Lemon Layer Cake with apricot and honey

Light, lemon-scented cake layers spread thin with sweet apricot jam and frosted in pastel swirls of floral, honey buttercream.

Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA

The start of our new kitchen remodel will commence in just three short weeks, and I’m kind of freaking out.  Who remodels their kitchen while they are in the middle of recipe testing for a new cookbook?  My kitchen is my office.  If my oven were to be out of commission at any point, I would definitely spiral into a deep, dark place.  But now?  Voluntarily?  In the middle of a busy summer?  Yup.  We are doing it…

And by we, I mean the contractor and my amazing mother.  The boys and I will actually be out of town the first week of the renovations, so at least I won’t have a heart attack watching the workers disconnect my oven and start tearing down cabinets.  And to be honest, it’s a very, very small remodel.  A face-lift, if you will.  Including a new oven that I am equally excited and dreading baking cake in.  It took me months to learns the little quirks of my current oven, so I am borderline terrified of having to adjust to a new appliance.

But you know what?  If not now, then when? 

Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA
Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA

We’ve been living in our home for exactly four years this month.  When we moved in, I had just entered my second trimester with baby Everett and had my first manuscript due in 5 months.  If I could adjust to a new house and kitchen with all of that chaos around me, then I should certainly be able to do it now.  Right?  But that’s not even really my point here.  At that time, I made a promise to myself that I would not freak out over the unfurnished dining room or bare walls.  After getting settled in, my priorities were the book and the babe.  Decorating would have to wait…

Four years, a book, and a toddler later, our master bedroom walls are still blank, my dining table is mostly used as a dumping ground for lose items, and Everett’s closet is the most disorganized storage unit that I’ve ever seen (I don’t know what we are going to do when he decides that he’d like to hang his clothes in there).  Now is the time to make this house a home.

If not now, then when?  I love our home.  I love the layout and the location.  It’s not very big nor very fancy, but I know we probably won’t ever be able to find anything else like it if we want to stay in downtown Vancouver.  And if/when we do decide to sell it, it needs some upgrades.  At this point, the only reason for moving would be to find a larger place to support a growing family (we aren’t there yet, but hopefully some day).  So then when?  When I am pregnant again and we need to move?  That hardly seems like a good time for a remodel.  At least if we do it now, then we can enjoy the new space ourselves instead of just making it pretty for someone else to fall in love with.

Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA
Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA
Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA
Lemon layer cake with apricot honey - Style Sweet CA

As I write this and contemplate the notion of “if not now, then when?,” it feels like a reoccurring theme.  Many aspects of my life can be traced back to this.  Like opening my custom cake boutique and filling an empty spot in the market for fancy wedding cakes before anyone else in town beat me to the punch.  Or making the huge decision to move to Canada before buying a home or starting a family.  And even our upcoming trip – if not now, when else might we be able to have a real family vacation just the three of us?

Of course, not everything needs to be as life changing as a new career or big move.  I also have a tendency to hold onto things, waiting for “the best time” to use them.  Like not wearing my favourite dress so I don’t ruin it.  Or letting the gift card for the Dry Bar become a permanent fixture in my wallet because I don’t want to waste it.  Or holding on to a recipe idea until the right season….

I made this cake months ago for The Cake Blog, but I’ve been waiting for the “the best time” to share it here.  What does that even mean?  I love how beautiful the watercolor frosting is and how airy and ethereal the photos turned out so much that I’ve been saving the images.  But why?  And for whom?  So can look at them by myself? 

Even before submitting the recipe to The Cake Blog, I had been sitting on this flavour combination for a while.  I love the way the sweet apricot is balanced by the floral honey and light lemon cake.  The swirly pastel buttercream mimics the fresh yet subtle flavors.  However, while we are in the middle of a season packed with berry cakes and stone fruit desserts, this cake doesn’t really scream “summer.”  Out of fear of having to compete against mystical ice cream creations and the most impressive latticed pies, I thought I’d hold onto this cake for bit. 

But if not now, then when?  In the fall when pumpkin reigns supreme?  Or in the winter when everyone is baking family heirloom recipes for the holidays or items for this year’s cookie platter?  Then next year?  Get outta here. 

Life is too short, Tesssa.  Make the cake.  Eat it.  Share it.  Enjoy =)


Find the full recipe over on The Cake Blog

Apricot Jam + Friday Things

ApricotJam01 This week has been a real whirl-wind.  As if life was not busy enough, I got my first small taste of what our near future will look like - life with a working dad.  Let me tell you - it's terrifying!  Lol.

Brett is currently back in school studying to become a game programer.  You know, writing code and doing all sorts of math-y things.  And while he never got time off when the baby was born, we have all been so lucky to have him around for a big chunk of Everett's life so far - not away at the office.  Now with his graduation quickly approaching, he has been off interviewing for his dream job during the day and I am quickly discovering what life is truly like for not only a stay-at-home mom, but a working one.  Man, this is exhausting!

Okay, okay - don't get me wrong.  I love my son and the plan was always to stay at home with him when Brett went back to work.  We've been so extraordinarily lucky to have Brett home for most of Everett's first 7 month (gah - is he really that old already??), however, it recently dawned on me that these days are numbered.  Thankfully, there is grandma.

Now that Everett is on some-what of a schedule and will take a bottle regularly, grandma has been babysitting more and more.  And while getting to hang out with her grandson might be a reward in itself, I still need to find ways to show my mom just how thankful we are to have her nearby.  Being the foodie that I am, I find there to be no better way to say "thank you" than with edible gifts - usually of the homemade variety.  And that is exactly what I did when I gifted her with this apricot jam.



This apricot jam is no ordinary jam.  It was made with apricots fresh from the farmer's market (Everett and mommy's favourite Saturday morning activity while Brett is away in class) and infused with real vanilla beans.  Pretty classy, right?  Those flecks of vanilla are not only gorgeous, but round out the tartness of the apricots and add depth of flavour without extra sweetness.  I created this small batch recipe - one jar for grandma and one jar for me.  I didn't even bother with proper canning since I knew it would be gobbled up so quickly.  I've personally been stirring it in my morning yogurt, eating it with soft cheeses, and of course, spreading it on fluffy biscuits!


Find the whole recipe over at The Kitchn.

If the stalls at your farmer's market are overflowing with apricots, peaches, and plums - like mine is - then pick up a couple extra pounds to make some jam.  If not, be sure to check out some of my favourite food reads and recipe from the week:

  • Sweet + Spicy: A kicked-up honey recipe from Bon Appetite.
  • Kids in the Kitchn - a very appropriate article to go along with my adventures this past week with Baby Huff.
  • Catch up on Yahoo Food's week of Ice Cream Nation - including this snippet of Julia-Louis Dreyfus from "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," one of our favourite household shows.
  • Living the sweet life.  Christina Tosi is my hero!  AND Cherry Bombe Mag's new cover girl.  AND a new judge on Master Chef!
  • Alana's most PERFECT summertime cake to make before it's too late from Fix Feast Flair.  Strawberry, guava - oh my!!


Also, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mom and the best grandma around!  We love you!

Happy Weekend! xoxo