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archive for cake

of backpacks, birthdays, and berries

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Recipe: huckleberry chantilly cake

This past weekend we ventured out into the Colorado high country with Neva for her very first backpacking trip. Even though Jeremy and I have been backpacking together for 21 years, it was a bigger deal for us than it was for her. Do we bring a toy? We should probably pack a towel in case she goes swimming or gets filthy. Be sure to pack the poop bags and poop bottle… Don’t forget the halti collar. We did attempt to strap a dog pack on her at home so she could get used to wearing one and perhaps carry some of her own things. But Kaweah’s old packs – cinched to the tightest setting – practically slid off of Neva who is not only smaller and skinnier, but still a puppy. So it really felt like a hike to Neva since we were the ones carrying the packs and all of her accessories.

jeremy escorts little miss neva up the trail

taking the footbridge across the stream

fireweed turning a brilliant red

our camp just below the continental divide

Once we settled on a place to set up camp, we strung some utility cord between two trees (camp required that we at least be near krumholtz), slapped a carabiner on it, and tethered Neva to the run with her leash. It was the only way we could get anything done before dark. She immediately wrapped herself around one tree, and then the other tree. She wrapped the leash around herself in four different ways. Eventually, Neva just ran back and forth sniffing and playing with sticks. Neva was supercharged with no signs of letting up. At dusk, we could hear elk bugling in the valley to our north. By the time it was dark, we brought the pup into the tent for the night. She marched right to the foot of the tent and curled up into a little ball on our sleeping bags, falling sound asleep.

jeremy reads the map while the milky way adorns the night sky

predawn color on the horizon and twilight reflected on the lake

neva on her tether while we pack up camp

on the way out, we stopped to sample a few of the ripe huckleberries and whortleberries

lots of pretty cascades

Overall, Neva did well on the backpack and seemed to enjoy everything except the halti collar and the lack of sweet sweet freedom. Once home, she slept for a long time. Being an adventure pup is hard work! While she slept, we unpacked and sorted our gear. “So what would you like for dinner on your birthday?” I asked Jeremy. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to tell me what he really likes because he doesn’t want to put me to any trouble. That and I think Jeremy draws a blank when you ask him things like, “What’s your favorite food?” or “What movie should we rent?” Eventually he muttered something like steak or salmon – just something simple. I can do simple. In my culture (or maybe it’s just my family?) it’s bad luck to celebrate birthdays early, so I planned for a special Monday dinner. We started with things I know he loves, brie and fig jam, Kumamoto oysters with bubbles. For dinner, we kept it simple: grilled ribeye steaks topped with chanterelles sautéed in butter and garlic and a side of local corn and zucchini.

oysters and bubbles

And then there was dessert. Over the summer, whenever my parents had us to their place for dinner, I would be tasked with bringing dessert since I do those things. On occasion, I came up short on time and went to the local Whole Foods to pick up one of those mini 4-inch cakes. My favorites were the little boozy adult cakes (adult because of the booze, not because they were “adult” cakes) like the sidecar or the daiquiri. As I walked toward the cake counter, a young woman was scooping cake into little cups for people to sample. I usually ignore the samples, but I heard her say “peach chantilly cake” and I turned on my heel to get a taste. Lovely, light, fruity – it has a mascarpone frosting instead of the usual buttercream. This would be great with huckleberries or any berry.

So I found a copycat recipe online and went from there. Here’s the thing. I hated the cake part. The frosting was great, the fruity part was great, but the cake was heavy, oily, coarse crumbed. Everyone who ate it said it was good, but I felt the texture was wrong and the flavor was mediocre at best. For Jeremy’s birthday cake, I replaced the cake component with my go-to chiffon cake – spongy, soft, light, yet durable – and the result was perfection. The recipe I give at the bottom of the post has my chiffon cake instead of the original cake, but the photos in this post are of the original cake recipe. If you want photos of the chiffon cake process, you can reference this post sans lemon juice.

sugar, flour, vanilla, vinegar, butter, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coconut oil, milk, buttermilk, eggs

whisk the dry ingredients together

add milk, buttermilk, vanilla, and vinegar to the eggs

stir in the melted butter and coconut oil

**Jump for more butter**

little dog

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Recipe: lemon poppy seed cake

Driving from Nederland to Crested Butte last Sunday, we made a quick stop at Copper Mountain to let the puppy out for a potty break. As I recorded the time of her pee on my phone, I noticed the date – July 12. Ten years ago on July 12th, we arrived in the mountains of Colorado and moved into our very first home. It is, without a doubt, one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

colorado, you are a part of me

hiking the lush banks of clinton reservoir

neva gets a swim

yet another stunning sunset in crested butte

wildflowers showing off their stuff

Sorting through my photo files, I found my earliest pictures of Neva when she was 6 weeks old. She has changed so much in these past weeks. We don’t notice it because we are with her every day, but friends who see her once a week or every 2 weeks do comment on her growth. She’s still a puppy, but she now resembles a little dog rather than the soft, chubby, clumsy, wee pup we brought home in May. Do I miss that bundle of sharp toothy cuteness? Maybe a little, but we are really loving the dog that Neva is becoming.

introducing neva to stand up paddle boarding

getting used to being on the water

much easier to paddle without a puppy running up and down the board

In addition to her SUP adventures, Neva continues her hiking training. Ultimately, we want to be able to hike, backpack, and trail run with her – but we can’t start running Neva until she has stopped growing (at about a year old) because it can damage her development. So hiking it is! We’ve been careful to increase the distance and elevation gain of her hikes gradually, and she’s doing great. She’ll be a strong little girl come winter (our thoughts are always on winter).

hiking up steep and rocky trails like a boss

at 12,200 feet – her highest elevation to date

obligatory selfie with puppy kisses

As Neva makes her way toward doghood, my forays into the kitchen have increased. I’ve even been able to bake a couple of times, although I’m not sure when I’ll get back to shooting recipes. All of the recipes you have seen here since the puppy arrived were shot BEFORE the puppy arrived, including today’s recipe for this bright lemon poppy seed cake. It’s great for breakfast, brunch, tea, or dessert. Do keep in mind that consuming poppy seeds can result in a false positive for heroine use (in case you have to take a drug test).

lemons, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, coconut oil, sour cream, eggs, baking soda, salt, butter, poppy seeds

zest and juice the lemons

prepped ingredients

**Jump for more butter**

rejoice in spring

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Recipe: lemon heaven cake

Happy first day of spring, northern hemispherers! Even though the past few days have felt rather springish to us – lots of sun, dust on crust, hardpack, mud, warmer temperatures, snowmelt – we have come to embrace the passing of the baton from winter to spring in Crested Butte. We had a most excellent winter, but I think I’m experiencing a little bit of spring fever. Crested Butte remains mostly covered in a blanket of white, but it’s a happy blanket under a sun that climbs higher in the sky each day. The tops of some trail signs are beginning to emerge, jogging our memories of summer hikes, rides, and trail runs. The little birds have returned to the mountains, filling the air with song and my heart with joy. I feel so energized!

skiing mount crested butte

nordic skiing from middle earth to mordor

kaweah likes the smells of springtime

the beautiful little town of crested butte

Ski-wise, I have only just made the transition to spring. Food-wise, I have been in spring mode for a couple of weeks. There was a bag of lemons demanding to be turned into something wonderful, so I obliged and made a four-layer lemon chiffon cake with lemon curd, lemon buttercream frosting, and limoncello soaking syrup. I’ve made it several times before, but never blogged it. I shared most of the cake with my neighbors and some friends, saving a few slices for Jeremy when he returned from work travel. Nichole dubbed it Lemon Heaven, which I thought was the perfect name.

lemon curd: lemons, eggs, sugar, salt, cream, butter

cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, salt, butter, eggs

pour the cream and lemon juice into the sugar, salt, and butter

**Jump for more butter**