It’s probably too early to call the favorite, but the Orange Salted Honey Cake from Icing on the Cake has quickly become a stand-out recipe. With its frilly, flirty buttercream and intriguing flavor combination, it’s easy to see why. Both the design AND flavors are perfect for spring/summer, so it’s no wonder that this cake has become as early winner.Read More
Light, lemon-scented cake layers spread thin with sweet apricot jam and frosted in pastel swirls of floral, honey buttercream.
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?
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.
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
I thought I was jumping the gun with the fall desserts, and then we had an entire week of rain. Like RAIN rain. The kind that makes the tree across the street fall down, the lights in the house flicker, and keeps you in your sweats all day long. We turned the heaters on for the first time since Spring and enjoyed the first of many apple treats for the season.
Truth be told, I've been meaning to make this galette for weeks now. I had my eye on that gorgeous blueberry-pecan number that graced to covers of Bon Appetit and then was certain I was going to make the most of summer's stone fruit and whip up a tasty peach one. Neither happened.
The best thing about rustic galettes is that you can make them all year long! Swap out the fruit and filling to whatever is season, and you have a quick 'n easy dessert no matter what month it is. So for fall, I went with a Toffee Honey Apple Galette!
Free-form galettes are like a fancy lattice pie’s unapologetic, untamed cousin. And if you are like me and are seriously lacking in your lattice game, then this rustic pastry wins almost every time. A little lopsided, slightly too crispy on one edge, all-together not picture-perfect? Who cares! It's delicious! Plus, isn't rustic the new "chic" anyways?
How are you kicking off apple season? What flavour of galette do you think would be the best for fall? I'm thinking pear-maple would be awesome. Head on over to Brit.co to pick up the full recipe!
There is no phrase that I hate more than to "think outside the box." The saying is so unoriginal, that using it completely negates the entire idea. Is there not a more creative way to say "Be creative" ? But what happens when creative borders on crazy? This cake just might be the answer.
I'll admit, I got a little carried away with this cake. When you make cake after cake, sometimes you just got to flex your creative muscles and throw together something totally out of the ordinary (or at least what is ordinary to you.) Sometimes I just have to get it out of my system and hope for the best. In a way, I gathered up a few different things I've been wanting to try out and threw them back onto one cake. Some may think of it as a total mess - incomprehensibly tossed together. I like to think of it as art. And as we all know, art can't be wrong - right? Haha.
There is definitely a trend going on down-under. Australian bakers are all about the abstract these days, and it is definitely spreading world-wide. From cake makers like Katherine Sabbath and Nikki Lee of UnBirthday, to all the Cakes by Cliff, their one-of-a-kind creations are dripping with technicolor glazes, meringue and sugar sculptures, and vibrant edible flowers and candies. Each of their cakes are unique and more over-the-top than the next. You might think the end product would be a total disaster by my description, but I think they are gorgeous! This cake was definitely inspired by these pastry "artists."
This Lavender Blackberry Cake has a bit of everything going on. From the watercolour frosting to the abstract shards of honeycomb, it's pretty far from your typical yellow birthday cake with fudge frosting. Since I was going for a more contemporary, artsy vibe - the rustic, watercolour frosting seemed like a great place to start. I wanted to create a flavourful blackberry frosting, but was struggling to mix in enough of the blackberry to get the flavor I wanted before the frosting became un-frostable (yes, I think I just made up a word, but stick with me). Instead on creating a smooth icing finish, I gave the cake a thin layer of buttercream before swirling on the blackberry frosting on top in a spackel-like fashion. The outside actually mimics the filling layers - where I created a blackberry ripple of cream cheese frosting and blackberry preserves. Instead of trying to force enough of the blackberry into the cream cheese before it curdled, I placed a few dollops on top and gave it a big swirl with an offset spatula to create a ripple of berry goodness.
I've been wanting to make homemade honeycomb for a while now, and felt inspired to use shards of the hand-broken candy to top my cake. I love the added crunch it gives to each bite, the subtle honey taste, and the beautiful golden color made the finished cake POP. I off-sett the honeycomb with fresh blackberries, culinary lavender, and called it a day.
What do you think of this new crop of contemporary cakes? Creative or down-right crazy? I like to think we all have a little crazy in us, and it's nice to let it out from time to time =)
Head on over to Brit + Co. for the recipe and full step-by-step tutorial!
Baking with Baby, part 3.
Two things - 1) I am really starting to think we have the perfect kitchen for a having a family (at least for a moderate-sized apartment) and 2) bananas quickly turn brown when you are not paying attention (i.e. - baby taking up said attention and almost all of your time).
We moved into our new home late summer. For a downtown apartment in the city, it was a total steal. All of the newer apartments around town are so small and look like identical little boxes. When we found our spacious 2-bedroom with an awesome layout and completely remodelled, I knew we were in luck. We got the square-footage and interesting layout of an older building, but with the perks of a new condo like all wood flooring, stainless steal appliances, modern surfaces, etc.
The living room is my favorite. It is located in the corner of the building and steps down from the rest of the apartment. The best part are the bay windows on both the north and west side, making the space extra inviting with an abundance of natural light. On the south wall, there is a raised countertop with an open passage way to the kitchen. The counter extends all the way into the kitchen, giving me tons of extra room to cook and bake on. And let me tell you, I use every square inch of it - no matter what I am making.
From my kitchen, I have the best view of said living room. Through the "window" I can keep an eye on the baby in his swing and have conversations with the husband while he does his work on the opposite side of the counter. And when baby is no longer happy in his swing (unfortunately it only keeps him occupied for about 15-20 minutes at a time before he starts protesting), then my giant countertop serves another key purpose - babysitting.
Apparently, Baby Huff loves being in the kitchen as much as his momma. And while he is not nearly big enough to start cooking (he can't even hold up his own head yet), he does seem to enjoy watching me cook. When I was pregnant I was not sure how I would keep up with all of my baking once the baby came. I still can't get as much done as before (as to be expected), but some days I am surprised on what I can actually accomplish. So on days where I am making something fairly quick and simple, like this Chia Banana Bread, I just pop Baby H in his infant seat and put him right on top of the counter - literally baking with baby. Now that he's been working on his eye contact and smiles, both of us are pretty happy with this situation.
On another note, my husband and I are banana buddies. I love them when they are still partially green and Brett likes them slightly spotted. So when we buy a bunch, I eat my portion, and whatever I don't finish, Brett gladly takes over. And in the instances that neither of us get around to eating the bananas before they turn brown, then we have banana bread. With a new baby around and our meals being less-planned as I would normally have it, these bananas were destined for this Chia Banana Bread. I've been doing my best to keep up with meal prep and planning, but sometimes it doesn't work out. And when things don't work out as planned, sometimes you end up with something way better than you intended - again, like this Chia Banana Bread.
With chia, honey, and yogurt, this banana bread is super moist and flavourful. I don't know if "healthy" really describes it, but the alternative flours and sugars make me feel a little bit better about eating it for breakfast. So, when your bananas go bad and you are looking for something to whip up with one eye on your baby, this recipe is for you! Serve with whipped butter and extra honey, if desired.
Chia Banana Bread
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- oats for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare loaf pan and set aside.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar, and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, mash the bananas.
- Stir in the honey, oil, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and top with oats, if desired.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes or until done and a wooden skewer inserted in to the center comes out clean.