Hey everyone!  I’ve been waiting most of my career to share this news with you, and now I finally can.  Guess what?  I am writing my first COOKBOOK!  I can hardly believe it myself.  And now that the news is out there in the real world, I am beyond excited, anxious, thrilled, nervous, etc.  Pretty much feeling all of the feelings right now.

Earlier this year, I started working on a proposal for a book all about…can you guess?  Yes, CAKES.  Well, of course, right?!  I signed with an amazing agent late Spring, and the project got picked up by a FANTASTIC publishing company earlier this summer.  My contract with Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, an imprint of Abrams Books, currently sits on my desk ready to be signed and finalized.  They create the most GORGEOUS books with beautiful images.  I was waiting until every last “t” was crossed and “i” was dotted to let you all know, but I could not wait any longer.

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Wondering where I’ve been lately and why there have not been as many original posts lately?  Well, hopefully this clears up why.  The manuscript and all of the photos (that will be shot and edited by me) are due just after the new year, so I have been busy busy baking away….

I am thrilled to be sharing this news with you all.  It’s still pretty far away, but I can’t wait until you can all have a piece of this blog in your hands. The book is going to a fabulous collection of mouth-watering cake recipes and decorating ideas/techniques.  Another piece of the puzzle that is just unbelievable is that I am photographing it myself!  The cakes will be shot in all natural lighting, using my rustic yet refined, playful yet sophisticated style.

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So, if you like the photos on the blog, enjoy my cake decorating tutorials, and look forward to yummy, innovative recipes, you will love this book.  Or at least I hope so.  It’s been an exciting process so far, and I am so glad you can all now be on this journey with me.  Be sure to follow on Instagram for some behind the scenes!!

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You may find my first press release about the book here on Eater.com

Love you all!
xoxo Tessa

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Hi everyone!  Can you believe it? A BRAND NEW recipe post!!!  I can hardly believe it myself…

It surely has been a CRAZY summer.  I have been working on a major project (details to come soon) and we are still getting settled after out move.  I’ve been super busy freelancing – hence all the shared recipes lately, but I finally have a spankin’ new recipe for you, my lovely, devoted blog readers.

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This late summer Peach Tomato Tart will knock your post-Labor Day socks off.  I know, most of us are already in fall mode.  But while Starbucks is screaming “Pumpkin Spice Latte,” my Whole Foods produce aisle says something differently.  I always believe in cooking with the seasons and do my best to shop local and organic.  Maybe it is just us here in the Pacific Northwest, but we still have an abundance of stone fruit and the most glorious heirloom tomatoes I’ve ever seen.

I’ve heard of peachy tomato jam and peach ketchup before.  Once ripe, they are both perfectly sweet and juicy.  And since a tomato is technically a fruit, the sweet duo should pair nicely with each other.  I kind of make up this recipe as I went, but it turned out fabulous.  Looking for something a bit different? Check it out!

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Peach Tomato Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 9" round raw pie crust
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup peach jam
  • 1-2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1-2 ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • splash of milk
  • sugar in the raw for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place pie crust on a nonstick baking pan or parchment.
  3. Spread the softened cream cheese on top of the crust, leaving a 1 inch border around the edge.
  4. Spoon the peach jam on top of the cream cheese.
  5. Slice the tomatoes and peaches into thin rounds.
  6. Layer the fruit on top of the jam, overlapping to completely cover the surface.
  7. Fold up the crust and pinch to seal.
  8. Dot the top with the butter.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  10. Stir the egg yolk and milk together to make an egg wash.
  11. Removed the tart from the oven, and quickly brush on the egg wash around the edge of the crust.
  12. Sprinkle with sugar and return to the oven.
  13. Continue to bake until the crust is golden brown.
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Hey everyone!  If you noticed or  wondering if I have been a little quiet here on the blog lately, you are not imagining it.  I have been working on a few big projects lately.  The latest?  We are moving!  It might just be across town, but we are moving to our very first home.  Like, we received the keys and are officially home owners!!  It’s not like the 4-bedroom house with a yard that I grew up in, but I have never been soooo proud to own 1,000 square feet in one of the best neighborhoods ever.

My current apartment is packed to the brim in boxes.  I still need to scrub the kitchen and get the carpets cleaned (so excited for hardwood floors in the new place!).  I’ll sure miss the amazing city view of our little 15th-story “box,” but I am very much ready to get out of this building.  We will be living in a gorgeous condo just steps to Stanely Park – just recently ranked the best urban back of North America by Tripadvisor, not to brag or anything.  Remy girl is going to love walks to the park, around the sea wall, and hanging out at English Bay.  Check out the pics on my Instagram.  Can’t wait for this new adventure!!

Bottom line, it will probably continue to be a bit quiet around here until we get settled in.  I’ll try to unpack the kitchen first, promise.  Fingers crossed the oven works!!

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Until then, please enjoy this Apple Zucchini Muffins.  They are perfect for using up the last surplus of summer squash and the first harvest of autumn apples.  And they are fairly healthy-ish!  Topped with a cinnamon oat crumble and a side of sweetened creme fraishe, you’ll be grabbing these for breakfast or on-the-go snacks – or at least that’s how I’ve been enjoying them all week.

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Find the complete recipe over at The Kitchn.

 

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This entire summer, I have been up to my elbows in cake (or rather soapy water and cake-making dirty dishes) for a new project.  It’s been so hot with the oven constantly on and I feel like my brain is a bit fried.

We usually don’t keep a variety of beverages in the house (the fridge is already packed with butter, milk, and eggs), so I’ve been on a homemade lemonade kick lately to cool off.  Just a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice, a few ice cubes, and agave all shaken up in a cocktail shaker.  Add water and voila!  So much better than drinking plain water all day – and if you know me, then you know I’ve always struggled to drink enough water per day.

I like to jazz up my lemonade when I can.  I love adding mint simple syrup, sliced strawberries, and honey.  My favorite?  Adding raspberry puree.  Hello raspberry lemonade!

To give my brain a break from all that cake, I decided to give the ol’ classic lemon bar a twist.  By just replacing some of the lemon juice with raspberry, I came up with these amazing Raspberry Lemonade Bars!

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Head on over to The Kitchn for the full recipe.

AguaFresca2Guys.  I have a confession.  It might just be summer love, but I am completely smitten with a new a treat.  That, my friends is Watermelon Agua Fresca.  So refreshing, hydrating, and delicious.  It actually might be Aguas Frescas or “fresh waters,” so please forgive me.  Regardless of what you call it, start sippin’ these babies before summer runs out.

Agua Fresca can be made in a verity of flavors.  Most summer fruit like melon and pineapple can easily be used, especially those with high water content.  Pretty much all you are going for is blended fruit, water, and sweetened.  My favorite version?  Watermelon Mint.

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For this drink, I’ve blended up some summer watermelon, made a mint simple syrup, and topped it off with some sparkling water.  So next level.  So move over lemonade, and say hello to Watermelon Agua Fresca!

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Ingredients

  • About 6 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups sparkling water
  • 1/4 cup mint simple syrup, or to taste (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup packed fresh mint)

Instructions

  1. Make the simple syrup by placing the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn heat down and simmer until sugar is dissolved and mixture starts to thicken - about 5 minutes. Removed from heat and stir in the fresh mint. Let steep for 15 minutes then strain.
  2. Blend watermelon in a blender or food processor. Blend in batches, if necessary.
  3. Strain through a mesh sieve into a pitcher.
  4. Stir in the cold water and ice cubes.
  5. Stir in cooled simple syrup to taste.
  6. Top each glass with a few tablespoons of sparkling water before serving. Serves about 6-8 glasses.
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I made this cake a couple weeks ago as a going-away cake for some friends.  They are French, yet happen to hate French food – or at least he does.  No cheese.  No fruit or vegetables of any kind.  How can that be?  I can only imagine all the delicious, rich food I would gorge myself with if I ever lived in France.

While he may not be into classic French cuisine, he does love his dessert.  So I guess that is pretty French of him, no?  This cake does no particularly remind me of a fine Parisian gateau, but it is undoubtedly sinful.

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This cake is all things rich, sweet, and decadent.  And with the summer heat, if you are brave enough to turn on your oven, then you definitely deserve a slice.  Moist banana nutella cake is layered with rich chocolate ganache and creamy buttercream.  The same chocolate-hazelnut buttercream is used to ice the cake.  Throw on some toasted hazelnuts for extra crunch and texture, and there you have it!  Don’t forget to serve with the salted caramel sauce – that’s my favorite part.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Place sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Gently stir or swirl to combine.
  3. Heat over medium heat until mixture is amber in color and bubbles "calm down." This should take about 5-8 minutes. Swirl pan occasionally to stir.
  4. Once amber, remove from heat.
  5. While whisking continuously, carefully pour in the cream.
  6. Add int he butter and salt. Whisk until combined.
  7. Pour into a heat-safe container.
  8. Let cool before use.
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Find the entire recipe over on The Cake Blog.

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Be honest.  Who feels like turning on their oven in this summer heat?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  But, that should not deprive you of delicious desserts for the entire season.  Solution?  These No Bake Cheesecake Verrines!  These silky, rich cream cheese custards are paired with a berry gelee, all a top a simple graham cracker crust.

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If you’ve been following the blog, then you know how much I love to pair different flavors together to create new desserts.  Making verrines or trifles are an easy way to do just that.  For this dessert, I’ve taken the compotes of a traditional berry cheesecake to create individual, layered treats.

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Head on over to The Kitchn for the complete recipe!

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All I want to eat around here is fruit.  Juicy, ripe, vibrant fruit.  Watermelon, BC cherries, red berries – you name it.  It is actually HOT here in Vancouver, and summer fruit is the only thing I find refreshing.  Okay, you might be thinking – HOT in Canada?  Oh please.  But hey, this California girl knows a thing about heat, and yes, it is toasty up here.  Like sweat-all-day-while-baking hot.  It is most likely because we don’t have A/C and I bake all day, but still.  Bring on the fruit!

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Okay, okay – maybe I am complaining a bit too much.  I mean, it is absolutely GORGEOUS in this city of ours.  Especially compared to the months and months of rain we usually get.  The sun rises high everyday at about 5am, and we get to enjoy all of its glory until literally 10pm.  Last night, we had a picnic on the beach and watched the sun set over the water.  It was probably the most relaxing and beautiful Tuesday I have had in a long time.

Meanwhile, since I can’t stop baking inside, I will keep eating my fruit and carry on.  We currently have the most gorgeous raspberries up here, and I turned them into a glorious buttercream.  Paired with a citrus-scented cake and vibrant glaze, this Raspberry Blood Orange Cake is bright and fresh.  Perfect for summer.

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Head on over to The Cake Blog for the full recipe!

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After receiving such much awesome feedback from my Watermelon Cake, I was s0 jazzed to come up with another tutorial post for you all, specifically:  How to Ice a Cake: Version 2.0 (The Perfect Ombre).

Let’s be honest, I am not totally up on my party trends these days.  I no longer make wedding cakes on a weekly basis and it has been nearly 4 years(!!!) since I planned my own.  Is ombre still a thing?  I made my first ombre cake years ago, but are people still into it theses day?  I know the trend hit weddings and cakes a while ago, but I’ve even seen it more recently with hair and nails, so perhaps ombre still lives on.

So clearly I might not be ahead of the trends, but I do know what is pretty.  And pretty is this lovely, summery ombre cake.  I still love color gradients and the dreamy transitions from pinks to corals to buttery yellow, and I hope you do to.  Reminds you of sherbet, right?  Creating this ombre effect out of buttercream is probably much easier than you think, and this version of How to Ice a Cake will leave you feeling like a pro.  Using the color palette of your choice, a piping bag, and few other basic cake tools, you will be whipping up ombre masterpieces left and right.

Step 1:  Torte and fill a round layer cake.  Make sure everything is trimmed and even before you start icing.

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Step 2:  Give your cake a nice crumb coat with plain vanilla (white) buttercream.

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Step 3:  Select the color you’d like to end your ombre with.  For me, I just used white.  Place a large dollop of buttercream on top of the cake.

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Step 4:  Using a small off-set spatula, smooth out the buttercream on top of the cake (as you would ice a regular cake).  Don’t be afraid of some of the icing hangs over the edge of the cake – it will help with the ombre blend later.

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Step 5:  Select your color palette.  Tint buttercream about 4 different colors (about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of buttercream for each color).  Feel free to create a gradual color transition or a bold, contrast-y one!

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Step 6:  Place your first color in a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip.  Starting at the bottom, pipe rings of icing around the cake.  Layer in the next color(s) into the piping bag and continue around until you reach the top of the cake.  You may use the same piping bag to help with some of the color transition.  However, if your colors are bold and are becoming too “streaky,” then feel free to use a clean piping bag in between colors.

This step does not have to be perfect.  Since we are only using a little bit of icing in each color, it might be tricky to pipe a smooth line.  Try aiming to get an even amount of buttercream on all sides.  You do not need a ton of icing, but enough so that when we smooth it out, there will not be cake poking thru.

If you created a lot of icing in each color, remember that you do not need to use it all.  If you find yourself halfway up the cake on your first color, you might want to scale back.

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Step 7:  Once all of the colors are on, begin smoothing out the buttercream.  Start by just using an off-set spatula held perpendicular to your turntable.  Remove any excess frosting, but do not worry about getting things perfect just yet.  Be sure to completely clean of your tools between use.

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Step 8:  Take your icing smoother and continue to even out the icing.  Place the smoother lightly on the cake, with the bottom touching the turntable, and rotate the cake around.  Remember to clean your tools between “swipes.”  If there are any holes, carefully add in a bit of icing in that color.

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Step 9:  Carefully smooth out the top edge with an off-set spatula, as you would with icing a regular cake.  Voila!!

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So, how’d ya do?  Not too difficult, right?   The color transition does not have to be perfect (mine wasn’t), but still pretty.  There are so many color options to explore!  All pinks or all blues – or get crazy with a tie-dye of purple, red, and yellow!  What colors will you try first?

TIPS:
–  I HIGHLY recommend using a Swiss or French meringue buttercream.  These types of buttercreams are silky, smooth, and blend beautifully.
–  If you are beginner baker, check out this tutorial on How to Ice a Cake.
–  Not confident about getting such a smooth finish or prefer a more rustic looks?  Try this Watercolor Cake version.
–  Place cake on a cake round before icing – it will make transferring the cake from the turntable to a cake stand much easier.  Hate seeing the round itself?  Try using a cake round that is the same size as your cake instead.  It might be a little trickier to move, but better than nothing.  To move, slip a think off-set spatula underneath the cake, and spin and lift it off.

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Happy (first day of) National Ice Cream Month!!  To celebrate, I’ve gathered some of my favorite ice cream recipes from around the web.

From mouth-watering flavors like Sea Salt & Honey and a Cookie Dough Ice Cream Bombe to non-dairy recipes and those that don’t require churning, you will be set all summer long.

Check out The Best Frozen Treats to Beat the Heat!

by Tessa Lindow Huff at Foodie.com

Remember to head over to Foodie.com for more recipes or to make you own collection! What’s your favorite ice cream for summer?

Post sponsored by Foodie, but collection and opinions are my own.