Olive Oil Cake


Unhelpful Recipes: Summery Italian Olive Oil Cake

I have something of a reputation for being bossy in the kitchen. I can’t help it! I can’t bear to know that something isn’t going to turn out the way I want it (due to someone else’s help…because goodness knows most of my attempts are disasters anyways). I guess I’d just rather it be my fault if things go south.

When I’m visiting friends and family, most are happy to stand aside and let me take over. This was the case last weekend when I was visiting a family member who happened to be celebrating his birthday. Obvi, this was my time to shine.

Being a hot, beautiful August weekend, I wanted a recipe that screamed summer. I came across this delicious recipe for Italian Olive Oil Cake and, after drooling all over my keyboard, I knew it was a winner.

If you remember some of my previous birthday cake attempts, you’ll recall I really struggle with editing. When I saw that this cake included so many components (whipped mascarpone cream, lemon curd, and a lemon berry sauce) I knew I’d found a recipe after my own heart. 


The place I was staying obviously doesn’t share my obsession with excessive accumulation of kitchen baking and cooking tools, so I had to McGyver a few times to make do. There weren’t any major compromises; for example, I baked the cake in a skillet instead of a spring form pan.


If you haven’t tried olive oil cake, get on it. Stat.


Like I said, compromises were made.

I’ve been experimenting with various curd recipes over the years and here’s what I’ve learned: a yolks-only curd is better than using whole eggs, real lemons are a MUST, and ALWAYS lick the spatula.


Here’s where I got to embrace the excess.



The best part about this cake is the LAYERS. Cake, curd, cream, berries and repeat! Am I alone in wanting to eat cake for all meals of the day? Imagine tossing aside the granola and eating cake for breakfast? (I’m talking more than just muffins and pancakes, folks.)


This cake was so good. It was seriously a challenge not to sneak bites of it during the whole visit.

What could you just eat for breakfast, lunch, and supper?


Annapolis Royal


That Time I Fell in Love (with Annapolis Royal)

I’m so lucky to have friends who live in the beautiful Annapolis Valley. I love going to visit them and getting to explore the area. If you haven’t been, it’s GORGEOUS.



This visit allowed for a Saturday trip to Annapolis Royal to check out their bustling farmer’s market and take in a few other local sites.

Maybe it’s because it was a sunny, bright day. Maybe it’s because of the happy faces that filled the downtown. Or, maybe it’s because of the beautiful ocean views. I just have to say, that town is BEYOND charming.


On a stroll down George street, we encountered a friendly tour guide who welcomed visitors in for a free tour of Sinclair Inn Museum, one of the oldest wooden structures in Canada.


I’m a sucker for local history and I get especially weak in the knees for historic interiors. I’m particularly fond of tin ceilings. They’re always so intricate and interesting. Way better than the stucco in the house I grew up with.

Tin Ceilings


Annapolis Royal has a lovely short waterfront trail that features a few beautiful exhibits of public art.


“Maudified” House! As an homage to Maud Lewis. How great is that?

When we needed to cool off from the heat, a stop at Sissiboo Coffee Roasters was just the ticket. I swapped my normal order of iced coffee for a cold Italian soda made with fresh lemon and local strawberry syrup. SO delicious.  (Also, the decor was a dream…and, you guessed it, TIN CEILING!)


Possibly the most interesting new information I came away from the trip with, was a lesson about Rose Fortune. She is an important figure in Canadian history amongst Black Nova Scotians and women! She was a business owner and something of a first female police officer in Canada. Very cool.


What local travelling are you doing this summer?


The Floatation Centre Halitrax


Totes Floats

I’m a water girl. For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than going for a dip in a lake on a hot day. I love just stretching out in the water, letting my stress drift away – it’s just divine.

When The Floatation Centre opened up here in town, I have to admit, it piqued my curiosity. I wondered if it was possible to take my much-beloved outdoor floating and actually increase the relaxation factor.

I perused the website and found the claims regarding the benefits of this type of floating to be very intriguing. I’m always open to new ways of relaxing – especially since my ticklishness keeps me from ever *truly* enjoying a massage – so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

As soon as I entered the Centre, I just fell in love with the ambience. It’s fresh and bright but with the soothing aesthetic of all things nautical. (I’m a total sucker for nautical decor.)
The Floatation Centre Nautical Decor

The float experience itself was super spa-like. The shower and tank are basked in a soothing purple aura. I have to admit, I had some trepidation about getting into the tank. I had made the (unintended) mistake of hearing Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe story, Float Tank, only a few months earlier. Heed my warning: listen to the podcast AFTER you have completed your float. Just kidding. This ain’t no make-shift tub at the back of a record store.

Once it was demonstrated that the float chamber’s door doesn’t lock, and I could even prop it open if needed, I was totally able to chill and relax.

The Floatation Centre Breathe

The water inside the chamber is warm and welcoming. You can still see the purple glow the first few minutes as you acclimate to the chamber. Once I was able to lie back and close my eyes, it was just surreal! I overheard one women describing it as “floating in outer space” and I think that’s an apt description.

Once enveloped in total darkness and quiet, I felt slightly disoriented. I let myself bump my fingers from side to side in the chamber to get my bearings again. And then…I just floated.

Apparently some people are able to fall asleep during their floats. I didn’t this time but wouldn’t mind if it happened during a future float.

After the 75 minute soak has ended, you’re gently lured back to reality with music. I emerged feeling dreamy and calm.

The Floatation Centre Pyrex.JPG

There’s a sweet little area for tea and journalling following a float. I didn’t have time to stick around but give mad props to the vintage Pyrex mugs.

If you’re debating trying a float for yourself, I definitely recommend giving it a try. It was a very calming experience and I’ll definitely be back again soon.



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