I’m a fan of salt. It always livens things up. Especially chocolate! And when we’re talking about fleur de sel, you have to admit it sounds fancy! Fleur de sel, translation, flower of salt. Sounds pretty magical to me.
I love all the flavored salts that are coming on the market these days. One of my favorite sea salts right now is harvested from the Murray River in Australia. I bought it at the Brisbane airport on my last trip out of Australia. I’ve been rationing it ever since and will be a little sad when it’s gone. I can find it here now but of course it’s way more expensive as it’s taken a boat ride to get here.
What could make beautiful pink flakes of salt even better? By adding the seeds of a vanilla bean. My sweet savory love continues…
1 cup Flaky Sea Salt
1 scraped Vanilla Bean or 1 tsp of ground Vanilla Beans
Add any flaky sea salt to a bowl, mix in your scraped vanilla bean and store in a glass jar. Use in Salted Vanilla White Chocolate Cookies or Goldie’s Cookies or in place of regular salt in any of your baked goods. You can never have enough vanilla in my opinion.
If you only want a couple tablespoons just adjust accordingly. No right or wrong ratio here.
Just had a thought…salted vanilla bean syrup. Might just have to test that out sometime. Happy baking!
Our friends Sean and Tanya are expecting a little girl to arrive sometime soon! And to celebrate, Tanya’s mother hosted a beautiful backyard baby shower.
The mum and dad to be were both glowing and you could feel the love, and excitement, amongst all their family and friends.
I had the honour of making the cake for the shower. I decided on a Dark Chocolate Cake with a Raspberry Vanilla Bean Buttercream.
The Ruffle cake seemed the absolute perfect way to celebrate the pending arrival of a sweet baby girl.
Sean and Tanya, thanks for having such a beautiful party and for letting me share in this special moment. Can’t wait to meet this little angel.
me and my loves
Summer is here! And with summer comes all the magical, yummy fruit.
It’s July 4th and I had some family visiting from the US, so perfect chance to celebrate with a little red, white and blue!
I knew I wanted something with fresh local berries and I stumbled across this Old Fashioned Berry Layer Cake from good old Martha’s Baking Handbook. I can’t find a link to the recipe online but honestly, not sure I would make the cake again. This one had a mountain of eggs, like 10, I might have to start raising chickens if I make cakes like this too often. The cake on its own was just okay, a bit egg’y in my opinion. So I don’t think I’ll type it out, if, when, I make it again I would use any white cake flavoured with maybe lemon extract or vanilla bean! Mmm that would be good. If you don’t have a good recipe let me know and I can suggest something. Or chocolate cake, that would be good too.
Don’t get me wrong, assembled, the cake was very yummy but I’m giving most of the credit to the whipped cream and gorgeous berries. Could anything really be bad with whipped cream and berries?
To recreate, you’ll need two 9″ round cakes. Bake, cool and cut in half. I decided to only use three layers, just seemed big enough to me. Whip up some cream, add icing sugar to taste and vanilla bean, if you’re as addicted as me. Find a serving dish, I used my late Aunt Laverne’s beautiful serving platter, and start assembling. Place the first layer down and top with the whipped cream, then assorted berries, another layer of cake, cream, berries and so on. You could assemble ahead of time but I wouldn’t do the top layer of berries until right before serving. I topped mine with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries but use whatever you love or have. You could go tropical and use mango and passionfruit. Yum! I’ll test that someday soon.
Enjoy your summer! Enjoy all the fresh fruit! And Happy Birthday America!
me and my loves
Not sure how it happened but my oldest daughter Livia, has just turned 5. Happy birthday my Liv love!
I love birthdays! Planning them, attending them, baking for them, really everything about them. Seems as people get older they really start to dislike their day of birth. I haven’t hit that part of life yet. Celebrate it people! It’s why you’re here. Celebrate another year of memories and experiences. And for Livia, it was all about finally being 5!
Now what kind of a birthday would you imagine from a 5 year old that loves all things purple and princessy? Not what you’d expect! A bug birthday! Creepy, crawly bugs! They’ve been learning about bugs at their junior kindergarten and I gladly took on the challenge of making a fun party about bugs. And I discovered along the way that bugs, made from chocolate, are delicious!
One of the parts I love most about planning parties is when the inspiration starts to flow. I knew we needed bugs. Where do bugs live, in a backyard. And we knew it was a birthday. So we ended up with a…Backyard Bug Birthday!
When I asked Livia if she wanted a cake or cupcakes, of course she replied both. Silly question. So I made a dark chocolate cake with a german chocolate buttercream filling and iced with a vanilla bean (because I can’t get enough of vanilla beans) italian buttercream. I made bugs out of chocolate modeling paste using all natural food coloring from Chocolate Craft kits in Oregon.
For the cupcakes, I did mini vanilla cupcakes, piped flowers with vanilla bean italian buttercream and topped with the bugs. They were devoured. Not a crumb of cake or cupcake left.
Can’t have a party without snacks…
We ate crunchy Caterpillars (green grapes and a skewer)
Dragon Flies (yoghurt covered pretzels and pocky)
LadyBugs (strawberries and mini chocolate chips)
A SunFlower (cheese, grapes and cucumber)
Sugar Cookies or Five Cookies, as Livia called them
Bug Juice (watered down apple juice shhhh)
For part of our goodie bags, I put my husband to work to prep all that we needed for the kids to build bug houses. He cut and sanded wood, cut bamboo, drilled holes in scrap wood, drilled starter nail holes and even counted out nails. I found some small hammers from Daiso so the kids could help build their house. Apparently Mason Bees and Ladybugs love these kinds of houses. The kids seemed to love this project. I know lots of pics, but come on how cute are all of these kids?!?
After the bug houses were built and left to dry, it was cake time! The kids waiting patiently…
And here comes the cake!
The Backyard Bug Birthday was a blast! Thanks to everyone for coming. Livia had such a great time!
I didn’t get photos of making everything but if you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will do my best to help.
All these beautiful photos were taken by Rebekah Logan Photography http://rebekahlogan.com. Thanks Rebekah, they’re amazing!
If anyone ever needs any baked goods or party ideas, please email me at email@example.com. In case you didn’t know, I kinda enjoy doing it!
Until the next birthday…
me and my loves