blood orange loaf & blood orange glaze

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Oh hey there!  If you've been following along with my instagram, then you'll undoubtedly know that I've been OBSESSED with blood oranges lately.  It started with a bit of fomo from all of the gorgeous recipes I had seen popping up all around me, and I'm so glad I went out and got some for myself.  Blood oranges are so stunning, and really bring your average citrus loaf up a level with the colour factor.

There's a ton of zest in the loaf, and I used the juice to make the beautiful and naturally pink glaze!  I always love when food is naturally colourful, and this glaze especially made me so so happy.  I love how no-fuss loaves like this tend to be, just straightforward citrus flavour, and the result is so divine.


blood orange loaf

yields: one 9x5 loaf
adapted from: Jean Pare - Company's Coming lemon loaf

ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

zest of one blood orange

directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5 loaf pan, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix until completely incorporated.  Slowly mix in milk on low speed.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and zest of a blood orange.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined. 

Pour batter into greased loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top of the loaf gently springs back when pressed.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the loaf pan.

Prepare blood orange glaze (recipe below), and drizzle over loaf.  Add orange slices on top for garnish if desired.  Best served the best day, but will keep for several days in an airtight container.  

blood orange glaze

ingredients

3 tablespoons of blood orange juice

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup icing sugar (more if needed)

directions

In a small bowl, mix together the juice from one blood orange, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and half a cup of icing sugar.  Adjust icing sugar as needed.  The glaze should slowly flow, but not be too runny.  


gluten free brownies (made with coconut flour)

Hey friends!  I have an extra special recipe for you to today.  I know there are so many people who are gluten free out there, and I don't have a ton of experience in that area of baking.  I'm hoping to fix that, and have a list of my favourite baked goods that I hope to adapt into a gluten free version.

I thought brownies would be a darn good place to start.  Gooey, chocolatey goodness.  They're pretty difficult to screw up.  I know that a lot of people have opinion on what the perfect brownie structure is....and whether there are nuts involved, or chocolate chips added.  All I can say is these are perfection to me, and a great base if you want to go crazy and add in something extra.

I used coconut flour for this recipe, and it did give the brownies a slight (but not overwhelming) coconut flavour.  This flour is also SUPER absorbent, so you use a lot less than you normally would for a recipe involving all-purpose flour.


gluten free brownies with coconut flour

recipe: kelsey siemens
yields: one 9x13 pan

ingredients

1 cup butter, melted

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

3/4 cup coconut flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp salt

optional for topping:

flaked salt

powdered sugar

directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  You may want to line the whole thing, or simply the bottom with parchment paper as well if you want to remove the entire thing.  I often leave and store in the pan with plastic wrap over top.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together coconut flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Gradually add in flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing on low speed.  Mix until just moist, and no flour traces are left.  Be sure to use a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving.  Sprinkle with flaked salt, and/or powdered sugar.  I love how the salt complements chocolate so well, so don't be afraid to try it!

These are best served warm (and with ice cream).  These will keep for several days in an airtight container, and they also freeze well - just be sure to cut before freezing.


Happy Brownie baking!

a peachy pink vanilla layer cake - #amyandkelsadventures

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This might just be my favourite blog post of the new year!  Mostly because it's over the top, and made all of my pink cake and floral dreams come true.  Amy (from Constellation Inspiration) and I are celebrating our 2 year friendiversary today!  It's crazy to me, since it feels like we've been friends for so much longer than that.

All of our adventures in case you missed them....and there are more on her blog!

How we met (Lavender macarons & Earl Grey Cake)

Our first cake meltdown (hand-dipped animal crackers and a carnival cake)

A farm adventure (a dessert table in the orchard)

Our 1st friendiversary (4 cake craziness)

a birthday cake for amy

I love this girl, and so appreciate having a crazy blogger friend who "gets" me. 

"Oh, you want to wait 10 minutes before eating breakfast to take a million pictures of our crepes and coffees too?  Great!  And you also spend your weekends buying 100lbs of butter, baking cakes, destroying your kitchen, and washing thousands of dishes?  Same!" 

Ha!  It really is a gift to have someone to bounce ideas off of, rant to, and of course, dream up incredible spreads with.

We are also so so lucky to have been able to work with Kari from Confetti Floral on this!  She's an Abbotsford local, and has a shop less than a 5 minute walk from me.  Her style is so dreamy and effortless, and she puts in so much care and detail to everything she does.  She even did the flowers for my sister's wedding in Summer!  I reached out to see if she wanted to collab with us on a subtle Valentine's day shoot, and was over the moon when she said yes.  

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So let's talk about this cake.  Amy has the recipe over on her blog....so pop over and grab it!  Amy made a divine vanilla cake from Tessa (aka Queen of Cake).  I whipped up a swiss meringue butter cream to pair with it, and we added freeze dried strawberry powder for taste and a natural pinky peach colour.  So lovely.  We had the hardest time deciding which florals to place on top, but we managed. Ha!  I also had brought a few macarons as well, and can't get enough of how cute the mini ones are.

We used a bench scraper to frost the cake, and applied a few thin layers of icing, gently turning the cake and using the bench scraper to smooth the sides each time.  The look we were going for was "almost naked".  You can still see a bit of the cake peeking through, and the icing isn't super thick.  If you choose this method, then you will likely have a bit of icing left over from the recipe below.  I like to store extra icing in the fridge for a few days, or even pop it in the freezer until I need it!  And I know that swiss meringue can be kind of intimidating if you've never made it before.  Heck...it's still intimidating to me!  Tessa from Style Sweet Ca has a wonderful post on everything you need to know, as well as troubleshooting.  I always have trouble with getting my meringue to set up nicely if it's pouring rain outside, so that's a bummer, but I also know that if it's raining to choose a simple butter cream instead.  


strawberry swiss meringue butter cream

base recipe from: Tessa at Style Sweet Ca
yields: about 3 1/2 cups - enough to frost a three layer 6 inch cake- more generously than we frosted ours (double for a three layer 8 inch cake)

ingredients:

1/2 cup egg whites (3 to 4 large eggs)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cubed and must be at room temperature 

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons freeze dried strawberry powder

directions:

Prepare a double boiler.  Fill a medium-large sauce pan with a few inches of water, and bring to a very gentle boil.  In a metal mixing bowl, add egg whites and sugar, and whisk together until combined.  Place mixing bowl over the simmering water.  Whisk the egg white mixture as you heat, and bring to 155-160 degrees F so that the egg whites are pasteurized and the sugar will have completely dissolved.

Remove from heat and whisk mixture for about 8 minutes.  You're looking for a room temperature mixture that has whipped up into shiny, medium stiff peaks.  Swap the whisk for a paddle attachment (or normal beaters if using a hand mixer), and mix in butter on low, just a couple tablespoons at a time.  Wait for each addition to completely mix in before adding more butter.  Once all the butter has been added, turn mixer up to medium, add in vanilla and strawberrypowder, and mix until the icing is nice and smooth.  This should also knock out air bubbles, so don't bump up your speed to high!

Frost cake as desired.


floral arrangement: Confetti Floral // cake and table styling: Amy from Constellation Inspiration & myself

one bowl chocolate sheet cake with chocolate butter cream

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Oh hey there!  Now I know that sometimes you don't want to fuss with layered cakes (most of the time probably...), and you definitely don't want to fuss with a million dirty dishes and complicated instructions.  I know this.  You know this.  Everyone knows this.

So here's the solution.  A no-fuss, one bowl, sheet cake.  It's the easiest cake in the world, and turns out perfectly every time.  It's actually the first cake that I learned how to bake by myself, and always my go-to cake for any occasion.  It's not heavy, and it's always moist.  Seriously the best, and so so fast to whip up.  Pair that with the ease of a sheet cake, and this makes for a perfect, no stress dessert time.

Oh...and also, I put heart sprinkle on it because it's February.  But you do you. Ha!

This is the cake I use for 99% of the layered cakes I make, and then I play around with icing flavours.  I hadn't made a sheet cake in forever, and I have to say....why haven't I been doing this more?!  Very little effort for a very big pay off.  I'm thinking you'll be seeing a few more sheet cakes from me in the future!


one bowl chocolate sheet cake

(adapted from Our Treasured Recipes by Central Heights MB Church)

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 TBSP vanilla extract

2 TBSP vinegar

3/4 cup oil 

2 cups warm water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 sheet pan and set aside.

Mix together all dry ingredients; then pour all wet ingredients over top and mix until moist.  That's it!

Pour batter into 9x13 pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes for cake, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes, and then gently invert it onto the cooling rack. (*I often tip it onto a cookie sheet, and then flip back onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then slide the parchment off the cookie sheet with the cake on it onto the cooling rack since it can be hard to handle without breaking).

Allow to cool completely before icing.  Add sprinkles, topping as desired.  Pop iced cake in the fridge 15 minutes before cutting for a clean cut.

Store in an airtight container.  Freezes very well.


chocolate butter cream

yields: icing for one 9x13 cake

ingredients:

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups icing sugar

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla

2-4 tablespoons cream

directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together butter and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Mix in melted chocolate, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of cream, and beat on medium until nice and smooth.  You want the icing to be light and easily spreadable.  Add additional cream if needed.

*Make this icing directly before icing cake.  You can keep in the fridge as well, but it will need to be very carefully warmed up before using again, as butter and chocolate within the icing will have helped the icing set firm.


Happy sheet cake baking!

-Kelsey