Cheers to this Champagne Mimosa Cake!

Happy 2017!!!  Kick off the new year with a bit of bubbly in the form of cake.  This tender, orange-scented cake smothered in sinking champagne buttercream, to be extract.  Frilly decór is optional but definitely encouraged for any festive affair.  

Champagne Mimosa Cake
Champagne Mimosa Cake
Champagne Mimosa Cake

What feels like more than any other year, I keep seeing posts about how people wish 2016 would just end already.  How they would like to kiss it good-bye and never look back.  Perhaps I am seeing so much just do due to social media and its ability to give everyone a voice and platform.  Regardless, it has got me thinking…. Sure every year has its own set of tragedies and hardships, but was 2016 worse than other years?  Did the bad out-weigh all the good that happened?  Will the same people praying for 2016 to end be saying the same thing 365 days from now?  I truly don’t know the real answer…  

2016 was not all bad, though.  At least, for me personally, it was a pretty good one.  It was the year my book was released into the real world, my husband secured a job that he loves more than we ever thought possible, and Everett transformed from a baby to a little human with personality, opinions of his own, humour, and kindness.  Spending the holidays with our families is the most sacred time of year for me.  I’ve always yearned for big family Christmases, and I am beyond grateful that most years (including this one), I get to spend the holiday with so many people that I love.  

Champagne Mimosa Cake

Waking up on Christmas morning with my most favorite people in the entire world means everything to me.  Maybe that sounds childish or insignificant to some, but for me it is true.  With our nieces and nephews being so much older and so far away, I worry that my children won’t get that quality cousin time that I hope they get to enjoy.  Seeing my two nieces, ages 10 and 12, let Ev roll the dice for their board game, play with Dollar Store balloons like they were the most precious gifts of all time as Everett’s infectious laugh filled the room, and give countless hugs, kisses, and fist-bumps made my mommy heart explode.  So while I kept seeing messages on my new feed that pretty much said good riddance to 2016, I was holding on to each day this past week hoping they would never end.

I get it though.  A new year can feel like a fresh start.  I know that’s what I was telling myself as I downed dozens of Christmas cookies and eggnog this past week.  I will be healthier in 2017.  I will exercise more in the new year.  Come January, the world will be a better a place!  While January 1st is just another day on the calendar, I understand why it seems like a good starting point for change.  If it wasn’t for us humans, the world would still turn and the sun would rise and set like any other day.  But especially after a month on indulgence, crazy travel schedules, and hard-core holiday celebrating, January 1st does seem like a good place to start over.

What are your resolutions for the new year?  Mine typically start the same – eat cleaner, exercise more often, be present with my family, etc.  This year, I want to add a few specifics.  2017 will be the year my life-long sourdough starter is born.  It will also be the year that I finally use the mozzarella making kit that I begged for and received on my birthday the year that I was pregnant and never got around to opening.  I was going to go buy myself some free weights this afternoon so I can do my workout videos in the living room, but then our flight got delayed and we had to stay in California another night.  I don’t ever plan on being vegan or gluten-free, but I want to take more principals from those lifestyles and apply them to mine – more plant-based meals and less white flour.  And if I am going to indulge in crabs (pizza dough, bread, cake, etc), it should come from my own kitchen or better be like really, really good and worth it.  Funny how so many of my yearly resolutions revolve around food and how to keep eating sweets without being terribly unhealthy…. 

Champagne Mimosa Cake

On that note, let’s ring in the new year with this Champagne Mimosa Cake!  Tender, orange-scented cake with fizzy Champagne buttercream?  Oh yes!!  Here’s a little bit more of what I have to say about this stunning cake:

Better brunching is at the top of my 2017 resolutions list, so why not start right away with a New Year’s Day breakfast feast! Of course every good brunch kicks off with a mimosa and this cake incorporates those flavors into a sparkling sweet treat. Tender, orange sponge cake is smothered with silky champagne buttercream. The flavors pair together perfectly! No need for any other frills, except for the décor of course. Loopy ruffles give this cake extra festive flair and a sprinkling of gold is the perfect touch.
— Tessa Huff for The Cake Blog

Find the full recipe on The Cake Blog!

Happy New Year, Everyone!!!  xo Tessa

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake

Tender red velvet cake layers have been smothered in a not-too-sweet peppermint white chocolate buttercream.  Finish off this whimsical look with swirly frosting, piped details, and extra sprinkles!

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake

I don’t have much to say about this cake, except that you should definitely make it ASAP!  We are down to the final days before Christmas, and if you have yet to finalized your holiday menu, then I strongly encourage you to add this cutie to your list. Unapologetically whimsical, swirly, and pink, this cake is full of joy and Christmas magic!  And if I can’t personally share a slice will you all, then please accept this virtual attempt to spread holiday cheer to all you cake lovers and dessert aficionados.

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake
Peppermint Red Velvet Cake

This week is usually spent baking cookies with my mom and wrapping last-minute gifts (side note- I LOVE wrapping presents), but things have definitely changed these past couple year.  We won’t be flying out to California until the 24th, so this week leaves me with plenty of time to reflect and get homesick.  I’ll try to focus on the former….  It’s just  the little guy and me at home (with the hubs at work everyday).  The weather is an absolute mess (yesterday’s gorgeous snow turned to slush) and all of Everett’s regular activities are on hold until after the New Year.  In the meantime, we will try to fill our days with cookie-making, coloring, and lots of snuggles.

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake
Peppermint Red Velvet Cake

But back to this cake.  I designed it with my little one in mind.  Seeing Christmas through his innocent eyes this year has been pure magic.  He still is a bit behind in the language department, but “Sansa” has become his new favorite thing to shout out (either he loves the idea of Santa or can’t wait until Game of Thrones returns, lol).  So while you might find yourself trying to dig out from under a pile stress, chaos, wrapping paper, and sugar comas these next few days (me included), try to remember this is a season for love and ultimately FUN!

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake

Here’s a bit more of what I have to say about this cake that I made for The Cake Blog:

I can’t think of anything more fun than this Peppermint Red Velvet Cake. Bright red cake layers alternate with white chocolate peppermint buttercream filling to create festive candy cane striped slices. While I understand that red velvet can sometimes be “controversial,” I officially give you permission to skip the red food coloring or use a natural version, if you’d like. Either way, this cake is slightly tangy, has a hint of cocoa, and is extremely moist and fluffy. Using a mix of both butter (for flavor) and oil (for texture) keeps the layers extra tender and, well, velvety! Peppermint can be quite strong, but the white chocolate keeps it mellow and oh so delightful. For added fun and a bit of whimsy, swirl in some pink dye as you frost the cake and add a generous sprinkle of sugar pearls and sanding sugar to finish!
— Tessa Huff for The Cake Blog

Head on over The Cake Blog for the full recipe!

Chocolate Brownie Rosemary Cake

With a texture that is similar to a brownie, this decadent chocolate cake is layered with rosemary buttercream and smothered in dramatic cinnamon-spiced caramel sauce.  Rustic elegance at its finest!

Chocolate Brownie Rosemary Cake with cinnamon caramel sauce.
Chocolate Brownie Rosemary Cake with cinnamon caramel sauce.

One day, I dream of hosting a romantic dinner party for the holidays.  A night set under twinkly lights, full of appetizers and good conversation, a homemade feast to feed a crowd, and after-dinner games and laughs.  At the end of the night, I would present this rustic yet elegant semi-naked cake composed of decadent, sophisticated flavors and dramatic floral elements. 

Rewind to Sunday brunch where we hosted a toddler cookie decorating party, and it appears that we might be a few years away from such a lavish event.  We finally have a proper dining table for hosting and even new friends to fill the seats (after moving to a city nearly FOUR years ago!), but said dining table and the glittery centerpiece I created sat untouched.  Instead, the parents took comfort around the living room sitting on large pillows, windowsills, and anywhere else they could fit to watch four toddling boys under the age of 2 toss balloons, decorate gingerbread cookies, and run wild for a couple of hours.  

And even while another mommy and I poked and prodded my breakfast strata trying to figure out if it was done cooking and a couple of the dads helped with a mid-party cookie clean-up, this current reality is pure perfection.  So while I have visions of hosting fancy affairs one day, I’ll gladly take sprinkles ground into the fibres of my carpet and sugar-fuelled toddlers for a few more years first.

Chocolate Brownie Rosemary Cake with cinnamon caramel sauce.
Chocolate Brownie Rosemary Cake with cinnamon caramel sauce.

In the meantime, I will settle for a slice of this decadent, nearly sinful cake.  The chocolate cake boarders on brownie territory.  It is rich and fudgy in all of the right ways.  It could probably be served on its own or with a scoop of coffee ice cream, but I’ve layered in with a subtle rosemary buttercream.  The rosemary is familiar but unexpected.  It gets infused into the butter before being whipped up into a silky Swiss meringue buttercream.  Only a semi-naked finish is necessary since the cake is rather rich (you will want to slice this one pretty thin!).  To finish it all off and to round out the flavors, I spiked my regular salted caramel sauce with ground cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Chocolate Brownie Rosemary Cake with cinnamon caramel sauce.

Find the complete recipe on the West Elm Blog.

Holiday Spritz Cookies with Wilton Cakes

Hey all!  For today only, I will be taking over the Wilton Cakes Instagram page.  Follow along for some Holiday Spritz Cookie action!

Holiday Spritz Cookies

Fun, whimsical, with a touch of nostalgia, the Classic Spritz Cookies are guaranteed to add a playful touch to any cookie platter this holiday season.  Between all the different shapes, colores, and sprinkle options, the decorating opportunities are endless. The recipe comes together so quickly, and I just love the hint of almond.  When you don’t have the time to take on a massive baking project like a layer cake, what to include the kids (like me son), or simply because Christmas is typically synonymous with hundreds of cookies, make these cuties!

Holiday Spritz Cookies

As you all know, I spend most of my time making complex layer cakes with lots of decorative details.  Ever since I started my career in cakes 10 years ago, I have always used Wilton cake products.  From various piping tips, gel food coloring, and most of my cake tools, I’ve been counting on Wilton to help elevate my cakes for years.  

In my humble opinion, nearly every occasion call for a great cake.  Pretty?  Yes.  Time consuming?  You bet!  But as the holidays get closer and closer, I always find myself taking a quick departure from my beloved cakes in favour of other baked goods and cookies.  I love making cakes because it fulfills my need to be creative, but the same goes for decorating cookies and even pie!  When times are busy (cue the hectic-ness of the holidays) and you still want to create something cute and customizable, why not make these Classic Spritz Cookies!

Holiday Spritz Cookies
Holiday Spritz Cookies
Holiday Spritz Cookies

Classic Spritz Cookie Recipe
1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt (optional)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
gel food coloring (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Set aside.

With the mixer on low, add in the egg, followed by the milk, vanilla, and almond.

Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Form the cookie dough into logs and use with your Wilton cookie press.

“Click” each cookie onto an aluminum baking sheet (not parchment paper and NOT non-stick).  Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or when the edges just barley begin to brown.  Remove the cookies from the baking sheet within 5 minutes or they may stick!

Decorate as desired with cookie icing and sprinkles!

Lastly, Wilton is giving away a fabulous prize package including some of their trusted products and a signed copy of my book, Layered.  Be sure to check it out on their Instagram page!  I’ll be selecting a winner on Thursday.  Good Luck!!

A HUGE thank you to Wilton Cakes for hosting my take-over and supporting my book!