Down by they Bay Cake

I really enjoyed making this cake. I fnished it a day before the party and I just kept stealing glances at it all day. The way that this cake is more textural than iced on decorations and how it is only fully understood if you walk all the way around it are a few of my favorite parts. Also I'm in love with the jellyfish.  O and the iridescent bubbles, I love those too!

The outside is a topsy turvy 3 layer cake so it angles and twists up to form the wave which is frosted in 4 different color blues and texturized. Then the sea creatures and bubbles are all made of hand cut cookies that I then colored in with royal frosting. The inside has it's own surprise in that it's funfetti and filled with colored white chocolate!

I told the parent's that I wanted the cake to be a surprise which was really fun. We celebrated the little guys birthday in a beautiful park with a bbq and a ton of lovely people His smash cake was the turtle and he dug into it pretty well. We finished all but 1/2 the bottom layer - not bad.


White Chocolate Cake with Rosewater Frosting

This cake was phenomenal. Initially I planned on making cupcakes but realized I was out of little cupcake wrappers, so cake it was. Turned out to be a happy accident because I even pushed off frosting it until that morning before I went to work and so I just ran off instinct decorating it and I love how simple it turned out. I also lucked out that the Putnam's tree was still flowering so I could place them around the cake.

The white chocolate cake was dense but somehow really light and fluffy. I know that sounds crazy but multiple people said the same thing. The flavor was subtle and just melted through your mouth. The rosewater frosting had a little zing to it with some added cream cheese and then I topped it with bee pollen, pistachio pieces, and white chocolate chips. I would totally make this again, it would be great for a baby or wedding shower, so pretty!

White Chocolate Cake:
10 oz white chocolate
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
2 tbs vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup sugar
8 tbs butter; room temp
4 eggs

1 preheat oven 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper on the bottom of 2 - 9" cake pans and flour them
2   in a double broiler melt white chocolate and then set aside and let cool
3   beat butter until light and fluffy and then beat in sugar, beat in the eggs 1 at a time
4   drizzle in the white chocolate and mix
5   in another bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt
6   in another bowl combine milk and vanilla
7   slowly mix in 1/2 of the flour mixture, 1/2 of the milk mixture and repeat, don't overmix
8   pour 1/2 of each mixture into the cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean

 Rosewater Frosting:
1 cup butter; room temp
4 oz cream cheese; room temp
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp rosewater
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2-3 tbs milk

1   beat butter and cream cheese together, then slowly beat in powdered sugar
2   beat in rosewater and vanilla paste
3   beat in 2 tbs milk, and if the consistency is still too thick mix in another tbs of milk


Forest Climbing

On Sunday, since our moms are sadly too far away to hang out with, we went climbing at Mt. Eerie. We did call them from the top of the mountain though where they bared with us as the calls dropped multiple times.
We've mostly climbed at more deserty crags, this time we hiked through an actual forest. Mt. Eerie is a bit hard to navigate and some of the brush had thorns that happily attacked my shins but the view was lovely and we found a few good routes. The best part is that on Sunday Seattle was clouded in rain and gray all day & we escaped it all and even found a bit of sunshine! Win!

 The rocks were a bit mossy at times but I really enjoyed a few of the routes we did. Also dogs were involved so I was stoked! We finally got to bring our new rope but only used it once. Finished off the day with some beer & pizza at Skagit River Brewing and then headed home to clean up the mess we left our apartment in by getting all our gear packed at 6:30am that morning.

our new rope! It's bright cyan with orange thread and 1 purple thread throughout.
She's so pretty I think I'll have to come up with a name for her!


Chocolate Tahini Cupcakes

I had some tahini left over from the hummus I made for Joshua's birthday party. I had seen some tahini recipes on this blog that intrigued me. Tahini is ground sesame seeds and has the consistency of peanut butter. In her recipe the tahini replaced the butter in the cupcake. When I made the batter I was very nervous, it was super runny and I was pretty sure they wouldn't bake up, I was wrong. These cupcakes were amazing! They were moist and springy and the fact that they were gone so fast makes me think everyone else agreed. The tahini wasn't an overpowering flavor instead it left a lovely aftertaste and make for a smooth creamy frosting as well. I may need to make this into a cake soon!
Tahini cupcakes with Chocolate tahini frosting:
2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbs vanilla bean paste
2 tbs olive oil
6 tbs tahini
3/4 cup water
1   preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2   in a larve bowl combine all the dry ingredients
3   in a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, olive oil, and tahini
4   slowly fold the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, then stir in water
5   fill each cupcake 2/3 full and bake 15-18 minutes, a toothpick should come out clean, set aside to cool
chocolate tahini frosting:
1 cup butter; room temp
3/4 cup tahini
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
1   beat butter and tahini together, then beat in cocoa powder
2   beat in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time
3   beat in vanilla and salt
4   frost each cupcake, I topped mine with chocolate covered cocoa nibs and fresh edible flowers from a friend's garden!


Biking to the beach

After an very large tasty random brunch I requested a chill bike ride. Luckily the 2 guys were up for it. We hopped on and biked over to Alki beach. The sunshine was out in full force, see my very sunburnt back for proof, and the mountains were visible and I don't think we saw a single cloud. I love the ride to Alki. You bike on the Burte Gilman Trail for a bit, then along the water through a train yard, along some more water into the sculpture park, fight some construction and back to water, another bridge and then you're along Alki beach.

 Alki Beach always looks a bit like California. Shiny rims and big bass music in cars, rollerbladers! beach volleyball, and then we partook in the margaritas where we lucked out with a window seat. All in all we biked about 32 miles. Back at home we ate a bunch of tacos and then I'm pretty sure we all passed out early. Minus the sunburn it was a lovely day of slowly biking around while not really doing much.


Cold Brew Fresh Mint Coffee

It has been a month full of random hot spots. I'm not an iced coffee lover but lately hot coffee has sounded dreadful. I found this great recipe for a cold brew drink that I'm loving, plus it's super simple. I've also been loving the plants that were given to us. A friend moved across the country and bestowed us with her plants, I love big plants especially free big plants!

you need cold brew, you can make it but I was lazy and just bought a jug of cold brew coffee.

1   make ahead
make coffee ice cubes by pouring 2/3 cold brew and 1/3 almond milk or regular milk into each ice cube slot

2   & also make ahead
   Fresh mint syrup:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 big handful of mint
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1   in a small saucepan add water, sugar and mint
2   stir until all the sugar is melted, bring to a boil, let boil 1-2 minutes
3   remove from heat, stir in vanilla
4   store in jar and place in fridge overnight so the mint flavor seeps into all the syrup

3   for cold brew fresh mint coffee:

1   pour about 8oz of cold brew into cup, put in 2 1/2 tbs mint syrup, add in about 3 tbs of heavy cream or milk, add in a few coffee ice cubes, put in a straw & done


Mountain Escape

Teanaway Ridge always feels special. The very first backpacking trip we ever took was here. All of these beautiful yellow flowers took over the hillsides and peppered themselves into the landscape as we hiked up- and it was magic hour so the lighting was perfect. Sadly, we lost all our photos from that trip, my camera malfunctioned and Joshua's phone died. So we only had a few and last year when we went back we were too late and the flowers had already mostly died. But THIS time, even though we were a bit early, the flowers were back and I got so excited.
We waited to start hiking up until 6pm so the sun would be setting but not quite set over the mountains until we could get to the top to watch it dip behind their peaks. It's fun to have this be the third time we've been here, to know what time to hike up for all the best light and views, it feels intimate to start to get to know a place this way.


This hike is also special because there aren't many places that are snow free enough to backpack yet and still have mountain views. Since we were a bit early this year there was a bunch of snow up top and I didn't think we'd find anywhere up top to pitch our tent but we walked to the top of the snow pile and there was just enough snow free space for a tent and a fire!

We really lucked out at finding a nice spot, lots of dry wood, clear dark sky, Harry Potter & wine.
Work and life was really busy this April, really busy, and it was a great refresh to go out to our happy place and wake up to the first day of May surrounded by mountains. So here's to May being a little bit calmer and having more time for hanging out with friends & more snow melting so we can backpack some more!