Easter Cake

Last year’s Easter Cake was a work of art, in my humble opinion. Three layers of marble cake with Nutella filling, speckled buttercream frosting and cute little chocolate nests with mini eggs on top. I mean, come on. It doesn’t get much better than that. I couldn’t decide what to make this year, and I think it’s because I knew I wouldn’t be able to top that cake. At the very last minute, I decided on a lemon blueberry layer cake, hopefully to help usher in Spring, which hasn’t fully arrived here yet.

I used a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and while it was good, I was disappointed because the layers were SUPER thin, like less than 1″. Once I stacked them up, things were looking pretty short and squat over here, and I was worried there wouldn’t be enough to serve the 13 hungry people at my family’s Easter dinner. I also love the drama of a nice TALL cake, because I’ve definitely been brainwashed from watching too many cake decorating videos on Instagram.

Pretty Swirls

Speaking of those videos, my newest Instagram obsession is Milk and Water Baking Co., who’s doing just the absolute cutest decorating technique with pastel swirled icing. For my first time decorating in this style, I made a half batch of My Favourite Buttercream, divided it equally into four bowls, and dyed it pink, yellow, turquoise and purple with my Americolor gels. I used four different shape and size piping tips, and just kind of played around until I liked the way it looked. I loved the way it turned out! Next time I’ll try swirling the colours together.

After all was said and done, this cake was a HUGE hit, and a few peeps around the table said it was the best ever. It was super hydrated, nice and lemony, and I loved the burst of blueberries. I’d definitely make this again, but double the entire recipe for a nice tall cake.

Lemon Blueberry Inside

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

Source: Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction, Icing from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks butter), room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • zest & juice from 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries tossed with 1 tbsp flour

Icing

  • 10 oz cream cheese, cold
  • 6 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 4 tsp clear vanilla extract (or just regular if you don’t have clear)

Directions

  1. To make the cake, line three 8″ or 9″ cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix again until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula by hand.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and smooth out with an offset spatula. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 30 mins or so in the pans, then invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the icing, whip the cream cheese and butter together until combined. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and whip again until smooth and fluffy. Don’t overmix!

 

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March on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on March 31, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

St. Patrick's Day

This was a pretty low-key month for me, especially since we had super cold wintery-weather, and my hibernation mode was still in effect. Here’s what was going on in the kitchen:

  • It was my friend Jen’s birthday and I made these Black Bottom Cupcakes for her little celebration. They’re chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chip cheesecake centres. I haven’t made them for years, and this reminded me how good they are. Must make again!
  • I went to Lavelle for a birthday dinner, and despite a super obnoxious hostess, had a great time. I had the most delicious creamy mushroom soup with truffle oil as a starter, and then their heritage pork chop for dinner, which was good, not great (in my opinion). Should have had steak frites which is my usual go-to anytime I’m somewhere with French food. Lavelle has a pretty chill vibe, and it’s fun because it’s on the roof, so you get nice views of the city. I’d definitely go back for a cocktail (just one, ‘ cause they’re like $28 each).
  • On St. Patrick’s Day I was over at my friend Heather‘s house, and she gave me this Rhine Stone Cowboy to drink (pictured above) which I actually really liked! She’s literally becoming a Beer Sommelier, so she can totally match-make you to the beer of your dreams.
  • The best dinner I made this month (besides these Mini Beef & Guinness Pies) was a batch of Smitten’s Everyday Meatballs, and this Spinach & Parmesan Orzo from Table for Two.

Other non-foodie things I was obsessed with this month:

  • I couldn’t take the FOMO of not watching Big Little Lies, especially since I loved the book so much and my hair idol Reese Witherspoon was producing and starring, so I subscribed to HBO Canada. I don’t regret it, I’m totally loving it, even though I know how it’s going to end. The last episode is on this Sunday!
  • HBO Canada also comes with On Demand, so I watched a season of Girls that I missed, and Issa Rae’s show Insecure which I’m OBSESSED with! Kristine is trying to convince me to catch up on Game of Thrones so I can watch the new season this summer. I may try, if only so I finally know what Chris & Andy are talking about during their podcast.
  • Didn’t read that much this month after I got home from Florida, but did read What was Mine, as recommended by Danielle, which I liked, and You Can’t Touch My Hair, which was so great.
  • I went to see Beauty & The Beast and had to physically restrain myself from not singing the songs out loud. It was so great, especially if you were a kid in the ’90s and had the VHS copy of the cartoon version in the puffy white case and watched it 1,000 times like I did.

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Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

At the beginning of last year I declared it The Year of the Chocolate Chip Cookie on Planet Byn, and then promptly proceeded to make a grand total of two versions in all of 2016 (#typical). It may take me forever, but I’m still committed to this worthy cause of trying all the cookies recipes I listed on that post.

Let’s pick back up with Levain Bakery‘s Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies which are well known for being absolutely gigantic and delicious. Unfortunately, I missed Levain on BOTH of my trips to NYC in 2014, but a few months later my co-worker brought some back for me. He told me he was going to New York for the weekend and had innocently asked if I needed anything, and I was like “If you’re serious, I do, and here’s the address of this bakery”. I requested a chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chocolate chip and dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie (they also make an oatmeal raisin one).

Huge

They were outstanding! First of all, they look like scones, that’s how big they are. They’re super thick, although not cakey or dry, and I wouldn’t necessarily describe them as chewy. It’s kind of tough to explain. But I knew I needed to see if I could make them myself.

There are tons of copycat recipes floating around online, and after originally seeing them on Smells Like Home, I went down a black hole of looking at all the versions, some with subtle changes or additions here and there. I went with the recipe on Cookie Madness.

Profile

Some curious things about this recipe. You start with COLD butter, which goes against all my natural cookie baking tendencies. You also use bread flour, which is odd, except your girl Christina Tosi also does that in her Compost Cookies, so I guess they’re on to something. Also like the Compost Cookies, the dough must rest for a few hours (or overnight) before baking. As for the size, some recipes say 4 oz of dough per cookie, others 6 oz, so I actually baked a few of each with some 5 oz ones thrown into the mix too.

So after all that, what’s the verdict? Pretty freaking close if you ask me. The appearance, taste and that hard to define texture are all on point. I’m not the biggest fan of nuts in my cookies, but I will say the walnuts are key here to the Levain-style experience, so don’t leave them out.

Cookie Scones

I’m so encouraged by this, I want to try the dark chocolate cookies too! Luckily Annie has a recipe for those ones right here!

Quick note: This recipe is measured by weight, so you’ll need a kitchen scale for accuracy.

Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Source: Cookie Madness (originally found on Smells Like Home)

Yield: 8-12 huge cookies

Ingredients

  • 376 grams bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, COLD, diced into small cubes
  • 168 grams brown sugar
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 2 eggs, COLD, lightly beaten in a separate bowl
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until it starts to come together. Add the brown sugar and sugar and mix until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts. I actually used my (clean!) hands to knead the dough in the bowl a bit to get everything to come together.
  5. Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper, and use a kitchen scale to portion out 4oz, 5oz or 6oz of dough, depending on if you want your cookies to be big, gigantic or enormous. Don’t roll them into balls, but leave them with a rough appearance. Cover the sheet/plate with plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375° and line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 18-22 minutes, depending on how big the cookies are. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Carrot Loaf

by byn on March 23, 2017

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

Carrot Loaf
When Spring and Easter are on the horizon, there are three things I’m drawn to baking with that are all out of character for me: coconut, lemon and carrot. There is never any other time during the year when I’m interested in any of these ingredients in my desserts, but something about each of them is bright and fresh and I get into it. It helps bridge the gap when we’re just sitting around waiting for RHUBARB SZN to begin.

I never crave carrot cake, especially since the great wedding cake making of 2006, but this Carrot Loaf has been calling my name for a while ever since Smitten posted it. Was I drawn to it because of the optional Cream Cheese Icing Schmear? I mean, yeah, obviously. I also feel like you really only ever see Carrot Cake in cake or muffin formation, so this is a nice change.

Cream Cheese Schmear

This loaf is super hydrated, and has a few interesting additions: apple cider and olive oil. I was unwilling to purchase a 1L or 2L jug of apple cider though, so instead I got a fresh pressed apple juice, which my local Metro has just started to sell (along with many other varieties of pressed juice, so trendy Metro!). The olive oil adds a nice flavour too, although you probably wouldn’t notice it if I didn’t tell you it’s in there, and you could just use neutral oil if you’re not into it (i.e. vegetable, canola, grapeseed). One more thing: there are no nuts or raisins in this, which I prefer.

This was a hit with my co-workers and one even asked for the recipe, so there you go.

Carrot Loaf

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (or a big pinch) cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup apple cider or fresh pressed apple juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, apple cider/juice and vanilla, then stir in the carrots.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or spoon just until just incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick/skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
  6. For the optional cream cheese spread: whip together 4 oz cream cheese, 2 tbsp butter (both at room temperature), 6 tbsp icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla.

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Mini Beef & Guiness Pot Pie

When Danielle and I went to London, we ate the most delicious savoury pot pies on our first pub night there and I’ve been waning to make my own at home ever since. I finally did it last week, due to the combined forces of Pi Day (3.14….get it???) and St. Patrick’s Day.

My go-to pot pie situation is usually Chicken Pot Pie, and I’ve made so many variations over the years. None of them got blogged for some reason, so here’s a quick break to list some of my favourites:

Instead of another chicken variation, I made cute little Mini Beef and Guinness Pies. I used this recipe from Elly that I’ve had bookmarked for about two years: a rich beef stew with mushrooms, carrots and celery, plus a can of Guinness*, braised low and slow for a couple hours. The only change I made was to use 1 lb of beef instead of two, but I kept all the vegetable and liquid measurements the same. I made a double pie crust recipe, and used little disposable 6″ pie plates. When all was said and done I had four mini pies, but probably could have squeaked out five if I re-rolled my pastry scraps and rationed the stew better.

Beef Stew

In London our pies were served with mashed potatoes, gravy and a pea/carrot/leek mixture, but I just went with a fresh green salad and it was perfect. I’m assuming these pies freeze well unbaked, so I have a couple tucked away to eat later.

*I find Guinness revolting otherwise, but it’s great in here!

Mini Beef & Guinness Pies

Source: Elly Says Opa

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb (or 2lbs if you want it extra beefy) stewing beef

2 medium or 1 large onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

8 oz cremini mushrooms cleaned and sliced

4 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane

2 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tbsp fresh if you have it)

12 oz Guinness

1 1/2 cups beef broth

+ salt & pepper

+ a double crust recipe of your favourite pie dough OR store bought OR puff pastry

+ 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water (egg wash)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a dutch oven or other ovenproof pot with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add about half the beef, seasoning with salt and pepper, and browning on all sides. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the other half, adding a bit more olive oil to the pan if needed.
  2. In the now empty pot, add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until veggies are softened. Stir in the garlic and rosemary, then stir in the flour until everything is evenly coated, and let cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the Guinness and beef broth, plus salt and pepper, and stir. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and place in the oven, and let braise for about 2 hours. I’m assuming you could also do this in a slowcooker instead of the oven, probably for 6-8 hours or overnight (on low).
  4. Once cooked, let cool FULLY before making the mini pies.
  5. Roll out your dough and cut it into about 7″ circles to line the bottom of your mini pie plates (or just make one big pie in a regular pie dish). Portion out the stew into the pies. Cut smaller circles of dough out for the tops of the pies and crimp the edges over to seal. Use a knife to cut a few vents into the dough so steam can escape. At this point you can wrap the pies with a layer of plastic wrap, and then tin foil, and freeze.
  6. To bake, brush the egg wash over the top of the mini pies, which will help them brown.
  7. Bake in a 350° oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

 

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Kitchen-Sink Dutch Baby

Dutch babies are something that I had never heard of before I started reading food blogs almost 10 years ago. This isn’t something I ate growing up, and I unfortunately don’t have a cast-iron skillet that was passed down to me through the generations! For this reason, I usually bypass any and all dutch baby recipes, but when it comes to Baked Sunday Mornings, it’s worth a special trip to a friend’s house to borrow one.

Dutch babies are basically giant puffy pancakes. The batter is made in a blender (I used my immersion blender) and poured in the hot skillet, and then baked in the oven until golden brown. The Baked version also has buttery bananas, chocolate chips, walnuts (I left this out), a dusting of icing sugar and a suggestion to serve with maple syrup. Kind of a lot going on, which is why this is the “Kitchen Sink” version.

I ate this up in no time, and it’s kind of a cool idea for a brunch because you could slice it into wedges and serve, instead of standing at the stove flipping pancakes and missing all the fun. I would probably leave the bananas out next time (not too keen on banana desserts), but I would leave everything else as is.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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February on Planet Byn {2017}

by byn on February 28, 2017

in Monthly Recaps

Valentines

February is my most dreaded dreary month, and this year I started it with NOROVIRUS, so it could only get better from there:

  • Jenny, Heather and I trekked up to Richmond Hill to see Molly Yeh do a food demo and talk about her new book Molly on the Range. I’ve followed Molly’s blog over the years, but only made my first recipe of hers in December when I made Chicken Pot Tot Hotdish (basically Chicken Pot Pie with Tater Tots on top). I wanted to go see her more because of her interesting life (half-Chinese/half-Jewish, Julliard trained percussionist-turned food blogger, who now lives on a farm in North Dakota) and overall adorkable persona, plus the fact that the list of recipes she was making at the demo sounded delicious (spinach & feta rugelach, cauliflower shawarma tacos, chocolate tahini cupcakes). She was super cute, and I loved listening to her talk about her life and travels, and how she gathers inspiration from her family and farm life to develop her recipes. We got to try all the food, and everything was so good. The girls and I all bought the book and I can’t wait to make a bunch of stuff from it. Jenny already has and you can read her post about it here.
  • After not baking for all of January (no one wants to eat your treats post-holidays), I made so many Valentine’s Day treats this year for my friends. These Chocolate Hazelnut Linzer Hearts of course, but also giant heart shaped sugar cookies with royal icing (pictured above, with a “We Go Together Like” theme, ripped off Cake & Loaf), plus a Valentine’s Day remix of these Confetti Cookies to send to Alexis and her family.
  • My Galentine Lydia came over to watch the Bachelor and I made us this Marinated Goat Cheese with Crostini from Shutterbean, and some Rosemary Roasted Cashews from my friend Gwendolyn. Both recipes are actually from The Barefoot Contessa, love that.
  • Lydia and I also went to meet Aoife & Brad’s new baby Nolan and I brought a small care package of Oh She Glows GF Faves: Banana Bread Muffin Tops and Super Seed Granola, both in OSG Everyday.
  • I haven’t been able to get a good picture of them, but this is my current favourite dinner: Swiss Chard & Mushroom Quesadillas. I’m finding I’m like 75% vegetarian at home (and currently going through another lengthy chicken aversion), so I love when I find a new meatless meal that I love.
  • Here are some of the Planet Byn All-Stars I made this month: Swedish Meatballs, Sloppy Janes, and My Favourite Buttermilk Pancakes for Pancake Tuesday!
  • I was in Florida for the last week of February and picked up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s new non-dairy frozen yogurt (it’s made with almond milk). It was decent except I didn’t finish it due to the fact that we also got pints of Blondie Ambition and Chocolate Cheesecake Core at the same time.
  • Finally, on a bittersweet note, Gastropost came to an end this month. It meant so much to me because it connected me with my first foodie friends! At the very first meet-up they hosted, I met Libby & Carole, my fellow OGs – Original Gastroposters – and we’ve been friends ever since! You can check out a bunch of my posts here, with links to the print editions of National Post my photos appeared in. A few of my favourites: Maple Syrup Tarts (my first mission), Fresh Strawberry Tart (I was the Mission Inspiration for this one), S’mores Ice Cream (the 100th Mission), and of course, thanks to Gastropost, I got to bake cookies for Chuck Hughes!

 Other non-foodie things I was obsessed with this month:

  • I’ve been obsessively watching the Oscars since 1994 when I was in Grade 10 (Pulp Fiction was robbed!), and I love them so much I cannot adequately express my emotions. Every year I say I’m going to see each movie nominated for Best Picture, and I’ve still never done it (made harder since 2009 and the Academy expanded the Best Picture category to include up to 10 nominees). This year was the closest I’ve ever come, and I saw 6/9!!! Kristine and I did really well over the past few months, seeing La La Land, Manchester By The Sea, Lion and Hidden Figures, plus I watched Hell or High Water and Moonlight on demand at home. So close!
  • My new TV obsession is Riverdale on Netflix, and I also got Season 3 of The Americans from the library to watch which is so great. Plus I rushed my girls out of El Caballito last Thursday to get home in time for Season Finale of How To Get Away With Murder, and my jaw literally dropped open in the last 2 minutes. I freaking love that show!
  • When I was in Florida I finally read Wild by Cheryl Strayed (totally motivated by Lorelai Gilmore on this one), It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman (50% great Bachelor gossip, 50% useless advice on break-ups), The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon  (now #3 on my Teen Romance YA Power Rankings after Eleanor & Park and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chung (this may be racial profiling, but I couldn’t help but compare this to Crazy Rich Asians, and it was not as good).

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The New Orleans

Mardi Gras is coming up this Tuesday, so our treat this week is in honour of New Orleans: a pralines and cream ice cream cake. You can see by my picture that I took this in a different direction, so let me first explain what this recipe is supposed to look like.

The recipe as written consists of four homemade components:

  • Classic Pralines
  • Sweet & Salty Caramel Sauce
  • Brown Sugar Praline Ice Cream
  • Graham Crumble

The pralines and caramel sauce are swirled into the ice cream, which is then spread into a springform pan in layers with graham crumble in between.

Because I had no need for a 9″ ice cream cake calling my name from the freezer every day until I ate the whole thing, I cheated a bit in order to scale this recipe down. Instead of making the ice cream, I bought a small carton of Dulce de Leche Häagen-Dazs, which is caramel ice cream that already has a dulce de leche swirl in it. I made a half recipe of the pralines and the graham crumble. Once the ice cream softened a bit sitting at room temperature, I just layered the three components up in my sundae glass until it was full.

Praline Crumbles

The pralines are SUPER sweet, and I think would be nice stirred into vanilla bean ice cream for contrast, because with the dulce de leche ice cream, it was a bit of overkill. I loved the graham layers though, it reminded me of this ice cream dream from a few years ago.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Blood Orange Margaritas

by byn on February 24, 2017

in Cocktails

Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Oranges are the biggest scam of the citrus world since Meyer Lemons. I actually haven’t bought any in years, because I kept excitedly bringing bags of them home, only to cut them open and find they were barely pink inside.

I randomly picked some up last week, and lo and behold they were actually a deep ruby red once I sliced through a couple. Yes, the colour is gorgeous, but don’t try and tell me they have a “berry-like flavour”. Nice try, Galen!

Citrus Scam

Inspired by my friend Weedy’s tropical dinner party last month, I mixed up a Blood Orange Margarita. I have a nice roster of summer cocktails in the archives, so this is a nice option for the winter. I normally don’t get too excited for winter citrus, but this is something I can get on board with, especially on a dreary mid-February afternoon.

Blood Orange Margarita

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients

1/4 cup blood orange juice

3 tbsp tequila

1 1/2 tbsp triple sec

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

+ blood orange slices

Directions

  1. Stir all ingredients together and serve over ice!

 

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7th Blog-iversary!!!!!!!

by byn on February 16, 2017

in General

Seven years of blogging! To be honest, 2016 was not one of my best years, but when I’m stressed/sad I like to channel that energy into doing nice things for other people, usually in the form of baked goods. Let’s take a look back at the past year:

My Favourite 5 Posts of the Last Year:

  1. Apple Cider Caramel Corn + Thanksgiving 2016 – hands down my favourite post of the year. I just loved hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time, and I documented every step of it so I’ll be ready to do it again.
  2. Speckled Easter Egg Cake – I love, love, love the way this cake turned out! It was so pretty and just the epitome of SPRING! A ton of layer cakes actually came out of my kitchen this year, and I loved them all: Turquoise Ombré, Take 5, Strawberry Supreme, Caramel Banana.
  3. S’mores Cupcakes – These were a huge hit at my nephew’s birthday party, and any recipe where I can use my kitchen torch is a bonus.
  4. Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake Pie – My signature summer dessert! I made this twice in two weeks during strawberry season and just loved it.
  5. Buffalo Chicken Nachos – I only blogged a few savoury recipes this year, and even calling these nachos a recipe is a stretch, but they are so, so good!

A few other fun things from this year:

  • I got a few travel posts up, which take me forever, but I love writing (London + Chicago). Danielle was also in town for another epic Toronto Tour of Treats, so that’ll be my next recap.
  • This year also marked the return of the Guest Blogger! My friend Weedy wrote all about her Homemade Bailey’s.
  • My favourite treat of the whole year was a Choux Ball filled with milk chocolate pastry cream from XO Bisous that I somehow need to re-create!

Finally, the traditional recap stats:

Top 5 Most Viewed Posts {from the last year}:

  1. Derby Cookies
  2. Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream
  3. Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake (this is a shame, because I hated it)
  4. Minecraft Birthday Cake 2.0
  5. Strawberry Supreme Cake

Top 5 Most Viewed Posts {from the archives}:

  1. Dinosaur Birthday Cake
  2. School Bus Birthday Cake
  3. Shimmer & Shine Birthday Cake
  4. Chocolate Whoopie Pies
  5. Toffee Bar Crunch Pie (aka Skor Bar Dessert)

No new goals this year, but the same ones that always pop up: have people over for dinner more, actually make things out of the cookbooks I buy instead of letting them gather dust, make more pies (especially now that I know the secret to a good crimp!) and tackle more bread baking projects (English muffins, pita bread, naan, etc).

I’m sure it’ll be another delicious year! Thanks for reading!

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