Category Archives: Baking

Back to November

November, the gateway into the holiday season, is a special time for many. November is also a reminder that physical time is passing quickly and that the turn of a new year is swiftly approaching. The leaves falling to the ground in order for new ones to grow externalizes the changes in our bodies and lives in order to start anew. I just love how that works.

November also holds personal significance for me, a spring to the winter of my life’s journey. Six years ago on a cool, autumn morning in Santa Monica, CA I married my husband. What felt like years in the making was only the inception of a love and life that has brought us literally around the world and back again to be together. Exactly one year later, to the day, my dad passed away suddenly. His passing, furthermore on my one-year wedding anniversary, has been much of the inspiration of my introspection to find significance, not sorrow. I have to say, I never felt robbed by the fact that the two events would eventually be remembered as one, November 7. It’s no wonder to me that the Lord allowed my two favorite men, my past and my future, to be remembered on one special day. And when the year gets long, my heart gets heavy and my memories begin to fade, time always takes me back to November again.

Succulent-Pumpkin Wreath

This time of year is my favorite for DIY projects. It’s also a great time to forage pieces of nature that have fallen to the ground to use for projects. Also, a great use for some of your leftover Halloween pumpkins. Here’s what’s going on around the house this week.


Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Buttermilk Icing

This is the ultimate fall dessert. It’s a perfect alternative to traditional holiday pies or a great bake-ahead to bring to a party. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

For the cake:

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup butter, room temperature (save wrappers to prep the cake pans)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (my husband was helping me and accidentally used baking soda…the cake came out fine)

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 apples (I used honey crisp) peeled, chopped

For the buttercream:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the buttermilk caramel icing:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by greasing the pans with butter wrappers.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. In another bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture by hand. Add milk into batter until smooth.
Mentally divide your batter into fourths. Each pan will use two layers (each layer will be 1/4 total batter). Pour 1/4 of batter into each pan, reserving half of the batter in the bowl. Add 1/4 apples and 1/4 brown sugar mixture to each pan and gently pat into the batter. Then, add another layer of batter, apples and brown sugar mixture.Bake 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. While cakes are baking make butter cream and buttermilk caramel icing. For buttercream combine butter, vanilla, cinnamon and powdered sugar and one tablespoon cream with a mixer on high for one minute. If mixture seems too thick add another tablespoon cream until spreadable. 

Place strips of parchment paper on cake stand. Assemble the cake by placing the bottom layer of cake on top of parchment paper. Spread buttercream on top of bottom player and top with other layer of cake. Let sit while making the buttermilk caramel icing. In a cold non-stick saucepan, add sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda and vanilla. Combine and bring to a slow boil at medium-high heat. No need to stir while bubbling. The icing will turn to a light caramel in 5 to 7 minutes. The caramel should be sticky and pourable, not firm. Allow the icing to cool for 3 minutes and pour slowly over the cake. The cake is amazing while warm, but only gets better with time. 


Red, White and Don’t Be Blue

I’ve had the fortune over the years of spending Independence Day in different cities across America: Birmingham, Alabama, New York City, Jackson, Mississippi, Central Pennsylvania, Palm Springs, California to name a few. On July 4, 2012 the already nostalgic holiday took on additional significance when my uncle (my father’s brother) passed away in a tragic accident. We spent the next few years celebrating the 4th differently, without fireworks and barbeque. A passing is always a cause for reflection but a passing on a holiday leaves the quandary of how to move forward recognizing both events in the years to come. For me, my soul heals itself by creating something beautiful. So, in the spirit of Uncle Chris and all things red, white and blue this is what’s going on in the garden and in the kitchen this week.

Red, White-ish and Blue Succulent Pot

This succulent project was inspired by the big, beautiful Echeveria ‘Blue Sky’ I found a few weeks ago on it’s last leg at a home improvement store. It took time to nurse it back to health and now it’s the centerpiece of this project.



Blueberry and Strawberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

I can’t say that in July I make our food resemble actual flags but I do like to be festive the week of Independence Day. I love using blueberries and strawberries in recipes this time of year. This buttermilk cake isn’t overly sweet and is the perfect light ending to any picnic or summer meal.

For the cake:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/14 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups blueberries

4 to 6 large strawberries, diced, underripe ok

For the glaze:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 lemon, juiced and zested

Dash of vanilla

2 to 5 tablespoons milk                                                                  IMG_0508Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12- cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon softened butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, beat remaining butter, granulated sugar and vegetable oil on medium-high speed until fluffy, at least five minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Once fluffy, beat in one egg at a time on low speed. Then beat in vanilla. Turn off mixer and add one-third flour and half the buttermilk, beat until incorporated. Add another one-third of flour and the remaining buttermilk, beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat 30 seconds, scraping down sides. Finish incorporating mixture with rubber spatula, avoid over mixing.  IMG_0512



Toss blueberries and strawberries, separately, in remaining 2 tablespoons flour. This will cause the fruit to suspend in the batter rather than sinking while baking.




Spoon one-third of batter evenly into prepared pan. Place half of blueberries and strawberries onto batter then top with another one-third of the batter. Scatter the remaining fruit on top and cover with the rest of the batter.

IMG_0522IMG_0511IMG_0518IMG_0519Bake until the cake is golden brown, in the warmer months 1 hour, in the colder months 1 hour, 10 minutes. Test cake at 55 minutes with toothpick, if it comes back perfectly clean, cake is done. Transfer to a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto rack to cool completely before glazing, at least two hours. IMG_0521IMG_0520After cake has cooled and just before serving, make the glaze. Whisk confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon juice together. Whisk in one tablespoon of milk at a time until a thick glaze consistency is achieved. Pour glaze over cake, allowing it to drip over sides. Slice thick portions.

We live in the land of the free because of the brave. Be safe celebrating!

xo, rootedinmoss

Dad, Berries, and Eternity: A Celebration of National Pi(e) Day

berry 9

So here I am, finally blogging. I’m quite grateful to everyone that encouraged me to share my travels, projects, and things that inspire me. To all those who encouraged me, it should come as no surprise that some of my most inspired moments have come from my kitchen during some of my most inspiring kitchen convos.

I’m unashamedly a Daddy’s girl and although he passed away nearly three years ago I still consider myself so. My best kitchen chats were with my Dad, my partner in wonderment. During an all-day gab session and recipe testing for berry pie with Dad (the namesake for the recipe) we hit a conundrum. Heaven. As I stirred, measured, and tasted we debated eternity. How big do you think it really is? Could everyone from every country from the beginning of time really fit in there? We came to the mind-spinning conclusion that it must be really, really big. Then I asked, “do you think we’ll have jobs in Heaven? What would you do?” He replied, “I’d probably keep doing the same.” “Construction?” I asked. “No. Cook and talk with you.”

We may not have solved our ambitious questions about eternity that day but we did make a damn good pie. Terry’s Berry Pie as it is now affectionately named. Whatever his job may be up in Heaven, whether fixing the pearly gates or mending a broken heart, I hope he’ll keep the oven warm for me. On this National Pi(e) Day I am certain of a few things: Pi, 3.14 that is, will infinitely continue, eternity will forge on and the love of pie will remain.

Terry’s Berry Pie

36 oz. berries fresh, frozen or combination of both (I used blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries; organic and frozen)

1 cup granulated sugar and a few pinches

Juice of 1 to 1 1/2 lemons

4 tablespoons corn starch

4 scant tablespoons water

1 package (two pieces of dough) of Pillsbury brand pie crust dough- found in the refrigerated case

berry 1     berry 2

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add berries, setting aside about 1/2 cup blueberries. If frozen, allow berries to thaw over heat and natural juices to develop about 15 minutes. Once thawed, use potato masher to break up berries until desired consistency is achieved. Add remaining blueberries and leave whole. Add cup of sugar and lemon juice. Note: I like my filling on the tart side so I use the juice of 1 1/2 to 2 ripe lemons.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and one tablespoon of water at a time to create a “slurry.” Consistency should be a bit thinner than a paste. All four tablespoons of water may not be necessary. Add slurry to pot, increase heat to a light boil while stirring consistently. Once up to a light bubble, reduce heat and allow to thicken stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until cooled.

berry 3      berry 6

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove both pieces of individually wrapped dough from box. Note: You can certainly make pie dough from scratch, however, we used Pillsbury the first time and felt no need to change it. Unroll one piece of dough and secure on the bottom of pie dish. Add filling until just below rim of dish. You can add the entire second piece of dough to make a fully crusted pie, do lattice work or any pattern you desire.  Sprinkle remaining sugar on the top crust. Cover edges of pie with foil for the first 15 minutes of bake time to prevent over browning. Total bake time around 40 minutes. Filling should bubble slightly and crust should be golden brown.

berry 11

This cuteness was going on in my living room while my pie was in the oven.

berry 4

Keep up with rooted in moss on Instagram at @rootedinmoss