Monday, April 14, 2014

Arr arr! Make A Baby Seal Cake!





Heehee! I've never eaten real baby seal... that seems very, very wrong. However, a cake made to look like a baby seal? That's just right! Click on over to my baby seal cake DIY at Handmade Charlotte.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friendship Cookies: Sweet + Salty Chocolate Chip


Baking is such a special thing. Butter, sugar and flour has a language of its own - as nerdily as it sounds - it's pretty much one of love and caring. No one's going to make you a birthday cake or a batch of homemade cookies if they hate your guts. Well maybe they'll make you a poison apple or put a worm in your cupcake! But no, when someone bakes you something - they do it because they love you, they care aboutcha, they support you and want to make you feel good if you're feeling crappy, or feel better if you're feeling sad, or feel special if it's your birthday, or they miss you so they make you a little treat. Because sometimes just eating a really good cookie can make you forget any life crappiness for the tiny minute that it takes for you inhale it. And I've never known anyone who hasn't been at least minutely stoked to receive a batch of homemade cookies!!! Cookies have POWERS. Or at least they can be a symbol of crunchy yummy salty sweet delicious caring.

These cookies are made with spelt flour, too - so while they're decadent in the butter and extreme-o chocolate-ness, spelt is high-fibre! Great! 

Sweet + Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup of golden brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups whole spelt flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (about two 100 gram bars) of high quality semi sweet chocolate, broken into pieces (I used 49% cocoa Lindt Surfin)

Make It!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three metal baking pans with parchment paper.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on high until incorporated, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the spelt flour, salt and baking powder.
4. Pour the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture; beat on low until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Throw in the chocolate and mix for a few seconds until incorporated.
6. Using a small retractable ice cream scoop or clean hands, dole out 1.5 inch round balls of cookie dough evenly spaced onto baking sheets. Optional: place a piece of chocolate on top of each cookie for extra chocolate blast! 
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating pans halfway, until chocolate is melty and cookies are lightly browned on the bottom.
8. Remove from oven, let cookies cool on wire racks.



What do you think - what's your go-to, make-someone-happy move?? I'd be pretty happy to eat a bacon cheeseburger with fries right about now, in case someone out there felt like making ME happy! ^__^

xo Lyndsay 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sweetest Of Them All: Strawberries + Cream Birthday Cake


There's nothing more girly and pretty than a pink strawberry cake. I was feeling the urge to make something very pink for my mother in law's birthday - and the organic strawberry jam in the fridge was calling my name too. I've been suffering from a case of work life balance lately - I have so many ideas and things I want to do for photoshoots and cakes, recipes and flavour ideas - yet of course I am a wife and mother, too - sometimes I feel I could get so much more done and really live up to my potential if I could just "work full time" on my ideas (haha) - but then I laugh at this thought as soon as Teddy jumps on me to give me a sweet unprompted hug, or babbles out the new words he learned or wants to sit on my lap and have me read him a book. I have two days a week where we have childcare and I power-work - baking, photographing and madly blogging and making work for my freelance jobs. Weekends I attempt to still do cake orders but then that impedes on our time together as a family...  I dunno.
Still, at least I found time to make this pretty cake for my mother-in-law! It delighted her - which delighted me. It was actually fun to make something so simple, pink and pretty to look at.

This cake tasted just like strawberry ice cream to me! Which I've realized is one of my favourite flavours. Up there with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. So here's the recipe:

Strawberries + Cream Birthday Cake

Ingredients

For The Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of strawberry preserves
2 cups of heavy cream
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For The Buttercream: 
2 cups unsalted butter
4 cups of icing sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of strawberry preserves
dash of cream
tiny amount of pink gel food colouring
pastel sprinkles - I used India Tree brand Nature's Colors Carnival Mix Sprinkles

Make It: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x2 inch round cake pans. I also cut parchment paper rounds to place in the cake pans to help with nonstick powers. 

1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy.
2. With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and strawberry preserves and mix until incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts, alternating with the heavy cream until just mixed. Do not overmix!
5. Divide batter evenly into three greased, floured and lined cake pans.
6. Bake at 350 degrees on the center rack of your oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean - about 25 minutes.
7. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks.
8. Meanwhile, make the buttercream: beat all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy!
9. Using an offset spatula, frost and fill cake layers, frosting the entire exterior of the cake. Using a cake icing smoother, smooth the frosting then place in freezer for 15 minutes to set.
10. Do a final frost of the cake, smoothing again with the icing smoother. Optional: pipe drop stars around the top for a border (you'll need a piping bag fitted with an open star tip) and lightly dust with pastel sprinkles! I added a fresh organic strawberry for decor.



Yeah that work/life balance thing... what do you guys do to make it "work?" Or do you find, like me, that's it's a constant process of negotiation? That seems pretty okay too. Whenever I'm feeling down and struggling a bit with feeling overwhelmed, it's nice to know I'm not alone - here are two great posts on the topic:

That Juggling Thing by Oh Joy, and then this post on blog reality vs REAL reality: I've Been Thinking About This by The Day Book. (my house is currently a post-vacation mega explosion - and You Will Know Us By The Trail of Teddy is my constant daily reminder that I have a toddler in the house! But I can't have that clutter in a strawberry cake photograph, right? Ha...)

Ok guys! Til next time... hope you're doing great...

xo Lyndsay

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dreaming Of Cakes: Instagram Lately


Drips and drops and glazes and buttercream. Cakes, ice cream and donuts!

I'm so in love with Instagram - are you? Follow me for all the behind the scenes cakey-ness at Coco Cake Land!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fuzzy Grey Mouse Cake DIY


Get your squeak on (Lyndsay? Is that even a saying at ALL?) with this cutie pie grey mouse cake DIY! I think this mouse cake would be best served with a sideboard of cheese. Yes, a sideboard. Not a stingy little wooden board, guys. We need mountains of cheese.

I wasn't born with an obsessive love of cheese like my husband was - my mom was a fan of slicing huge blocks of orange cheddar and placing those in our sandwiches along with lettuce and black forest ham. I knew cheddar, brie and havarti. Not until I married my cheese mongering husband did I learn how vast and truly WONDERFUL the world of cheese is! Gouda, gruyere, raclette - I love a good cheese party. So yes, I would highly recommend a mouse and cheese themed birthday party. It just seems right.

As for the dessert - scurry on over to Handmade Charlotte for how to make a fuzzy mouse cake!

xo Lyndsay