We had a birthday to celebrate at Casa Mondomulia last weekend as my beloved blog turned eight years old! It had been a long time since I baked a birthday cake, but the special occasion called for it. Here’s my Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Cake.
Celebrating 8 years of Mondomulia
A few days ago, one of my friends left a message in our group chat reminding me of the importance of celebrating milestones. I am not just talking about your own birthday or a wedding anniversary, those are easy to remember. I am talking about celebrating a success or achievement in our own personal or professional life. It isn’t always easy to recognise these moments and celebrate them.
Maybe it’s because we don’t think we deserve the praise; maybe we don’t value our successes as much as we should; maybe we are too busy getting on with life and work; and so we move straight onto the next thing on our to do list, without acknowledging the many great things we have already done.
By nature, I am not one of those people who like to celebrate every single achievement of their career. I know many bloggers on a similar path to mine who make big displays of every award won, every mention or praise received online or in print, or every big brand they work with. I congratulate them and admire them for this. When it comes to my achievements, I shrug my shoulders and move on.
I am trying to be better at it. To remind myself that there is nothing wrong to tell yourself that you are doing an amazing job. To tell the world about my successes! To share that, yes I am incredibly proud of the work I do. And to share that often and loudly without embarrassment.
A few days ago I reached the eight-year mark for Mondomulia. It was the 24th of November 2011 that I wrote and published my first blog post. Who would have thought that I would become a food writer and a guide book author? A professional travel blogger travelling 3-4 months of the year and a digital nomad living in Bali?
A chocolate cheesecake recipe, I think that’s was my first post… it was short and with awful iPhone photos (cut square and edited with Instagram filters and borders), but it was a start!
A start to something wonderful: a place for me to create; an excuse to motivate myself into taking photos and getting better at it; a platform to write about my life; a photo diary of my favourite trips, something I’m always happy to look at to.
Mondomulia for me is a place to share my favourite recipes, restaurants coffee shops and travel stories with anyone interested enough to read them. Why do I do it? Because sharing is caring.
I hope to have inspired and helped many people throughout these years. It is the only thing that makes it all – the time, the effort, the frustration, the failures – worth it. And trust me, there have been hard times (but also great ones).
My blog changed my life. It was a way out of a job that made me unhappy – so I will always be grateful for that!
My life was also changed by all the people I met in these years of blogging. Inspiring, sweet, smart, beautiful and kind people from all over the world I am so lucky to call friends.
Through my blog, I found motivation and purpose. I became my own boss and “the master of my own destiny” with all the positives and negatives that come with it. The fear of failing, because when you work on your own and things don’t go the way you had hoped, you only have yourself to blame. But I try to focus on the positives, no matter how hard that is.
And so today I celebrate! I look back at the past eight years with pride and joy and I can only hope that there other eight more years ahead of me in this blogging journey! Who knows? Right now, I am at crossroads and I am not sure of the next steps for my career. I need a reminder of the reasons why I keep blogging…
And so, if you are a regular Mondomulia blog reader, could you please leave a comment or send me a message? Tell me which one of my recipes is your favourite; which one of my restaurant reviews made you have a great dining experience; or which travel guide inspired you to visit a new destination.
I would love to hear from you!
Finally, thank you. For your support, your words of encouragement, your compliments and for following along all these years!
Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Cake
For the chocolate cake layers
- 4 medium free range eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 180g plain flour
- 200g unsalted butter, melted
- 200g dark chocolate, melted
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the chocolate buttercream
- 50g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tsp whole milk, to loosen
For the filling
- 150g salted caramel sauce
- 30g salted pretzels, crushed
For the topping
- 30g pretzel for topping
- 30g chocolate flavour cereal balls
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease 2 round cake pans, dust with a little plain flour, then tap out the excess.
Place the chocolate in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool down.
In the bowl of a food processor, beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the melted butter, flour and baking powder. Add the melted chocolate and mix until the ingredients are well combined. Divide the batter evenly between two pans.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway. Remove from the oven and let the sponges cool down completely before assembling the cake.
To make the chocolate buttercream icing, first melt the chocolate using a double boiler. Once melted allow to cool fully for about 15 minutes.
In a standing mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add icing sugar and mix for an additional two minutes. Slowly incorporate the vanilla extract and melted chocolate, mixing on medium speed for two minutes. Add one or more teaspoons of milk to loosen up the icing, if needed.
Pipe chocolate icing around the edge of the first cake layer. Add the salted caramel inside the piped area and spread it with a flat spatula. Sprinkle the broken pretzel pieces over the salted caramel. Top with the second layer of chocolate cake.
Spread the rest of the chocolate buttercream icing over the top of the cake and around its sides. Smooth the icing using a palette knife. You can decorate the cake with a drizzle of salted caramel, whole or broken pretzels and chocolate cereal balls.
To assemble the cake, I followed the instructions by Hunger Thirst Play.