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Honey Lavender Pound Cake

2014 March 31

Chances are, if there is honey, lavender, or some combination of the two in a recipe, I will obsess over it. Therefore I simply couldn’t leave well enough alone and make this recipe for Honey Vanilla Pound Cake, which by the way is lovely on its own, without adding a honey lavender glaze. I mean….bees to honey, people. I couldn’t resist!

Honey Lavender Poundcake Honey Lavender Pound Cake

From Fig with Lavender Honey Crostini to Honey Lavender Ice Cream and Lavender Honey Scones, this flavor combination never disappoints. It’s just about as feminine as one can get in the flavor department but somehow it seems to appeal to both men and woman alike. Last weekend I served this pound cake topped with fresh berries as dessert for family dinner. The verdict was unanimous adoration!

Honey Lavender Poundcake 1 Honey Lavender Pound Cake

The flavor is reminiscent of a honey flavored old-fashioned donut covered with sweet lavender glaze all sliced up and served in cake form. I don’t know many people who would turn up their noses at THAT, do you?

Honey Lavender Poundcake 2 Honey Lavender Pound Cake

Oh, and I almost forgot. This recipe makes one lovely large loaf but also splits nicely into two minis. This is hands down the perfect gift or offering for any occasion, friend or neighbor! Especially if you want to get on their good side.

Honey Lavender Poundcake 3 Honey Lavender Pound Cake

photos by Leah Bergman

Honey Lavender Pound Cake
makes 1 standard loaf or 2 minis

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake- Barefoot Contessa

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan or two mini loaf pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.
3. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low-speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you are baking two mini loaves bake for 50 minutes.) Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely before glazing.

Lavender Honey Glaze

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp lavender honey

Directions:
1. Make Lavender Honey: In a small saucepan infuse 1 tbsp. dried lavender in 1 cup of honey over low heat for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Honey can be stored in a jar.
2. In a small bowl combine confectioners sugar, honey and warm water. Wisk together until smooth.
3. Drizzle over cooled pound cake and serve!

{Cocktail Friday} Jam Bramble

2014 March 28

Happy Friday! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I have quite the jam-packed couple of days ahead of me, no puns intended. Saturday we are helping my sister and her fiance move into a brand new home and I couldn’t be more excited for her! It’s always fun to celebrate a move with family and friends so we’re planning a small barbecue to finish off our moving day. I’m planning to bring along the makings for one of my new favorite cocktails, the Jam Bramble.

Jam Bramble Cocktail 2 {Cocktail Friday} Jam Bramble

It’s the perfect pantry cocktail. (I’m coining that term) A cocktail that can easily be made with ingredients you already have in your pantry and bar. Plus this drink is festive enough to serve at any spring or summer gathering poured over crushed ice and garnished with a sprig of mint.

Jam Bramble Cocktail {Cocktail Friday} Jam Bramble

I’m excited to toast my sister and her new home with a round of Jam Brambles. I’m sure it will be a sweet start to a very happy home!

Jam Bramble Cocktail 1 {Cocktail Friday} Jam Bramble

photos by Leah Bergman

Jam Bramble – inspired by jam cocktails here & here
makes 1

2-oz gin or vodka
1-oz lemon juice
1-oz simple syrup (optional)
1-Tbsp blackberry jam (or your favorite flavor)
crushed ice
mint for garnish

Directions:

1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine gin or vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup (if you like it sweet), blackberry jam. Shake vigorously until well chilled.
2. Pour over a glass of crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!

Freutcake Tips:
1. Serving this cocktail at a party? Offer a variety of Jam choices for guests to mix in. Everyone will have the opportunity to chose their favorite flavor and level of sweetness!
2. Having trouble finding crushed ice? Your local fast food restaurant will usually sell you an extra large cup or two.

DIY Painted Wooden Coasters

2014 March 27
by Marisa Mangum

On one of our many adventures to the craft store we picked up a set of lovely little birch wood rounds, ready-made for coasters. Now that spring has arrived we finally have the perfect way to use them! Inspired by graphic patterns and fresh pops of color, these DIY Painted Wooden Coasters are sure to bring a dose of spring to your home.

Painted Wooden Coasters DIY Painted Wooden Coasters

To make these coasters, you will need:
Birch wood rounds- Found at Michael’s Craft Store
Acrylic Craft Paint
Paintbrush
Tape
Clear Acrylic Craft Sealer – We used Plaid Aerosol Spray

Steps DIY Painted Wooden Coasters

Let’s get started:
1. Tape off the desired patterns on wooden coasters.
2. Using white, green and yellow acrylic paint, fill in the negative spaces using a small paintbrush.
3. Let dry. If you’d like, finish with a spray acrylic sealant.

DIY Painted Wood Coasters DIY Painted Wooden Coasters

tutorial photos by Marisa Mangum / styled photo by Leah Bergman

Blistered Shishitos with Buttermilk Dip

2014 March 26

Whenever I see shishito pepper on a restaurant menu—which is often!—I order them. These teeny, not-super-spicy chiles are ridiculously delicious sautéed and sprinkled with salt.

Blistered Shishito Peppers Blistered Shishitos with Buttermilk Dip

If you’re looking for an effortlessly “wow-worthy” appetizer to serve at your next party, give this 5-ingredient recipe a try. Your friends will think you’re so daring serving chiles as a snack, but the secret is only 1 in 10 shishito peppers are spicy (and it’s kind of fun to see who gets the hot one of the bunch!)

 Blistered Shishito Peppers ingredients Blistered Shishitos with Buttermilk Dip

 

If you’re a first time shishito eater, they taste something like a hybrid between a bell pepper and a jalapeño. They’re popping up in grocery stores more and more often. Can’t seem to find ‘em? Go online and look up Ark Foods from Delray, FL—they’re a family-run shishito farm and they list store locations via the website.

 Blistered Shishito Peppers 1 Blistered Shishitos with Buttermilk Dip

 

5-Ingredient Blistered Shishitos with Buttermilk Dip
serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 container shishito peppers (about 4 ounces)
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
PANTRY STAPLES: Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the shishitos and cook, turning often, until blistered on all sides, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
2. Stir together the sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Serve the shishitos with the dip.

Blistered Shishito Peppers 2 Blistered Shishitos with Buttermilk Dip

photos by Erin Phraner

Favorite Beauty Products for Spring

2014 March 25

It’s been a couple of months since I shared my favorite beauty products of the moment and boy do I have a few good ones to share! This month, and for the last couple of months, it has been all about perfecting my skin care routine. Nothing looks better than a fresh flawless face, and while I’m not quite there yet, spring feels like the perfect time to work on it. To complement a lovely glow, some incredible lashes, naturally effortless hair, and a fun bright lip go quite nicely. Here are my favorite beauty products for spring to achieve that fresh-as-a-flower look!

A Few New Beauty Favorites for Spring Favorite Beauty Products for Spring

1. Julep, Sea Salt Texture Spray*- $22
I really can’t complain about my thick straight hair but on certain days I envy those ladies who can easily achieve a carefree look with little effort. Even with dirty hair, my locks look straight and well, dirty! This Sea Salt Texture spray is amazing for achieving that messy look while still appearing put together. It’s also great for giving a little texture to loose curls. I’ve been obsessed with this spray since my very first use!

2. Butter, Nail Foundation Flawless Base Coat- $19
When it comes to this nail foundation, the name says it all! This nude toned base color creates a perfect canvas for your nail polish color.

3. MAC, 36 Lash – $16
I have long been on the hunt for the perfect natural but still full and dramatic false eyelashes. This particular set is a natural dark brown and fills naturally thick lashes in quite well! Also, they look insanely good in photographs. It’s tempting to wear them on a daily basis.

4. L’Oreal, Colour Riche Extraordinaire in Fuchsia Orchestra*  – $8.99
Lip gloss is rarely pigmented enough for my liking. This L’Oreal lip gloss acts more like a liquid lipstick while giving a super shiny lacquered finish to lips. As for the color, this bright fuchsia is almost identical to Nars, Schiap (one of my favorite lipsticks) and is almost 1/3 of the price! Plus it smells delicious which is always a lip gloss bonus, am I right?

5. Paula’s Choice$11-$45
As I have shared in past posts on skin care, I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect line of products or combination of products to combat my sensitive yet breakout prone skin. About four months ago, a good friend of mine referred me to Paula’s Choice after discovering and loving the products herself. She recommended I give them a call and ask for a regimen recommendation. The customer service representative who took my phone call was amazing asking me detailed questions about my skin, and even sending me samples of the products she thought I should be using. After trying samples for almost two weeks I knew that I loved them. Because my skin at the time was pretty badly broken out, it took a good month or so after ordering the products to clear it all up. That being said my skin was never overly irritated, red or itchy during the process and the texture and glow of my skin immediately improved. It also doesn’t hurt that this line is very affordable with prices ranging from $11 for a cleanser and $24 for a night moisturizer. I can’t recommend this company more highly! It is definitely worth a try. Here’s what I am personally using:

CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser- AM/PM
I love that this cleanser foams up nicely and removes all of my eye makeup but still treats my breakouts.

CLEAR Extra Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid- PM
This product is magical. It clears breakouts, smooths out my skin texture giving it a glow, shrinks pores, and reduces red marks. Yes, I love it.

CLEAR Regular Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide – AM/PM
I use this benzoyl peroxide spot treatment sparingly and only on my stubborn breakouts but it works like a charm!

Hydralight Shine-Free Mineral Complex SPF 30 – AM
I can’t stand when moisturizers with SPF smell (and feel) like a thick beach sunscreen. This is a light and refreshing moisturizer with very little fragrance and SPF 30.

Hydralight Moisture-Infusing Lotion – PM
When I first started using the 2% Salicylic Acid treatment at night my skin was a little sensitive just before bed. This moisturizer is like a cool and calming cucumber mask for your face. I’m obsessed with the light, natural fragrance and calming effects. It’s like a tall glass of water for your skin.

Resist C15 Serum – AM (mentioned in my last product post)

*Products marked with an asterisk were gifted to me, not purchased. However, I was not paid to review them and any and all thoughts and opinions here are my own. I do not share products on this blog that I do not personally use or enjoy! – Leah

Home Brewed Bar

2014 March 24

One of the perks to living in Los Angeles is that you can find some sort of teashop offering milk tea with boba on every other street corner. The unfortunate fact is, not all of them are very good! Boba, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying them, are little chewy tapioca balls with a mild nutty flavor that are typically added to cold teas or coffee and sipped up through a straw. I grew up drinking milk tea with boba after school with my girlfriends and have developed a sort of love and slight obsession for the chewy drink. However, when I heard that a new coffee and tea bar opened in Pasadena called Home Brewed Bar, offering none other than milk tea with boba, I didn’t jump for joy.

Home Brewed Bar Pasadena Home Brewed Bar

Just another teashop I assumed. That was until I tried my first sip of Home Brewed Bar’s milk tea with mini boba prepared for me by one of their zealous brewistos. The blend was intoxicating and completely un-traditional! Earl Grey Tea blended with sweet milk and accompanied by chewy, fresh mini boba. (Yes, fresh is a serious requirement when it comes to boba!)

Home Brewed Bar Pasadena 1 Home Brewed Bar

The shop itself is small and simple but the service is terrific and a bit quirky, just the way I like it.

Home Brewed Bar Pasadena 2 Home Brewed Bar

Of course Home Brewed Bar also offers Vietnamese coffee, 20-hour cold brewed teas and coffees, and flavored milk teas such as taro and honeydew, just to name a few.

Home brewed bar 2 Home Brewed Bar

It’s become my favorite place to get my boba milk tea fix and I’m sure you will love it too. Say hello to Tucker for me if you stop by!

Home Brewed Bar 3 Home Brewed Bar

photos by Joanne Pio

Home Brewed Bar

39 N. Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91103

Thyme & Elderflower Gimlet

2014 March 21

Happy Cocktail Friday to you, friends! I have to say, there are few things in the world more enjoyable than spending an afternoon or evening with girlfriends, especially when good food and cocktails are involved! Time with friends always rejuvenates me. Recently, I met up with a girlfriend for dinner and a couple of delicious drinks. She ordered her favorite Moscow Mule and I ordered a French Gimlet. I was intrigued by the fact that this particular French Gimlet (which usually consists of Gin and St. Germain) also featured thyme. After one sip I decided that this drink must make its way into my repertoire…with a Freutcake twist of course!

thyme and elderflower gimlet Thyme & Elderflower Gimlet

To add a bit more of an herbacious quality I made a quick thyme simple syrup to sweeten and flavor the gimlet. This Thyme & Elderflower Gimlet is light and refreshing while giving subtle savory hints of thyme. Definitely a Springtime cocktail you will want to try!

thyme and elderflower gimlet 2 Thyme & Elderflower Gimlet

So, do you have any plans for the weekend? I hope it’s filled with good food, friends, and possibly a round of Thyme-Elderflower Gimlets!

thyme and elderflower gimlet 1 Thyme & Elderflower Gimlet

photos by Leah Bergman

Thyme & Elderflower Gimlet

2 ounces gin
1 1/2 ounce St-Germain
1 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce thyme simple syrup
fresh thyme for garnish

Thyme Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme

1. In a small saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to a simmer stirring until all of the sugar is dissolved.
2. Stir in thyme sprigs and remove from heat, cover and allow thyme to steep in syrup until completely cool.
3. Store in a jar, refrigerated.

Directions:

1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine gin, St-Germain, lime juice and simple syrup. Shake until well chilled and pour contents, ice and all into a cocktail tumbler.
2. Garnish with a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme.
3. Enjoy!

Four Spring DIY Projects to Try

2014 March 20

Happy first day of Spring! With the weather warming and the flowers blooming, here are four Spring DIY Projects to try.

Blooms in the air 5 Four Spring DIY Projects to Try

1. Crepe Paper Peonies- These flowers are almost too beautiful to be made of paper. Ji Kim of Blooms in the Air shares a step by step tutorial on how to make her beautiful blooms. (tutorial)

Colored Glass Mason Jars Four Spring DIY Projects to Try

2. Colored Mason Jars- Give old mason jars a new life with this simple process of coloring them. (tutorial)

DIY Desk Organizer Four Spring DIY Projects to Try

3. DIY Copper Desktop Organizer- Start your Spring cleaning routine with a simple way to organize desk clutter. It’s an Anthropologie worthy DIY! (tutorial)

DIY Floral Napkin Rings Freutcake 9 Four Spring DIY Projects to Try

4. Floral Napkin Rings- Set a Springtime table with these easy to make floral napkin rings that can be crafted up in minutes. (tutorial)

Is there a springtime DIY you would like to make or a tutorial you would like to see on Freutcake? Let us know! We have our glue guns ready.

Spring Updates for the Bathroom

2014 March 19

A few changes can make a big difference in small room such as a bathroom. A new mirror, fresh set of colored towels, or updated shower curtain can transform a drab bathroom into a fresh new space to enjoy for spring. What would you like to update in your bathroom?

Spring Bathroom Spring Updates for the Bathroom

 

My favorite spring updates for the bathroom: 1| West Elm, Horizontal Stripe Shower Curtain 2| Rombus, Pendant Lantern 3| Zara Home, Insect Bathroom Set 4| Vintage, Oval Rattan Mirror 5| J.Crew, Nightshirt 6| Zara Home, Basket

Lemon Cloud Cake

2014 March 18

After a year and a half of sharing her delicious, fanciful, and dreamy illustrated recipes with us; Ann Shen is saying goodbye to her illustrated column here on Freutcake and moving on to bigger and better projects. I am personally sad to see Ann go as she has brought so much beauty and fun to the site through her art. Today she is sharing a dreamy Lemon Cloud Cake recipe and illustration as her final recipe, a true finale. If only illustrations were edible, I would dive right in! Don’t be too sad to see her go, you can still get your weekly dose of illustrated beauty on Ann’s blog Annplified anytime the craving strikes! - Leah

With spring in the air, it’s the perfect time to have a light and lovely cake in your baking arsenal. I brought this to share at a cake club in the park, but you can bring this to any sunny picnic, shower, or gathering and it’ll bring a sweet note to your event!

 1403 lemoncake Lemon Cloud Cake

Lemon Cloud Cake- adapted from Martha Stewart

For Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks (save whites for meringue frosting)
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded

For Meringue Whipped Frosting:
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup of water
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Butter and flour two 8×2 inch cake pans. I always use the leftover butter on the wrappers after placing the room temperature butter in the mixing bowl. Tap out excess flour.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
3. In the bowl of your mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, then alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
4. Divide batter between pans, smooth tops with a spatula. Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until cakes pull away from sides of pans. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert cake onto a wire rack to cool.
5. Now it’s time to candy the lemons! Bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes, flipping sides halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices onto wax paper. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into the syrup.
6. Using a toothpick, poke holes into warm cakes on rack and brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely.
7. While cake is cooling, mix up the whipped frosting. In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved (or if you have a candy thermometer, until 150 degrees) – about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl for your mixer, and beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form – about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add vanilla extract, and beat until just combined.
8. Assemble the cake: make sure the cakes are completely cool, or it will melt the whipped frosting. Place first layer onto cake platter, then top with a nice middle layer of whipped frosting. Spread out to about 1 inch away from edges, then place the second cake on top. This will cause the middle layer of frosting to spread. Then frost as desired (I like it loose and messy, like a cloud) and then top with candied lemons!

*Baker’s note: this cake is best made day of, as meringue frosting will disintegrate easily. It needs to “breathe”. Do not cover if you are making it ahead of time, that will result in a sad cake. Don’t ask me how I know this. Happy Spring!

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