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

Rainbow Polka Dot Cake

A whimsical "surprise-inside" cake with pastel rainbow polka dots and soft watercolour frosting.

Rainbow Polka Dot Cake

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  The recipes you can typically expect on this blog range from rustic to classic to playful.  Sometimes the desserts are left au naturel while others are adorned with sprinkles, candy-coated decorations, and lots of color.  What seemed to be lacking in recent months/years was something in the RAINBOW category!  In honor of little green leprechauns chasing after pots of gold, I'm excited to share my own rainbow treat.

Rainbow Polka Dot Cake

On the outside, this fairly unassuming layer cake is cute and slightly dressed up already with a few piped details and swoosh of my favorite ocean blue.  Had I shared this image first, then you would have had no idea what secrets are hidden inside.  As it is here, this cake looks like what you can typically expect from me here on Style Sweet CA.  But, BAMM!!  One slice reveals an entire party inside!!

Is it just me or are rainbows and unicorns having a moment right now?  I swear I see this adorable unicorn cake pop up on my news feed at least a dozen times a week.  For me, I try to embrace the latest trends, but only when they are a natural fit.  This polka dot cake really seemed to fit the bill and was a fun way to interject a pop of "rainbow" into one of my cakes for spring.

Rainbow Polka Dot Cake
Rainbow Polka Dot Cake
Rainbow Polka Dot Cake

To be honest, pinning down this recipe did take some major trial and error.  In order to keep the polka dots floating within each layer and appear seemingly random yet abundant, I needed to create a ton of mini cake balls.  The base batter had to thick enough to suspend the cake balls as well.  In the end, I rolled the polka dots cake bites into balls about the size of a grape – and a lot of them, at that.

You can find the entire recipe and assembly method here at Dairyland.ca

 

This post was in partnership with Saputo.  Thank you for supporting the brands that make Style Sweet CA available!

Passion Fruit Layer Cake

Tart, vibrant passion fruit pulp is transformed into luscious, creamy curd and brings this tender to cake to life. Subtle coconut flavors and a slight tang from the cream cheese in the frosting round out the brightness of the passion fruit.

Passion fruit layer cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting.

Dreaming of a tropical getaway this summer but stuck in the city?  Why not bring some island flavor to you instead!  Passion fruit has got to be one of my favorite flavors.  Pair it with tender coconut cake and a bit of cream cheese frosting, and I just might forget that we are sans summer vacay this year.

Based off all of your kind, enthusiastic comments from my Watercolor Cake post earlier this week, it looks like I am not the only one obsessed with this whimsical buttercream effect.  Using a color palette to match the golden passion fruit interior, this cake looks just like the tropical sunsets of my dreams!  If you didn't get a chance to see how this design is achieved, be sure to check out my GIF here!

Passion fruit layer cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting.
Passion fruit layer cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting.
Passion fruit layer cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting.

Remember those Passion Fruit Popsicles I made a few weeks ago for #PopsicleWeek 2016?  Well this is the curd that I used to swirl with cream mascarpone.  Find the complete recipe over on the West Elm Blog!  I have a few other special treats for West Elm coming up for fabulous summer entertaining, so keep a look out for those!

Passion fruit layer cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting.

In other food news…

It’s time for the annual Savuer Magazine blog awards!  Click here to quickly nominate your favourite blogs (hopefully Style Sweet CA is one of them, hint hint – xoxo).

Beating the heat with some refreshing sips this summer?  Check out my tips for photographing cocktails and cold beverage over on Food Bloggers of Canada. 

Who else pre-ordered Molly Yeh’s new book this week?  I did and couldn’t be more excited to get my copy of Molly on the Range come October.  In the meantime, I will enjoying my pre-order gift, yay!

My dear friend Lyndsay’s Craftsy class is super adorable and you should definitely check it out!  If you enjoy her designs on Coco Cake Land, then you will certainly love her Playful Animal Cake Class!

I am DYING over the idea of this Black Sesame Cake on Hummingbird High.  Bravo, Michelle!

Lily made this gorgeous Sage Blueberry Pie to accompany an even more beautiful post.  And now I can’t stop thinking about making more pie and lattice designs for the weekend.  

Jessica put together her fave recipes for the 4th of July on How Sweet Eats, but they are certainly great for the rest of summer too!  Personally, I can't get enough of her recipes lately - yumm!!

Lastly, I finally made my way over to Snapchat.  Come follow along at StyleSweet CA!  Happy Weekend =)

Passion fruit layer cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting.

How to Make a Watercolor Cake

A watercolor cake tutorial complete with step-by-step photos and an animated GIF!  Happy 3rd Blog Birthday!

How to make a watercolor cake + video.

Excess cake and leftover buttercream in my freezer, more dirty dishes than anyone wants to record, and a few to many sugar highs later, Style Sweet CA turned 3!

When I started writing this post, I thought I should share my thoughts on blogging and what year 3 meant to me.  I talk a lot about my personal life as it is, so this time I decided to skip straight to the goods (if you want the sappy stuff, head to the bottom).  You asked so you shall receive (or rather I asked with this Reader Survey, lol) – a NEW cake tutorial!  The results from the reader survey were pretty clear: you all LOVE cake!  There was a lot of love for more recipes and stylish photography, but there was a heavy push towards cake decorating and tutorials.  Year 4 won’t entirely consist of how-to posts, but I will certainly try my best to listen YOUR wants and add more when I can.

In honor of Style Sweet CA turning 3, I put together an updated version of my watercolor cake tutorial.  The first version is still a hit, but this new way if even easier.  Most importantly, I’ve added new photos and even an animated GIF!

How to make a watercolor cake + video.
How to make a watercolor cake + video.
How to make a watercolor cake + video.
How to make a watercolor cake + video.

How to Make a Watercolor Cake

1.  Frost the Cake – Using your favorite buttercream of choice (I used Swiss meringue buttercream, but American buttercream is fine, as well), smoothly frost the cake about 90% of the way.  It does not need to be absolutely perfect yet since we will be adding more buttercream in Step 3.

2.  Color the Buttercream – Divide any remaining buttercream into two or three bowls.  Using gel food coloring, tint the buttercream the color of your choice.  I used pink, peach, and yellow – all colors that when mixed together are still pretty ( see NOTES).

3.  “Paint” the Cake – Using an offset spatula, smudge the frosted bake with swipes of the colored buttercream.  The step can be as random or as calculated as you’d like.  There really is no right or wrong way.  However, I recommend stacking the colors more vertically instead of right next to each other horizontally – since we will be smoothing the frosting around the sides of the cake horizontally and you’ll want to leave a bit of room to allow the colors the “blend.”

4.  Smooth and Smear – As you would when smoothly frosting any cake, take an icing smoother and begin smoothing out the bits of colored frosting.  Stop after each time around the cake to add more frosting when needed. Please note that this process should be quick yet deliberate.  You will only be able to smooth over the frosting a few times around before the colors begin to blend together too much. 

5.  Finish the Top – Similar to the sides, add a few swipes of color to the top of the cake.  Use the long, flat side of an icing smoother held parallel to the top of the cake and gently press and spin to smooth and blend the color.

6.  Clean – Like finishing any smooth cake, go back and clean up the sides and edges.  A few, gentle passes should suffice, but again, don’t over-blend or the “watercolor” effect may get lost.

7.  Embelish - Use any remaining buttercream to add decorative borders around the cake.  I prefer a spiral pattern using a star tip to match the whimsical, watercolor design.  A handful of sprinkles is never a bad idea either. 

NOTES
–  Be mindful of your color choices and think about how the might blend together.  To be honest, the first time I tried this design I used pink, orange, and green/teal.  The greenish orange sections blended together to create an ugly brown.
–  As mentioned in the tutorial, smooth only as much as necessary.  The watercolor effect is certainly up to intertation, but keep in mind that the more you fuss with it, then more it tends to all blend together.  So instead of a watercolor pink and yellow cake, you might just get an orange one. 
–  I’ve successfully made this cake design with both Swiss meringue buttercream and American buttercream.  Swiss meringue takes a lot more gel food coloring to get the desired colors, FYI. 
– Reserve a bit of plain, white buttercream to add as needed after smoothing or if you over-blend.

How to make a watercolor cake + video.

Okay, cue the sappy stuff.  You guys!!  Thank you for three years of love, support, and enthusiasm for this little corner of the Internet.  Because of you all, I feel equally comfortable sharing my life musings and tidbits about my son as I do decorative cakes and French pastry.  I read and appreciate all of your comments ranging from parenting/life advice to sharing my recipes that you’ve made your own (even if I sometimes forget to respond until weeks later).  Thank you for allowing me to have this space where I can be myself, find my voice, and express my creativity through sugar and flour.  

Lastly, it’s not too late to take the Reader Survey!  Let year 4 be about ALL of us!

How to make a watercolor cake + video.
How to make a watercolor cake + video.