June 19, 2023
A recipe for resilience in Pride Month and beyond
Each year when June hits, I love seeing the rainbow flags fly in celebration of Pride Month. Sadly, this year, this joy is dampened, clouded by the complicated state of the world right now.
In 2023, pride in the LGBTQ+ community has never been, both, so widely held and so at risk. This strange dichotomy is, funnily enough, not unlike the push and pull of conflicting thoughts many of us battle within ourselves.
Maintaining pride in difficult periods, at a community-wide and a personal level, requires resilience, perspective and trust in your beliefs – no matter what negative voices may say. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to cultivate these skills, and no matter how it resonates, I believe there is no better time to share this than Pride Month.
Sometimes, it will rain on our parade
Being part of the LGBTQ+ community has never been a bed of roses. Despite the growing representation of all identities and sexualities in pop culture, like a young boy recently going viral explaining to his sister Australian singer and drummer, Gflip’s, correct pronouns. We still witness Target adjusting their decade-old Pride Collection due to safety threats and Uganda's unsettling new anti-LGBT laws. Even here in Australia, there has recently been a backlash over Drag Queen Story Time.
Beyond Pride Month, the world outside is increasingly turbulent - economic uncertainties, rise in inflation and interest rates and job cuts are making headlines daily. It's tough not to let this general state of affairs effect our mindset. It certainly impacted me.
Right now, I’m approaching a huge personal milestone: my 15th wedding anniversary with the love of my life, Corey. I am a young company founder and CTO, and get to see my vision in action every day. Yet, over the last two years, I’ve struggled with my mental health. Grappling with burnout, anxiety and a plunging self-esteem, I took much-needed long service leave and granted myself dedicated time to focus on feeling better.
You can share my umbrella
The first step is acknowledgement of your experience, and the second: action. I stopped and considered what I could and could not control. For those encountering discrimination they thought we had surpassed: I’m so sorry. I wish I could solve all the challenges you face, but all I can do is share the tools I employed that might make the load a little lighter.
In my personal pursuit, I sought solace in nature, comfort in the presence of friends and family, and strength in learning new strategies and appreciating ancient wisdoms. I discovered that joy can be found in unexpected places, in my case, the kitchen.
Baking, of all things, became a sweet sanctuary, proving to me the joy of creating something and the reward in sharing it with others. It’s allowed me to rest my mind to patiently observe the transformation that simple ingredients undergo to become something extraordinary.
A cheesy but on-point reminder that every one of us is a unique mixture of experiences, and though we face pressure, heat, and sometimes bitter ingredients, we can emerge as something remarkable and delicious.
Finding beauty in the bittersweet
Pride Month is about our conquests – and our obstacles. It’s a time to affirm and express who we are, with pride, in spite of the negativity and hostility we might encounter. A valuable lesson in this celebratory month and beyond.
My journey isn’t complete, my mind isn’t always at peace, nor will it ever really be, but every day I am learning, growing, and finding joy in my own unique ways.
I want to remind you that it’s okay to have hard days, it’s okay to need a break, and it’s more than okay to seek help when needed. You are not alone in this journey.
As we celebrate this Pride Month, let's remind ourselves of the love, strength, and resilience we have within us. Let’s bake our challenges into a cake of victory and slice it with the people who matter to us.
In the spirit of Pride and my love for baking, I baked a pride cake for the team at Lexer. And because sharing is caring, I’ve included the recipe below for you to try. Remember, we rise by lifting others, and in this case, by lifting each other's spirits with a rainbow of flavors.
Stay strong, stay proud, and always remember to find joy in your journey. Happy Pride Month!
Rainbow Cake Recipe
Ingredients for the Cake:
For the bases:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Gel food coloring in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet
For the Buttercream Icing:
- 4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 16 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 12-16 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Note: I had to cook each layer in batches, as I only had two tins <3
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line five 9-inch round cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the milk. Mix until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly into separate bowls. Add a few drops of the gel food coloring to each bowl, mixing until the color is fully incorporated.
- Pour each colored batter into its own prepared cake pan. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream icing: In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add milk or heavy cream as needed to reach your desired consistency.
- Break into 7 batches - 1 batch should be about 1/3 of the whole mixture. Add colouring to the 6 batches of the pride flag, leaving the largest as white (or decorate as you wish).
- Once the cakes are completely cool, you can start assembling them. Place a bit of buttercream on the plate and layer with a heavy dose of buttercream between each layer.
- After stacking, apply a thin layer of buttercream all over the cake to create a crumb coat. Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Once the crumb coat is set, put the colored buttercream into piping bags and apply the final layers of buttercream all over the cake, using a spatula to create the ombre effect (youtube it, it's surprisingly easy).
- Decorate the cake as desired with rainbow sprinkles, edible glitter, or colored piping for extra Pride flare.
And there you have it! An incredible tier cake for Pride Month that's sure to be a hit at any celebration. Enjoy!