PAPER DOLL – STEF LANG
Everything I see that’s on the TV
Getting’ me down I don’t wanna be me
Feel that pressure, pushin’ on me
Gotta have the looks and the perfect body
Living on a treadmill, skip my dinner
Work my body till I get thinner
Running with the girls across the nation
Caught up in a world of thinspiration
Still there’s things that I’m ashamed of
Cover my flaws with all my make up
I tried every tip in the magazines
No matter what I do I still I feel ugly
I follow these 10 easy steps
They tell me it’ll boost my confidence
They’re so good, they’re so tricky,
Make you do anything to just feel pretty
Those are some of the lyrics from Stef Lang’s powerful song, Paper Doll. I can totally relate.
I feel fat and disgusting. I know that I’m not fat and disgusting but it doesn’t matter what I logically know to be true when society has me brainwashed into thinking I should hide my hideous body behind giant tents masquerading as clothes. Damn you society! I blame you 100% for the belief that skin & bones = beauty. For never being satisfied with what I’ve got. For always thinking that I can be – no – should be thinner, prettier, better dressed, richer, happier.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? We’re all striving to be happier, in our lives, with our minds and our bodies. So when did it become a giant beauty contest?
I remember when that disgusting show, The Swan, premiered years ago on Fox (where else?).
I admit, I watched it. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I’d gaze in sick fascination as women who looked completely normal underwent significant surgical procedures to look like Barbie dolls. At the end of the each season (thank God there were only 2 – although 2 were too many), the “ugly ducklings” who became “swans” participated in a beauty pageant and the most beautiful swan of all was crowned the winner.
Ok, seriously, the winner of what? Of being so unhappy and insecure that she went on national television to expose her body and her insecurities to the world? Where she was told by a team of “experts” that she had a long list of physical “problems” that needed to be fixed before she’d meet society’s expectations of beauty? That now that she’d been surgically reconstructed, she was perfect and finally deserving of praise and admiration? That now she could finally be imbued with happiness, confidence and self-worth?!?!
It’s fucking madness – pardon my French.
When I was a kid, looking thin and gorgeous was not a priority.
I don’t think I really wanted to look like anything other than what I already looked like until high school, when I entered that dysfunctional pit of raging hormones, mutual misery, peer pressure and endless internal struggle. I’d compare myself to the “pretty, popular girls” with their long hair, thin bodies and beautiful clothes. I admit I was a pretty weird kid and I hid my lack of confidence behind a veneer of pride in how different and unique I was.
Puh-leez. I didn’t want to be smart and artsy – I wanted to be pretty. I wanted the most popular boy in school to like me back. I wanted attention but was too shy and awkward to command it.
Thankfully I’m older and wiser now, but not by much judging from the contents of this post. So what to do about this? Eat healthier and in moderation. Go to the gym to make my body stronger.
I need to work on my self-control because my body issues didn’t prevent me from attending Cakefest with my good girlfriends and spending an afternoon noshing around this table:
The Big Sis from Another Miss recently hosted a party that is a baker & dessert lover’s dream. Seeing all the delicious baked goods that are constantly uploaded onto Facebook and Instagram, she had the brilliant idea of gathering a few of us together to share in cake. Me and my tent-dress were so there.
I’ve been wanting to make an orange flavoured cake for a while and seized this as my opportunity. I relied heavily on Eating Out Loud’s orange cake recipe.
Orange Sour Cream Cake (adapted from Eating Out Loud)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
8 oz. butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 2 oranges
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease your cake pans of choice with butter.
Zest your oranges and using your fingers, rub the zest vigorously with the sugar until well combined.
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Slowly add the sour cream, eggs, almond extract and vanilla extract until everything is thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. If baking in one pan, bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. If using two pans as I did, bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Chocolate Orange frosting (adapted from Sweetapolita’s Nutella Cloud frosting found here)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk
pinch of salt
In a large bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter, mixing on low for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and mix on low speed until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix on medium speed until smooth for approximately 2 minutes.
Add the milk, pinch of salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and orange zest. Mix on medium-high speed for another minute until the frosting is thoroughly combined and is smooth and silky.
I was supremely satisfied with my contribution to Cakefest. The cake was unbelievable – so moist and intensely infused with orange flavour rounded out by the subtle tang of sour cream. The frosting was satisfyingly sweet and the orange and chocolate was a perfect combination. Although honestly, I’d be perfectly happy eating the cake without any adornments. It truly didn’t need the frosting – it was exactly what I wanted all by itself. It’s not too sweet and would be perfect with a giant mug of tea or coffee at any time of day.
Let’s check out the other Cakefest contributions.
Mrs. Smith made lemon bars that were both tart and sweet. The filling was creamy and smooth and the shortbread crust was thick, just how I like it.
The Shopaholic Nurse bought egg tarts. It’s the thought that counts! And egg tarts from New Town Bakery are always a hit.
The BSFAM made Elizabeth Prueitt’s lemon cake, found here on Oprah’s website. This sounded like the most gruelling baking experience ever. I counted 41 items in the ingredient list (yes, many are repeated items but they’re for FIVE different components of this cake).
Inside beauty shot. Isn’t it glorious? You could really taste the love and effort that went into making this masterpiece. The buttercream was so silky and only subtly sweet, which to me is perfect. I hate cloyingly sweet frostings. The cake hit you with a tart lemon flavour and had a wonderful tight crumb and light texture.
Ms. Ivory, who is truly a baker extraordinaire, made this dark chocolate stunner as well as the macarons. The recipe she used for the cake is Sweetapolita’s Rich & Ruffled Chocolate Celebration Cake, found here. She made two frostings, a coffee swiss meringue buttercream and a mocha buttercream, both of which are found here at Keep It Sweet Desserts.
This cake was everything I imagined and more: incredibly moist, rich, dark and decadent. This was like amazing sex on a plate. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the layer of macarons she put inbetween the middle layers. Genius! Ms. Ivory wasn’t too happy with how her frosting turned out but I still thought it was delicious.