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.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

A twist on a caramel apple combined with a buttery-crusted pie and flakey sea salt– it really doesn’t get better than this!

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Yesterday I woke up to a vomiting toddler and got a glimpse of what felt like my own personal hell as I fumbled to change fitted sheets in the dark that is 5am while my heart ached for my crying little boy in the other room.  Thankfully, he bounced back within in about 6 hours, and only a few loads of laundry later, and I was quickly reminded how lucky I am to have such a happy, healthy little family.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you probably already read this brief anecdote of mine.  I used this seemingly tragic (at the time) yet pretty normal story (for anyone with young kids) to lead into a post of gratitude and perspective in light of breast cancer awareness month.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Salted Caramel Apple Pie

The image that paired with these words was a ‘fuck cancer’ cake.  Both of my grandparents had breast cancer, as well as my dear cake pal Lyndsay of Coco Cake Land.  Lyndsay is my first peer to suffer from the terrible disease.  Thankfully, she is healthy and strong today, but we both wanted to bring more awareness (she caught hers herself!!!).  After a year deep into treatment, Lyndsay made the original ‘fuck cancer’ cake.  The cake was frilly and whimsical like most of her gorgeous cake, but the message was loud and clear.  It mirrored the way she talked about her new reality of someone dealing with the pains of cancer in the most honest yet graceful ways possible.  In honour of breast cancer awareness month, Lyndsay invited us all to create our own cakes this October.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous to share my cake.  I am certainly not above swearing, although we are trying to put a cork in it at our house now that Everett is learning to talk, but I didn’t know how people would react.  I was deeply afraid of offending strangers.  But that’s ridiculous, right?  If someone I actually know and respect in real life has the courage to tackle and talk about her experience with cancer, then I should have enough courage to support it.  So while I hesitant to see how my cake would be received, I had no idea just how many people would be moved by it.

I am so touched by everyone that commented and shared on my cake photo yesterday.  From those that have lost loved ones to those currently in the middle of their own battles with the disease, I am so glad that you felt comfortable sharing your most intimate struggles with me.   I can't believe I almost didn't post a photo that means so much to me because I was afraid when there are so many of you brave souls already kicking ass out there.  Lyndsay started the conversation to express her own experience and all I did was make a pretty cake, but I am so grateful to be able to connect with so many people. 

So what does this have to do with Salted Caramel Apple Pie?  Absolutely nothing, yet everything, at the same time.  I had originally sought to share my views on the Slow Blogging Movement.  Have you heard of it?  You know, kinda like slow living, but web version.  The opposite of “how to gain a million followers in 3 months” and other “click-bate” and fast blogging tactics.  Well, a few weeks ago, I read this article about the resurgence of the Slow Blogging Movement on Dine and DishKristen, a veteran blogger, shared some thought-provoking words on the evolution of blogging and how she’s trying to focus less time in front of the computer and more time living and gaining experiences.  I had every intention on discussing blogger burn-out, struggling to negotiate sponsored posts, making sure my partners alight with my brand, and all that other fun business-y stuff that gets in the way our true passions for sharing and communicating through recipes, photos, and story-telling.  But then I got caught up in the exact things I was trying to avoid and felt too hypocritical.  Instead of slowing down a bit and spending these gorgeous fall days (my favorite time of year) with my son and just appreciating and completing my regular assignments in my free time, I started stressing about holiday book sales, seasonal content, and giveaway partnerships.  In my defence, I’ve got some great things in the works for you all over the next few months, but that really wasn’t the point of the exercise.  And then this week nearly flipped upside-down and brought me back to where I need to be.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Salted Caramel Apple Pie

At the end of a long and tiresome week, this pie is more of a gratitude pie.  It’s a perspective pie.  It’s a “let’s be grateful for the patience I've somehow mustered up to make pie dough with my own two ands” kind of pie. It’s the “calm before the chaos that is watching boiling sugar turn from clear to light gold to amber before sputtering like a volcano once you add the cream” kind of pie. And it’s the 'let’s hope I can quickly lattice this up and get everything into the oven and baked before nap time is over” kind of pie.  Even if I like to romanticize this whole Slow Blogging thing I can be honest in saying that I probably won't stop checking the number of likes on my photos or ranking of my cookbook any time soon, but hopefully I can take more little moments to appreciate my own able body that allows me to make handmade pastry and be grateful for the sparse but sufficient enough "me time" I get to weave it all together to make pie while continuing to connect on a humble more personal level with all of you.  Just more time living and loving life, man. lol 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Salted Caramel Apple Pie

The pie speaks for itself.  Salted caramel sauce poured straight into an apple pie.  Pretty much liquid gold mixed into everyone’s favorite fall treat. You know you won’t be disappointed. 

Head over to Brit + Co for the recipe!