Sungshine: It Was A Good Week

pretty pink donuts

How many puns can I make on my own name? If you have your own blog, I say why the hell not. But yes – it was a good week. It was my goal to feel healthy and energetic for this past week – a very special week because my husband graduated from medical school! Holy shnikey. It feels so surreal that he is a certified MD. Prescription pads flying, meds for everyone! Er… not quite. My poor husband has had a crash course in fertility preservation, breast cancer treatment and chemo these past four months… while still managing to power-study and pass his exams with flying colours. I am so insanely proud of him. Here we are right after his graduation:

UBC med school graduation

My sweet friend Sunja Link, a fashion designer and cool mama, made me the black linen head scarf. I must admit I get a lot of looks wearing the head scarves because I like them piled high and dramatic – they feel less cancer-y to me this way. Sikh men double take with mild confusion, and others think: religious garb? Fashion turban? Rastafarian? Ballsy fashionista? Or… ohhhhh…. chemo! Look away! Look away!

mini doogie howser

COMEDY! Rich dressed Teddy up in his graduation cap and gown. The tiniest half Chinese Doogie Howser MD.

med ball UBC couple

On his graduation night, there was his med school ball – kind of like a teen prom. We were definitely the oldest people there. My sister helped me go shopping for my week of events, and I am super into this silk polka dot top/lacey skirt/black wedge look… plus… I wore my wig!! At the last minute I decided to throw ‘er on. I ripped open the wig box, flung it out of it’s netting and pulled it on my head. I figured, if drag queens can work a tight itchy wig, fancy dresses and high heels AND sing, dance and perform under hot lights, this lil breast cancer patient could give it a try too!! After a while I was used to wearing it, and I looked and felt so much like my old self – how I remember myself looking – that I felt great. Incognito, comfortable in myself, happy – pretty, even. Walking in to the med ball was like Andie and Duckie walking into the prom at the end of Pretty In Pink. Awkward as hell… late 30s oldies amongst the teen excitement vibe of young party animals … but we eased into it… and ended up having a great time!

sala thai restaurant vancouver

We also celebrated with a dinner party at our fave Thai restaurant in Vancouver! Gotta love it when your kid only eats a bowl of coconut rice and a tall cool glass of milky.

whistle and flute tshirt

Ice cream guy! This little trooper. My heart and soul. He loves ice cream as much as I do.

hand drawn cartoon menu

Teddy and I have really been getting into playing “restaurant!” I drew two menus and I am pretty stoked on them. Drawing was all I did when I was a kid… so it was fun to doodle and colour some menu snacks… and charge 1980s era prices… I’m thinking of drawing up some cute images and printing them on kiddo tshirts to sell in my online shop! Why the heck not.

angel dear owl blanket

Owlie in the wild … Teddy’s favourite security blanket thingie came with us on a nature walk in Lynn Valley…

dad and son lynn valley hike

Teddy’s pretty huge for the hiking backpack yet he’s too little to go on his own just yet … so we mix it up, carry him for a bit and let him run around too… burning off his seemingly endless energy. It felt SO nice to get out into nature. I breathed the air deep into my lungs and took in all of the beauty.

liberty bakery vancouver cookie

I even got to go for tea with two good pals. Couldn’t resist this giant teal blue iced sugar cookie in a big old circle! So cute, from Liberty Bakery – a lovely, artful cafe here in Vancouver. Tomorrow I start my “new” chemo – after my last round, my oncologist decided to take me off of one of the demonic chemo drugs and try me on a new “cocktail.” So I’m starting six rounds, once a week, of a lower dosage of a different drug – fingers, toes and butt cheeks crossed that I get through it without too much pain! Can’t believe it’s almost June. Hoping to do some light camping and mini getaways this summer with my little family once this is all over! Thank you as always for the sweet support. Hope all my cake pals, blog friends and readers out there are doing well! xo Lyndsay

Here Comes The Sung

ranunculus ice cream cone

Give peace to my body. Give peace a chance – flower cone power. A peace offering.

totoro cookie liberty bakery

This is my face. Skeptical guy. Totoro cookie like a magic eightball.

chemo patient head scarf

This was me one week after my second round of chemo. The sun was out, Spring was calling outside. We decided to walk around the block, take it easy. Many friends had delivered to me some great scarves for some more soft and scarf-y ladylike cancer looks. I was feeling pretty ok, like I could tolerate some social activity and walk the neighborhood. So I tied up this lovely cotton scarf up into my best Amy Winehouse and smoothed on some lipstick. I looked in the mirror and thought, “well gee this hasn’t been so bad.” I asked Rich to take a photo of me in front of this urban looking wall in our neighborhood. I had an Amy Winehouse joke I wanted to make. I was feeling like I could eat something. I was holding Teddy’s hand. I had my arm around my husband while Teddy rode on top of his shoulders. We looked at the trees and flowers. We looked for neighborhood cats. I felt happy.

That’s when the chemo demons heard me. They said “Woh. This lady is getting off too easy this round. Let’s f*ck with her.”

ranunculus ice cream cone

So they took me down. The next day I broke out in hives all over my body. My head was covered in red itchy welts. My eyes swelled up. Then I started getting a fever and the chills, a dangerous sign of infection for a person who’s blood cells were annihilated. I ended up at the emergency room, weak as a slug, hives broken out all over my body – even my crotch – and my hands were ballooning up to cartoonish proportions, like someone had injected them with air. I was treated for a kidney infection, then sent home – only to come back the next morning because my ring finger, tightened to purple knuckles from my wedding band, was swelling like a jumbo sausage and I had to get my wedding ring sawed off. Nothing would work on the hives – dose after dose of Benadryl and I was still in agony. So my oncologist said I could try half a steroid, a powerful anti inflammatory, although it would also further weaken my immune system. I was desperate. Each night I prayed I would feel better tomorrow. I had to feel better tomorrow???

pretty donuts

The steroids worked – except they gave me burning pain in my stomach, chest and throat, and the most awful searing pain in my forearms, so much so that I could not move. As long as I stayed still they didn’t hurt. So on Sunday, I laid in bed on Mother’s Day, frozen in time, crying most of the day, tears trickling into my bald head and pooling on my pillow. I watched The Princess Bride. I watched The Mindy Project. I prayed for time to pass and for the pain to pass. By Monday when I woke up, the pain had mostly dissipated in my arms. I swallowed, and the burning had mostly gone away. I sat up in awe, in fear of what might be next. Each day I trepadatiously awoke, fearful of any itch, pain, weirdness. But now it’s Friday and while I am very tired, I think I made it through.

little boy in headscarf

Me and my boo. Dude looks like a lady and he’s perfectly happy to be “just like mom” – scarf guy! If my T wants to dress like a lady now or in the future that is fine by me. I will accept and love him no matter who he becomes.

kids superman costume

In his Superman costume from his Auntie Shelley – I don’t remember Superman having baggy-ass pants?? He was so excited to wear it. No morning is complete without a little stick bass jamming. All week Teddy was asking me if I was feeling better. He told me he missed me. My heart broke, as I laid in bed, missing out on his days. I want to savour each one of his little sweet and funny days. He’s growing so fast, talking so much, saying so much hilarious stuff that I want to record forever. I’m happy I’m finally feeling better and I can play with him once again. We mostly pretend we’re driving cars and motorbikes and stopping at various drive-thrus and restaurants for “hamgunbars and chocolate milk.” Hehe. PS this is nice – I was nominated as one of Vancouver’s top mom bloggers. Sending you all love and wishes for sunny happy days. xo Lyndsay

Floating Along

beta 5 creampuffs vancouver

The days are really blurring together. My mind is but a facsimile of what it once was – I reminisce about my old brain. A friend emailed me asking me if chemo brain was anything like mama brain – she is a new expectant mom – and I thought, shite, no. For me, mama brain came from the sleep deprived zombie nights, nursing Teddy at all hours and keeping him happy and non-crying. Chemo brain comes from having your brain fried up like offal cuts on poison drugs! But what a difference a cream puff can make, right?! My dear sis brought me a box of my fave Vancouver cream puffs the night before my second round of chemo. I chowed down through those creamy crispy crumbly textures and flavours. Closed my eyes and ate through the anxiety.

bc cancer agency

Oh how I miss my artful bowl cut, as seen above, during my very first chemo treatment in April… At the time I was so sad to chop my long black hair into the short little ‘do six weeks ago but now I am a solid believer in the short cut. Casual times, no muss, no fuss, no hair drying and no products! But now… NOW I am so sad that my little bowl cut is gone. Because this happened: 

chemo shaved head

My hair was starting to float down like dog-shedding snowflakes, raining hard on my bowl cut parade. Then it began pulling out in huge chunks. And I couldn’t stop pulling at it because I was so fascinated/disturbed. So the time came to shave it off like a teen lawnmower. I was trying to stay thrice removed from the head shave, just mentally floating above, peeking in… I asked Rich to crank some metal and I was trying to stay tough. I was doing ok, laughing even, mostly in shock, until we cut off my bangs – my precious bangs! I’ve had my black bangs for TWO DECADES. A friend once described them to me as my signature look so I glomped onto that idea. When they floated away to the floor in a shaved off heap the tears started pouring down my face.

unnamed-1

Looks. Playing with my newfound looks – thug fisherman meets Ian Mackaye. I walked in behind a woman and her two children going into the Ladies Washroom wearing this and I got a freaked out double take. It was so disconcerting and bizarre that I had frightened her – I had forgotten that I wasn’t a long haired lady-looking woman anymore…

chemo head scarf

This is me right before my second chemo. Chiquita Banana meets Rosie the Riveter, perfect since I am yellowy Chinese AND a feminist. The scarf is light as a feather and colourful and made me feel a little less thug life man-about-town. My red lipstick always helps.

chemo wig hat toque

THIS look – this is my wig! It looks exactly like my old hair … it’s so bizarre though, holding it up, it feels like I’ve scalped someone – wigs are creepy. And SOOOO hot. This wig, with the cotton toque on top, it feels like I’m walking around with a bonfire on my head.

ice cream lamp

I have been the recipient of so many incredible acts of kindness and love. It gives me hope in humanity and makes me count every blessing and friendship and family member. My sweet little boo holding the soft serve ice cream lamp a group of friends gave to me to cheer me up. LOVE it. So silly and fun and perfect because I am a maximum conehead.

kitchen culinaire pie

This incredible spread … including the gorgeous flowers … from my neighbor – chef and mama Julie of Kitchen Culinaire, who also happens to have an incredible Instagram and blog… Her work makes me want to be a better cook…

candy letter cake - coco cake land

Cake. It’s always on my mind, Willie Nelson style. My forever love affair. Making lists of new cake ideas, but listless in my energy and abilities… which makes me upset, anxious, depressed … I know my shitty energy and feelings of chemo-syrup-head won’t last forever. But it’s depressing to me to not have the ability to create at the moment …

cat bus cake - coco cake land

Like this happy chappy catbus cake. Sometimes I just have to go back in time and look at the work I’ve made and know that I’ll get back there soon.

fish birthday cake tutorial - coco cake land

Right now I’m just floating along. Like this silly fish cake. Glub glub. I feel like a fish face, round and puffy, maybe a fish trapped in a tank at a Chinese restaurant. Lying in bed, watching Mind Of A Chef, surfing Instagram and posting little things and interacting a bit, impulse shopping and being a general idiot. My Brillo pad hair rough against my pillow, headphones in, drifting in and out of sleep, snacking on crackers and warm water. I’ve been trying to listen to Just Kids by Patti Smith but her voice is so soothing I’m out like a light and have slept through several chapters. Hoping to get out of this fuzzy phase of chemo round 2 and come out into the sunshine, maybe turn the oven on, bake something, take a few pics… ambitious, but possible. I’m still happy though … I have so much amazingness in my life… but can’t help but feel down sometimes still… Thanks as always for the kind words – I am hoping you are all doing well! xo Lyndsay 

Sugar Crush: The Colour Blast Photo World Of Stephanie Gonot

stephanie gonot insult cakes

I’m late to the Stephanie Gonot party as usual but darn it look at this hilariousness. I can seriously feel the toenail in my mouth, parsing it out with my tongue through gobs of thick oil-based whipped icing. Her Insult Cakes project with Max Siedentopf gave me such a chuckle – upending our forever-sweet memories of cake with a sociopathic icing scrawl of an unexpected message. The photos remind me of garish 1980s food photography (the kind you would find hanging in cheap frames on the walls of a 24 hour pancake diner). Cakes are ubiquitous with celebrations and special occasions, childhood dreams and slices of heaven. I’ve always loved the plasticky, brightly coloured hastily-piped frosting creations of the supermarket bakeries. I love how the Insult Cakes series grosses us out while still remaining appealing, childlike, hopeful and sad at the same time.

stephanie gonot insult cakes

The heart shaped cake that says I Love You in a very different way?? Makes me think of dogs. Perfect dog birthday cake. Yes I clenched my butt cheeks when I saw this picture.

stephanie gonot insult cakes

This Dairy Queen-esque beauty reminds me of the Raymond Carver story in his Cathedral collection – the disgruntled baker whose birthday cake goes uncollected for terrible reasons unknown to him… Also “You Are Average” goes against today’s parenting culture of ultra-coddling, raising our kids by saying everything they do is “AMAZING” and super special…

stephanie gonot insult cakes

The serial killer scrawl of Penisface on this otherwise churchly looking, ultra white sheet cake! The images are violently bright, hard to look at for too long – patterns against our eyes. The greasy slickness of those piped green leaves – it’s almost like my tongue has been coated in shortening-based bright green icing!

stephanie gonot edibles

I like the contrast of dream dessert vs totally-can’t-eat – prickly dink cacti mixed with pastel rainbow sherbet and a melty grotesque mountain of bubblegum ice cream. Sad/ouch/pain!

stephanie gonot edibles

Big old pile of junk fooooood! My teeth ache looking at this. Suddenly I am craving french fries to offset the sugar.

stephanie gonot edibles

This is so Grace Jones meets sandwich meat … The lunchbox sandwich deconstructed … the opposite of a foodie sandwich of crusty bread, cured meats and micro greens, laid flat splat against 1980s teal green, flash photography showing its shiny synthetic flavours. For more of Stephanie’s bizarrely brightly appealing work, visit stephaniegonot.com or check out her Instagram! Photog nerds will like this interview on Photo District News, too. 

 

Pretty Perfect: Milk Bar Life Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

milk bar life chocolate chip cookies recipe

COOOOKIES. I’m not blue and fuzzy nor am I a total maniacal pig monster but if you get me close to a pile of fresh-out-the-oven perfect chocolate chip cookies, I really do tend to tornado-devour ‘em. I can’t stop. It’s been a lifelong search for the superior chocolate chip cookie recipe. Crucial requirements: non cakey, non puffy, crisp at the edges yet chewy elements, not too crazy sweet with a generous salty vibe … and of course that melty creamy chocolate in every bite. I thought I had found it before … but these cookies… these cookies take the CAKE.

momofuku milk bar life cookbook

I was finally craving cookies on the weekend, and I even felt like baking… and Milk Bar Life got to me just in time (thanks Auntie for the book!) I had gotten through my first round of chemo in early April. It felt too surreal to be true, sitting there hooked up to an IV, my bags of drugs dripping down into a vein in my hand, sitting there as the clock ticked by (we were there 8 hours in total!). Me – a healthy woman with colour in my cheeks and muscle on my body, knowingly filling my body up with poison. It was like waiting for a bomb to go off as I waited for those dreaded side effects to kick in and they finally rolled in like dark clouds. A haze of achy discomfort – my body twitched in tiny spurts of inside-pain and I imagined all of those happy good cells dying off and floating away, drowned in drugs. I felt feverish, itchy all over – my face flushed red – I felt like I had eaten a poison apple in a fairy tale gone awry. I was bedridden but couldn’t get comfortable and my mind was a muddy fog, but I laid on my side and glazed through the Mindy Project, Say Anything, Beautiful Girls – shows and movies that felt light enough to watch. Teddy would jump on my bed and entertain me and show me silly things, and I’d read him stories before bed, one of my favourite things. However, by day 5 the side effects were subsiding – my energy was crawling back and the sun was out. My appetite came back, and my mind was on fire with all the things I wanted to eat but my stomach was saying “oh hell no, lady!”. Fried chicken, pizza, banana splits … after a week of Digestive cookies and watered down Gatorade, I was feeling pretty ravenous! So yeah. Making, baking and EATING freshly baked chocolate chip cookies – it was a good feeling all around!

milk bar life chocolate chip cookies recipe

I didn’t mess with Tosi’s wicked simple chocolate chip recipe much at all. I didn’t have chocolate chips (huh!) so I chopped up some Lindt “Surfin” (I always think of Weezer when I use this chocolate) dark chocolate pieces and I used good old flakey crystal-y Maldon sea salt because I love the teensy salty crunch it gives cookies… yum. The Milk Bar Life cookbook itself is an exercise in bonkers wacky wild supermarket ingredient fuelled recipes, from a Ritz cracker, grape jelly and Cool Whip icebox cake to fish cooked in pickle juice. The book pays homage to some grand old gals of middle America, and for a little Chinese Canadian Vancouver girl like myself, reading it is like an anthropological study of what white kids in America might’ve grown up eating… Fascinating. Milk Bar sounds like a fun place to work if you ask me! Jokes, snacks, cool ladies, blasting tunes, camaraderie, hard work and churning out wildly delicious products – good stuff.

Milk Bar Life Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

18 medium cookies

For The Cookies

  • ½ pound (2 sticks, also known as 1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and just warm to the touch
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder (crucial!)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons Maldon salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chopped high quality semi sweet or dark chocolate pieces (or 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips!)

Make The Cookies!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep baking sheets with parchment paper.

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugars with a wooden spoon until mixture is combined and homogenous.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, stirring until combined.
  3. Mix in the flour, milk powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until just combined – don’t overmix!
  4. Fold in the chocolate pieces or chocolate chips. The dough might seem a bit wet but it baked up nicely.
  5. Dole out the cookie batter using a 2 ¾ ounce ice cream scoop, or use your hands. Keep the balls 2 to 3 inches apart! Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on the pan (if you can wait that long to chow on them).

happy boy with lollipop

Teddy and me, Easter weekend in Victoria, BC. We walked by a barber shop and looked in and waved – and the owner came running out with a bowl of lollipops.

kid iron maiden tshirt

Teddy going Hulkamania on me in his Iron Maiden tshirt!

black and white photobooth vancouver

This past Sunday – some energy, and sunshine outside called for a little trip to River Market in New Westminster, where there is a wicked analogue black and white film photobooth! I’m totally into my bowl cut now – however, last night I noticed my hair was starting to come out! Wahhhh! Oh well. Being a bald lady will be an experience, hopefully a character building one. Chemo pretty much sucked a big hairy boar’s testicle – but I’m happy I’ve completed the first round and know what it’s like for the next one. And … I am praying it destroys every last trace of cancer in my bod and I will never ever have to deal with it again. I hope all my cake pals out there are doing well – thank you for the continued well wishes, emails, messages, prayers and thoughts! It really means a lot! xo Lyndsay 

Sweetapolita Circus Animal Cookie Recipe!

elephant sugar cookie recipe

If blog years were like dog years, I’d be an old lady blogger woofin’ away like a crotchety ancient pup. I’ve been blogging since 2008 – which seems like a century ago! But back in the early days, I met some pretty sweet (hehe) people online – including the one and only, frostingly gorgeous, ruler of spectacularly colorful cakes, Rosie of Sweetapolita! 

sweetapolita baking book

Rosie has just published her first book – a brightly hued, dazzling book bursting with colour and Rosie’s signature beautified vintage style. From watercolour cakes to gold flecks to edible chalk recipes and how to make your own sprinkles (Rosie is sprinkles-obsessed!), PLUS all of Rosie’s perfected cake and frosting recipes, this book will win you over with a rainbow unicorn sugar kiss. Plus, there are tons of cute projects you can make with your kids, or a gaggle of close girlfriends! Click here for a visual preview of The Sweetapolita Bakebook … and you MUST check out Rosie’s “blog hop” featuring a MEGA sweet giveaway of Rosie’s favourite baking goodies and sugary cute products.

elephant sugar cookies

Growing up in Canada, it was always a pretty BIG DEALIO for our family to go down to the States for little shopping trips or holidays. Driving down from our hometown of Vancouver to Seattle, Washington meant staying at the Doubletree Inn with its floral bedcovers and little soaps, which meant piles of BACON and pancakes for buffet breakfast, murky green indoor pool of FUN, and being right next door to Toys R Us. Extreme heaven for children. Plus – gas station stops meant eyeing out the hordes of colourful, chemical, waxy delicious candies, chocolates and extra salty chips we could never get in Canada. Cool Ranch Doritos was a BIG DEAL, guys! And … finding, and glomping on forever, to MOTHER’S CIRCUS ANIMAL COOKIES. Waxy! Sweet! Pink! Circus-y! We’d pop them into our mouths and crunch away til our teeth felt gritty from sprinkles and the tops of our mouths were coated in, well, coating.

elephant sugar cookies

When I saw this circus animal cookie recipe in Rosie’s new book, I knew I had to try ‘em. These babies are crispy and oaty, not too sweet (except i drenched them in glaze because I am a glaze-maniac – glaziac?) and generously splattered in non-pareil style rainbow sprinkles. Perfect for a circus party, sez me – or to sit around and crunch away on.

Frosted Circus Animal Cookies

2 dozen medium sized animal cookies

For The Cookies

  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (I blended regular oats into flour using my food processor)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large egg

For The Glaze

  • 2½ cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 5-6 tablespoons of milk
  • pink food colouring
  • non pareil style rainbow sprinkles

Make The Cookies

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and the lemon extract, beating until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pressing it into a large disc. (I divided the mix into two and had two discs).
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. Unwrap the chilled dough and put it on a large piece of parchment paper with a little flour for dusting if dough gets a bit sticky.
  8. Cut out animal shapes – I used elephant cookie cutters!
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  11. Bake until cookies are a light golden colour, about 18 minutes.
  12. Cool on baking sheets and let cool for 10 minutes.
  13. Carefully move cookies onto wire racks to cool completely before glazing.

Make The Glaze

  1. Place the icing sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Slowly add the milk, one tablespoon at a time until you achieve desired consistency. I like my glaze a little thicker; if the glaze becomes too thin, add a little more icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Add a dab of pink gel colour if desired.
  4. Sprinkle away while the glaze is still wet!
  5. Let dry; cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

circus animal elephant sugar cookies

Want to win your own copy of The Sweetapolita Bakebook? Leave a comment below with your FAVE GROCERY STORE JUNK FOOD! Winner picked at glorious random! CONTEST NOW CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who entered! You can also order Rosie’s beautiful book through a link on her website here! Congratulations, my sweet friend Rosie!! You rocked your cake book so hard, you are so inspiring – and you should be so very proud. xo Lyndsay

Donut Deny: Donut Sugar Cookies Are CUTE

edible flower donut sugar cookies

I forgot how to use my camera. I couldn’t find my mixing bowl. Did I even HAVE butter? Baking is my language and I stopped using it so I forgot how to speak. Goo goo gah gah? Where my mixing bowl at? Sprinkles, be damned – why are you buried under cereal and leftover maltballs and almond flour? Will my brain still work? Can I make something pretty?

donut sugar cookies recipe by coco cake land

It has been over two months since I’ve baked anything new! In fact I had no idea what I would bake, just that I had leftover cookie dough and an urge to get a little flour-y.

donut sugar cookies recipe by coco cake land

It’s kind of hard to resist the shape of a donut. Round perfect circles with that cute little life preserver hole. I made the cookies by using a large circle cookie cutter, and punching out the “donut hole” with the large circle side of a piping tip.

donut sugar cookies recipe by coco cake land

The weather has been fluctuating from spring-y sun blaster to torrential rain – yes, God – I get it – April showers bring May flowers n all that jazz… but the day I shot these donut sugar cookies, the sun was kind of perfect and it beamed through my white kitchen curtains, casting a soft glow. It was peaceful. I put on some tunes (ok, I ruined my mellow baking aura with some 90s bompin’ rap anthems) and started rolling out dough. Oven was on, baking sheets prepped. I looked through my cupboards for sprinkles and freeze dried raspberries.

edible flowers donut sugar cookies recipe

I found edible flowers in the herb section of the grocery store – so cute! So i bought a package. Edible pansies are really like eating lettuce. It is kind of weird to just pop one in your mouth. It’s neat that something so pretty and delicate and colourful is edible.

edible flowers donut sugar cookies recipe

It was fun dinking around with my camera again. And not caring that much but just going for it and having a little fun, making something pretty, sprinkling some stuff onto more stuff. Feeling a little more like myself and enjoying it. Donut deny the power of making. It beats sitting around feeling depressed (although I still have those days too!). The smell of sugar cookies baking and filling my kitchen – bottle THAT up and sell it, guys. Or dot it on your pillow for some sweet sweet dreams.

Simple Sugar Cookies

2 dozen donut shaped cookies

For The Cookies

Tried and true, this is Martha Stewart's recipe.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½  cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For The Glaze

  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 5-6 tablespoons of whole milk
  • food colouring (optional)

Make The Cookies

  1. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
  2.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Reroll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3.  Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks.

Ice The Cookies

  1. In a small bowl, mix the glaze, adding the milk a tablespoon at a time.
  2. If glaze is too runny, add a little more icing sugar – a little at a time. I like my glaze thick with a slow drip so mine tends to be heavier and less opaque.
  3. Add food colouring if desired.
  4. Using a spoon, spoon the glaze onto the cooled donut sugar cookie and using the back of the spoon, smoothing it along the cookie until completely covered.
  5. Add sprinkles, edible flowers and freeze dried fruit, or whatever dry ingredients you have around.
  6. Cookies will keep for up to 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature.

edible flowers donut sugar cookies recipe

PS – thanks to Craftsman and Wolves for the cookie inspo!

Cheetah Cake Cuteness + Children

buttercream cheetah cake by coco cake land

Meow mix! I made this buttercream cheetah cake for a sweet little girl named Shyloh, at her request of course. Man do I love kids. I’ve always thought they are hilarious. But maybe I actually love people at every age. The elderly fascinate me with their decades of stories, memory and history locked behind years of wrinkles and spotted hands. I envy innocent children and their outlook of the world, unbroken by shite or meanness or heartbreak, happy to run around and laugh or play with a rock or get dirty in a sandpit for hours. Teens with their awkwardness and gangly limbs and acne and can’t-keep-up acronym text-slang. Newborn babies even fascinate me with their ability to endlessly blast super gross poo into diapers and cry and NURSE from a mother’s breast.

Breastfeeding! It’s awesome. It’s free, it’s super nutritious, and those tender, going-mental 3 am feeds can be soothed by the gentle snuggle and quietude of a baby nursing, nourished by its own mother’s milk, gulping it down like a fat fish then conking out on top of you.

I could be mildly obsessed with breasts lately, forgive me – you think about what you might lose when you’re in the midst of breast cancer treatment.

buttercream cheetah cake by coco cake land

We have one beautiful, hilarious child and we had hoped for more. In fact, we had been trying to have another one for almost a year – Teddy was conceived very quickly, and my sisters are like fertile rabbits with no trouble conceiving – and I so wished to have a sibling for Teddy, as I grew up with two sisters and love them dearly.

Cancer’s been effing with me.

Once I start chemo my fertility will basically be fried. For some reason I imagine a sizzling frying pan of sunny side up eggs. Chemo’s going to fry up my egg follicles and I’ll be dry as a bone in the ovary department. Extreme bummer.

When I first got my diagnosis back in January, I was also given the news that due to the treatments I’d be receiving, it would be highly unlikely that I could have a baby later. So we frantically did a round of in vitro fertilization – IVF, they call it – science’s little miracle, with the incredible ability to help people who are having difficulty conceiving naturally to bring the sources together – egg and sperm – grow them into an embryo, and implant it surgically back into a uterus. Bonkers, right? I wasn’t going to have the embryo implanted of course, but we wanted to freeze embryos for later usage, after my cancer treatments were over. I was so hopeful! I imagined tiny little Teddys being created, stored on ice for five years, where we could retrieve those tiny babies and grow them later. Two weeks of injecting medication via needle into my stomach fat, debilitating fatigue and prayers for eggs. Egg extraction day arrives – and yes, they extract the eggs out of your lady parts. Then they fertilize the eggs with sperm and wait for them to grow. Every day you’re waiting on a phone call to see if your miniscule microscopic babies are still growing. By day four, only one embryo remained – and by day five, they had all seized. It all came crashing down on me – no more children. No more Teddys. It was such an emotionally painful experience. Maybe I had been too optimistic, too hopeful.

buttercream cheetah cake by coco cake land

In February I went through my surgery. Two weeks after my surgery, I met with my oncologist – and she felt that it would be ok to try IVF one more time – it would be the last attempt for me. So the results of this round will be very final. I may very well have no more biological children, which I admit is shattering. At the same time, having one little guy has been pretty great. Maybe we’ll get a dog in a few years and a couple of cats to fill out the house, or think about other options later. I’m crossing my fingers and knocking on wood for embryos to freeze – which is a very weird thought – I am living in an episode of Star Trek: Fertility Blaster right now. Infertility is pretty common – and a lot for women, their partners, and families, to deal with. It can feel shameful, or abnormal – but it needs to be met with openness, kindness, empathy and support.

This cute faced cheetah cake made me think of how hilarious kids are – an almost 5 year old kid being so specific and asking for a cheetah cake with a flower on its head? TOO CUTE.

Six months to Teddy’s third birthday and he’s already talking about his birthday cake. He said he wants a “brown bear cake” this year. His favourite colour is BROWN. His cousins sort of told him his favourite colour was brown a while back and he glomped on to it. He wants me to get a “brown motorbike and brown motorcycle helmet.” He asks everyone he meets – “do you like brown?” Also, he is obsessed with chocolate, and chocolate is brown … and he does love a good poo joke.

Yup. That’s my kid. Poo jokes and all…  xo Lyndsay