These last two weeks, I have made cupcakes and cake pops. The first week, Cassandra, my mentor, and I made the cupcakes, plus the batter I later used for the cake pops.
First, I made the batter using the ‘creaming method’. This means that the first step was creaming the butter and sugar, and then I added the other ingredients later on. I found some pretty purple, yellow, and blue cupcake wrappers, so the next step was to line the tin with those. I then filled each wrapper with a quarter cup of batter.
Before baking, I set aside around two cups of batter into a cake pan. I baked this batter at the same time as my cupcakes, and I used it the second week to make cake pops, which I will talk about more later on.
While the cupcakes were baking, I made buttercream. First, I whipped egg whites and sugar until it became a sort of meringue (at this stage it tasted delicious!) Then I added vanilla, a tiny bit of salt, and a whole lot of butter very gradually. After around twenty minutes of whipping, it thickened to the proper texture. And it was so tasty!
When I took the cupcakes out of the oven, I let them cool and put the buttercream into a piping bag. My first few attempts at the icing were not incredible, but Cassandra reminded me that that is why we practice: to get better! Slowly, I got a bit better at the icing process as I decorated more and more cupcakes.
Several weeks ago, when I first started practicing a bit of piping, created a whole bunch of random little flowers that I froze. Now, I pulled the icing out and decorated the cupcakes with the flowers to give them a bit of colour! In the end, I was really happy with how they turned out!
The second week, Cassandra helped me make cake pops. I started by thawing the extra cake I had made the week before. This next step was my favourite: I put the cake into the stand mixer and broke it into little pieces. It was weirdly satisfying to watch as the cake slowly crumbled.
Then I started adding little bits of leftover buttercream from the week before to the cake crumbs in the mixer. After a few minutes, it became a thick dough-like consistency. I then rolled that cake and buttercream mixture into golf ball sized balls.
My final step was to place a straw into the cake pops and freeze them. Later, I will decorate them with white chocolate, but I ran out of time to do that this week, so I’ll have to do that at our next meeting!
How to have a beautiful Mind: Parallel Thinking – The Six Thinking Hats
The next chapter is Edward de Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind is “Parallel Thinking – The Six Thinking Hats.” In this chapter, de Bono discusses the importance on non-ego-driven conversation. When using parallel thinking, nobody feels the need to outshine another, which leads to a deeper conversation, where the subject is more thoroughly explored. The six different-coloured thinking hats allow members of a conversation to be all on the same page by ‘wearing’ the same thinking hat.
The first hat is the white hat. This hat centers around information. That information can be hard facts or just personal experiences and rumors. If pieces of information ever conflict, everyone evaluates what they know to figure out the correct info. People can ask themself questions such as What do we know? What do we need to know?
The red hat centres around feelings, emotions, and intuition. “The red hat allows emotion and feeling. The red hat legitimises emotions and gives them a formal place,” explains de Bono (94). When wearing the red hat, your emotions and thoughts never have to be explained. Some of the ways you can think while wearing the red hat are I don’t like this idea, my intuition is…, I feel it’s a waste of time.
The third hat is the black hat. This is the hat most often used in normal conversations: critical thinking. It keeps us cautious about proposed ideas and concepts. This hat points out dangers, faults, and problems. Some ways of thinking while wearing this hat are Does this fit my values? Does this fit our objectives? Does this fit…?
The next hat is the yellow hat. This hat explores why something should work. While wearing this hat, you look at ideas with the intention of finding the value of that idea. It’s a more positive way of thinking, where everyone contributes the positive aspects of an idea, and consequently, more ideas can be generated with those positive aspects in mind.
The green hat is next. This hat is for productivity and creativity. With this hat, you can propose ideas, alternatives, possibilities, and designs. These ideas should include the obvious, but also the less obvious as well.
The final hat is the blue hat. This hat controls conversations; it is the process control. At the beginning of conversations, it defines the purpose and focus. At the end, this hat can summarize what was accomplished. If nothing was accomplished, you can then provide reasons for this. Some questions to consider while wearing this hat are What are we here for? What is the end goal?
Cassandra started off our meeting by informing me of what we would be doing during that meeting. She said, “what we’re going to do today is I’m going to show you how doing a different method for the same recipe really can change up the outcome.”
She continued, “[When we made the cake] we used an oil-based recipe, and what we’re going to do is swap out the oil for melted butter. Have you heard of the creaming method?”
I told her, “I’m not sure if I’ve heard it called that, but it sounds familiar, so I think so.”
She continued, “the first thing is I’m going to explain the recipe, and then we can chat as needed as we go.”
“Awesome, sounds great!”
In this part of the conversation, Cassandra was wearing her blue hat. She was explaining the sequence of events for our meeting. As well, she touched on key questions that are addressed under the blue hat such as What is the end goal?
When Cassandra is part way through explaining the steps, she tells me, “you’re going to pour the melted butter into the egg mixture, and what going to happen is that the egg will curdle in the bowl.”
She then told me, “[The batter] will harden a bit.” She finishes explaining how I should go about completing the recipe. She finishes be saying that at the end, “It will be this really fluffy batter.”
In this next section of the conversation, Cassandra is stating facts about the batter, and therefore she is using the white hat. She gives me information about what the texture of the batter should be, and providing information falls under the white hat.
A bit later on, when I was almost done the batter, Cassandra asked,” do you have cupcake liners?”
“I probably can find some, yes.”
She reassured, “if you don’t, it’s okay. But if you do, it’s better, it’s less cleanup for you.”
“That would definitely be nice. That’s a good reason for me to find some cupcake liners.”
In this part of the conversation, both Cassandra and I were using our red hats. When Cassandra said “it’s better” if I have cupcake liners, that was her opinion, and it did not need to be backed up by facts. Then, when I said “that would definitely be nice,” I was also providing an opinion without any facts to back it up.
After the batter was complete, Cassandra asked me, “what does the batter look like?”
I replied, “It looks thick, sort of. A beige colour, like a pale yellow. Is that how it’s supposed to look?”
“Perfect! Yes, that’s perfect.”
In this section of conversation, we used our black hats. We were checking to see if the information we had fits the way it should. We were thinking critically about the batter, asking questions similar to the standard does this fit…? question.
“I had an idea for our future meetings. Today, we’re going to use half the batter to make the cupcakes, and with the rest, we’ll make a cake, and then I’m going to show you how to make cake pops.”
The next hat that we used in our conversation was the green hat. Here, Cassandra was proposing ideas about what she thinks we should do next. As the green hat is described as “[asking] for ideas, alternatives, possibilities and designs,” this part of the conversation fits perfectly under this hat (99).
Next, Cassandra explains, “cake pops are what I make when I have extra cake and extra icing. I try my best not to cut off too much of my cakes, because it’s just a waste. But if I need to, I’ll make cake pops. Because I always have extra cake lying around, I can make cake pops.”
And I said, “Oh, now I’m really excited!”
Finally, we have the yellow hat. When wearing this hat, you try to find the positives of an idea. In this case, Cassandra was finding the positive side of having leftover cake from when she has to cut off some of the cake when decorating. As well, I looked at this idea with the intention of finding the value, and I became really excited for the following week when we would get to make cake pops!
Thanks so much for reading my blog post! Please leave any comments or questions you have in the comments! Thank you to Cassandra for helping me so much!