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When my boyfriend and I arrived at Hanmer Springs Backpackers, there were already a few long-termers around.  An Australian brother and sister (again young) and an Irish girl who was traveling with the brother and sister. They had been in town for a week. Their job situation didn’t pan out, so they left that same week we arrive. Vueger, a Azerbaijani young man who usually lives in Germany, had been in the hostel for two weeks. He just found his own place the beginning of this week. Then there was a British girl, she had originally come to Hanmer Springs only for two days, and had ended up already having been in the hostel for a week. Four weeks later, she is still here. In the three weeks we have hung out, the three of us have become good friends, play games, watch Star Trek original series, eat lots of chocolate, and cook dinner together. We’ve also done mini golf and treks around the area. The best thing though, is she and I bake together.

Within my first week, ok first few days, the baking bug bit and I made a lemon pound cake drizzle thingy. It was tasty and was devoured instantly by the guests at the time. The owner saw me bake and asked if next time I baked I would double the recipe for the guests. She, of course, would provide ingredients. Deal!

The rampage of baking then continued when I only had access to a mini-cupcake tin. I needed help getting the chocolate batter into teeny tiny cupcake forms. So I asked the British girl for help. She happily joined the battle and despite both being covered in chocolate batter, the cupcakes turned out  adorably mini and tasty. They were presented with powdered sugar.

The baking partnership was formed. Our next was an attempt at a chocolate chip cookie bar- that didn’t turn out so well (the oven is CRAP), but was still eaten.  Then there was a carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting. These did not all happen in a row, but over a few days. Our most adventurous go was at a chocolate and beet root cake and mini-cupcakes. After that we switched gears from cakes/cupcakes to cookies (or biscuits as she called them, confusing me the whole time). We had oats and raisins, so we made oatmeal raisin cookies. My boss gave some candied cherries. Cherry shortbread. Never baked it before, but it was EASY and delicious.

My partner leaves tomorrow to begin her journey to Franz Josef to work at a hotel/motel in a scenic area on the West Coast of the South Island. Our last bake together was a baked good I had never heard of. Butterfly Cakes. Or Fairy Cakes. They are a basic white cupcake recipe. You then chop the tops off, put butter-cream icing on top with a dollop of strawberry jam. Then the chopped off top is cut in half and placed on the icing, but around the dollop of strawberry jam as the “butterfly wings”.

The butterfly cakes turned out beautifully and were soon gobbled up by us and patrons. Sure will miss my baking buddy!

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