Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff

Like the incredible cakes photographed in its pages, Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff has all of the ingredients for a delicious and satisfying read: 150 recipes for cakes, frostings, fillings and edible garnishes, gorgeous photography, and detailed instructions for all of the techniques to create them. (Everything from what to stock in your pantry and how to prepare your pans to how to check for doneness and master a variety of frosting finishes.) Classic cakes, chocolate cakes, casual cakes, whimsical cakes, adventurous cakes and holiday cakes are served up with the stories behind them and plenty of helpful troubleshooting tips. Bakers are encouraged (and inspired!) to think beyond chocolate and vanilla (tho you’ll find recipes for those too) and try something inventive and new: an orange passion fruit cake with ombre frosting reminiscent of an island sunset; a boozy banana espresso banana tiramisu cake perfect for dessert al fresco under strings of twinkly lights; and a peanut butter lover’s chocolate bombe topped with a dome of peanut butter mousse and a chocolate ganache so rich and decadent it can only mean I love you.Β  Continue reading Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff

Five things

You know those weeks when you feel like you can’t get anything done? I’m having one of those. Well, a couple of them actually. The house is upside down and I don’t know where to even begin to put it right side up, and the whole mess has got me feeling terribly unorganized and unmotivated to do anything. But then I look at pictures from the past couple of weeks and think wait a second! I have been doing things. I may not be ripping through my to-do list, but these things still matter.

five things april 28 15

1. For special occasions, I love the Chateau Laurier. (Seen here from the Alexandra Bridge, which we walked along after a trip to the Museum of History.) It’s where we gathered for lunch the day I graduated from university, where my girlfriends surprised me with a baby shower when I was pregnant with my son, and where we celebrated my daughter’s fourth birthday with afternoon tea. Ah, so fancy! What’s your special occasion place?

2. I love whiling away the lunch hour at a favourite coffee shop with a girlfriend. That’s Kirsten’s sleeve up there. We met at work nearly 20 years ago and have been friends ever since.

3. A lesson from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist: Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. It’s one of the books I turn to for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck or stale.Β What books inspire you?

4. My entry for Chatelaine’s April cooking club challenge, classic vanilla cake. Each month the magazine invites readers to make and photograph a particular recipe for the chance to win a prize (this month it’s a set of bakeware — right up my alley!). The winner was announced today. And it’s me! Woot woot!

5. And tomorrow I’m off to the second annual BConnected blogger conference, just across the river in Gatineau. I know it takes an army of dedicated people to pull off an event like this and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from so many of my talented peers. But if I could do it from home I totally would. I’m nervous to meet everybody and feel way more comfortable here at home behind my computer than I do out there in the world. I feel so vulnerable admitting it. Aren’t you supposed to never let ’em see you sweat? I am sweating here, people!

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, everybody. I’ll be back soon with another fantastic giveaway!

Five things

American Girl

Last week was exciting, mes amis! Starting with the grand opening of Ottawa’s first American Girl boutique in one of our favourite stores, Chapters! The Rideau Street location is one of just four specialty boutiques across Canada.

photo (31)

My daughter’s pored over the dolls and their accessories in the American Girl catalogues countless times, so she was enchanted to see and touch them in person. And bonus, a goodie bag for every visitor on opening day! Lily has been playing with her doll dining kit all week. (It was in the bag, along with a doll-sized t-shirt Lily put on another doll as soon as we got home.)

bowling 9 all knocked down

We completed another DIY for So Fawned, this DIY pumpkin bowling using toilet paper for pins and mini pumpkins and gourds for the bowling balls. Check out the easy how-to!

Steves birthday cake

Somebody couldn’t keep her fingers out of her dad’s birthday cake. Those are Malteasers around the outside (aka Whoppers in the US).

you wonderful thing you for blog

Sunday the kids were at a playdate for most of the day, so I took some time to write some snail mail. Isn’t it so nice to get a letter in the mail?

gourd table setting

And remember my gourd tea light holders? Last week they were featured on Urban Barn’s blog! I know, what? Hop on over and take a look! (Love Urban Barn!)

Hope you have a great week ahead, everybody.

(Mine aren’t normally this exciting but you know, we try to make our own fun.)