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Tropical Firework Cocktail

2014 July 25

The 4th of July holiday is always a high point of my summer. Maybe it’s memories of growing up with a family that had no qualms about handing off sparklers and small firecrackers to all the kids after a day of barbecuing. Gathering in the woods behind my grandparents house, we’d chase each other, write our names in the dark until the sparklers burnt our fingers, and light off bottle rocket after bottle rocket until we’d run through the pack. Fireworks, and staying up extra late to play with them, were the highlight of the holiday.

tropical firecracker cocktails2 Tropical Firework Cocktail

Even though the 4th has passed, simply being at the halfway point of summer fills me with a desire to hold on to the color and spark of those fireworks. So when I saw these bright orange and yellow marigolds, I felt instantly inspired to make this summer cocktail.

tropical firecracker flowerpetals1 Tropical Firework Cocktail

In addition to providing a pop of color, marigold petals have a sharp, citrusy flavor that’s a nice accent to richer tropical flavors like pineapple and passionfruit. Combined, these elements make for a very fruity cocktail. But it’s tangy, sweet and SO refreshing. The bright colors evoke summer sunshine, and the marigold petals eventually turn the cocktail to a golden saffron color (marigold being, after all, the poor man’s saffron). It’s a great way to kick off your sunny summer afternoon and work your way toward dusk and the promise of fireworks to come.

tropical firecracker overhead Tropical Firework Cocktail

photos by Elana Lepkowski


tropical firecracker cocktails3 crop Tropical Firework Cocktail
Tropical Firecracker Cocktails
tropical firecracker cocktails3 crop Tropical Firework Cocktail
A tropical pineapple & passionfruit gin cocktail
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For the Cocktail
  1. 1-½ ounces London Dry Gin (try SW4!)
  2. 1 ounce Pineapple Syrup (see recipe below)
  3. ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. ¼ ounce Passion Fruit Syrup (Monin makes a great bottled version)
  5. small handful of marigold petals (about 1 tablespoon)
  6. whole marigolds for garnish
Pineapple Syrup
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 cup cubed pineapple chunks
  1. Make the Pineapple Syrup. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for about an hour. Strain into an airtight container. Will keep refrigerated up to a month.
  2. Combine everything in a shaker ⅔ filled with ice. Shake well to combine for 20 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with marigolds.

Announcing Freutcamp Fall 2014

2014 July 24

Class is back in session! If you missed our Summer Freutcamp at Darling Magazine’s headquarters, I sure hope you will join us in the Fall. Two days of networking, social media, business of blogging, inspirational speakers, and of course lots of good food and fun awaits you. Fall Freutcamp will be held here in Los Angeles, October 18th & 19th. Tickets are on sale so go grab yourself a seat!

Freutcamp Fall 2014 Announcement Announcing Freutcamp Fall 2014

photo by Joanne Pio / Florals by Seed Floral

WHAT IS FREUTCAMP: Freutcamp is a branding, social media & business bootcamp for bloggers. The goal of Freutcamp is to give bloggers, small business owners, and creative individuals of all levels the tools needed to run a better, more successful, and creative blog. Class will cover the basics of branding, tips for better social media usage, information on monetizing your blog, how to approach working with sponsors, finding a unique voice in the blogging world, and tons of creative inspiration. As a graphic designer and brand social media manager I am excited to share my knowledge and experience with you! Take a look at our Summer Class re-cap here.

LOCATION: Los Angeles, California.

TICKETS: 20 seats are available total so get yours quick! Because I believe that discount codes make everything better, enter the code: EARLYBIRD to save $100 on the price until August 1st. Regular priced tickets will be $399. Tickets are available at

Please follow Freutcamp on social media: FACEBOOK / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM / WEBSITE


Mexican Chocolate Paletas

2014 July 23

Hola from Mexico! Ok, so I may have written this post before setting off for fabulous Tulum, but what better time to share my recipe for Mexican Chocolate Paletas then while south of the border? Recently I developed a whole bunch of tasty frozen and blended recipes for Almond Breeze using their almond milk and this recipe was one of my favorites!

Mexican Chocolate Paletas 1 Mexican Chocolate Paletas

Paletas are traditionally flat in shape and made using fresh fruit. I took a few liberties with this version freezing them in little round cups and making mine chocolate. I don’t think anyone’s complaining. The mix of dark chocolate, spicy chili, cinnamon, and raw sugar is always a winner hot or cold and when frozen into Paleta form, it’s a real summer treat!

Mexican Chocolate Paletas Mexican Chocolate Paletas

photos by Leah Bergman


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. For more of the recipes I created for Almond Breeze, visit their Facebook Page. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to continue creating new content for Freutcake!

Mexican Chocolate Paletas Mexican Chocolate Paletas
Mexican Chocolate Paletas
Mexican Chocolate Paletas Mexican Chocolate Paletas
Serves 10
Chocolate ice pops made slightly spicy with a pinch of chili and cinnamon!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
  1. 3 cups Almond Breeze Chocolate Almond Milk
  2. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  4. 1/8 tsp cayenne
  5. Turbinado sugar for garnish, optional
  1. In a small pot combine all ingredients, heat and whisk until combined.
  2. Cool and pour into ice pop molds or small cups. Insert wooden sticks and freeze.
  3. Garnish with turbinado sugar if desired.

No-Cook Summer “Nachos”

2014 July 22

While Leah’s sipping margaritas on the beach in Tulum, I say we have our own little south-of-the-border staycation, no carry-on needed! Any objections?

Summer Nachos No Cook Summer Nachos

Here’s the plan: This weekend, find a friend with beach or pool access and invite yourself for the day. Tell her your bringing snacks and booze, she won’t mind. (Hi mom, I’m coming over!) Pack your tote with the essentials. I’m talking fave swimsuit, tequila, magazines, your cutest cover-up, sunscreen (of course), and the ingredients for your nibbles below. You could show up with chips and guacamole from the grocery store but where’s the fun in that? This is your well-deserved staycation—treat yourself!!

Summer Nacho Ingredients No Cook Summer Nachos

I’ve never been to Mexico but it’s high on my list. In my imagination, savory snacks show up poolside loaded with fresh veggies and lots of salty-spicy flavor. If that’s not the case, shhh! Let me dream…

Summer Nachos 1 No Cook Summer Nachos

To recreate that experience at home, I came up with these no-cook, bite-size “nachos” topped with creamy avocado, a quick corn salad, crumbly cheese and red jalapeno. Each chip is perfectly dressed and ready for munching. One whole tray only takes about 15 minutes to assemble (so speedy) but bonus points if you can get a cute guy to make ‘em for you instead! Feel free to tweak this recipe to you taste (nix the garlic, add cilantro, take out the mayo) but whatever you do, make sure you toast your down-day with one of Leah’s famous cocktail—I think this tropical one would do the trick!

Summer Nachos 2 No Cook Summer Nachos

photos by Erin Phraner


Summer Nachos 1 No Cook Summer Nachos
No-Cook Summer "Nachos"
Summer Nachos 1 No Cook Summer Nachos
Serves 2
Fresh summer nachos with corn salsa and cotija cheese are perfect pool or beach-side.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1 large ear corn
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  3. 1 to 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  4. 1/4 c. crumbled cotija or low-fat feta cheese, plus more for topping (optional)
  5. Kosher salt
  6. 1 avocado, halved and seeded
  7. 1 small clove garlic
  8. 1 red jalapeno chile pepper or similar, very thinly sliced (optional)
  9. Tortilla chips, for serving
  1. Cut the kernels off the cob using a chefs knife; transfer to a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice, the mayonnaise, cotija and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
  2. Scoop the avocado into another small bowl using a spoon. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic, and pinch of salt and mash until combined.
  3. Divide the avocado mixture, corn mixture, and jalapeno slices among tortilla chips—about 1 teeny scoop each! Top with more cotija, if desired.

Shopping for Swim

2014 July 21

It may be the Mexican vacation planning or all of the recent summer days spent at the beach, but lately my mind has been on shopping for swim! This just so happens to be the perfect time of year to score some pretty amazing deals on current season suits and cover ups. Here are just a few (on SALE) pool or beach ready pieces I’ve been admiring! And speaking of swimwear, grab your sunglasses, did you know that the beaches in Tulum are mostly nude? Yowza! Maybe it’s the American in me but I don’t think I could ever go nude at the beach…you?

Suimsuit Sale Shopping for Swim1/Textured Straw Hat 2/ Multistripe Bikini Top 3/ Bottoms 4/ Colorblock Tunic 5/ Rosebud Onepiece 6/ Metallic Min-Wedge Sandal

*Oh, and today J.Crew Swim is an additional 40% off with code: SALEFUN…I mean come on.

Peach Gin Fizz

2014 July 18

Hey guys! Jacquelyn here from Lark & Linen holding down the fort while Leah is off in sunny Mexico! I can’t tell you how excited I am – both to be here, and that Leah is actually taking a vacation! I’ve never known anyone who works as hard as she does, and I can tell you it’s much deserved.

peach gin fizz 4 Peach Gin Fizz

While she’s sunning herself on the beach, cocktail in hand, I thought it’d only be fair that we pretend to do the same. This concoction is, no joke, my all time favourite summer beverage. It’s super light and refreshing, with just the right amount of sweetness. And with peach season in full swing, it’s basically a no brainer. But drinker be warned: these bad boys go down easy, so self control is of the essence! Cheers!

peach gin fizz 7 Peach Gin Fizz


peach gin fizz 5 Peach Gin Fizz

photos by Jacquelyn Clark


peach gin fizz 3 crop Peach Gin Fizz
Peach Gin Fizz
peach gin fizz 3 crop Peach Gin Fizz
Serves 1
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For the Simple Syrup
  1. 2 white peaches, sliced
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 cup sugar
For the Cocktail
  1. 3 Tbsp. peach simple syrup
  2. 1 oz. gin
  3. A pinch of superfine sugar
  4. Club soda
  5. Peach slices & blueberries for garnish
  1. Place peaches, water and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes until peaches are macerated. Reduce to low and let simmer until liquid is reduced by half (12 minutes or so).
  2. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, strain through a fine mesh sieve. (Note: reserve the peaches if you'd like. They're like candy at this point. I may or may not have put them on vanilla ice cream when they were still warm. Good life decision.)
To Assemble
  1. Pour simple syrup into the bottom of a glass.
  2. Add gin and superfine sugar and mix.
  3. Top with club soda and garnish with a floating peach slice and a few blueberries.

Vacation Tulum

2014 July 17
by Leah Bergman

White sand beaches, Caribbean waters, an entire week of pure relaxation and fun…tomorrow morning Jason and I jet off to Tulum, Mexico for a full blown vacation royale! As many of you know, our “vacations” usually consist of work meetings, trade shows (for Jason), and nights spent working in hotels rooms. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for us to disconnect! Thankfully this trip should remedy that real quick. I plan to drink in my fill of the tropical sun, breath deeply those gorgeous trade winds, and eat all of the Mexican food and frozen drinks I can handle. I refuse to turn my phone on in the spa, (I’ve been known to check emails in the locker room), and I promise myself to take at least three naps. Yes, I honestly haven’t been this excited to get away since our honeymoon…and between us, I might be even more excited.

TULUM MEXICO Vacation Tulumphoto by Oliver Davis, via Fickr

Starting tomorrow, I have some great friends stopping by the blog to guest post and hold down the fort while I’m away. For starters my friend Jacquelyn of Lark & Linen will be here Friday mixing cocktails and next week Erin Phraner of Food & Femininity will be braking away from her 5-Ingredient recipes to share an at-home staycation plan that requires tequila and an outrageously delicious recipe. 

As for Tulum, I will of course be sharing bits or our trip via Instagram and I promise to take a million pictures to post when I return. Now I’m off to convert my dollars to Pesos and brush up on my conversational Spanish, “Una Margarita por favor.”

Have you traveled to Tulum? I would love your recommendations!

Beach Book Club

2014 July 16

What’s the best part of being in a book club? The friends and food of course…oh, and a few really good reads! If you’ve been following along with our Freutcake Book Club, we are currently diving into The Vacationers by Emma Straub for our July book. It’s the story of a family on vacation in Mallorca Spain and all of the drama that ensues. When Blue Diamond asked me to throw a summer soiree with their almonds, I knew just the party to host.

Beach Book Club Beach Book Club


Beach Book Club The Vacationers Beach Book Club

Beach Book Club right on the sand with Spanish tapas, sangria, olives, and of course lots of almonds! After all almonds are oh, so Spanish.

Beach Book Club 2 Beach Book Club


Beach Book Club 10 Beach Book Club

 Lucky for me, The Vacationers lends itself so nicely to menu inspiration. For our book club dinner I served: Tapas (small bites) of Spanish olives, soft Spanish goats milk cheese rolled in crushed Lime n’ Chili Almonds, Olive & Almond Tapenade served with Cheddar Cheese Nut Thins for dipping, large Steamed Prawns with lemon and garlic, Melon and Sparkling Red Wine Sangria.

Beach Book Club 3 Beach Book Club

We may not be traveling to beautiful Mallorca this summer but book club sure transported us there! With the beach breeze in our hair, and a glass of sangria in hand, it was easy to pretend we were on vacation.

Beach Book Club 5 Beach Book Club

 If you and your book club have been reading The Vacationers or plan to read it, I highly recommend hosting your book club at the beach. It was such a fun evening to gather up the ladies, our books, and enjoy dinner on the sand. Of course we mixed in some light conversation about the book as well!

Beach Book Club 7 Beach Book Club

 We will be posting discussion questions for The Vacationers at the end of the month and we would love for you and your book clubs to join in! Book club or not, I hope you will try these recipes with your friends. It’s sure to be a tasty night to remember…without the Mallorcan family vacation drama of course!

Beach Book Club 11 Beach Book Club

  Beach Book Club Cheers Beach Book Club

The Vacationers Book Club Menu:

Beach Book Club Olive Almond Tapenade Beach Book Club

Olive & Almond Tapenade- adapted from Blue Diamond

2 cloves garlic
1 cup pitted mixed Spanish olives, well drained
1/3 cup Blue Diamond Salt & Vinegar Almonds
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. capers
Blue Diamond Almond Cheddar Nut Thins, for serving

1. With blender or food processor running, drop in garlic cloves to finely chop. Add remaining ingredients except Nut Thins and pulse on and off until all ingredients are finely chopped.
2. May be served right away but is best if allowed to chill for at least 1 hour for flavors to blend. Serve with Cheddar Nut Thins for dipping.


Garlic & Lemon Prawns
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs prawns or large shrimp
5-6 cloves of garlic
pinch of salt
1 lemon

1. Thoroughly rinse shrimp under cold running water and place in a colander while you boil water.
2. Bring water and peeled garlic cloves to a rolling boil in a large stockpot. Add a pinch of salt. Add shrimp and boil approximately 5 minutes until pink. Do not overcook!
3. Drain shrimp into a colander. Cool 10-15 minutes. Refrigerate at least 1-2 hours in a sealed container until chilled.
4. Cut lemon into quarters. When you are ready to serve shrimp, remove from refrigerator and arrange on a plate with slices of lemon. Squeeze lemon over shrimp, if desired.


Almond Crusted Goat Cheese

1 round of soft Spanish goats milk cheese
¼ cup Blue Diamond Lime n’ Chili Almonds

1. Chop almonds until finely minced.
2. Roll cheese edges in almonds, pressing into the sides.
3. Serve with Cheddar Nut Thins.


Sparkling Red Sangria
note: for adults only

1 bottle Prosecco or Cava
1 bottle fruity red wine such as Pinot Noir
1 cup pineapple juice
2 nectarines, diced
1 pint blackberries
1 pint raspberries

1. Add all fruit to the bottom of a pitcher and muddle gently with a wooden spoon.
2. Add in pineapple juice and red wine and allow to chill (covered) for at least 2 hours but overnight is best.
3. Just before serving, pour in Prosecco or Cava. Stir gently and serve!

 Beach Book Club 9 Beach Book Club

Photos by Joanne Pio

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds but all opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to continue creating new content for Freutcake!

Blue Diamond Logo 125px Beach Book Club

Pineapple Upside-down Cake

2014 July 14
by Leah Bergman

Call me nostalgic but I love a good Pineapple Upside-Down Cake! Second to ice cream cake, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is the quintessential summer cake in my opinion. A moist yellow cake topped with gooey baked pineapple slices in a butter & sugar syrup and dotted with maraschino cherries, what’s not to love?

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Pineapple Upside down Cake
It has been years since I last made a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake because Jason doesn’t care for it and I fear what will happen if I am left alone with a whole cake to myself. (Bad, bad things will happen I can tell you that much)

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Prep Pineapple Upside down Cake

This last weekend I finally broke down, bought a can of pineapples and set to making this classic cake. The smell of pineapples, butter and brown sugar baking away is enough to drive anyone mad with hunger. It just might be the most delicious smelling cake that ever baked to golden brown goodness in my oven. 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake 1 Pineapple Upside down Cake


Forty plus minutes later it was time for the unveiling. As I inverted the cake onto a plate, marveling at the translucent jewels of pineapple and cherry, I wondered why I had waited so long!

 Pineapple Upside Down Cake Slice Pineapple Upside down Cake

I sliced myself a wedge, topped it with creamy vanilla ice cream and dug right in while the cake was still warm. It was just as dreamy, gooey and sweet as I had remembered if not better. I then carefully wrapped up the remaining cake and drove it right over to give to Jason’s Grandparents. After-all, cake is best enjoyed when you have someone to share it with.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake A la Mode Pineapple Upside down Cake

photos by Leah Bergman

Small Pineapple Upside down Cake
Pineapple Upside-down Cake
Small Pineapple Upside down Cake
Serves 8
Classic, moist and easy pineapple upside-down cake!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  3. 20-ounce can pineapple slices
  4. maraschino cherries
  5. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1 large egg
  10. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  11. 1/3 cup sour cream
  12. 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  13. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a pan melt butter over low heat.
  3. Pour the butter into a 9-inch round cake pan. Use a paper towel to spread butter up the sides of the pan as well.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
  5. Add 1 whole pineapple slice to the center of the pan.
  6. Halve the remaining slices vertically. Arrange the slices in a fan-like shape around the cake.
  7. If you have left over slices use them around the sides of the cake pan.
  8. Place 1 cherry in the center of the whole pineapple slice in the middle of the pan and additional cherries around; set pan aside.
  9. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt; set aside.
  10. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
  11. Add the wet mixture to the dry, folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don't overmix.
  12. Pour batter out into prepared pan, being careful to not disturb the pineapple slices on the sides or bottom. Note: if you pan is on the smaller side, fill pan only about 3/4-full to prevent overflow.
  13. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until center is set and bounces back to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  14. Immediately run knife around the sides of cake and place pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  15. Place a heat proof plate or platter over the cake pan. Using oven mits, as the pan will still be hot, quickly invert the cake onto the plate. If any pineapples or cherries come loose from the cake, don't worry, just replace them!
  16. Allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. A la mode, optional!
Adapted from Avery Cooks
Adapted from Avery Cooks

Melon Mules + Birch Lane Giveaway

2014 July 11

Happy Friday, friends! First off let me apologize for my lack of posting this week. It’s been a frenzy of work and personal life that was entirely consuming. In fact, I couldn’t be happier to see the weekend and to celebrate it with one of my new favorite summer cocktails, the Melon Mule, and an amazing giveaway complements of Birch Lane.

Melon Mules 1 Melon Mules + Birch Lane Giveaway

I first tasted this cocktail a few months ago and have been hooked ever since. A fruity spin on the classic Moscow Mule, this Melon Mule mixes melon vodka, fresh cantaloupe, lime juice, and ginger beer.

Melon Mule Giveaway Melon Mules + Birch Lane Giveaway

Like biting into a chilled slice of cantaloupe, Melon Mules are the definition of a refreshing summer drink. While I am not a huge fan of flavored vodkas, I much prefer to muddle in fresh ingredients, Grey Goose makes deliciously fresh melon flavored vodka called Le Melon that I always use.

Melon Mule 4 Melon Mules + Birch Lane Giveaway

Because a Mule of any kind, melon or traditional, simply tastes better served in real copper mugs, I am teaming up with Birch Lane to give a set of 4 Hammered Copper Mule Mugs to one reader today. Lucky, lucky you! So here’s what to do: muddle, shake, pour, repeat and enter the giveaway! I guarantee you will be making these Melon Mules on repeat all summer long and enjoying them in those frosty copper mule mugs. Cheers!

Melon Mule Melon Mules + Birch Lane Giveaway

For more photos on how-to make this Melon Mule visit my post on Style Me Pretty Living today!

Melon Mule Cocktail – adapted slightly from Grey Goose
makes 1

1 1/2 parts Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka
3 parts ginger beer
1/4 cup diced cantaloupe
1/2 lime, juiced
cantaloupe slice for garnish, optional


1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice; muddle cantaloupe and juice from 1/2 lime.
2. Add in vodka and shake until well chilled.
3. Pour into a copper mule mug filled with ice.
4. Top with ginger beer
5. Garnish with a cantaloupe slice, optional

Here’s How to Enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This giveaway is now closed.

pixel Melon Mules + Birch Lane Giveaway