Two weekends in a row J and I have been to the river.

Of course, I didn’t bring my camera to take pictures because J didn’t think it was safe to bring valuables into the canoe with us. He’s a smart man… so you can blame him for the lack of photographs.

This leaves the score: summer fun: 2 :: blog: 0


+ covet: Tree of Life litho print

+ make: sign up for DIY Dress Up (an e-sewing course) via A Beautiful Mess

+ blog: Design Darling


I took this video a while ago from the back of my lover’s motorcycle on the most perfect summer night. It’s pretty low quality considering the camera is a tiny point and shoot, but I kind of really loved that aspect.

This is a work in progress; I want to go out and take some more footage and edit it a bit more. I was simply proud of myself for having made a short film and I’m obscenely technologically challenged.


Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake

I recently celebrated my brother’s 24th birthday and my parents 28th wedding anniversary.

This Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake, featured in Bon Appétit‘s June Issue, seemed the perfect compliment to such a sweet occasion.

Of course I had to change the recipe a little bit, since my brother is allergic to wheat products and he prefers blackberries. I will share my revised recipe here, but the link above is for the original.

Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake

Yields 10 to 12 servings (but I think you can get more mileage out of it because it’s so rich)



  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour*
  • 1.75 cups sugar
  • 0.75 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 0.75 cup buttermilk
  • 0.75 cup vegetable oil*
  • 3 large eggs


  • 18 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cocoa), chopped*
  • 2.25 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 table spoons seedless raspberry jam, stirred to loosen, divided*
  • 2 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries*
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

* Because of my brother’s wheat allergy I used 1.75 cups of Spelt flour and 0.25 cup of Rice flour (the spelt is really dense and the rice flour helps lighten the consistency); we were fresh out of vegetable oil, so I melted down some margarine instead. I couldn’t find bittersweet chocolate without almonds or whatever else in it, so I used dark chocolate and instead of the fresh raspberries and jam, I used fresh-picked blackberries and marionberry jam.



  1. Position racks in top and bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F.
  2. Coat two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high-sides with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; spray rounds. (You don’t have to do this step, my cakes didn’t stick too bad and came out pretty flat and lovely from the oven.)
  3. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; mix together.
  4. Whisk water, buttermilk, oil and eggs into dry ingredients.
  5. Divide cake batter between prepared pans (about 3 cups each–it really did help to measure this out to insure cakes were even.)
  6. Bake cakes for 30 minutes. You will know cakes are done when the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. If the cakes do form domes place a kitchen towel atop the cake and gently press with palm of hand to level. These can be made up to a day ahead of time.
  8. Cool completely in pans on cooling racks.


  1. Place chopped chocolate in medium bowl.
  2. Bring cream just to boil in heavy medium saucepan.
  3. Pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute then stir until ganache is melted and smooth.
  4. Transfer 1.25 cups ganache to small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ganache is thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. (TIP: I put the ganache in the fridge for an hour and it still hadn’t set, so I put it in the freezer and it set up faster. I would also put more of the ganache in the freezer than the recipe calls for because I found it a bit easier to work with in it’s frosting-like consistency than the messy-liquid ganache.)
  5. Let remaining ganache stand at room temperature to cool until barely lukewarm.


  1. Release cakes from pans by carefully running knife around edges.
  2. Place 1 cake layer onto desired serving dish.
  3. Spread 3 tablespoons jam over top–make sure you loosen beforehand!
  4. Spoon dollops of chilled ganache over, the spread evenly.
  5. Invert second cake layer and carefully place onto frosted cake layer.
  6. Spread remaining 3 tablespoons raspberry jam over top of second cake layer.
  7. Pour half of barely lukewarm ganache over cake, spreading over sides to cover. Freeze until ganache sets, about 30 minutes. (TIP: it’s okay if the ganache doesn’t cover the sides at this point. When it freezes, the pools of ganache at the bottom can be scrapped up and spread over the sides of the cake, because of the frosting-like consistency.)
  8. Pour remaining ganache over cake, allowing to drip down sides and spreading over side if needed for even coverage and to smooth edges. Freeze to set ganache, about 30 minutes.
  9. Arrange berries in concentric circles atop cake; sift powdered sugar lightly over top and serve. (TIP: Berries will NOT stay in place, so if you’re planning on bringing this somewhere, assemble right before serving.)

The cake received great reviews, many said that it was rich, but the fresh fruit helped cut some of the richness. I personally found the actual cake part to be a bit underwhelming, it wasn’t particularly moist but that could have been because I was using spelt/rice flour.

Unfortunately I did not have an opportunity to photograph the cake, I was lucky to even get a piece before it disappeared, but it was quite beautiful. It was a lot of work, but for a big occasion, it was worth it.

Bon appétit!

Today starts off “Insect Week” at camp. I normally try to do crafts with the kiddies that corresponds with the theme, but I’m not a big bug-lover.

Fortunately! I found these sweet little origami butterflies on Etsy

Origami Butterflies in Shades of Yellow

Which inspired me to make some butterfly mobiles with the little ones. Photos to come later of how the project turns out.

Yesterday I was so busy having a fabulous day, that there simply weren’t enough hours in the day for me to blog about it.

After being apart for about a month, two of my lovely friends decided to come visit Portland for the weekend. Along with beau in tow, we met at a delectable gem, Navarre on NE Burnside.

It’s quite a small venue, as well as the plates, but the atmosphere is really quite nice. The food was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so adventurous with my palate as I was last night. The theme yesterday was of the Catalonia region in Spain; all the specials revolved around that region, while the regulars on the menu were tired and true favourites.

Our first endeavor was the wine. I’m pretty big on white, but my lover is best friends with Shiraz–or ‘tree bark’ as I fondly refer to it. We decided we would try a white wine though, originating from the San Juan Islands up in Washington; where my lover’s father resides. We both had never seen any wine from the area, and decided to be adventurous. Oh. My. Goodness. Probably just the best wine selection ever, in which we both agreed (!). We’re going up to the San Juans in August and plan on returning with a bounty of this wine.

The bread course arrived next, with a earthy, peppery and almost smoky kind of d’huile d’olive, which pared very nicely with our wine. Then our first plates came out and I enjoyed a tapas of fat sugar snap peas with fennel fronds and lemon zest, trying some of my lover’s rabbit in garlic sauce with  (which was really quite good) and some of my friend’s terrine.

We were quite full after our second round of mini meals. The beauty of the restaurant is that because they serve only tapas, you can get a few and try many different things, but still feel like you’ve eaten because of the richness of the food.

For more information check out their blog.

Next we headed to East Burn where Boy and Bean were performing lending a cool vibe to the atmosphere.

It’s a fun place to go with a group plus their Trinity Fries are good. However the best part about them is their Roasted Tomato Aioli.  YUM.

I highly recommend both places for a fabulous night out.


Sorry for not posting the last few days. I was on a last-minute planned adventure out to Bagby Hot Springs and Smith Rock.

Bagby Hot Springs actually really surprised me. I was expecting to sit in a hole in the ground with a bunch of naked old hippies. Contrary to my prediction, the hot springs at Bagby were pretty elaborate in their set up. There was a string of private rooms that the water was channeled to via carved, wooden “pipes” that you could adjust the water flow to your tub. Then there were four “communal” tubs, three of which looked like those log flume carts that Disney mimics on their Splash Mountain ride, and the ‘Backyard Brewery’ big tub that take 45 minutes to fill when empty.

This is the big tub… but obviously not me. Oregon Hot Springs has a great website describing in detail the different locations to find great springs. Click on the image for more information.

To get there we hiked in 1.4 miles, and it was a really pleasant trail with beautiful foliage and views of the Collawash river. There were several spots with little falls, and the blue of the river was GORGEOUS!

After spending a few hours in the springs, we hiked back to the car and drove out to Smith Rock for some rock climbing.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to climb but the hike we went on, up to see Monkey Face rock, could have very well passed as rock climbing. Only 0.75 miles (one-way), the Misery Ridge Trail is the most difficult out of all the trails at the Smith Rock State Park. Of course, if the name doesn’t give it away, the pictures will.

This is the the trail, going back down. Killer on the joints and quite scary if you slip.

After our hike we camped at Smith Rock State Park, which was pretty full, but a really nice camping area. (Which means it really is nice, since I’m really not an out-doors kind of girl.)

On our journey back home we witnessed some really beautiful landscapes. It’s funny how everyone is complaining about the weather being so wet and rainy in June, but it was pretty cool to see the mountain tops all covered in snow at this time of year.