Monday, April 30, 2012

Bright Flowered Cake


I told a friend that I started to dabble in cake decoration, by that afternoon she had called me and asked if I would make a cake for class that she thought. She dubbed it "cake day" for her class.


The theme and flavor was completely my decision. I chose a Neapolitan cake, a layer of chocolate, strawberry and white with a butter cream icing. The small cake was just two layers of chocolate.


I made the flowers out of fondant and will never do that again, they were incredibly fragile and I was not able to get them as thin and smooth as I like to see. I am learning, each cake is better than the one previously.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Red Velvet Birthday Cupcakes

I had a cakery orders this week, including three dozen red velvet cup cakes. The cake recipe was from the Flour cookbook and was a winner sporting a hefty slug of buttermilk. The butter cream is my new go to recipe for all my cakes. It is a keeper as well.


I am just smitten that I have filled each order using home made fondant. Believe it or not the stuff is rather tasty compared to the gross store bought variety. I feel good about the product that goes out the door.

I always use organic cane sugar and organic eggs for the cake and they are ALWAYS from scratch.



 Have a great weekend and if you ever need cake you know where to find me, the caker.


Monday, April 23, 2012

All in a day's time

How does an average day for me look like? I know you are wondering...... OR you are as equally nosy as I and get a kick out of how other worlds rotate day to day.

Here is me, a Tuesday. A particular fantastic Tuesday.

No big deal.


First sight as I walk out the door, just shy of 6am. Tulips. I am glad I took the time last fall to plant hundreds of tulips and daffodils. The first step out the door I am charmed by sweet blooms of color and Spring comes into bloom.


The sun rise has a particular flare to it this morning. Being up to experience the sun rise always has a breath taking feel. I am a morning person when I mind my P's and Q's the night before. 


Our sweet little town early in the morning.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I get up at the crack of dawn and climb at our local climbing wall. I meet three of my very good friends, we climb, laugh at each other, watch and encourage as each one progresses and fantasizes about the looming summer climbing adventures together.










I love this climbing wall, I have spent countless hours here and made life long friends while playing on the plastic.


I try and run a few times a week. This morning I was feeling particularly spunky and got a few miles in and had the company of a good friend to make the time fly.
 

I usually have breakfast and coffee while thumbing through cook books or scouring Pinterest for cake inspiration.

These eyes get me every time. Every time.


 I have plans this day to meet a friend at my Dad's house on the shores of Birch Bay to dig clams. We miss the low tide. You can't win them all.


I find ways to entertain myself, like make feet with rocks. 

 

Natasha looks perfectly content walking the beach with me. Really she is desperately looking for the foulest dead sea creature to roll and mask her freshly shampooed scent.



My Dad took us for a hike in the woods across the street from his house and we looked for mushrooms together. The forest is beautiful this time of year, lush green. He knows a lot about the forest and we soak up the wealth of knowledge.



Morels grow is forested areas, usually under cotton wood trees. They are masters of disguise and like to hide in plain sight. We had fun tromping through the woods and beamed with excitement as we scurried to the mushroom that we spotted in the distance.




 Morels and fiddle heads. We are successful scavengers.


My friend just got the sweetest puppy, Zealand. Of course he went on the adventure.  He fell asleep in my arms on the walk home, big day for the little guy.


Puppy's first experience with water.  This dog is going to do it all before he is ten weeks old. 


My dad has the most incredible greenhouse anyone could dream of, overflowing with flowers and vegetables. Beautiful. We planted a few hanging baskets together.


A full day, leaving me hungry and little time to get something ready for dinner before the other half got home from work. We venture down town to one of our favorite inexpensive burrito joints, Casa Que Pasa.



Since we were close to Mallards and the fact that we consumed uncomfortably healthy dinners at a dive bar, we had ice cream to round out the days events. I love Mallards Ice Cream, I love the hot fudge sauce even more, I threaten to order a bowl of chocolate sauce and sit down with a spoon. If you come to Bellingham, you must go to Mallards.


I came home to my first bin of produce from Dandelion Organic. Fresh produce on my door step once a week. I am gladly about to up our fruit and vegetable intake by ten fold.

There it is, a day in the life. I have a wonderful life and feel blessed to have the opportunities that I do and create. 



Monday, April 16, 2012

Lemon Loaf Cake for Tuesdays with Dorie


I am not one to stir the spiritual pot with (almost) anyone except my husband. Him and I agree on the level, conversations of this sort are challenging and exploitative, healthy and enlightening. I was raised Baptist by my Grandma, I was educated and exposed extremely liberal at Fairhaven College, I married a Texan with a very religious background. All pieces of a greater puzzle. My Sundays are spent in the woods riding bikes or connecting with nature in some fashion, needless to say I am usually trying to having a good time.


I take it all in, every ounce, every drip of knowledge. I have my believes, they make me want to be a better woman,  I have goals, I have believes, I have no ties.

I believe that a little sweat and hard work puts everything into perspective. This I do believe to be true.


As I said, miscarrying challenged my believes. I stood at a crossroads, questioning what I thought to be the truth, I was and continue to be flexible to my feelings and open to myself and the direction I needed to go, were we need to travel together as a couple. Miscarrying questioned my spirituality more than anything I have experienced to date.  I cursed everything, wanting a baby, even just the bump signifying a little one in our presence. Not this time.


All this being said, I know one thing, this was a little baby, created by two loving people hoping to spread more love and joy in the world. People try and console me(us) by reminding me that it was only ten weeks along. Ten weeks is enough to process this life changing event, adjust the forecast and plan for something far greater than us, the parents. It was enough time to consider myself a mother, him a father, to tell friends and to get family in on the excitement. We were parents for a blink of the eye.


Losing this baby changed me. Changed me for the better, helped me grow but in the end I am not the woman I was five months ago or a year ago. I am softer, more loving, sensitive with a big heart. It hurts, it will always hurt, but there is a piece of my soul that will shine, knowing that someday, somehow I will meet our first child.


In many ways, this is the story about hope, the bolstering effect of positive thinking, and the small measures we take in good faith and the means in which we find to cope.

I am reminded that we all acquire our handicaps. Everyone has their reasons they believe what they do. Circumstances lead us here, where we are, where we need to be.


I challenge you to accept your circumstances. To understand your handicaps and know what they are, move with them without letting them hold you back. Bring your history with you in your back pocket, not a weight on your shoulder. I am different, yes, physically, mentally spiritually but in the end it is just the handicap that I play in life. No big deal, I just play right on through, baggage in tote.

With all this being said, I bring you lemon loaf cake. A slight comfort food. A pound cake of sorts, a beast all of its own. I love the bite of lemon, the soft chew of a pound cake. I love the recipe for a very simple reason, I mixed it with a whisk from start to finish, no harsh mixer, no loud noises.  A task I can do while my husband sleeps in the room next to the kitchen. A recipe I can make when someday our child sleeps soundly as I make us a casual treat. A whisk.

I made this for the the lovley group Tuesdays with Dorie. Please visit the other host for the week, Truc of Treats.


LEMON LOAF CAKE

From Baking with Julia

This recipe begs for poppyseeeds or maybe even a few pinches of cardamom. Don't over think it because like most things in life, simple is okay.


Serves 12-15

4 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Zest of 3 large lemons
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
5 1/2 T unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature

Preheat the oven with a rack in the center to 350 degrees. Butter and flour or line with parchment a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.

Working in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and salt for just a bit until foamy and smoothly blended; the mixture should not thicken. Whisk in the lemon zest.

Spoon the flour and baking powder into into a sifter and incorporate about a third of the dry ingredients over the foamy egg mixture. Whisk the flour into the eggs, mixing lightly. Sift the flour into the eggs in two more additions and mix only until everything is Incorporated. Whisk the heavy cream into the mixture. Switch to your favorite rubber spatula and quickly fold in the melted butter.

Pour and scrape the the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50  - 60 minutes or until until the center of the cake crowns and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Place the cake on a cooling rack and rest for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature and slice.

Once cooled the cake can be stored wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to  days or stored in the freezer for up to a month.

Flower Blossom Cake


I just got off the phone, I took another order for a cake. Beyond thrilled would describe me and making cakes. Baking and decorating cakes is fun, creative and my cakes are full of good things like organic eggs, organic cane sugar and organic flour. The task satisfies everything I need in a job. Pretty close to pure awesomeness.


The cake was a tender white cake gemmed with lemon zest and soaked in a freshly squeezed sweet lemony syrup.  The frosting was a white chocolate butter cream. There were three layers, each had a ribbon of strawberry and a generous amount of the butter cream. The best part of the cake is the fondant. That is rarely said about any cake but the fondant was made by me, it had perfect consistency, faintly sweet and smelled of almonds. Each cake I make now will have only home made fondant. Try and find that anywhere else.


I made this cake for a birthday party. The flowers turned out wonderful, delicate and reminiscent of Spring apple blossoms. I was told that the cake was a huge hit and it tasted delicious.

There will be many more cakes in my future, maybe yours too if you live in the area.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Rainbow Wizard of Oz Cake


Over the weekend someone sliced into this cake for their birthday. I believe it was a surprise, I believe they should keep the friends that ordered a cake for their birthday.

The cake was simple from the outside, covered with frosting not fondant, layered with color and white chocolate butter cream on the inside.  


Even baking the cake was a colorful mess. 



Seven inches of cake, five layers, silky butter cream, moist yellow cake.
 

The theme of the surprise party was Wizard of Oz, a yellow brick road was designed and carved out of fondant. Flowers and more flowers were pressed out of molds.


Rainbow Wizard of Oz cake!


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pizza Rustica


There are few things that are essential to life. We can go without nearly all our material goods.


What are life's essentials?

What makes life worth living?



My hoard of shoes can go, dozens of colors of nail polish can dry up, I can put up a good argument for my bikes, you probably would have to pull my laptop from my cold hard hands but really I can do without much of it.
 


I have two bare essentials, cannot live withouts. 


1 - Dinner before I go to bed.


I can't sleep without food in my belly. The world would spin a little easier if everyone had a little food in their belly before they went to bed. Nothing much, just something if they choose. I went years trying to avoid eating in the evening, I went hungry for a very long time. I find it a true pleasure these days, I may be making up for lost time. It is hard to be happy when one is hungry.


2 - People to count on.

At the end of a day a thoughtful meal and a reassurance that there are people that have your back is all one needs. Everyone needs someone to pull them out of their darkest hour(s), we all have them (I assume) and some more than others.

Everyone needs someone that they can talk to.

We all need to know that someone will pick us up from time to time.


In order to make sure that you always have a meal, a friend, a family member to count on, be that person. Take dinner to a family, make time for a friend, talk to the neighbor, smile at the stranger.


I am shy, I am uncomfortable and say really stupid things and tell meaningless stories but deep down, I care, I care a lot and that will get me through the day.



I swallow my insecurities, pretend like they don't exist and I make new friends and take care of the ones I have. I eat a slice of this pizza rustica with a glass of wine as the sun sets and act as if I have my ducks in a row, my poop in a group. I know that we are on top of the world right now but that could change in an instant.

The recipe makes one dish, I made two and brought dinner to my sweet cousin.


Recipes for this round of Tuesdays with Dori can be found on our host blogs.  Go check out Emily of Capitol Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home.

Please come back on April 17, I will be hosting Lemon Loaf Cake and promise a gluten free version in addition to the original.

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