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.
photo 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!
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?
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)
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.
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!
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.
photos by Leah Bergman
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 20-ounce can pineapple slices
- maraschino cherries
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a pan melt butter over low heat.
- 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.
- Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
- Add 1 whole pineapple slice to the center of the pan.
- Halve the remaining slices vertically. Arrange the slices in a fan-like shape around the cake.
- If you have left over slices use them around the sides of the cake pan.
- Place 1 cherry in the center of the whole pineapple slice in the middle of the pan and additional cherries around; set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don't overmix.
- 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.
- 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.
- Immediately run knife around the sides of cake and place pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
- 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!
- Allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. A la mode, optional!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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:
Note: This giveaway is now closed.
Boozy Cherry-Vanilla ice cream floats anyone? With Independence day upon us, I thought it only appropriate to share a fun and festive All-American treat, crowd pleasing enough to serve at your holiday barbeque but simple enough to make all summer long.
When DRY Soda asked me to create a cocktail recipe using their new DRY Cherry Soda, my mind immediately went to boozy ice cream floats! Call me a kid at heart but nothing, and I mean nothing, pairs better with soda than ice cream. Something about that foamy, creamy, fizzy quality of an ice cream float gives me butterflies in my stomach. It reminds me of being a kid slurping the last bits of my soda and eating globs of foaming ice cream by the spoonful.
Now as a grown-up kid, it’s still fun to indulge in these sorts of treats especially when it’s made alcoholic with a hearty splash of vanilla vodka! Trust me, your friends are going to freak over these grown-up dessert cocktails! While DRY Cherry Soda is their most popular flavor, DRY Soda has lots of all natural better-for-you flavors perfect for boozy floats like DRY Vanilla Bean and Blood Orange sodas. Just a tip, the Blood Orange mixed with vanilla ice cream and vodka tastes like a 50-50 bar. YUM! Which combination would you choose?
Boozy Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream Floats
4-120z cans DRY Cherry Soda
pint vanilla ice cream
vanilla vodka ( you could also use plain vodka)
maraschino cherries, optional for garnish
4-8oz mason jars
1. In the bottom of each mason jar, stir together 1 Tbs ice cream and 2-3 Tbsp of DRY Cherry Soda.
2. Add 2 oz of vodka to each mason jar and stir to combine.
3. Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream to each jar.
4. Slowly fill with DRY Cherry Soda, garnish with a maraschino cherry and a straw. Cheers!
photos by Leah Bergman
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by DRY Soda but all opinions expressed here are my own. DRY is soda for everyone. Created especially to be a less sweet soda, DRY has just four all natural ingredients and is sweetened with a minimal amount of pure cane sugar. DRY contains 1/4 to 1/3 of the sugar and calories of traditional sodas, which allows its fruit, flower, and herb favors to shine through. Pick up a DRY Soda Discovery Pack including Cherry, Blood Orange, and Vanilla Bean sodas this summer and get mixing!
Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to continue creating new content for Freutcake!
Now that summer is in full swing, it’s the perfect time to grab your big floppy hat and an ice cold glass of lemonade as you lounge under the sun with our newest book club pick – The Vacationers by Emma Straub. When considering how I was going to describe this book, the phrase “perfect beach read” came to mind. But then I stopped to wonder, “What exactly makes a book a ‘beach read’?” I’ve decided some requirements include: light, breezy language that doesn’t require you to do too much deep thinking (basically, the opposite of Shakespeare); an engrossing plot that takes you away from your current situation and places you right in the story along with the vibrant characters; picturesque descriptions of settings; and bit of humor for good measure. Based on this definition, I am confident in saying that The Vacationers is the ultimate beach read!
The novel follows the Posts and their friends on their summer vacation to Mallorca where family drama escalates immediately. All members are going through changes, and readers will find themselves developing empathy, frustration, joy, heartbreak, and deep affection for the seemingly real life characters. My favorite line from the book jacket states, “The Vacationers is irresistibly funny and enchantingly warm as it shows us the wonderful, messy truth about family, friendship, and love.” What more can I say? Grab yourself a copy and join us in reading The Vacationers. You’ll be left with a smile on your face and hopefully a bit of a tan!
Stay tuned for our beach inspired book club meeting in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, what is your definition of the perfect beach read?
July Book Club Selection:
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Questions about book club? Email us!
Even though I’m a June baby—just like Leah!—I’ve never warmed up to ice cream cake. It’s such a summer-birthday default! But something about the chocolate crunchies and the melty-mess doesn’t have me screaming for ice cream.
This year, though, I decided to give a two-toned semifreddo a try. This Italian “half cold” ice cream cake is a sophisticated twist on the childhood classic. Bonus: It’s completely make-ahead, perfect for parties! To make it, all you need to do is whip up a mousse-like base. Don’t panic! It’s much easier to do than you’d think (and it hardly requires any ingredients).
I decided to spike my base with the flavors of a Strawberry Shortcake Bar—one of my favorite ice cream truck treats! For the strawberry layer, I folded a quick, no-cook strawberry syrup into the egg mixture. For the cream layer, you have a choice: Leave it plain or splurge on an extra ingredient and stir in a little almond extract for added nutty-sweetness. Toasted almonds add a ton of texture and flavor, whether you decide to go with the extract or not.
PS. Serve this color-blocked dessert with plenty of bubbly!
Strawberry-Toasted Almond Semifreddo
serves 6 to 8
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
OPTIONAL: Almond extract, for flavoring
1. Toss the berries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl; set aside 5 minutes. Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap leaving an overhang on all sides.
2. Transfer the strawberry mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain into a liquid measuring cup through a fine-mesh sieve, stirring and pressing down firmly on the solids to release all the liquid. Discard solids. You should have about 1 cup strawberry syrup.
3. Whisk the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a large heatproof bowl until combined. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and whisk until thick, pale yellow and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes. Set the bottom of the bowl in ice water to stop the cooking process; let cool.
4. Beat the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoon sugar with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add a big scoop whipped cream to the egg yolk mixture and whisk together to lighten. Add the rest of the whipped cream and fold together until combined using a rubber spatula.
Transfer half of the custard to another bowl; add the strawberry syrup and fold to combine (it’ll be a little runny). Stir a drop of almond extract to the plain custard, if desired.
5. Sprinkle the toasted almonds in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with the plain (or almond-flavored) custard; press and spread to the edges of the pan using an offset spatula. Top with the strawberry custard. Cover with the plastic wrap overhang and freeze at least 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, unfold plastic and invert onto a serving platter; remove plastic wrap. Slice with a chefs knife (dipped in hot water, if needed).
It’s time to channel your inner hippie! Well at least that’s what I did when I broke out the fabric dye and rubber bands to make these Tie-Dye Firework Napkins.
When I think of the 4th of July, one visual always comes to mind, big bright and beautiful fireworks. What works better to replicate their wild explosions of color than tie-dye? Let red and blue fabric dye bleed into cotton napkins and create wild patterns. You can get as crazy as you like with this project! Whether you are hosting a 4th of July barbeque, beach party, or backyard celebration, these wild firework napkins will definitely bring some color and patriotic flare to your table.
Here’s what you need:
white cotton napkins, washed and dried
red fabric dye
blue fabric dye
plastic drop cloth
Note: Look for tie-dye kits to make this project much easier! I found a small tie-dye kit with red, blue and yellow dye at Joanne Fabrics that came with squeeze bottles and rubber bands. I have also seen similar kits at craft stores!
1. Start by washing and drying white cotton napkins. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. This step is essential to ensure that the dye is absorbed into fabric properly.
2. Prepare a work area by covering it with a plastic drop cloth to protect your surface from staining.
3. Prepare both red and blue fabric dye according to packaging in small squeeze bottles.
4. Starting at the center of the napkin, pinch and twist small pieces of the napkin and wrap with a rubber band. Repeat as many times as you would like across the napkin. Each twist will create one “firework.”
5. Wearing gloves, squeeze a small amount of red dye onto the center of each twist.
6. Squeeze out a ring of blue die around the base of each red twist. This does not have to be perfect! Don’t worry if it’s abstract…the wilder the better.
7. Allow die to dry completely before removing rubber bands. Wait 6-7 hours before machine washing in cold water or according to fabric dye directions.
photos by Leah Bergman
Happy Friday friends! Today I’m thrilled to announce that we have a new cocktail contributor here on Freutcake. Elana Lepkowski has been making my mouth water with her gorgeous and creative cocktails on Instagram and her blog Stir & Strain for some time now. I’m honored to have her on team Freutcake! – Leah
Lately I’ve been strolling the Farmers Markets with one goal in mind: seek out the new. I’ve usually been shy about investing in something I’ve never heard of, or that looks difficult to handle, or that I’ve been told should be rushed home and used within 45 minutes lest it spoil. Oh, and it’s $25 a pound. Le sigh! So, I’ve started small with this new item endeavor: I’ve set my eyes on the herbs.
Do you know how many varieties of basil there are out there? A lot. Like, a whole lot. Over a hundred, in fact. Sweet basil is the usual strain you’ll see in grocery stores, or taste in your pesto. But this weekend I spotted some purple Thai basil, and the beautiful smelling Lemon basil. If cutting into a fresh lemon makes your mouth curl up into a smile, you’ll love this herb. I knew I had to take it home with me when the farmer encouraged me to stick my nose into a bag of it and take a deep breath: heavenly.
Those fresh smelling basil leaves were destined for a cocktail from first sniff. The resulting cocktail really is a citrus bomb! Freshly squeezed lemon juice heightens the lemony aroma from the basil in such a way that it’s just juicy and bursting with flavor. I paired this with a more neutral spirit, Aylesbury Duck Vodka (no ducks were harmed in the production of this vodka), so that the subtle earthiness from the basil still shines through. A quality tonic water provides just enough sweetness. And the last touch? A couple dashes of lavender bitters to create another subtle layer of floral on the nose and a slight bitter edge on the pallet.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed at the farmer’s market, calm yourself with some herbs. Pack them into a cocktail for a drink bursting with sunshine for your long summer days.
Double Basil Citrus Bomb Cocktail
small handful of lemon basil and Thai basil leaves
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 ounces Fever-Tree Indian style tonic
3 dashes lavender bitters (optional)
basil flowers for garnish
1. In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle together basil leaves and lemon juice. Add vodka, bitters, and ice. Shake well for 20 seconds.
2. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice and top with tonic. Garnish with basil flowers.