An easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Swiss Roll Cake recipe. This chocolate Swiss roll cake is filled with peanut butter mousse and covered in chocolate ganache.
A little while back, I posted a self portrait on Instagram with a caption describing my instinctive desire for authenticity. Admittedly, this need was brought into the foreground because of a sore heart and selfishness— a positive form of the latter, at least (I promise, I’ll get to this chocolate peanut butter Swiss roll recipe- a delicious Swiss roll cake- momentarily).
This isn’t an entry of tear-thick protestations, or even a speech. Rather, it’s one of celebration (with a chocolate peanut butter Swiss roll recipe!), acceptance, and most importantly: clarity. This post is mostly for myself; it’s to document a nearly decade-long inner fight, and to mark the moment that I march to the beat of my own drum and do what feels right. This post is also to create some clarity for everyone in my life— some of my family, some of my friends, and for you; I feel this is necessary for all of us.
Most of my life has been spent trying to be an unparalleled force to be reckoned with; I’ve always been a people pleaser. And up until a couple years ago, I thought I could manage it all. I thought I could be the perfect student, the perfect friend, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect son, the perfect nephew . . . The perfect everything. “Perfection”— that’s what’s been my biggest issue. Though I eternally loathe thinking about my image, I’ve spent my life focused on perfection; and that, essentially, is being image-conscious. It was almost a bit of a double standard, and focusing on this faux-instinctive desire exhausted me greatly.
For nearly a decade, my focus has always been on making others happy and living through their happiness. And, don’t get me wrong, that’s certainly not wrong at all; but when you make that one of the main purposes of all your relationships— familial and not, it just doesn’t work out. It leads to a lot of disappointment and sadness.
Up until a couple months ago, I thought I needed to please everyone. I thought it was necessary to give, give, give. After looking back on this, I wasn’t expecting so much naiveté from myself, but things happen and all I can do is accept that I’ve to learn how to work with the scales of give-and-take.
Tiny, unimportant things can destroy us internally— if we allow them to, anyway, especially when we try to live the life others have planned for us. There are so many omnipresent hackneyed ideas that describe how men and women must behave. These ideas— these stereotypes— they do good for no one; anyone who doesn’t cleave to these unrealistic standards goes under the scrutiny of others, and I for one have been there.
We all have stories (especially those we’ve endured during our educational careers) and different experiences that can be written down and taped together to span the earth millions of times. And though these memories assisted in my ever constant self-discovery, they don’t define the kind of person I am. Our experiences, no matter how horrid, don’t define who we are unless we let them. How we share ourselves is based on our own actions— this, I feel, makes up part of the definition of who we are as individuals.
Being a positive human being, and sincerely trying to make some sort of a difference— by having hope and giving hope— is what sets a positive person apart from one who might be disheartened. Hope, like happiness is evanescent; it can exist and last so long as we allow it to. We can’t expect the best if we litter the planet and our lives with negativity; the laws of nature aren’t designed to work that way. In order to coexist and be happy, it’s important that all of us understand that. In order to have happiness, we must pour it into the universe— in any form possible. Not through lying, not through retaliating and fulfilling vendettas, and surely not through ignorance.
I’ve never liked the old adage, “ignorance is bliss.” I feel that such an “aphorism” offers an excuse to not better oneself. Why live in ignorance when we can educate ourselves, learn, and share a wealth of important information that could help commence acceptance of peoples who currently struggle to be accepted? Acceptance has been a theme of mankind for centuries, and mankind has struggled greatly with it.
After almost a decade, today, I’ve decided that staying silent, that allowing others to turn the wheel of ignorance, and that selectively lying is not what I want for myself and for those that I love. I’ve not been completely honest in one aspect of my life, and that— that’s not what I want; especially in a space where I’ve promised to be true to myself and to my readers.
As small children, somewhere between the innocence and tantrums, we learn how to lie. It seems like a natural thing to learn, despite how much we would like to admit it, along with walking and talking. As we mature, we either choose to further develop these skills, or not. For me, growing up, I learned that lying was a very elaborate practice. And though I abhor the act of lying, I found myself doing it so often because I wanted to please others; while doing so, I lost a great deal of confidence in myself. By avoiding honesty, by trying to protect myself from judgment and by wanting to please others, especially my family, I set myself back and created unnecessary stresses in my life.
I come from a multiracial background of multiple faiths; I know what it’s like to have to work 20 times harder than the next person, and to fight for acceptance in anything you do— to break boundaries. This fight is second nature to those that are different; what’s harder is informing others and hoping that they’ll make the right decision based on factors that are fair. Both sides of my family are very religious and conservative, and the news I’m here to share with you today might be nothing short of difficult for some to handle. For others, it might be a walk in the park, a shoulder shrug, or wide-open arms of acceptance. And for some, it might be a moment in which my words reach you for the last time, or the first time you open up your eyes. I accept it all because I have hope and confidence that one difference doesn’t matter because it’s a small part of who I am.
At this point, you’re either with me or against me, and I’m fine with either.
Regardless, this process of “coming out” has been nothing short of straining— not only for myself, but for others. I’ve lost friendships, work, and relationships with many people because of my sexuality— a small part of myself that doesn’t define the person I am. And though this may seem like information too personal to share on a weblog, I feel like I owe it to everyone to be honest because there are many people who aren’t as lucky as I am. Who aren’t as lucky to have such loving and understanding people in my life… We all deserve acceptance and love. We all deserve to hope and to be happy.
Love, as I’ve learned over these past few years, is a gift to mankind; in all of its forms— be it the delight, the glamour, or even the grief associated with it. I am not exactly the epitome of empirical; I’m young and I am probably not as emotionally experienced as the next person. I do know this, however: I know that all people deserve to experience love and happiness (whatever we individually define it as) without compromise and without embarrassment.
I’ve spent too much time hidden in the background in the lives of others. I’ve spent too much time loving silently and secretly. I’ve spent too much time being tolerant of mistreatment I didn’t deserve from bullies and those I loved. I’ve spent too much time being tolerant of ignorance. I’ve spent too much time tolerant of being ignored, and I’ve spent too much time tolerant of being talked down to. Today, I put my foot down and say I’m no longer tolerant of these things.
I support equality, I support acceptance, and I support love in all its forms. I support open arms, sharing journeys, and supporting those that ask for help.
My book, practically my child, Hand Made Baking, followed me as I’ve undergone this transformative journey over these past few years. It’s been the reason I keep going and the reason I’ve managed to get this far.
Hand Made Baking is coming out in a couple weeks (November 18th, to be precise!). I’ve not opened up much about the book on the web; I’ve wanted it be a surprise for everyone (not even my family has read it). Hand Made Baking is my biggest attempt yet to convert fear-filled non-bakers into experts in this ultimate form of comfort cooking. Everything from childhood memories of pumpkin pies, to Norah Jones crooning softly in the background, to mentions of Will & Grace and The Golden Girls, to heartbreak-curing cookies, cute kitten videos on YouTube, and mentions of childhood summers… It’s all in there, and this book was with me during the entire time.
In celebration of coming out— myself, and the book— (preorder details at the end of this post) I wanted to share something glamorous, a delicious chocolate peanut butter Swiss roll cake recipe! A chocolate peanut butter Swiss roll rich, sexy, and something that cuts to the chase, but doesn’t require much more than a small timeframe of dedication on your part.
This is me, and this is Hand Made Baking.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Swiss Roll Cake
Imagine this: peanut butter cream cheese mouse rolled between insanely quick Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake and adorned with a robe of rich chocolate ganache and a super-easy peanut brittle recipe. I’d tell you how it all goes, but I figured that after all the reading, a video and the chocolate peanut butter Swiss roll cake recipe might be lovely
KamranNovember 5, 2014 at 4:40 pm
Gosh, all the comments, emails, tweets, messages… All of it has lifted my heart so much. I can’t thank all of you enough for your support, for sharing bits of your lives with me, for sharing your love… I am so humbled and filled with joy to know that no matter what our backgrounds might be, our upbringings, etc. that people are able to accept and love those that are different from them. That gives me so much hope. And to have experienced that during this time fills me with so much joy. So, thank you; all of you!
kickpleatNovember 5, 2014 at 6:56 pm
Being true to yourself is hard enough for anyone, so congratulations on being honest and open. Hooray for your courage and to all the excitement and happiness ahead!
Betsy @ Desserts RequiredNovember 7, 2014 at 10:23 pm
Ever feel like you walked into the wrong movie only to realize that you are so happy that you did?
I am part of a video blog group. When your video was shared in the group, I clicked on your site to see it. It almost feels like a side note to write that I think the video is wonderful, which I do. I, especially, love watching how you made the peanut brittle which is so much easier than they way I have made it.
It was when I scrolled down to leave a comment that I caught glimpses of words from other people commenting here and that made me stop what I was doing and go to the top of your post to read it all.
We do not know each other and I hope this does not sound too ‘motherly’ but I am a so proud of you. I hope that you, always, remind yourself that having the courage to follow your true path will, in turn, give you the strength to continue on your journey.
CaraNovember 11, 2014 at 9:40 am
Kamran, I just stumbled upon your blog today. This was the first post I read. You are an incredibly mature, compelling blogger. I could shower you with the obvious compliments about your photography and recipes (amazing), but what I hope you take away is that you are doing something incredibly special by sharing so much about yourself along with sharing your passion for cooking. Congratulations on your decision to share this particular part of your life with the world! I am saddened to hear that in this year, in this country, you are facing such adversity when deciding to share this part of yourself. Be proud of yourself though – you are probably more true and honest than most of the people you know, and that is an accomplishment.
Diana @ My Humble KitchenNovember 14, 2014 at 8:16 am
Oh Kamran, you are loved! I just wish you’d show your beautiful face more often because when you do, you shine! Diana (previously a little bit of spain in iowa)
KamranNovember 18, 2014 at 5:04 pm
I promise; you’ll see so much more of me for now on! :)
ChristinNovember 17, 2014 at 11:51 am
Hey Hallo, just read about you the first time and already love your blog, sweet recipes and pictures and your way of baking and communicating with us! This is a big inspiration for me! THANK YOU and all the best for you and your new book! Getting excited to read more!
CristinaNovember 18, 2014 at 8:05 am
Hi Kamran, like many other of your readers I come around here fascinated by your wonderful recipes and pictures and I am so glad to see that behind all those beautiful works of art there is a marvellous person. Congratulations for coming out and for standing up for your rights. I always dream of a future when there will be no need to do it and I know that if this will happen is because of people like you that are fighting to achieve this.
KamranNovember 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm
Thank you so much, Cristina! :)
JasmineNovember 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm
Kamran. Such a heartfelt post and something that obviously has taken some time to share, such honesty, openness and love should, as far as I can see, bring only love & open arms in return. Congratulations on launching the book and this new chapter of/for you. With open arms from Oz & a now serious pregnancy craving for this cake xx
MarlyNovember 19, 2014 at 10:45 am
I’ve been contemplating the topic of authenticity a lot lately too. What does it mean? And I think it’s harder when you’ve been a people pleaser. And I think the notion of being a perfectionist as a people pleasure makes that even more difficult to know your true self. Anyway, just wanted to say I appreciated your post and that I respect your work and say cheers for you to being yourself, no matter who/what/how that is. And if there are some in your life that don’t get that? Well, they’re either not truly your friends or they’ll come around eventually. Change can be difficult. Give them some time to adjust and get to know you all over again.
Lyndsay // Coco Cake LandNovember 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm
Kamran, first off – congratulations on COMING OUT. That is a huge, enormous, terrifying step. I want you to know how many people, both straight, gay or however they identify, support you and so many others in LOVE in any form. We truly all deserve acceptance and love. Secondly, your book looks incredibly gorgeous, from that knock-em-dead cover alone – so very exciting! Wishing you all the best, and hoping that those relationships you have lost, that those people come around eventually to understanding that it’s only love, friendship, family that keeps this world together (oh, and peanut butter chocolate can be considered the glue). xo
Nancie McDermottDecember 1, 2014 at 10:02 am
Wow! Hooray for you, sir! What a beautifully written, deliciously decorated creation. Thank you for coming out, with who you are and with your first of many marvelous and fine books/major creative works. I have admired you and enjoyed your work since first encounter with you, and those responses I have grow every single time I see you/your work. You are a gift to the world. I personally connect with your meditations on perfectionism and the sensation that we need to please and perform and ‘be good’ or else. Here’s to “else”! Still a work in progress on those issues, and your wise, heartfelt words on the subject are sweeter than a choco-peanut-swissroll hunk-a-heaven. Thankful for you, your work, your spirit, and your book which I will have in my hands within the week!
JamieDecember 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm
I just found your blog and the book definitely looks great! I am glad you were able to take the steps you needed to in coming out and it is great of you to speak up and share online as I bet it will encourage many others :) Best wishes going forward with everything personal and otherwise! Now I’m going to keep looking around and pick a recipe to try..
JordanDecember 8, 2014 at 11:39 pm
Hi Kamran! I just found your book on the Anthropologie website and discovered your blog. I cannot wait to explore more. Everything likes beautiful and amazing and I cannot wait to get that book into my hands. I predict I have some roommates who will be pretty excited, too. Part of me wants to congratulate you on your bravery, and part of me wishes that we lived in a world where expressing our own identities didn’t require bravery at all. Regardless, I’m thrilled to have found this blog in this leg of your personal journey, and look forward to trying some delicious recipes. Sending good thoughts your way!
JBDecember 18, 2014 at 12:17 am
I’m a foodie mom and grandmother – love to cook and bake. Trying to figure out a way to make the clock hands turn backwards and trying to find a way to reinvent myself. Life IS always interesting – as you have discovered. Be true to yourself (something I didn’t do – I lived according to the expectations of others)and hopefully you’ll find life-long happiness and peace. Dream big. Take risks. Do, so you don’t regret that you didn’t.
Just found and like the blog. I’ll look for the book at my local book store.
PhilipDecember 25, 2014 at 7:47 pm
Kam, your talents, bravery and strength are amazing…..what an inspiration for all of us.
DeniseJanuary 5, 2015 at 2:53 am
I’ve been a lurker/reader of your blog for the past few years and I have loved every post you have made here. I cannot say that I know what you have been through but I do understand how hard it was for you to come to this decision. I am so proud of you for finally finding the courage and strength to face this challenge in your life and I’m even prouder that you have a made quite a wonderful surprise for your readers. Having a book is so exciting! We don’t know each other and I live miles away from you but I do hope that this, and the comments of support from all your readers, inspires you to keep going. You are doing many great things and I am happy to have stumbled upon your blog all those years ago. Looking forward to more of your posts.
Sending you lots of love and hugs from the Philippines,
Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished LifeJanuary 13, 2015 at 11:26 pm
I’m a lurking reader who has never commented before, but I would just like to applaud you on being so authentic, so open about your life in this post. You make beautiful art, and you are no doubt a beautiful soul. My theory is ‘you love who you love’ and I am glad that you are able now to love in public, not in secrecy and silence. Welcome to the light :) Be proud of your heart.
JoelyMarch 12, 2015 at 7:11 pm
Hi Kam, I am new to your blog. What I see immediately is your beauty, your immense talent, and your courage. My daughter came out last summer, and I completely support who she is. But even with that starting place, it still took an adjustment for my little brain to wrap around the “new” concept. She didn’t change, but I had to in order to keep up with her. The people in your life who don’t understand yet may just need some time. You just be the beautiful you that you are. They won’t want to miss out on all the good stuff you bring to their lives.
NikkiMarch 27, 2015 at 10:45 pm
I love this post. You are so brave and so eloquent, and your voice rings through the noise with a delicate yet strong clarity. I can relate to so many of the things that you mentioned in this post in talking about love and honesty, family, friends, school, work, diversity, obstacles. I also come from a multicultural family of multiple faiths, and your words could not have found me at a more serendipitous time. My heart is aching and it was as if you were looking directly into my heart as I read your words. Thank you for your honesty, for caring enough to put your inspirational words out there for us to read and connect with. Thank you so much for finding the words to say the things that so many of us long to say. Thank you for this post.
NikkiMarch 27, 2015 at 10:59 pm
P.S. – I reached out to you on Instagram a while back when I first heard about your book, but when I went to get it, the store was sold out! I finally picked up your book yesterday night. I was in the bookstore standing on the escalator and as it reached the top floor, there was your book literally staring directly at me. It was fate!BRAVO! BRAVO!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am an artist and I love the feel of your photographs; they always make my mouth water. Tremendous accomplishment, Kam! Congratulations a thousand times over! <3
Tony BaxterApril 24, 2015 at 5:08 am
Very good writting, good words, I get tears in my eyes! I came here by David Lebovitz! Take care!
thefoliaApril 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm
Cheers to love, happiness, tolerance and courage…oh and of course chocolate peanut butter swiss roll!
WinstonSeptember 5, 2015 at 10:19 am
You just won me over as a fan. Love your videos.
JoyOctober 5, 2015 at 9:49 am
I really love your blog, photos & videos & you are a talented wordsmith! Such a lovely post, full of honesty & love – wishing you the best in all you do!
SamiraOctober 16, 2015 at 1:44 am
I am so making this Swiss roll! And the pavlova that I saw in the other post! Looks amazing :)
I think this post might have been addressed more to your family and friends but i would like to comment on it if you would allow me..
I am a Muslim, I was not exactly raised to accept people with different sexual inclinations than “normal” if I can put it that way, however, you sound so sincere, so honest, so at peace and so happy to have finally found the strength to “come out” as you say, that I don’t think anyone could be against you.. You are a very brave person and you deserve all the success and love you are getting on this blog. I respect that you decided to live your life your own way and do what feels right as you said, I have had to do that concerning other aspects of my own life and I know how difficult it can be to learn to be okay with what people think of you after you have decided to just choose your own path, no matter what the consequences. Be strong and keep being as brave as you are, and you’re right, it should not matter to you whether people are “with” or “against” you, they’re not living your life, YOU are and what matters is that you are comfortable in your own skin and that you are at peace with yourself. I wish you all the good luck in the world :)