How to Host a Vintage Tea Party…in a Corporate Conference Room?!

One of my office’s amazing former intern-turned-staff members graduated from her Master’s this spring. We knew we HAD to do something special to make the occasion for her, but we also had to balance a particularly busy and high-stress work period. We regularly go out for lunch as an office but my co-workers and I wanted to try something more fun than the usual.

You know I’m always down with something vintage-inspired and our current intern is also keen to embrace the quirky and historical so we were in quick agreement to plan a vintage tea-party right here in the office.

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Fortunately, my collection of vintage goodies is plentiful so I was able to supply a few pieces that I knew would be easy to bring in to work.

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Can you spot the vintage goodness? There’s milkglass, FireKing, and a gorgeous Yugoslavian enamelware teapot – not to mention the teacups!

And yeah, I know it’s not vintage, but I just adore my Cath Kidston tablecloth.

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For simplicity’s sake we used some cute little paper plates and napkins from the dollar store but made sure the colours coordinated with the vintage teacups and whatnot.

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The teacups were filled with puffs of cotton candy to add to the whimsy of the tea party.

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We served candy, raspberries, and some delicious President’s Choice gluten free strawberry cake.

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We went “local” with the tea and served two choices from the World Tea House and the ever-charming Sense and SensibiliTEA.

Plus, doilies. Obvi.

If we can transform a boring old conference room into a whimsical, sweet vintage tea-party, anyone can! What’s your favourite vintage accessory?

~@halitrax

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. 

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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.

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

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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.

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Here’s where I got to embrace the excess.

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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.)

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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?

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Unhelpful Recipes: Penis Cake or How to Make a Penis Cake When it Turns Out You’re Actually Kind of a Prude

My dear friend had a birthday this weekend and I, wanting to help out with any party planning, offered to bake the cake.

We knew the cake should be something kind of quirky and fun (much like the birthday girl) so, when someone suggested a penis cake, I committed to making it happen.

My problems with the phallic dessert popped up right off the bat (OMG there is going to be so much unintentional wordplay in this post). I couldn’t decide whether to go with a tray of mini penes, which I had tackled in the past, or if I should go with one large, party-sized wang.

I mean, logistically, without a dedicated penis pan, it was going to be troublesome; not because I couldn’t figure out the various shapes and whatnot, but because the more time I spent thinking about the details, the tackier and trashier I felt it was becoming.

I made the mistake of googling some example dick cakes and, while impressive, it’s hard to find fondant foreskins, sugary veins, and chocolate sprinkle pubic hair all that appetizing.

So instead, I went with a more subtle nod to the junk, rather than a fully erect birthday surprise. I decided to do a play on the part of a man’s junk that has the most room for humour: his nuts.

Double Layer (Pea)Nut Cake with Chocolate Penis Topping

I found a recipe for a peanut butter cake in grandmother’s well-worn Betty Crocker cookbook. I liked the idea of the juxtaposition of something naughty coming from the picture of 1950’s female oppression. Imagine the impropriety of a well-respected housewife baking something so titillating! Goodness!

The recipe made two 9″ cakes, which were perfect for stacking.

Once baked and cooled, I spread a peanutty layer in between the two cakes and stacked them matrimonially one upon the other.

Next I draped the whole thing in a liberal spread of chocolate buttercream.

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Here’s where the real penis element came in.

In a double boiler, I melted a few squares of dark baker’s chocolate. Then, on a sheet of parchment, I drizzled a few dicks as well as some well wishes for the lady of the hour.

I thought “Go Nuts Chloe” was an apt expression to adorn the cake.

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Once the chocolate was set, I took the best pieces and placed them on the top.

The one penis though…I knew it wouldn’t be quite enough. So, with a little more peanut butter use as glue, I attached the rest.

I really like how the chocolate remained still enough to protrude off the cake in such an erect fashion. I think it really got the point across in a sweet, subtle, and hilarious way.

What do you think? Classy, right?

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