This past year I was lucky enough to become Insta-friends with ORZ raw honey. We did a trade—my handcrafted caramels for her organic honey. I couldn’t wait to use it in a dessert. I wanted something that would really highlight the natural flavor of the honey—and this buttercream recipe does exactly that. I paired it with a tender lemon cake which balances the sweetness perfectly. Good, quality honey really makes a difference and lets the flavor shine. This makes an ideal tea party or brunch cake—I wouldn’t think twice about eating it for breakfast either with a hot cup of tea. The honey buttercream can be used on other cake or cupcake flavors as well—it would be amazing on a dark chocolate cake.
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons organic raw honey
4-5 tablespoons heavy cream
Whip softened butter and honey with a mixer until combined. Add powdered sugar slowly, alternating with tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add more or less cream to achieve a spreadable consistency.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 whole egg + 2 yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
1-1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the whole egg followed by the yolks and mix until combined. Then add the lemon juice and zest. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the batter until all is incorporated well. Don’t over mix to ensure a tender cake. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cake from pan and cool before frosting.
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to share a little glimpse into this mother/daughter team of ours. I can safely say, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without the support of my dear Mama. Being an only child, I’ve always gotten so much love and attention—I consider myself very lucky. Throughout the years, she’s played so many important roles, and it continues with Sweet Melissa. Working neck-to-neck with me in the kitchen, wrapping caramels, setting up market booths, assisting at workshops, attending small business meetings, and helping with taxes. There’s no end to what she does. Read on to find out the top three things I’ve learned from her—both in business and life.
#1 Be strong.
A few years ago, I got my first tattoo on Mother’s Day. It was a phrase in her handwriting: “be strong my love.” Whenever I see it, I’m reminded to not give up and to keep going, no matter how hard. Like anyone else, I’ve gone through ups and downs in life. But to see all of the hard times she’s had to overcome inspires me to try and be just as strong.
#2 Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
One of my biggest downfalls is managing finances. Numbers have never been my thing—I’d rather ignore problems with money until they get out of control. I learned the hard way that this is not the right path to be on, and luckily my Mama was there to help get me on a better track. She told me even if I’ve done something wrong, it’s better to ask for help.
#3 Work hard and with integrity.
One of the best attributes my Mama is known for is her great work ethic. She’s worked her way up in the same company ever since I was born—respected and relied upon. I like to think I’ve held the same beliefs in the way I carry myself. Hard work goes a long way and being a person who does the right thing will reflect positively on you for years to come.
Lastly, I’d like to share this beautiful hand-lettered phrase I had created for me by the talented Lauren Heim Studio—”I got it from my Mama.” Look out for this design on some pieces in my soon-to-be-launched online shop. You may ask what is “it” that I get from her? Strength, cooking skills, work ethic, love of biscuits and gravy, big blue eyes. All good things!
As I’ve been taking a short break in my business since the holidays, my hope was to have some quiet time to reflect on 2017 and plan my goals for 2018. I’m so glad I listened to my heart and embraced this hiatus. Last year was a huge learning experience for me—figuring out what works and what I truly enjoy doing in my business. I’m reminded that nothing happens overnight and sometimes it takes trial and error to find your purpose. Here are a few goals I have on my horizon for this upcoming year and some big aspirations for the future.
Goal 1: Launch an Online Shop
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I finally plan to create my own online shop. Since I don’t have a physical storefront, up to now the only way I’ve been able to sell is at artisan markets and a few select local stores. I’m currently working to create some of my own unique products that align with my brand—all in the kitchen/foodie realm. One major draw to the shop will be my signature handcrafted caramels. Once a month I will release a limited quantity for sale, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! This allows me to control the quality and also the amount of time I spend producing them. I don’t want to turn into a caramel-making machine trying to keep up day and night—but I do want to give people the opportunity to buy and enjoy them.
Goal 2: Create New Content
I truly love creating and sharing new content of my cooking and kitchen adventures. Last year, I learned how hard it can be to remain creative while running a new business. The demands of fulfilling orders and juggling different projects (along with my full-time magazine job!) made it nearly impossible for me to blog. So this year I’m scaling back on orders so that I can allow my creativity to flourish! I want to share with you all through social media, blog posts, and unique email-only content. I’m going to be doing some giveaways, free custom downloads and more…so if you’re not already signed up for my newsletter and you want in on the fun, click here to get added!
Goal 3: More Workshops
Last year I was just blown away by all of the positive responses to my Workshops. I’ve realized I really enjoy planning and styling these types of events—from the venue setup to the swag bags. My favorite part though is connecting with others— teaching them something new and having fun. I definitely plan to have more Workshops this year and expand my reach to host in different cities.
Big Future Dream Goal…
At the heart of it all, my passion is and always will be bringing people together and creating food memories. I’m sure it will take years, but one day I hope to have my own farmhouse-style property to host cooking classes, workshops, and events…possibly with a styled loft to rent out as well. Ideally, I’d love to be located in southwest Michigan—close to all the great wineries, breweries, and farms. This is a lofty goal that’s for sure—wish me luck to reach it some day!