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hi, I'm ashley.

if you're not listening to 80's music while doing crafts, you're doing it all wrong. oh, and country music while baking. always. *shrugs* that's just how i sees it.  welcome to my adventures in blogtown.

 

mini easter cakes with speckled egg nests

mini easter cakes with speckled egg nests

last year, this was me: what to bring to an easter brunch with my friends who are also online in the food space? I basically needed to be on my a-game and whatever I was bringing I needed to BRING IT.  I was thinking something simple, yet pretty.  at the time, I was obsessed with this blood orange cake recipe by a swedish baker I follow on the gram (I had made the cake for my husband and he said it was hands down his FAVORITE thing I've ever made - that's a bold statement!) so I knew it'd be hit.  the thing I went back and forth most with was the decor.  again, think simple yet pretty.  the nest is what really threw me.  I even tried a few nests out until I settled on a basic coconut macaroon nest, which was not my first choice but it turned out more amazing than I pictured in my head, only because it was a little more crumbly than I expected in getting it out of the muffin tin.  most of the time if something is falling apart it's devastating and I'm super hard on myself (this is ruined - I hate it!) but it accidentally fell together better than I set out for. 

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blood orange mini cakes

(based on the recipe by Linda Lomelino)

ingredients:

1/2 cup butter 

1 container of fage split cup yogurt in blood orange

1 blood orange

2 eggs

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp. all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

zest from 1 blood orange

directions:

preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  grease a full sheet pan (16" x 24" x 3) with parchment paper

melt butter and stir in the split cup adding both the yogurt and the blood orange compote. squeeze the juice of one blood orange. add zest. set aside to cool. 

beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until combined, about 2-3 minutes.

in a medium bowl, mix your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) Gently combine the flour mixture into the egg mixture. add the butter mixture and stir until smooth.

pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

bake for 20 minutes until cake is golden brown on top.  Let cool completely.

using a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut circles out of your cake. recipe yields 3 five layered mini cakes.

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I thought semi-naked with swiss meringue buttercream was a good call because the swiss meringue is not as sweet as regular buttercream, and this cake is very light and airy with a tart sweetness so it was a good pairing. not to mention, the semi-naked look really complimented how rustic the nests turned out to be.  I whipped out my favorite swiss meringue recipe that is my go-to via matchbox kitchen.

I just found a basic coconut macaroon recipe (which is coconut mixed with egg whites) in a greased muffin tin pressing it into the sides.  bake in the oven, let cool. (this is where that magical part came in - I accidentally baked mine a little longer in which they browned and stuck to the pan a little bit more so they were more crumbly and thus rustic looking coming out.)

to make the eggs, I found candy coated eggs in pastel at the grocery store (remember it's easter season so the options are endless) and using edible gold paint, speckled them by flicking them on a checkered cooling rack with a paintbrush. the eggs fit perfectly upright in those square holes!

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welcome to my "test kitchen", y'all.  do you believe me when I tell you that the most tedious part of this recipe was photographing it. that's the truth!

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