aimee from Bold & Free Babes to write a letter to my past self, to you, and encourage you through 2017.

You know that thinking ahead has always been tough for us. We have a hard time making plans three months ahead because our lives tend to change pretty drastically pretty quickly. This year is no exception. You are in for a whole ton of changes.

It is amazing how many of those changes happen this year and how many we forget as time passes. I had to review my Facebook feed just to remember some of the highlights.

January

January starts off strong and social. You host two sets of family friends over for a family style dinner. You always enjoy expressing your love to others through food. What a way to start a new year! This might need to become a yearly tradition.

Building a Tank

In March, you build a tank! It isn’t quite life-size or operational but that doesn’t stop your son from having the most awesome army Nerf battle birthday party ever. Lots of planning and preparation pay off in a big way. The kiddo and all his friends have a super fun time battling around pallets and stacked tires in the backyard. The tank was all the kid talked about for months after.

tank

The Crash

I hate to tell you this but, in April your car of ten plus years is totaled… by your husband. Everyone is safe and that’s the most important part. Don’t worry, Buttercup, it isn’t all bad. You end up purchasing a new vehicle you absolutely love that better suits your growing business and family needs.

car crash

Collabs

Sometime during these early months, you decide to buckle down on the blog. You start connecting with other bloggers and creating custom recipes for them. This is a gateway to connections that continue to add value to your life and business.

You can check out some of these collaborations: Vera’s Peach Spice Cupcakes with Kiwi Sparkler Icing, Wonderwoman Egg Free Red Velvet Cupcakes, Baby Z’s Perfectly Pear Cupcake, Triple Chocolate Cupcakes, Beauty Bae Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes. Even the collaboration that introduced you to Aimee to begin with, Bold and Free Vegan Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes.

A letter to my past self concert

Concerts

This year you attend your very first “real” concert. We’ve been to punk shows in art galleries and basements but this time the band is on a stage. You go to see Third Eye Blind with your best friend. In fact, you don’t just go to one, but two this year. She takes you to Third Eye Blind so you take her to see Sister Hazel several months later. I am pretty sure going to a concert has been on our bucket list for awhile.

A letter to my past self concert

Friends

In an effort to be more mobile and get healthier, you begin going on adventures to local state parks with a friend. Your walks are therapeutic and do wonders for your mental and physical health. This actually becomes a weekly activity you manage to maintain throughout the year.

This year must be the year of friendships. During an Email List Building Challenge in July, you make your first blogging bestie. You connect over creative ideas. Something clicks and all of a sudden you don’t feel as lonely in the business anymore. You have a companion that understands the struggles and also celebrates the triumphs. She is great for accountability and when you desperately need a cheerleader.

July

This summer you have family visit you for the first time since moving to Florida (two years ago). It feels like a full house with six house guests but there is nothing to be nervous about. The kiddo loves having his family visit and he enjoys showing off where he lives and all the beaches and favorite places around town.

A letter to my past self boats on water sunset

BlogCon

By choosing to attend a blogging event in August, you shine as you meet lots of other bloggers and networkers. It is worth every penny and you end up making that money back in prizes. I am not even kidding.

A letter to my past self

You are able to then improve and grow your business through the connections you initiate. One of these connections has become invaluable to you and is currently working on your site right now as I write.

Always remember to follow up.

The Hurricane

After the stress of the wedding last year, you may hope to have a sweet romantic anniversary this year. You will not celebrate the way you hope. You will go through a scary but humbling experience as you survive a massive hurricane headed straight for your home.

During this experience, you will learn what matters most to you, how you handle a crisis situation and how your friends and family react to your crisis. I am impressed with your strength and grace during such a stressful time. Apparently, baking really is our coping mechanism. The fire department won’t complain though.

A letter to my past self hurricane box

You always imagined during the Zombie Apocolypse that you would be feeding the masses and creating masterpieces out of a bag of beans and canned beats.  Imagining yourself in a crisis situation and reality can be quite different. However, you really pulled through and baked your booty off. You can reminisce about this experience in the post for Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes.

Life Changer

Your big life-changing month comes in October though. After a year of stress and paperwork, the step-parent adoption and name change for the kiddo is finalized. You decide to make MsCupcakeasaurus a bakery and not just a blog. You reach your highest weight and decide enough is enough. You start a nutrition program that you are more than determined to stick with. That determination pays off, Girl. Keep it up! You get some disappointing but expected news from the doctor and realize your family planning isn’t going as planned. This does not stop your household from growing by one more member though. I promise you will love him and realize what all the fuss over dogs is all about.

A letter to my past self brindle dog

Your month is so hectic you don’t even write about it for a couple months. You can check out your October in Black As My Soul Chocolate Cupcakes.

Thanksgiving

Yearly, you visit your grandmother in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. This year she actually lets you help a bit. She isn’t feeling great but she does get better. Try not to worry too much; she is a feisty stubborn woman but that is what keeps her going. This is a great opportunity to bond with your aunt while she is in town.

Year-End Thoughts

By the time the year closes, you will have lost forty pounds! You are persevering more than I ever expected. You are thriving, making the changes you want to see in your life. I am so incredibly proud of you and all of the ways you have found to grow your friendships, your business and yourself for the better.

A letter to my past self

Hang in there, Cupcake, you’ve got this!

Love and Sprinkles,

2018 Raquel

Your Year

I hope you enjoyed this Letter to My Past Self. I am going to pass this challenge along to you. As we start a new year, try to take a moment to reflect on this past year and focus on all the ups and downs that you have survived and celebrated. I was reluctant to write this letter. I started writing what I wished I had done differently in 2017, and all of a sudden I was writing about all of the accomplishments for the year. I don’t expect that everyone has started a business or crashed a car but I know you have had your own ups and downs and I would love for you to reflect on those moments and acknowledge how far you have come.

A Letter to My Past Self

I would love for you to share your letters with me. Any method you feel comfortable with sharing, I am open to receiving.

In the comments below, let me know what you are most proud of 2017 You accomplishing and what you hope to do in 2018.

Today we are making life taste sweeter by taking a look back.

Black As My Soul Chocolate Cupcakes

Enjoy these Black As My Soul Chocolate Cupcakes for your Halloween party, or your Christmas party, or your Nightmare Before Christmas party. This rich dark black chocolate cake is topped with a chemical-free tasting black as night chocolate buttercream.

Black Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Black Chocolate Buttercream

Halloween to Christmas

It is December, Y’all! This year is almost over and I can’t even get over the last month. November? No, I mean the one before that! I will record October 2017 as the month that officially changed everything.

A Month In Review

October Week One

Captain Cupcakeasaurus and I started working on a stepparent adoption for Little Cakeasaurus Rex over a year ago. The adoption was finally completed in September and the new birth certificate was delivered. I am so filled with love that our little cakeasaurus family is complete and all sharing the same last name.

The first weekend of October we celebrated with friends and family and of course cupcakes. There were games that included trivia, baby food guessing, and a beer chugging through baby bottle competition.  It was fun for all but that was just the start of this hectic month.

Halloween Black Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Black Chocolate Buttercream

October Week Two

The very next weekend we were celebrating a very special birthday for a very special woman. My mother-in-law, that we affectionately call Grams Cracker celebrated her 70th birthday!

The party was hosted out in the country and the theme was Wild Woman that fits her cowgirl personality that enjoys roping, riding, shooting, and hunting. This time we celebrated with friends, family, freshly smoked wild hog (shot by Gram’s Cracker herself) and some more cupcakes.

October Week Three

Somewhere between week two and week four, everything started changing.

I registered MsCupcakeasaurus LLC as a Florida business and began working on the transition from full-time blogger to a full-time baker.

MsCupcakeasaurus is now a cottage bakery and I am able to sell cupcakes directly to local customers.

I know! I can hardly believe it myself! I’m a business owner, Y’all! How exciting is that?! You kept telling me that you just wanted the cupcakes and I listened. I’m doing everything I can to get you the cupcakes you want and love. I know you are still waiting for me to be able to ship these beauties out of state. I am working in that direction but right now the cottage bakery regulations allow me to start small and build from there.

In Other News

If starting a business wasn’t enough, I also started a new weight loss plan and we adopted a new fur baby to the family. He is a beautiful brindle hound mix that we call Turret. The pup has been a great addition to our family and quite the motivation to get out walking more.

Brindle hound puppy red collar

Oh, you noticed how I skipped right over that weight loss plan? Yeah, well, I am determined to get my life in the direction I want it to be in. The starting of the business really made me reevaluate my life goals. If I can accomplish one, then why not all of them? What goals have you been putting off that you want to tackle? They don’t have to be New Year’s resolutions if you can start on them right now.

Let me know in the comments below. No, really, I want to know. What are you working on or struggling with or just really want to get ahold of?

Halloween Black Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Black Chocolate Buttercream

October Week Four

The last week of October was swallowed up with Halloween. Typically one of my favorite holidays, the decorations are usually set up all month long. I enjoy decorating the house and spending a full month developing a super awesome costume for myself and really the whole family.

This year, the skeletons didn’t get put in the yard until the week of Halloween. I didn’t decide on a costume until the Tuesday before the party. I jetted to the craft store and spent two days on a crafting binge to throw this idea together at the last minute.

We threw a costume party the weekend before the holiday and celebrated all dressed up with our favorite people, punch, and … you guessed it MORE cupcakes!

Halloween Black Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Black Chocolate Buttercream

Black As My Soul Chocolate Cupcakes

My first order for cupcakes was a custom order to celebrate the Halloween holiday. The client requested “Black As My Soul” cupcakes. Do you have any idea how dark that is? I went for the blackest of black dark chocolate cupcakes with a pure black chocolate buttercream. The client was pleased and shared their “soul” cupcakes with their coworkers.

The cake base is similar to the Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes but I subtracted the Kahlua and added a little black dye just to ensure maximum darkness. You can’t really have “Black As My Soul” cupcakes if they turn out chocolate brown.

My Not-So-Chemical Romance

Have you ever had a cake from a grocery store or even homemade that used far too much coloring in the icing? It usually happens with the colors red and black. Inevitably someone is trying to turn a white icing into a deep dark color and they just keep adding food coloring over and over until the desired color is reached. The color might be nice but the flavor is disgusting. So much dye makes the icing taste like chemicals and it can totally ruin an otherwise delicious cake. If you’ve tasted it, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Something that many home bakers don’t know is food dye, especially red and black, needs to rest for awhile to deepen the color. If you are mixing up a black buttercream and it is looking more gray than black, before adding any more dye, cover your bowl and put it in the refrigerator a while.

Now, the first time I did this two things happened. One, the icing in the frig was STILL gray! Two, I learned that sometimes it takes resting a few rounds before becoming the right color.

After two rounds of adding dye and refrigerating, I was still worried when the icing was gray toned instead of a beautiful rich black color. But, never fear, the icing started thawing as I was working with it. As it warmed, it became the truest blackest icing I have ever seen. The best part? It tasted like delicious chocolate icing and not some chemistry experiment went wrong.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Is it weird to talk about Halloween in December? A little. But, a very favorite Christmas movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas and I believe it straddles the two holidays quite nicely. I am sure these cupcakes would be Jack approved. So, if you want to try these awesome cupcakes in the off-season, you have all of my permission.

Halloween Black Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Black Chocolate Buttercream

What was that again?

Let me recap a bit. In one month, we completed a stepparent adoption, celebrated a birthday, started a business, started a diet, adopted a puppy and hosted a Halloween party. I know you probably get all that done before breakfast, but I was a little overwhelmed, to say the least. There are so many things to be excited for and I can not wait to share all of them with you!

I hope you love these cupcakes as much as my client did. Make sure to share your creations in the Cupcakeasaurus Cupcake Community on Facebook.

Today we are making life taste sweeter by bringing a little darkness to December.

Black As My Soul Halloween Cupcakes
Print Recipe
This rich dark black chocolate cake is topped with a chemical-free tasting black as night chocolate buttercream.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 2-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 2-4 hours
Black As My Soul Halloween Cupcakes
Print Recipe
This rich dark black chocolate cake is topped with a chemical-free tasting black as night chocolate buttercream.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 2-4 hours
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 2-4 hours
Ingredients
Black Chocolate Cupcakes
Black Chocolate Buttercream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Black Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brew coffee and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachement, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed.
  3. Add vegetable oil to sugar mixture and mix in thoroughly.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, cocoa, baking soda, bakind powder, and salt.
  5. Alternating between the dry ingredients and the Greek yogurt, add about a third at a time to the sugar mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly on medium speed after each addition.
  6. Add coffee and black dye to batter and mix until well blended and color is mixed throughout.
  7. Using a spatula, fold in vanilla extract.
  8. Fill cupcake tins two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.
Black Chocolate Buttercream
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, cream butter on high speed for about four minutes.
  2. Add sifted powdered sugar to the butter one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.
  3. Add cocoa powder and salt to butter mixture and beat on medium speed.
  4. Add in one ounce of black dye and mix thoroughly until the dye is mixed evenly throughout the icing.
  5. Refrigerate icing for about two hours to let the dye deepen in color.
  6. Remove from refrigerator and beat on medium speed until icing warms to room temperature. Add additional ounce of black dye. Mix the dye thoroughly throughout the icing.
  7. If icing still appears gray, place in refrigerator to sit another one to two hours. The color deepens as it sits.
  8. Remove from refrigerator and allow icing to warm to room temperature to ensure desired color is achieved. Ice completely cooled cupcakes.
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