Dark & Stormy Birthday Cake

I was stumped for awhile on what to do for a birthday cake but on Valentine's Day hubs ordered a dark and stormy and it got me thinking. It was really well recieved and I thought it turned out delicious. Also felt a little grown up :)

I made a ginger-molasses, lime cake for 1 layer, a rum vanilla cake for the other layer
and frosted it with a rum buttercream and candied a few lime slices to decorate the top.

I made the cakes 2 days in advance and just had them wrapped in plastic wrap, so when I iced them they were completely cool, I think that's a first for me. My patience never makes it that long, but wow what a difference it made. I think it's my most beatifully frosted cake to date.

And of course we sang to him, which he hated :) But I found cute sparkler candles which I loved.

Dark & Stormy Cake

Ginger-Molasses Layer:

about 1/2 cup freshly grated ginger
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

preheat oven 350 degrees F
1     grease and flour cake pan
2     in a large bowl whisk together molasses, sugar and oil
3     in a medium bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper
4     in a small saucepan bring water to a boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda
5     pour hot water mixture into molasses mixture, add ginger, stir together
6     mix in the dry ingredients slowly and only until incorporated
7     mix in the eggs 1 at a time
8     pour batter into cake pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, unitl a toothpick comes out clean

Rum Layer:

3/4 cup butter; room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbs lime and/or lemon zest
3/8 cup spiced rum
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

preheat oven 350 degrees F
grease and flour cake pan
1     beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy
2     mix in the eggs and vanilla
3     then add in zest, rum and mix
(it will look a little curdled, don't worry it is supposed to)
4     sift together flour, powder, soda, salt
5     alternate pouring in flour mixture with whipping cream and mixing in, start
       and end with flour mixture
6     pour into cake pan and bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean

Rum Sauce:
for rum cake layer

4 tbs butter
3/8 cup sugar
1/3 cup spiced rum

1    heat ingredients in saucepan over medium heat
2    when it has all melted together set aside to cool

Assemble Rum Cake:

1     poke holes in the rum cake with the tongs of a fork, all over
2     pour the run sauce all over the cake
3      wrap in plastic wrap and let sit overnight so it soaks in

Rum Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup butter; room temp
1 vanilla bean; split and seeded
2-3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbs rum
2-3 tbs cold milk

1    beat butter until light and fluffy 3-5 minutes
2    beat in the vanilla
3    slowly beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time
4    then beat in 2 tbs rum and 2 tbs milk
5    add in more powdered sugar, rum or milk as it requires


1     start with ginger-molasses cake, cut off of cake so it is level
2     frost top of cake generously
3     level off rum cake and place on top
4     frost cake beginning with sides
5     to smooth off the edges and top put cake knife under hot water, wipe dry and frost
(this is the key to getting the frosting smooth)

I candied some limes like here
and made some chocolate numbers using this technique

Last year's birthday cake here


He's 25 Birthday dinner

I took him to a birthday breakfast but I've been dying to try out this restaurant in Capitol Hill so I decided he needed a birthday dinner too, plus I bought a new dress that I really wanted to get dressed up in. So yes, slightly selfish motives.

We went to Sitka and Spruce and grabbed a pre-dinner glass of wine in the marketplace that leads into it. My friend Camila showed it to us when we grabbed dinner with them last weekend and we couldn't wait to go back. It's a market during the day and at night they serve wine and appetizers inside, gah love it.

I think we could live off of fresh bread and salted butter!

It was a fantastic date night, it was really cold and windy out so hudling inside a place full of old wood beams and ceilings and a cooking fire was perfect. Also I could only get reservations for 9:45pm so we were the last people there, which felt special and even a little more romantic.

Less adventurous than last years birthday dinner, but amazing food and great company.


He's 25 Birthday Bash!

I know I threw a party last year but our friendships have evolved so much since then and let's be honest I totally love throwin a good party and any excuse to make a giant cake.

This year a lot of people we've made friendships with from his work came and I think it turned out great. We ate tons of food, drank good beer, and even danced a little to a Def Leppard record. Almost all the cake was eaten, we sang to him very badly, and the night ended with some guitar playing that ran until 2 am. The best part about waking up was when I went into the living room and it looked normal again- big thanks to an awesome friend who helped me clean up while the boys finished off the cheese.

Again like last year the whole thing felt like a huge blessing. Some of our neighbors came to hang out again even. Just the thoughfulness and kindness everyone showed Joshua and I was overwhelming. I truly hope everyone had fun because more than anything we wanted everyone to feel welcome and appreciated. That's what I love about birthday parties, in the end it wasn't really for Joshua entirely, it was a thanks to our friends and I hope we showed them how much they have come to mean to us.

The cake recipe and some food recipes are soon to come, because you know I can't help myself.


Pasta Makers

Last weekend our friends invited us over for a pasta night. The awesome part of that being we were going to make all of our own pasta. They had an awesome set up, 3 sauces, 2 ravioli stuffings, and lots and lots of pasta dough. It was fun to watch everyone slowly get the hang of it and to watch the guys handling 8 feet of dough.

One of those nights with friends where you feel very present and cozy and very full! We're still eating pasta leftovers, which is so awesome!  :)

also making my own pasta has always been a dream, so I was beyond giddy
 that they invited us over to do it!


Huckleberry white chocolate ice cream

O yes swirls of tastieness!
I bought Jeni's Ice Cream book because in Seattle I can't get her real stuff so I decided the next best thing was to make it. Vanilla is our favorite ice cream the one with the vanilla bean seeds floating in every amazing creamy bite. But I had some frozen huckleberries from the farmer's market so I through them in and sweetened the deal with white chocolate. So far we've just been eating it straight out of the container!

Huckleberry white chocolate ice cream:

adapted from Jeni's Uganda Vanilla ice cream recipe
Makes: about 1 quart

2 cups whole milk
1 tbs + 1 tsp cornstarch
3 tbs cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean; split and seeded
1/2 cup white chocolate chips; chopped
1/2 cup frozen huckleberries

1     mix 2 tbs milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl
2     in another medium bowl mix the cream cheese and salt together until well combined
3     in a medium pan mix the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla seeds and bean pod
4     bring to a boil, boil for 4 mintures, stir frequently
5     remove from heat and mix in the cornstarch mixture
6     put back on heat nad bring to a boil for 1 minute, stir frequently
7     pour ice cream base into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, make sure the plastic
       wrap is touching the mixture so that a skin doesn't form
8     put in refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours, or overnight
9     then prepare ice cream to manufacurer's instructions
10   when it is almost finished dump in the white chocolate pieces and huckleberries, mix until
       they are well incorporated
11   place in a well-sealed container and store in freezer, best within a week and a half


and now...
a few pictures of our once again unsuccessful trip to find chairs. But hubs looks so good in his birthday jacket from my parents!! :)


Asparagus Frittata

Beware this is super amazing. We reheated it for breakfast at work and Joshua sent me a message soley to tell me how yummy this was. It's not just eggs, not like a quiche, but somehow crazy tasty. Man we love the cast iron pan. Maybe I should name it :)

from this book

10-12 stalks of asparagus
10 large eggs
2 shallots; sliced
small handful chives; chopped
1/4 cup soft goat cheese
2 tbs olive oil

1     bring a pot of salted water to a boil, place the asparagus in, to blanch it, for 60 seconds,
       strain and run cold water over them to stop cooking
       blanching them brings out a great green color, livens em up
2     place oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat to get warm and preheat oven to
      425 degrees F
3     cut the head of the asparagus spears off and set aside, cut the reaming stalk pieces
       into 2-3" pieces
4     scramble the eggs in a bowl, add scant 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, stir in asparagus
      stalk pieces (preserve heads)and  shallots
5     pour egg mixture into hot pan, as the edges cook move them into the middle and push the
       uncooked egg to the outside
6     cook until the middle begins to set, 2-3 mintues
7     sprinkle asparagus heads and goat cheese onto top of frittata
8     place in oven for 8-10 minutes, until eggs are totally set
9     remove and top with chives


He's 25!

Happy happy birthday to my Joshua.
25, Ah crazy!

Happy birthday to the man that will never miss an opportunity to dance around the apartment with me
who never lets me be just a version of myself, but instead pushes me to be the best version of myself
who runs for take out in the rain when I whine nothing sounds good for dinner
who pushes himself to learn to be better to the people around him daily
who never complains when I take pictures of our food, but instead helps set it up
who makes my lunch every morning so I can get ready slower
who shows me how he feels about me everyday, sometimes in very goofy ways
and who is helping me to learn more about God's love by the way he loves me
Joshua I'm so blessed to have you in my life &
so happy that I get to celebrate your birthday with you.

Love you hubs!


Butternut Squash Soup

Love butternut squash! Still learning how to use it but I've really enjoyed all of them so far.
Even on pizza!
But since I've recieved Rhonda, the blender/food processor,
I thought I'd finally give butternut squash soup a go.

Butternut Squash Soup:
serves 6

from this book

1 tbs butter
1/2 onion; chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
medium-large butternut squash; seeded and cut into cubes
2 granny smith apples; cored and cubed
2" piece of ginger; grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
about 2 1/2 cups water
parmesan cheese to garnish with

1     in a medium pot melt the butter and throw in the onion and garlic,
       cook until soft (not browned)
2     add squash and cook until soft, about 10 minutes
3     add apples, ginger, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne, pepper, broth
4     then add just enough water to cover the rest
5     bring to a boil
6     reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
7     remove from heat and pour in 1/3 of mixture into blender, puree, pour into another pot
8     repeat with 1/2 the remaining, and then the rest
9     heat the soup back up over low heat
10   serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled overtop


My Valentine

We had an adventure date for our valentine's day. We headed to Ballard to go climbing and then went to a small tapas bar for dinner. We got sweaty, climbed until our arms wanted to fall off and then ate yam fries with a side of mac and chees, ha. A success!

Also our work had a baking competition for Valentine's Day and I won! I was so so exctied! I made Champagne cupcakes with blood orange frosting. And now we get to go on the VIP ferris wheel car and drink champagne. I'm so stoked!

I got Joshua a mortar & pestle so that he can help
me while I'm baking things. He tried it out with
a cinnamon stick and loved it

Hubs got me a climbing belt so we can start trying
out top rope climbing :)
The champagne cake was the same as this one, but I added zest from the blood oranges in and no food coloring

Blood Orange Frosting:

3/4 cup butter; room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2-21/2 cups powdered sugar
5-8 tbs blood orange juice; fresh squeezed

1   beat the butter until it is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes
2   beat in the vanilla
3   slowly add in the powdered sugar, mixing on medium-low, 1/2 cup at a time
     add 2 cups and save the other 1/2 cup for if you end up putting in too
     much juice
4    add in the juice 1 tbs at a time, once it is a consistency you like you can
      start frosting