Triple Lemon Naked Layer Cake with Edible Flowers

/ Sunday, May 3, 2015

Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers
I have always wanted to make a cake decorated with flowers. I've admired many a blogger's gorgeous creation. 

So, when the folks at  Marx Foods contacted me and offered edible flowers for me to play with, I was quite excited. I agreed to participate in a little project they have going on because: A) What girl doesn't want to have flowers sent to her door? B) The farm that produces the flowers uses natural practices (like using garlic, clove, and rosemary oils to keep bugs at bay). C) I've been longing for flowers this spring - April in Minnesota is much too brown for my taste. And D) I thought you guys would really enjoy it!

Triple Lemon Cake
I knew I needed to make a cake to showcase the gorgeous blooms. Reuben is a huge lemon fan, so I settled on a triple lemon layer cake. Plus, lemon and mint pair well, and pansies have a mild wintergreen flavor. I flavored the cake and the frosting only slightly with lemon so the flavor wouldn't be too overwhelming. The lemon curd filling is quite assertive.

Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers
The result was a delicious, moist cake with a rich, buttery Swiss Meringue frosting. I think it's the most beautiful cake I've ever created. 

When I served it to my family, they were a bit skeptical about eating the flowers (especially the guys). I made everyone take one. But they agreed that it made the cake extra special. My mom said it looked like a mini wedding cake! 

Triple Lemon Cake with Edible Flowers

Need more ideas for how to use edible flowers? Here are a few ways that I incorporated them into dishes:

  • * As a garnish for tea sandwiches (post coming with a recipe).
  • * Tossed into a salad (this definitely takes your salad up a notch in sophistication).
  • * Frozen into flower ice cubes (very cute).
  • * As decorations for cupcakes.
  • Mixed into butter (AKA compound butter).
  • * Added to flavored water for a gorgeous drink.

Let me know if there are any other ways to use edible flowers that I missed!

The project that I mentioned earlier that I am participating in is a food photography contest! 8 food bloggers and I have created dishes incorporating edible flowers. Each photo will be posted on the Marx Foods Instagram account. The top 3 photos that receive the most "likes" will advance to the finals. 

If you'd like, you can hop over to their Instagram and vote for your favorites. They will be posted on the 5th of May. I'll be posting a photo on my Instagram account once my photo goes live.

    I accidentally baked my cakes at 325 instead of 300, and they turned out fine, but they were domed. I recommending baking at the lower temperature so your cakes rise more evenly. 
    As I mentioned, I didn't flavor the cake and frosting very heavily with lemon so it wouldn't be too overwhelming. If you want a super bold lemon flavor, you can add more extract or some lemon zest to the cake batter and frosting.
    After photographing the cake, I decided to use op the remainder of the frosting and pipe rosettes onto the side of the cake. See photo below.

Triple Lemon Naked Layer Cake with Pansies

A gorgeous layer cake topped with fresh, edible flowers.

Recipe adapted slightly from Simple Bites and | Print
Serves 10

For the Cake:
2 cups organic cake flour (I made my own by mixing in cornstarch)
1 teaspoon baking powder,
3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup buttermilk (I used milk that was a bit sour mixed with vinegar)

For the Filling:
1 cup of lemon curd (about 1/2 of this recipe)

For the Frosting:
6 large egg whites (180 grams) -- I think it's much easier and more accurate to measure using weight.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 sticks (1 3/4 cups) butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

For the garnish:
Mint leaves
Fresh Pansies


To make the Cake:
1) Grease, flour, and line with rounds of parchment paper three 6-inch cake pans. Place the racks in your oven in the middle position. Preheat to 300 degrees F (150 C).
2) Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
4) With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Add the buttermilk slowly while the mixer is running. It may look separated - this is normal. Add the rest of the flour and mix just until moistened. If needed, you can give it another gentle mix with a spatula.
5) Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out mostly clean, around 30 minutes or so (it took less time for me because I forgot to use the lower temperature). Remove from oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before frosting (you can place them in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 10-15 minutes to speed up the cooling process).

To make the Frosting:
1) Put a pan with about an of inch of water onto the stove and heat until simmering.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Place over the simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160F (71C), or until the egg whites are hot and the sugar is dissolved.
3) Place the mixer bowl onto the base of the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture until very stiff, glossy peaks form (it took about 10 minutes for me). The bowl should be cooled off at this point.
4) With the mixer on low, add the little butter pieces one at a time, mixing a bit before adding another piece. At this point the frosting may look curdled, but don't freak out. Keep mixing and it will become smooth.
5) Mix in the lemon extract.

To assemble the cake:
1) Place a bit of frosting onto your cake stand or a plate. Put the first layer of cake down. Pipe a ring of frosting around the edge. Fill the ring with half of the lemon curd. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat the filling process. Put the last cake on top, bottom side up. Put the whole cake into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.
2) Crumb coat your cake, filling in any gaps between the layers, and put a good layer of frosting on top of cake. Scrape away some of the frosting from the side of the cake to make a pretty "naked" cake. Or you can use up the rest of frosting by piping on rosettes, or whatever you wish.
3) Top with mint leaves and pansies. Serve. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Triple Lemon Layer Cake | Buttered Side Up
Example of piped rosettes on the side of the cake.

Many thanks to Marx Foods for providing the flowers for this post. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Thrive Market Haul | How I Saved Over $60 on Healthy Groceries

/ Monday, April 27, 2015


Recently I heard of an online discount shop that specializes in healthy, non-perishable foods: Thrive Market. I signed up under a free trial to see how good their prices really are, and I found that they do have some great deals. Plus, you get free shipping on orders over $49. 

I decided to stock up on some of my favorite staples, and try out some new things. Let me show you what I got!

Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up

The Kettle Chips aren't the healthiest, but we buy them occasionally and they were a very good price. They were 17 cents cheaper than on Amazon, but if you bump up to the 8.5 ounce bags on Amazon, it's a better price per ounce. But you have to buy a 12-pack.

Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up
These potato chips were pretty expensive, but they were fried in coconut oil! In fact, they're only three ingredients: organic potatoes, organic coconut oil and sea salt. I felt good about giving them to Helen. She loved them. They were $5.53 cheaper than a stand-alone bag on Amazon.

Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up
Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up
These freeze dried berries are another favorite with Helen. I like to keep some in my purse for emergency situations. They were $1.24 cheaper each than on Amazon.

Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up
I love that these "cookies" are made with sprouted sesame seeds (read more about the importance of sprouting nuts HERE). Helen asks for these often when we're out. These were only 3 cents cheaper than Amazon, but on Amazon you have to buy a 6-pack for that price.

Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up
These are my favorite seaweed snacks that I've find so far because they're made with extra virgin olive oil instead of sunflower oil. I need to order some more. 45 cents cheaper per package than on Amazon. 

You can actually get the GimMe seaweed snacks 57 cents cheaper on Amazon if you buy a pack of 12.

Thrive Market Haul | Buttered Side Up

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

/ Monday, April 20, 2015


This post was first published on May 10, 2010 on Cooking for Seven. It is still one of my favorite things that I've photographed. And I adore this cake. Once I can get my hands on some rhubarb, I'm definitely making a pan of this...

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake | Buttered Side Up
As I looked at our nearly bare garden and spotted our healthy rhubarb plants, a sudden fancy hit me. Rhubarb upside down cake. We had made this recipe once before with success. So my sister & I quickly harvested the tenderest shoots.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake | Buttered Side Up
Then, as we were prepping our ingredients, panic stuck. There wasn’t a stick of butter in the house. Amanda & I looked at each other and shrieked.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake | Buttered Side Up
Thankfully, Grandma lent us a couple sticks of butter and our cake was saved! And it was definitely worth the trip to Grandma’s.

  • We of course substituted whole wheat flour & a natural sweetener in this recipe. Even with all whole wheat, the cake was very tender.
  • We like to serve this with a warm vanilla custard. You can use the recipe for vanilla sauce found here & increase the milk to 3 cups.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

A tender, slightly tangy cake. Perfect with whipped cream or a vanilla sauce.

Adapted from Taste of Home | PRINT
Serves 8-10


2/3 cup maple sugar or sweetener of choice,
3 tablespoons butter, melted,
2-1/4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb,
4-1/2 teaspoons maple sugar or sweetener of choice,
6 tablespoons butter, softened,
3/4 cup maple sugar,
2 large eggs, separated,
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract,
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour,
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/4 cup whole milk,
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar,
Whipped cream or vanilla custard, optional,


1) Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar & melted butter. Spread in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer with the rhubarb & sprinkle with 4 1/2 teaspoons of maple sugar. Set aside.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & 3/4 cups of maple sugar until light & fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks & vanilla extract and mix.

3) In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low, slowly add half of the flour, the milk, and the other half of the flour, beating well after each addition & scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

4) In a clean, medium-sized bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into the batter. Gently spoon over the rhubarb in the pan.

5) Bake in preheated oven until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla custard.

Seaweed Snacks, Sprouted Wheat, and a Messy Kitchen

/ Friday, April 17, 2015


Oatmeal Honey Bread | Buttered Side Up
Fresh oatmeal honey bread! I participated in the Joy the Baker x King Arthur Flour Baking Boot Camp. It was fun and I got fresh bread out of it.

Seaweed snacks! Helen LOVES these. Which reminds me, I need to buy more...

Homemade Sauerkraut
I made my own sauerkraut! Helen (and her cousins) adore it. I need to start another batch. And I think I'll get some of these glass weights to make my life easier.

A shot of the ingredients for my Leek and Asparagus Tagliatelle. Sometimes I like the photos I take with my phone just as much as the ones from my "big camera" (DSLR).

I love brown eggs. Reuben's family's chickens started laying. I am so pleased to have a source of good eggs.

I sprouted wheat, dehydrated it and ground it into flour. I'll have to make a tutorial for you guys sometime...

Fry bread! Smothered with buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. I've eaten this my whole life. It is amazing. This is another one I'll have to share here on Buttered Side Up once I figure out a good recipe.

Easter Egg! Helen was so proud to have found (with help) an egg.

I was a day late, but I just had to color an egg.

Dinner rolls! I made these for Reuben's family's Easter get-together. They turned out really well, despite a clumpy flour scare. You can get the recipe HERE.

Ah, what food blogging will do to your kitchen.

I've been trying to get the kitchen clean first thing in the morning. It makes me happy and more likely to want to cook.

What have you been up to lately?

Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Buttered Side Up!

Homemade Chili Powder Recipe

/ Monday, April 13, 2015


Chili Powder | Buttered Side Up
As I've mentioned before, I first started getting interested in health when I was a teen. I was passionate about recreating "junk food" with healthy ingredients. My sister and I would fry our own potato chips in coconut oil. I would bake desserts, but substitute whole wheat flour and natural sweeteners.

Making my own spice mixes was a pretty obvious choice. If you read the label on the ones found at the supermarket, they often contain MSG or mystery "spices" - which could be MSG in disguise. 

Chili Powder | Buttered Side Up
It's so easy to whip up a batch of homemade spices. And they will most likely be fresher than the premade variety.

Also, I try to source ingredient spices. I'm slowly converting my pantry...

This recipe is for a mild chili powder. It may still be too spicy if you are very sensitive to heat; you can simply decrease or leave out the cayenne pepper. If your prefer a spicier chili powder, increase the amount of cayenne pepper.

Mild Chili Powder

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Shake well before using.

Creamy Leek, Asparagus, and Bacon Tagliatelle

/ Monday, April 6, 2015


Cream Leek, Asparagus, and Bacon Pasta | Buttered Side Up
Cream Leek, Asparagus, and Bacon Pasta | Buttered Side Up
Cream Leek, Asparagus, and Bacon Pasta | Buttered Side Up
Cream Leek, Asparagus, and Bacon Pasta | Buttered Side Up
Cream Leek, Asparagus, and Bacon Pasta | Buttered Side Up

Writing definitely does not come easily to me. Sometimes it is SO difficult for me to write up a recipe. I'll have my photos all edited and inserted into the post, only to have them sit in a draft for days because I cannot think of how to begin.

I've struggled with this for over 6 years of blogging. 

I love telling you guys how much I enjoyed a dish, but often times words fail me. Thank you for coming back time and again to read my awkward posts. Thank you for the encouraging (and challenging) comments that you leave. 

Now let me try to describe this awesome pasta.

Before cooking this dish, I had never worked with leeks. I had to look up a video to learn how to clean and chop them. This charming vegetable comes into season in the early spring, so I thought it would be a good choice to share a recipe here on Buttered Side Up that included them. Asparagus is also in season, so I picked up a bunch at the grocery store. Then I realized that they would be a lovely addition of green to my pasta.

The resulting combination of creamy, salty, starchy and fresh made for one delicious meal.

The beauty of this pasta is that it can easily be customized to your preferences. I really like green peas in carbonara. I've never tried it myself, but the recipe I based this pasta off of calls for pancetta. And you don't HAVE to use Tagliatelle - use whatever pasta you have on hand! 

If you decide to make my pasta, make sure to share and tag me on Twitter, Instagram, or leave a comment with a link to your post!

NOTE: If you like crispy bacon, make sure to only add the bacon to the pasta at the end of cooking. I didn't do this, but I definitely will next time.

Creamy Leek, Asparagus and Bacon Tagliatelle
adapted from Blogging Over Thyme | serves 3-4 (depending on how hungry you are) | PRINT

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces bacon, finely diced
  • 1/2 of a leek, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup (7.5 ounces) asparagus, cut on the bias
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces Tagliatelle pasta

1) Get a large pot of water going for the pasta. In a large cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to a bowl and set aside. 

2) Turn heat up to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once melted, add the leek and asparagus. Season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove all to a bowl and set aside.

3) Cook pasta according to package instructions, making sure to generously salt the water.

4) Meanwhile, pour the cream into the skillet (set on low heat) and whisk until hot. Slowly ladle half of the cream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return to pan and cook, whisking, until slightly thickened. Stir in the parmesan until melted. Add the vegetables, pasta and bacon. Serve immediately with extra parmesan.

Korean Shrimp and Rice Porridge (Saewoojuk)

/ Monday, March 30, 2015


Korean Shrimp and Rice Porridge (Saewoojuk)
Korean Shrimp and Rice Porridge (Saewoojuk)
Korean Shrimp and Rice Porridge (Saewoojuk)
Korean Shrimp and Rice Porridge (Saewoojuk)

There's nothing like getting sick to make you appreciate the things you are able to do every day. Last week Reuben fell ill with a fever, chills, headache: the whole shebang. I followed a few days later. We were so miserable and unable to do ANYTHING for days. It was all I could do to make Helen food and watch videos. I was nearly mad with boredom. All of this to say: I had a good reason for not posting for over two weeks. Sorry.

But about this porridge

I must confess that I was first attracted to this recipe because of my interest in the Korean Drama and culture. I was pretty reluctant to give Korean TV shows a try at first, but when I was desperate for entertainment after giving birth to Helen, I softened. To my surprise and characters and stories were very interesting. And all of the dramas that I have seen have been pretty clean and innocent in the romance department, especially compared to American TV shows. 

Food tends to figure fairly largely in K-Dramas - the main characters are shown enjoying various dishes. I may or may not have decided to make Ramen after watching Liar Game. And, when I saw this recipe for Saewoojuk, I was intrigued. Not ONLY because it was a Korean dish, but also because the ingredients sounded amazing. 

It was really delicious. Helen loved it. I can't wait to make more, when I can find some good shrimp to make it with. Also: Helen and I are now addicted to seaweed snacks

Also, if you've watched any K-Dramas (first of all: FRIEND!), let me know your favorites! Some of the shows I have most enjoyed have been (in no particular order): You Who Came From Another Star, Liar Game, and Pinocchio.

Linking up at Buns in My Oven.

Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Buttered Side Up!

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