Author Archives: thebostonrose

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colorfully curated & cultivated

Cardamom Cake + Orange Simple Syrup + Lingonberries + Honey Cream Cheese + Tresomega!

Folks!

Yet again, there have been posts few and far between, but here we are. Since my last post, we’ve been to Washington DC and Washington State, been on mini trips to Atlanta and Athens, and Iris got a little French Bulldog sister named Minya! Since it’s now the holiday season, and we actually got colder weather, I’ve been cooking and baking up a storm. And because I’ve been so eager to try out new ideas, I’ve entered and was accepted into a cooking completion for bloggers from Tresomega Organics for Life! There are several categories in which I’m going to submit recipes, but I had to start off with the baking category first, naturally! I can’t quit cardamom these days, and I really wanted to make a cardamom layer cake that would not only embody the holiday season, but be versatile enough to make throughout the year. Food blogs that take forever to give you the recipe drive me crazy, so I’m going to go ahead and drop it first, and then you can scroll through for photos.

Cardamom Cake with Orange Simple Syrup, Lingonberry Jam, & Honey Cream Cheese Icing

Cardamom Cake Ingredients:

(makes six 6 in cakes or three 8 in cakes)

1 C Tresomega Virgin Coconut Oil

2 C granulated sugar

4 large eggs & 1 large egg yolk

1 1/4 C milk

1 Tbsp orange zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 C all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Orange Simple Syrup Ingredients:

1/2 C water

1/4 C freshly squeezed orange juice

1/3 C granulated sugar

Honey Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

1 8 oz package of cream cheese

1 C unsalted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp honey

5 C powdered sugar

+ Lingonberry jam (or any other jam you’d prefer!)

THE CAKE:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 6 in round cake pans with parchment paper, then grease and flour.

2. Cream sugar and coconut oil into a mixing bowl fitted a paddle attachment, or use electric mixers. Cream until light and fluffy.

3. Meanwhile, mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

4. Combine milk, orange juice, and vanilla into a bowl and also set aside.

5. Once oil and sugar mixture is ready, add in eggs one at a time, being mindful to make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.

6. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the sugar/oil/egg mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

7. Using a measuring cup, pour 1 cup of batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how quickly your oven bakes. Remove cakes from oven, allow to sit in pans for 20 minutes, then turn onto baking racks to cool completely before assembling*

*I like to pop mine in the fridge or freezer to aid in easier assembly.

The Simple Syrup:

Combine all ingredients into a small sauce pan and stir over medium low heat until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge. Will last up to two weeks, sealed.

The Icing:

1. Using a whisk attachment, cream butter and cream cheese until fully incorporated without any lumps.

2. Add in vanilla and honey, mixing until combined.

3. One cup at a time, add in powdered sugar, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

Assemble the Cake:

Using a fork, poke holes all over cake layers. Brush simple syrup onto cake layers, allowing it to soak in before icing.

Ice the first layer with cream cheese icing, then place a couple of spoonfuls of lingonberry jam in the center of the cake layer, spreading it to an inch within the edge. Top with second cake layer and repeat. Place third cake layer on top of the other two and ice the top and edges of the cake. Garnish with lingonberry jam, orange slices, or gingerbread cookies!

The great thing about this cake is that you can change the filling to pretty much anything you’d like. I chose lingonberry jam because I liked the idea of a slightly tart berry against the warmth of the spice cake and balanced with the sweetness of the honey icing. I also gravitate toward lingonberries during the holiday season, but the cake would work beautifully with a raspberry, cherry, or rose petal jam, all of which would be nice for a springtime cake. It’s up to you!

I’m excited about this competition with Tresomega because it’s given me so many more ways to experiment with flavor combinations! I certainly don’t mind staying in the warm kitchen on these chilly days, either. 😉 Tresomega’s virgin coconut oil is really special, as it’s not only a healthy alternative, but it’s flavorless for those who are adverse to coconut (not I, though!). The texture of the cake is perfectly light, and I can feel good serving up a treat that’s won’t bog you down.

Want up find out more about Tresomega? Find them here:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tresomegafoods or @TresomegaFoods

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/tresomeganutrition or @TresomegaNutrition

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tresomega or @Tresomega

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/TresomegaNutrition/

Ready to try some #tresomega #organicsforlife? I’ve got some more recipes in the works for you, so keep this page bookmarked and get to baking!

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Sleep forever and a day *

For my entire adult life, I have experienced sleep paralysis, usually with hallucinations – and not just a random bout, but frequently, often occurring during afternoon naps. I thought this was normal, that everyone had it, and I’d always request that my dating partners awaken me immediately if they heard me make a noise in my sleep, as that would mean I was feeling trapped. Sleep paralysis is as terrifying as it sounds – I have “seen” figures in my room, pulling the sheets off of my bed while I was unable to move.

I’m tired 100% of the time. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, and have fallen asleep during movies, at school, at jobs, and very nearly while driving. Chalked it up to side effects from depression or Gaucher’s.

While we were in LA this summer, we drove down to Redondo to visit my Boston Terrier friend, Tammy and her wife. Through the course of conversation (and a few local beers!), I learned that Tammy used to be a sleep specialist, and it was she who told me that what I was experiencing was definitely not normal. Tammy urged me to get a sleep study done with an MSLT, which I did last month and I was legitimately happy to have a diagnosis. I just started medication and already feel less lethargic and more alert, less cranky & more positive. It’s also nice to be able to say “fuck you” to the ex-boyfriends who thought I was “lazy” because I needed to sleep. 😉

Throughout these past few months, Tammy texted me information, explained the process of the tests, and looked up medications for me. I am so grateful for her knowledge and support, and so lucky to know her. What’s wild about this is that we met through our dogs’ Instagram accounts several years ago – you never know what kind of amazing people will come into your life via the world of social media!

I’m sharing a cool article about sleep paralysis for you to read here, but I’m also going to encourage you do something else. The whole time Tammy was helping me, she was also kicking ovarian cancer’s ass – a fight that’s not quite finished.

Sometimes it’s the kindness of people you may not know super well, or who you’ve only known a short amount of time that can make the greatest impact. Tammy took the time to not just listen, but engage, and support. She didn’t have to do that – we live on opposite coasts and it would have been easy to say good luck and forget all about it. But she didn’t. She stayed present and is the very epitome of present – documenting her experiences through her photos on Instagram, showing us the beauty in everyday life – a cat eating fish on a street in Italy, dragon kites flown at the beach, shadows of palm trees on Union Station. In this way, she forces you to be present. To view what we may feel are our ordinary lives as extraordinary. For me, this is street photography at its finest.

So here’s the thing: Tammy literally gave me free medical advice without having her own medical insurance. It was terminated – without warning – January of this year. While battling stage IV ovarian cancer, and the multitude of repercussions as a result from that – physical, emotional, financial. This is where my ask comes in – a request to join me in showing gratitude for kindness. Gratitude for keeping us present. Gratitude for her joy.

Just click on Tammy, and you’ll know what to do from there. 💙

why yes, I am sunburnt to hell and back

*title taken from the song ‘Night Nurse’ by Dean & Britta.

Black & Blue – berry!

While we’ve been fortunate to do a fair amount of traveling this summer, there’s been no shortage of baking when we’ve been home!

A few weeks ago, I won some beautiful deep blue linen napkins (handmade by Willow Ship) and black & blue jam (concocted by SQIRL) thanks to the lovely ladies at Design*Sponge and Juniper and Scout. What to make first with these gifts? Should I slather the jam over some ricotta toast, or bake crumbly bars? Spread it on a decadent cheese board (my weakness), or make thumbprint cookies? No matter what, those napkins were going to come in handy! In the end, I went with my go-to: cake.

I chose a buttermilk cake combined with farm fresh blueberries & blackberries, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a honey cream cheese icing, infused with locally sourced honey. The jam served as a nice layer between the icing and cake! Topped with more blueberries, blackberries, and a sprig of thyme from the garden, it was a sweet little treat for the August new moon.

Buttermilk cake with blueberries, blackberries, black & blue jam, & honey cream cheese icing

Okay, not to sound too much like Ina Garten, but if you can get local honey, it will change your life. I don’t know if I can make cream cheese icing without honey swirled into it anymore! The tiny honey bear bottle didn’t hurt, either!

While summer may be fading into fall, that doesn’t mean much for us – the temperatures are still sweltering, and we’re continuing to take advantage of late summer delicacies. Our garden is in full bloom, and I cannot help but plan our meals around our herbs – and I can’t stop adding more to the pack!

herbs for days!

Next on the baking agenda – chocolate cookies with fresh mint! We have several varieties, so I’m debating as to whether to use a bright Kentucky Colonel mint, increase the chocolate flavor with my beloved chocolate mint, or experiment with a fruity mint, like orange. What do you think?

Many thanks to Design*Sponge, Juniper and Scout, Willow Ship, & SQIRL for the goodies! I’m a strong advocate for small businesses, so please check out these great shops (and get lots of tips from Design*Sponge)!

Memphis in June

Or, at least, the South in June…

I can’t believe how quickly Summer is approaching – it’s been a busy Spring!

Between work (all three jobs, plus smaller side hustles!), my involvement with the Young Democrats of GeorgiaThe Young Democrats of Augusta-Richmond CountyThe Columbia County Democratic PartyRCSAS, school (all As, thank you very much!), and as a contributing writer for Live Your Dream, it’s pretty much non-stop all day, every day. I can’t really complain, though, as it’s all fulfilling, and on top of all of that, I also get to flex my creative muscles with weddings, cake baking, & personal writing, so the balance is starting to fall into place. Since my facebook and twitter feeds are already full of politics, I’ll not bore you here with it and instead share a few of the other things I’ve been up to over the past month and a half.

My mom and I went to the lavender farm in upstate South Carolina and came back with a plentiful supply! Lavender simple syrup was made first, followed by blackberry lavender jam, and I’m still filling jars full of dried lavender buds. The simple syrup was used to soak lemon cakes – one of which was for a Memorial Day low-country boil at a friend’s house and the other for Humanitree House.

 

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lavender infused lemon cake

 

Each cake was iced with a lemon buttercream and sprinkled with fresh lavender on top – all vegan, of course. I was really happy with how this recipe turned out – a nice combination of moist and fluffy, with just a hint of lavender that wasn’t overpowering.

Strawberry season started early this year (looking at you, global warming) and ended this past weekend, but I took as many opportunities as I could to hit up the u-pick. We’ve got jars of strawberry preserves stocking the fridge, which are even more delicious when spread on homemade strawberry loaf!

 

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freshly picked strawberries with honey from Duck Feather Herbs & handmade wooden spoon from The Hermit & Co.  plus mint from the garden

 

In between baking, I was fortunate enough to have two pieces of work published. The first was in WSU’s literary journal, LandEscapes, and the other was in a book produced by Weaver House Co. about textiles. There are still some books at Weaver House available, as well as some really beautiful weavings!

 

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There’s really nothing like fruits and veggies this time of year. We planted artichokes last summer, and they finally produced! I was SO PROUD of these delicious gals! It was *almost* too hard to eat them, but somehow, I managed. 😉

 

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One of my co-workers has backyard chickens and every Friday, she sells the most beautiful eggs. I don’t always eat eggs, but when I do (insert meme here), they are always fresh! Look at these pretty colors!

 

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I’m now salivating because blackberry season has finally started! I had wanted to pick my own, but they won’t let you do that at the farm with the strawberry patch due to snakes! Regardless, I got a bunch that were pre-packed, ready to make jams and cakes! The farm also has rows and rows of gladiola and zinnias and I can never leave without filling my car to the brim. I’ll save those for another post, though!

 

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ready to become blackberry lavender jam

 

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blackberry champagne cake

 

Finally, with the premiere of the new season of ‘Twin Peaks,’ I had no choice but to make a cherry pie. I know I wasn’t the only one enjoying a slice!

 

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I suppose I should have made something for the latest season of ‘House of Cards,’ which gave me LIFE. Also, Robin Wright in ‘Wonder Woman’ is seriously the greatest thing ever. I could wax poetic about her right now, but then I’d end up crying (again) so instead, I’ll just daydream about owning the Antiope Barbie doll.

In other news that will be detailed in the next update, baby Iris turned 1 and we adopted an 11-year-old deaf Boston baby named Spanky, who I like to call Spankmaster Flash. He is just the sweetest and they are getting along swimmingly! All the heart eyes for my babies.

Fingers crossed I can knock out another blog post by the end of the month. I’ve got a wedding this weekend, and am super excited about the flowers we’ve ordered – plus, the site is incredible. Now, if only I could decide what cake flavor to make next…any suggestions?

 

 

bread and roses*

Since I’ll be baking a blackberry cobbler tonight for a friend, I’ve got dessert on the mind and thought I’d share some of the cakes I’ve made recently. I had a last minute order for a birthday cake this past weekend that was fun to do, as I was given carte blanche in regards to the filling. I used my beloved vegan Lithuanian white cake for the base, soaked the layers in a homemade lemon simple syrup, and enrobed it in a fresh strawberry icing. Because I was short on time, I opted to decorate it with strawberries and candied lemon slices, leftover from the lemons I used for the simple syrup.

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My jadeite cake stand is one of my favorites, and it always looks good with pink icing! The best part about cake-making is leveling the tops – delicious scraps for days! I inevitably have leftover icing, as well, so makeshift cake sandwiches are made frequently. I’ve yet to use the scraps for cake pops, as I’m still on the fence about those. I know that sounds weird, but THEY seem weird to me!

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The client I had before this one had requested a cake with a bohemian theme, with fresh flowers. She also wanted the white cake, but with fresh raspberries for the filling and icing – this happens to be my favorite combination, so I was quite eager to make it and lick the spoon!

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I really enjoy using fresh flowers as decoration, and will never tire of using roses and raspberries together. Again, the color palette of jade green & rose pink will never grow old…

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She also wanted a bit of the “naked cake” look, so the icing wasn’t applied on it too thickly.

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those flowers, tho!

We have “treat day” at the station each year which encompasses delicacies of both the savory and sweet variety,  and, naturally, I bring some kind of dessert. Last year I made a vegan dark chocolate yule log, but this year I decided to go with something a little simpler, and made a gingerbread cake with cream cheese icing and candied cranberries.

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We are savages at work when it comes to food, so the cake was gone within an hour, at best.

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holiday cake baby

Last, but not least, I made a dark chocolate cake for my former 😦 co-worker’s birthday. I don’t really like chocolate cake, and because I think they all taste bad, I can never gauge whether or not mine are okay, haha. Still looking for that perfect chocolate cake recipe, so if you’ve got one, PLEASE send it my way!

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Inspired by one of my friend’s love for violet-flavored candies, I’ve got violet simple syrup on the mind now, and am thinking of making that the star of my next cake. I’m also leaning toward a slightly tart, slightly sweet grapefruit and poppy seed cake – doesn’t grapefruit curd sound so good?!

*extra credit if you get the title’s reference!

This is What Democracy Looks Like

What a wild two and a half months. In January, some friends and I attended the Women’s March on Washington, which was, for lack of a better word, surreal. We were so fortunate so be apart of “herstory,” and hear from many of the people who have stood up for women’s rights throughout the past 40+ years. Here’s a brief rundown of that weekend:

The night before the march, I visited with my dear friend and fellow activist, Christin, and stood in line for three hours  – yes, you read that right – to pick up some souvenirs from a special pop-up shop. The camaraderie in line was incredible – we shared pizza and stories, and drivers honked and cheered in support of us. I was interviewed by a Danish journalist for Jyllands-Posten, and it was pretty cool to hear his perspective. Jorgen had spent some time in Georgia at Jimmy Carter’s home, and was eager to talk about his experiences with the former President. img_0523

After the pop-up, I stopped in a bookstore whose name I now forget, and picked up a copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves from 1972 – hand stapled and everything! The record cafe nearby, Songbyrd, was pretty cool, too, but I resisted the urge to buy any vinyl, due to difficulties getting it back home.

My friend, Bridget, hosted me at her house with her sweet corgi puppers, Pebbles and Skylar, and has the most comfortable bed EVER. She also spoiled me rotten with her amazing cooking! I had to get up pretty early Saturday morning to take the Metro into the city to meet Liz, her daughter, Abby, and their friend, Aleia, and it was none too easy get out of that comfy bed. Nevertheless, I did, and with a bit of trepidation for what the day might bring. The Metro ride was eerily quiet, with us marchers gearing ourselves for the day. Once we hit our stop, however, it was mind-blowing to see the amount of other people getting off with their signs, hats, and jubilance.

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Liz and I had to meet a reporter from my station’s DC Bureau for an interview and in a sea of hundreds of thousands of people all gathering in the same place, this was no easy feat! We found each other and ultimately landed in a prime location for the event.

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Liz being interviewed by Gray Reporter, Peter Zampa

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Gloria Steinem

 

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Angela Davis

Again, we stood for hours. But it was so worth it. We shared snacks and helped each other see better, and supported each other in general. Mid afternoon, we finally began to march. Onlookers cheered from the promenade of the Newseum, and people came from every direction. I cannot stress how many people were there – they took up every.single.street. We opted to stop at the Washington Monument, rather than continue to the White House, as it was already so late and we were pretty much starving at that point. Marchers left their signs on the lawn, and it was a sight to see.

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Exhausted, but fulfilled, we went on the hunt for food and ended up in a Greek restaurant in Alexandria. Every. single.place was PACKED.

I spent the rest of the weekend visiting the US Botanic Garden, the National Women’s Party Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and a brief stop at the National Gallery. I also had the pleasure of meeting my mom’s old college friend and art historian, Peter Lukehart, and had the most delicious lavender hot chocolate ever. My bff, Crystal, and her other bff, Catherine, had come into town and we spent a weird night at an underground goth dance party, because why not? Photos from the rest of the weekend will be saved for another post.

Just when I thought things would be back to normal, a month later, Liz and I found ourselves with Maxine Waters, Jehmu Greene, Tom Perez, Bob Bland, and Howard Dean at the DNC Winter Reception. Saving that story for another blog post, as well!