December 20, 2014

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail with Doug Fir Syrup-15

Hey friends! Today my lovely foodie friend Ashley Marti of the Pacific Northwest blog, Local Haven, is here to give you this beautiful seasonal cocktail recipe. Ashley is an amazing food photographer and food stylist extraordinare, and she manages to balance constantly creating and photographing new recipes with motherhood. She gets major props. We decided to do some mutual posting on each other’s blogs so you’ll see something from me over on Local Haven soon! In the meantime, how gorgeous are these photos and how amazing does this cocktail sound? I can’t wait to make some doug fir syrup of my own! This would be the perfect Christmas Eve/Christmas Day cocktail! Thank you so much Ashley!

See more of Ashley’s work here: website, Facebook, Instagram

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December 15, 2014


Sometimes when I feel uninspired to bake, I go back to the basics. Classic chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes… and loaf cakes. The moment I laid eyes on this Chocolate Pound Cake loaf recipe, I knew it was going to be a favorite in my arsenal. I had already made a Chocolate Beet Loaf cake at the beginning of the year that was spectacular, but sometimes you just gotta leave the veggies out of it and go with traditional. With the winter time bringing shorter days with sunlight hours between 8:30am-4:30pm, getting in baking time can be a challenge. As much as I prefer to bake in the fall and winter, the trade-off is that I have to be prepared and plan out what I’m going to bake days ahead of time, as usually a day full of errands and trips to the grocery store takes away preparation and photography time.


While in the midst of baking this loaf, my realtor pinged me to go scope out a house. Obviously I had to wait until it was out of the oven, but the decision was: look at the house in the daylight and photograph this cake later in the dark with minimal lighting (or not at all), or photograph this cake while ample light was left and look at the house in the dark. Not wanting to keep anyone waiting, and being anxious to view the house, I ended up photographing this right before all the light was gone. High ISO = grainy images but hey, it’s better than nothing!

Part of what attracted me to this particular recipe was that I already had everything I needed on hand– eggs, butter, cocoa powder, flour, chocolate, etc. But I’m kind of an OCD baker like that. I like being prepared for when inspiration or cravings or catastrophes strike, and this was no exception.  The peanut butter frosting was spontaneous, but lent the perfect touch. These days, I pretty much just wing my powdered sugar frostings and eyeball the ratios from having made them so many times for cupcakes and cakes. Consistency is key, and it’s a kind of game. Add more liquid if too stiff, add more sugar if too thin. Also playing around with the flavors. It’s fun. And that’s the point of baking, am I right? This tasted practically like a brownie with peanut butter frosting. Who can say no to that?

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Serves 8

Adapted from OMG Chocolate Desserts

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 oz 60% chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons instant espresso or coffee granules (optional)

For the Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • ground nutmeg (optional)


  1. Grease a 9×5″ baking loaf pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl (ie. Pyrex measuring cup), and pour boiling water of the chocolate to melt. Then stir in the cocoa and set aside to cool.
  4. Mix the butter, oil and sugar until fluffy, then add in the chocolate-cocoa mixture.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Gradually stir in the flour-salt mixture until well incorporated. Add in ground coffee, if using.
  7. Transfer batter into prepared pan, and gently tap several times to remove air bubbles.
  8. Bake 60-70 minutes, testing with a toothpick at the 60 min mark. Do not over bake, otherwise it will dry out quickly. You could alternatively turn the oven off, and wedge a wooden spoon into the oven door and let a little heat escape while it’s still “baking”.
  9. While cooling, make the peanut butter frosting: with an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter and cream cheese. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, and thin out with the heavy cream until proper consistency is reached (you may have to add in more liquid or sugar). Spread on top of cake, slice and enjoy!
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December 12, 2014

Hey friends! How is it nearly the middle of December already? Time has been flying, and admittedly I’ve been a little neglectful here on the blog. Haven’t had much time to bake trying to balance life in every other aspect. Working a lot, preparing to go home and visit my family over the holidays, and in general just trying to keep my head above water to maintain a sense of sanity around the apartment and in my life. I’m looking forward to a 2 week break ahead, especially since I’ve been hit with a sore, itchy throat that will likely lead to a cold (but I’m fighting it tooth and nail!) which means my body is rebelling and telling me it needs some R&R. Working oneself ragged is never fun, and I feel like I’m just on the edge of that.

Anyway, in happier news! After cooking up a wonderful Thanksgiving feast for two, we ended up taking a trip to the coast on Black Friday, specifically Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City. Just a quick overnight stay with a view of the ocean, an indoor jacuzzi and fireplace. We got a ton of reading done and mostly stayed inside from the rain and crazy winds. But it was just what we needed.

A few more photos of what’s been going on lately: trying to run outside as much as possible and enjoy the fall color, reading Wild faster than any other novel I’ve read this year (so good), cozying up with the kittens and attempting to keep the heat in the apartment, drinking lots of yummy candy cane coffee and consuming many satsumas, rainy day shopping downtown, wanting all of the chocolate, and browsing pretty shops. (ps. this lipstick is ahmazing).

And now, some news and links from around the web:

-Greg and Douggie are doing really, really well on Top Chef!

-Speaking of Wild, Reese was here on Monday for the big Portland premiere (so wish I could have been invited! sad face), and tickets are pretty much all sold out for tonights showings. Going to see it tomorrow night, can’t wait! More behind the scenes of making the movie, and locations filmed in and around PDX.

-In relation to the PCT, a pop-up cafe along the trail would definitely make my weary, aching hiking feet much happier. Here are also some lovely portraits of hikers on the PCT. Love it.

-Twelve lovely gifts under $10 via DesignSponge.

-Sometimes we can all feel this way, and it’s reassuring.

-There’s only one real way to listen to music, science says.

-This is the best. THE BEST! Kitty therapy FTW!

-Ten jaw-dropping photos to make your head spin.

-Seinfeld visits Portland in a vintage two-stroke Saab and has coffee with Fred Armisen! LOVE!

-Ok, back to cats, because I can never help myself (maybe this explains it). A cat’s guide to loving a human. So accurate! At least for us, anyway…

-14 truths about being an introvert. One hundred percent relatable.

-This is pretty much the only damn fine thing I want for Christmas. Or ever, really.

-Big sigh of relief/newsflash: not wanting kids is entirely normal.

-No wonder some of my greatest recipe ideas have come to me in the middle of the night!

-Who else is listening to Serial? Going through these Reddit posts has been extremely fascinating. Still have a few episodes to catch up on, so no spoilers!

Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend everyone!

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