Olympia, Japan, Los Angeles, flora, & lots & lots of cakes…
updates coming soon.
Olympia, Japan, Los Angeles, flora, & lots & lots of cakes…
updates coming soon.
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 Georgia, The Young Democrats of Augusta-Richmond County, The Columbia County Democratic Party, RCSAS, 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.
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!
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!
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. 😉
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!
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!
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!
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?
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.
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!
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!
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…
She also wanted a bit of the “naked cake” look, so the icing wasn’t applied on it too thickly.
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.
We are savages at work when it comes to food, so the cake was gone within an hour, at best.
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!
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!
Ah, June. It’s the birth month of my best friend, my boyfriend, my pops, AND Summer Solstice! The Spring season has been more than generous this year, with an abundance of Knock-Out roses, fresh banana peppers, and a plentiful supply of lemon balm & mint. I’m eager to see what the Summer will bring, as the temperatures soar and our garden continues to flourish.
Spring has had me drawn to cooler tones – shades of purple, blue, and deep pinks, reflecting the colorful hydrangea surrounding the neighborhood. They’ve shown up in my floral arrangements as well as in the jewelry I wear. I’ve added to my collection from Seaglass & Stardust with opals and amethysts, ignoring the superstition that one isn’t supposed to wear opals unless her birthday is in October! However, my mother’s birthday is in October, and since Nicole has started a “Trio Thursday,” my mom and I ordered some to share. Nicole was incredibly helpful in finding the right stones for us – I was looking for the blue, relaxing hues while my mom was interested in ones with a fiery, pink flash. Rounding out the combo with a lighter, milky opal, and with three unique shapes, she created pieces that we’ve been wearing constantly.
If you follow her Instagram, you’ll notice her chunky amethysts have been selling like hotcakes! As soon as she restocked, I moved quickly and ordered one for my mom for Mother’s Day -as purple is her favorite color – and accompanied the ring with a lavender bush for the yard. I ended up receiving an amethyst ring of my own a couple of weeks later, and have enjoyed mixing and matching with my ever-growing treasure trove.
Peter and I spent another afternoon at the Atlanta Botanical Garden recently, admiring the Chihuly exhibit and taking in all of the new blooms. The leafy Philodendrons always catch my eye, and I couldn’t help but take a photo of this icy opal contrasting against the warm red leaves. The Chihuly exhibit was lovely, and I’d be interested in seeing the glass under the lights in the evening. We also spent some time back at the High, checking out the Basquiat exhibit, where they’ve displayed pages of his notebooks and selected works. It was intriguing to try and decipher his thought process, often schizophrenic at times. While the show has ended there, I would encourage everyone to visit it if it arrives in your area.
As mentioned above, we’ve had a plethora of Knock-Out roses – and I can’t wait for the next round to bloom! Having worked for a florist many moons ago, I’ve always enjoyed floral arranging & design, and received my own florist’s license this Spring. Weekends have been consumed with a wealth of bouquets – from large baskets full for Beltane to smaller, fragrant nosegays placed in bud vases. As our current garden grows, I’ve been studying up on English herb gardens with the help of some exquisite guides from the 1800’s. The scents are wonderfully intoxicating and the herbs themselves can be used in many remedies and teas.
With the entrance of June and the hotter weather, it’s time to start putting my hair up – though we don’t sweat in the south – we “glisten.” Seaglass & Stardust has started carrying the sweetest amethyst bobby pins that will do just the trick for keeping my bangs in place as they grow. That is, until I make the stupid decision to cut them again once it reaches 100 degrees with 100% humidity! 😉 Follow Nicole on Instagram to see all of her updates and sales, and take a peek at her website, where she’s been so kind to use one of my photographs!
Go to http://www.democratsofcolumbiacounty.com/ for the new site!
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