Posts Tagged 'flowers'

The time I pruned and got pruned + the worst cocktail

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My best friend got married. The day was so lovely and happy.

I didn’t bake for her wedding, but I did practice some floral skill-building. The easiest part was staring at all the beautiful colors. The hardest part was de-thorning the roses. Roses have to be trimmed under running water to increase their chance of maintaining a youthful bloom, and you have to get rid of the thorns so that more water can get to the flower itself. The thorns steal the water from where it is needed most.

Perfect Flower copy

After I stripped the thorns and leaves from the roses, I had to remove the sepals and a couple layers of petals to keep the blooms looking fresh for the next day. The outer layers were kind of beat up already, past the peak of their beauty. They would never have survived all the bear hugs, bouquet tosses and other bridal revelries. Tearing them was a little tragic to me. I thought the sepals kept the flowers looking rustic and charming, but it would have been only a short term gratification to keep them.

Les fleurs were another gentle reminder of why it’s good that I be pruned too, you know, just in life. Get rid of the things that I might think are pretty now, but will get shabby later and prevent new growth. I want to bear much fruit! Or at least a blossom or two.

P.S. My hands are not maintaining any kind of youthful bloom after the trimming, but it was worth it.

P.S.S. Speaking of prunes, the worst cocktail I ever made was prune juice and vodka. Don’t you ever.


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“The grass withers, the flower fades, When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Favorite Shot: Too Original

light flow

I was looking through my drive the other day and came across this photo. How the ha-eck did I edit this? I forgot, and now I’m frustrated because I want to edit all my photos this way. It’s dreamy.

But hey, I guess this makes it, like, true art, or something? I can’t ever go back and recreate it. It is inimitable. Original.

I just keep saying words, sorry. Enjoy these flowers.


Favorite Shots: A Burst of January

fun flower

It has been too long. Also, January.


Pipe Dream #143: To Not Wear It Out – Earl Grey Cupcakes

Earl Grey tea is such a treat. I don’t even let myself buy it, because I’m afraid I’ll wear it out and not appreciate it. Once, when I was like, 10, I was telling my grandpa how much I loved Cool Whip. I said something ridiculously gluttonous and over dramatic like, “I just want to eat the whole bowl!”

And he said, “If you ate the whole bowl, you would be sick of Cool Whip. You wouldn’t even like it anymore.” Which instilled some fear in me. Heaven knows I’ve gotta like Cool Whip for the rest of my life. Actually, I was just thinking that I haven’t had Cool Whip in a really long time. This is probably just fine. There are better things in life, like whipped cream. I didn’t know that at 10, I guess. I should make something with Cool Whip in it sometime. Hm.

Anyway, I saw this recipe in The Great British Bakeoff (book just won’t quit), and I knew it was meant for me. I allowed myself a few tea bags and set to work.

Just because this recipe was meant for me does not mean that it was the best recipe ever. I thought the cakes were a tad dry, and they lacked a serious Earl Grey flavor. I even increased the amount of tea bags called for in the original recipe. The simple lemon buttercream was a bit sharp, too, so you might want to adjust to your taste. That being said, they weren’t bad, and they actually were a perfect complement to a real cup of Earl Grey tea, which is how this afternoon turned into a tea party.

I piped all of these with a medium Wilton rose petal tip, but I forgot which one I used. Any one will do really. And go crazy! You can make up a whole garden!



Earl Grey Cupcakes

From The Great British Bakeoff

For the cupcakes:
200ml semi-skimmed milk
3 Earl Grey tea bags
115g unsalted butter, softened
225g sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the icing:
75g unsalted butter, softened
grated zest & juice of two lemons
375g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 180C. Heat the milk in a pan until it is steaming hot. Remove from heat, add the tea bags and leave to infuse for 2 minutes. Squeeze the bags gently, then remove them. Measure 150ml milk and leave to cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add in one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat until all the flour and milk have been added.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the cup cases, dividing evenly so they are about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove for the oven and leave the cakes in the tray for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, beat the butter with 5 tablespoons of the lemon juice and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar, beating well until smooth and creamy. Taste and add a little more juice if needed. Pipe or spread swirls of the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with the lemon zest.

Present Roses

I think I have a problem with editing all pictures with warming filters. I need to get out of this rut.

This is the rose garden my family discovered in Duluth. It was unlike. They smelled like real roses. And it was freezing out. It was like a Christmas present.

Most interesting rose flavors:


Baby wipes


I wish my blog was scratch n’ sniff.


Pipe Dream #138: To C Things Clearly – CC CAKE

I just want to throw out a little PSA for you all: you can now access the pictures on the photos tab of my blog. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t linked correctly, so sorry about that. Not that you particularly are trying to access my photos, but just in case, I thought I’d letcha know. Now, on to more important matters. Like this cake. Ahem.

I have been waiting so long to share this cake with you. Given the serious backlog of recipes that I have yet to post, this cake has taken a while to make its way to the fore, but aren’t you so glad it finally did? It’s like, the prettiest thing I have made in the last six months.

But that is not even the best part. The best part is that this cake is my own! Technically, I was inspired by Caribou and my mum’s love of their Cafe Canela coffee drink that was out this spring, but it was my idea to turn it into a cake. And actually, that idea is not super brilliant or different given that I turn lots of things into cakes…

But still. This cake felt special and original and not just something I found on someone else’s food blog that is sweeter than mine so I decided to copy them.

‘Canela’ means ‘cinnamon’ in both Portuguese and Spanish. (I googled this, as I was part of the 20 percent of kids who didn’t take Spanish in high school. Would you even learn the word for cinnamon in high school Spanish?) The drink I based this recipe on was a combination of espresso, orange and cinnamon, so I tried to incorporate all of those elements into the cake.

The cake layers were vanilla. You can find my previous post on this fab vanilla cake here. You could use a box mix, though. No judgement from me. I filled the layers with espresso French cream, which was really a combination of whipped cream and espresso pastry cream. It was lighter than straight espresso cream, I thought, and added a nice moistness to the cake.

Then I frosted that stack of goodness with an espresso orange cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream. You would think that made for a lot of espresso, but the overall intensity was just right. It didn’t taste like you were drinking a coffee, but it did taste like coffee, if that makes sense. Ok.

In keeping with the theme, I candied some orange and lemon peel that I had cut into petal shapes. This was an extremely tedious job, so if you have to make this in a hurry, don’t believe that things will just “work out.” Oh no, cutting and candying citrus takes commitment. So you C, you might want to just fill in your cake with little starbursts of frosting, as I did. Somehow the overall shape of the design didn’t work out like it did in my head, but whatever. Next time.

Back in May, my family celebrated with a picnic on the river. We had to hike through the woods to find a secluded-enough spot. It was glorious. And my mum loved the cake. Happy Mother’s Day in October!



For the vanilla cake layers:

I used this recipe. Feel free to use whatever vanilla cake floats your boat.

For the French cream:

From joyofbaking

1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk (no less than 2%)

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (100 grams) sugar

2 tablespoons (20 grams) flour

2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch

2 tablespoons instant espresso

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until smooth.

Bring the milk and espresso powder just to boiling (foamy). Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly. You don’t want the thing to start curdling. You can always pour the cream through a strainer, though.  Pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Pour into a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature (I stuck mine in the fridge. The cream can be refrigerated up to three days.) Stir before using to get rid of any lumps.

Joyofbaking recommends folding in a 1/2 cup (120 ml) of whipped cream to every 1 cup of cooled pastry cream, but I think I did more of a 1:1 ratio. You can pick.

For the buttercream:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water, cooled

zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon+ cinnamon

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. It should also be completely cool. Add the coffee, cinnamon and orange zest to taste. Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip until the frosting comes together.

For the candied citrus:

I used this recipe. There are bunches you could try though. Be aware, candying the citrus peels for decoration will take significant time. You can do it though. I believe in your abilities on this issue.

To assemble:

Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edges of two of the cake layers. Fill first layer with French cream, and then add the second layer. Fill and add the third layer. Frost the whole thing with the remaining buttercream. You can save a little bit off to the side if you want to pipe some on as decoration. I had extra quick frosting lying around, so I just colored that and went at it.

A Summery Summary

Goodbye, summer. You were really beautiful.


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