Monday, June 20, 2011

custom cakes and goodies: a wedding cake and love

Phew, these last few weeks have been quite busy for me and it isn't over just yet! On top of work and packing, I also made a wedding cake for one of my friends from high school who just got married. It was a beautiful wedding and I had the pleasure of making her cake. And this was actually my first order ever from a year in advance!

I was really nervous about making it, but in the end it turned out quite nicely and I'm proud of myself. I made all the flowers and the bow out of gum paste and baked several batches of coconut cake with vanilla buttercream and a tangy lemon curd. It's quite rare that I get to really have a slice of cake from my own orders, so it was nice to actually taste it. I had a lot of fun making this cake and I hope I get to make many more wedding cakes.

Now that that's over, it's time to get ready to move. Yup I'm moving to a new apartment closer to the city and I'm really excited about it! I finally just finished packing today and will be staying with my parents for a couple of days until my apartment is ready to move into. But holy batman do I have a lot of stuff! I don't even know where all this stuff was hiding. The majority of the boxes are from my kitchen, yet I don't think I even have that much so I was surprised to see so many boxes fill up. But that's finally done, now I just have to wait for the movers to take it all to my new place.

I'm really glad I don't have to move on July 1st like almost everyone else. I at least get to avoid that madness and enjoy Canada Day. Hooray for tenants moving out earlier than the end-of-lease date! So, it isn't over yet, but soon I'll be able to relax a little more and I'm looking forward to it.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and doing lots of exciting activities and baking up yummy treats!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

strawberry bread

There's a certain question that I am asked once in a while that seems to be less and less amusing.

"Do you have children?"

The inevitable answer: WHAT?? No.

I've worked at my family toy store since I was a teenager and once in a while I would get asked that question by some clearly delusional parents because I was apparently good with kids. Now, I love kids but I was in no way old enough to have any of my own so it was always brushed off with laughter.


But, this question is being asked more often now, yet it doesn't seem as funny. In fact, I'm a little worried that I'm starting to look...gasp...old. (er)

You see, I have always been mistaken for looking much younger than I actually am, but lately I've noticed that that may be changing.

Alright so I may be acting a little dramatic but it's kind of freaking me out. First of all, I am in no  way ready to have children. Someday perhaps. But not now. So people, ya gotta stop asking me.

I have to say though that it's gotten me thinking more and more about the future. And I've realized one major thing.

The future is scary. Very scary.
Yet as much as I'm scared, I'm also anxious to see what's going to happen. I don't believe life can be planned so I try not to plan my life down to the last detail. There's ALWAYS a curve ball that isn't planned for so I'd rather see what happens instead of worrying.

That being said, it's admittedly difficult not to worry sometimes. Have I made the right decisions? Will I be successful by my own definition? Ultimately, all I want is to be happy, because happiness is really all that matters.

I'm always happiest when I am with friends and family. Nothing really beats good food shared with good company. Especially when that food is being eaten outdoors from the BBQ on the first most-summer-like day with the sun shining brightly, a nice breeze and the scent of lilac drifting through the air. Plus a delicious and soft strawberry bread just waiting to be sliced and devoured.

This bread makes a delicious light summer snack filled with fresh strawberries. You can even add a topping of a few chopped strawberries that have been mixed with sugar and a touch of balsamic vinegar and left to soak for a few hours. Pile of top of your slice of cake and let the syrup soak through. Yum!

This post is linked up at:
This Chick Cooks Link Party
Cupcake Apothecary: A Themed Baker's Sunday
The Sweet Details: Savory Sunday 
Sweet as Sugar Cookies: Sweets for a Saturday 
Strawberry Bread

Yields one 9 x 5 inch loaf
Recipe adapted from The Country Cook 


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger, optional
1/2 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Note: the original recipe called for 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to be first roasted and then folded into the batter. I didn't have enough so I sprinkled a few chopped walnuts on top of the batter.



Preheat oven to 350 F with the oven rack in the middle position. Grease and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper hanging over the long sides for easy removal. 

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon (and ground ginger, if adding). Set aside. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and with the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture and sour cream alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries. 
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle a few chopped walnuts or pecans on top and bake about 1 hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tent with foil if nuts are starting to turn brown until cake is ready. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

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