image

I threw myself an impromptu birthday party!

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

70-2

Chocolate. Again. What to do?!?! I’ve done chocolate with: peanut butter, jelly, smores, red wine, peppermint, vanilla, bourbon, oreo, chilies, hazelnut… and that’s just what I can remember off the top of my head! Luckily I remembered that this website made chocolate and orange sound like a winning combination, and luckier: blood oranges are in season now! I quickly whipped up my favourite chocolate cake recipe, and some blood orange frosting. Incredibly delicious!

70-3

Tagged with:
 

69-3

When I met Becca she was dressed like a flower in a Halloween costume she sewed herself, which may be the best way to describe her. She’s delightful! Sweet, friendly, and bursting with positivity! I had a hard time figuring out what to bake for her. I started with the idea of Jamaica (hibiscus flower). I steeped the dried jamaica in milk on the stove. It turned the prettiest shade of purple, but the milk separated. This was the second time I tried this, and the second time it separated. Eh, whatevs, I whipped it up into this frosting anyway…only to find out that it has no flavour! Fail, fail, fail. I scrambled with the rest of the cake, using a mixture of fruit jams as a filling (strawberry jam that Tomas made, blueberry jam that his mom made, and some farmer’s market grape).  And yes, that is cilantro garnished on this cake. Becca, you deserve better!

69-2

Tagged with:
 

My favourite cake friend, Tracy’s birthday is today! She likes delicate floral flavours, so I headed to David’s tea to find something she might like. The salespeople were very knowledgeable, and gave me several great options. I chose Three Wishes tea, a lovely blend of rose petals, jasmine, and sunflower! The intoxicating aroma of the tea got me so excited to bake.

67-8-1

I used my favourite tea cake recipe, which uses almost a cup of milk steeped in tea. It’s delicately moist, and carries the tea flavour to the cake beautifully. I whipped up some buttercream frosting with the tea infused in it as well. Here’s the recipe:

Tea-Infused Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • about 1oz of tea

Heat the milk just until boiling and add the tea. Let steep for about 20 minutes, then strain and discard the tea. Whisk the flour and milk together till smooth. Place in pan on stove and heat while continuing whisking. It will thicken and look like mashed potatoes when ready. Remove from heat and put to side to cool completely.  Mix together butter, vanilla and sugar in mixer until creamy. Add cooled milk mixture and mix until smooth.

68-1

Tracy’s roommate Krista’s birthday is tomorrow, so I baked for her too! As Krista is lactose intolerant, I used almond milk and coconut oil to replace the milk and butter. I’ve made this cake with dairy products several times, and I didn’t notice the difference with this dairy-free version. For her cake, I whisked up a honey-rum sauce. The buttercream frosting looks beautiful, but the honey-rum sauce is incredible! Here’s a quick recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon tea
  • 1 tablespoon rum

Heat the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds, and add the tea. Let the tea steep in the honey until cool, then place in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Add the rum, stir to mix, then strain and discard the tea leaves. 

Tagged with:
 
Half white flour, half almond meal, sweetened with honey!

Honey-almond cake with stewed mangoes and fresh mint

Olivia’s birthday! Finally, I’ve been waiting to bake for her ever since I started the birthday cake project. She’s incredibly passionate about food, and she has an adventurous palette, so I couldn’t wait to come up with something special to share with her. Somehow I landed on this cake, sweetened with honey, flavoured with clove and cinnamon, and enhanced with espresso. To appeal to Olivia’s paleo preference (and because almond is delicious!), I replaced1/2 of the flour with almond meal. The result was incredible: soft, sweet, moist, with an oh-so-delicate crumb! Seriously, one of the best  cake  textures yet!

Honey-almond cake with stewed mangoes and fresh mint

Honey-almond cake with stewed mangoes and fresh mint

Tagged with:
 

57-15

This cake is for Katie, a friend in my book club. I missed her birthday in December, so I surprised her with this cake after the holidays. I made this cake with a blend of tea my mom brought home from Russia, called “love tea”. It has a beautiful blend of rosebuds, orange peel, hibiscus petals, and other bright florals. The frosting is a simple buttercream, also infused with the love tea. Here’s the recipe:

Tea-Infused Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • about 1oz of tea

Heat the milk just until boiling and add the tea. Let steep for about 20 minutes, then strain and discard the tea. Whisk the flour and milk together till smooth. Place in pan on stove and heat while continuing whisking. It will thicken and look like mashed potatoes when ready. Remove from heat and put to side to cool completely.  Mix together butter, vanilla and sugar in mixer until creamy. Add cooled milk mixture and mix until smooth.

57-2

 

57-1

Tagged with:
 

Cheesecake Bites with strawberries mixed in, and Chocolate Ganache

Alexis’ birthday called for something sweet and sophisticated. It was also going to be celebrated at a bar, so small easy bites were necessary. I got the idea for these cheesecake balls from DesignLoveFest. The recipe was easy to follow and worked well for me. The only thing I changed was the chocolate covering the cheesecake balls. The recipe calls for dipping chocolate, and I don’t know where to find that, but a simple chocolate ganache did the trick:

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 8oz heavy cream
  • 8oz dark chocolate, chopped

Heat the heavy cream on the stove until it simmers (or for 1-2 minutes in the microwave). Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, and stir until smoothly combined.

Press a fork firmly into a cheesecake ball and dip into the warm chocolate ganache. Set it down in a cupcake liner and place a little strawberry or crushed graham cracker to decorate the top of the cheesecake ball.

You can also top the cheesecake balls with caramel sauce. I used Danas’s bourbon caramel sauce recipe, and dipped the frozen cheesecake balls in the same manner. Delicious!

Tagged with:
 

55-9

 

55-7

 

55-2

 

55-14

Tagged with:
 

Paleo Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

Tagged with:
 
47 Whiskey Cake Whiskey cake
I met David on the dance floor of my favourite spot, Berlin. Now, I don’t pick up guys on the dance floor. David is the only person I’ve ever exchanged phone numbers with at a bar/club. The only one, ever! What can I say, he knows how to do the mashed potato! David and I went from dancing buddies to facebook friends, and he’s been one of my top cake fans, patiently waiting until it was his turn for a birthday cake. His request was simple: no nuts and no fruit. I thought that would be really easy… but at this point I’ve baked almost 50 cakes, and nuts and fruit offer much needed options to keep these creations creative! So many random ideas… maple french toast cake with bacon? apple cider cake? is apple cider a “fruit”? These questions engendered my favourite new motto: When in doubt, choose booze! 

 As this is not my first booze cake, I knew that the 1/4 cup of whiskey in the recipe would not suffice. The red wine cake, chocolate bourban cake, and the champagne cake all had at least a cup of the special stuff! I doubled the amount of whiskey in the recipe, and decreased the amount of milk proportionally. I also doubled the amount of whiskey in the sauce. Making the batter for this whiskey cake went like a well-practiced dance: cream the butter & sugar; add eggs one at a time; add the remaining ingredients (dry/wet/dry/wet/dry); and bake!

This is the first cake that I dropped. Merissa, next time, please use TWO hands. One is obviously not enough. The cake was mostly done baking, but the gooey batter in the middle splashed out! Luckily, all was not lost. I simply scrapped the batter back into the center and left it in the oven to finish baking. Can’t even tell, can you!?
David’s lovely wife Autumn supplied 38 lego candles, and friends gathered to sing!
47-4
Tagged with: