Seasonal Dessert -> Summertime Strawberry Shortcake Mini Bundts

Is there anything more quintessentially the fourth than a strawberry dessert? Even though they're out of season here in Tennessee, it's hard to justify a July celebration without something strawberry. So here's to them being in season elsewhere and being able to still get them at the grocery store! 

I love strawberries and wanted to do a shortcake for the fourth but I also wanted to do something other than the usual biscuit or angel cake style. Enter mini bundts! I baked up a vanilla citrus batter in my mini bundt pan and then split them in half after they cooled. I plopped a couple hefty spoonfuls of fresh whipped cream, pressed macerated berries into the cream, and garnished with a little lime zest + a sprig of basil. They check all the boxes: simple? Yep. Homemade? You bet. Adorable, individual morsels of deliciousness? I mean...

The recipe I used is below but if you already have a favorite vanilla bundt recipe, by all means use it. I chose this recipe for the pale color of the cake's outer crumb.

Summertime Strawberry Shortcake Bundts

     (cake recipe adapted from The Culinary Jumble)

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 small eggs

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup of milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

whipped cream (below)

macerated strawberries (below)

garnish, lime or lemon zest + basil or mint sprig

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 320°F. Prepare a mini bundt pan with non-stick baking spray. *Even if your pan is nonstick, I recommend spraying as I had a difficult time removing these from my nonstick pan.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time mixing after each until incorporated. Mix in the lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, mix baking powder, flour, and salt until well combined. Gradually add to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into prepped mini bundt pan. Bake for approximately 18-23 minutes, checking for readiness with a wooden toothpick or skewer. *This batter will remain pale so don't let them brown or they will be too done.

Cool for ten minutes and flip onto wire rack. Finish cooling before adding cream + berries. This recipe made six mini bundts in my pan. 

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream 

1 - 2 tablespoons confectioners or granulated sugar (see note)

1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

If you've never whipped cream before, let me assure you that it is very easy. The cream needs to be straight from the fridge because room temp cream can't hold air. I also like to chill my bowl and beaters beforehand in the freezer for about ten minutes. I recommend using either a hand mixer or a balloon whisk. A stand mixer is just overkill for this as it comes together very quickly.

Pour whipping cream into a well-chilled glass or metal bowl. I like to put mine in the freezer for about ten minutes before whipping. Add sugar and vanilla (amount is personal preference). Beat the cream to the desired consistency: soft peaks (thick enough to hold its shape in soft, billowy pillows), stiff peaks (cream stands in firm peaks when the beaters are lifted). For this recipe I stopped just before stiff peaks because I wanted the cream to have a soft appearance but also be firm enough to grab the berries. Be sure not to over beat or you'll make butter!

Whipped cream can be made up to 1 day ahead. I recommend using confectioners sugar over granulated if this is necessary. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. If liquid separates from the cream, whip it again to incorporate the liquid. *Note: you can make whipped cream with either confectioners or granulated sugar. I do both. The difference between the two is the ability of the cream to hold together and not weep. Confectioners sugar contains a small amount of cornstarch that discourages weeping if the whipped cream stands longer than a few hours. Cream comes together so quickly that I always prepare it before serving. 

Macerated Strawberries

Macerated strawberries is nothing more than strawberries taking a swim with an acidic liquid, such as a liqueur or flavored vinegar, or sugar. Strawberries have enough natural water that a sprinkle of sugar will soften and juice them right up. Feel free to add another layer of flavor with citrus zest, your favorite liqueur, or herbs such as basil or mint. Depending on the amount you desire, hull and quarter a half to full pint of washed strawberries. Sprinkle with sugar and let sit for about 30 minutes. 

Assembly

Slice mini bundt cake in half and place bottom on saucer. Add two generous spoonfuls of whipped cream to the bottom cake half and press individual macerated berries into the cream. Add the top half of the cake, a small spoonful of cream, a berry or two, and your chosen garnish. If desired, drizzle a little of the macerated berry juice over the cakes before the final spoon of cream.

Seasonal Brunch -> Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Nothing says brunch to me quite like French Toast and this cozy cool weather version is a warm hug in a pan, I tell ya. Pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, pecans - praise hands! I'll be honest and share that I add a little extra of everything: extra pumpkin, extra spice, and definitely extra pecans. When I was shopping for this recipe I got lucky and stumbled on one last loaf of brioche so I snatched it up to mix with the baguettes I already had in my cart. That eggy brioche makes it that much more decadent. If you expect to refrigerate leftovers, I would stick to french baguette or a similar hearty bread as the brioche can get a bit too wet when refrigerated after baking. I like to make my own pumpkin pie spice because I already have all of the spices anyway and it seems a waste for me to buy pumpkin pie spice. Plus I love to grate my own nutmeg as it's one of those spices that loses its punch fairly quickly if it sits on a shelf too long. There's really no comparison to buying it off the shelf and grating it yourself. But if you don't have all of the spices in the recipe, pumpkin pie spice is perfectly fine! 

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography
 

Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

(adapted from Little Spice Jar)

Ingredients

1 day old French, brioche, or challah bread, diced (see Note)

2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup granulated sugar

6 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)

1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Streusal Topping

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup cold salted butter, diced

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (recipe below)

1/2 - 3/4 cup whole pecans

  The smell when this comes out of the oven is delightful. Prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

The smell when this comes out of the oven is delightful. Prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography
 

Directions

Generously spritz a 9x13 dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add diced bread to baking dish, sprinkle with chopped pecans; set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and pie spice. Pour the prepared custard over the bread in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 3-4 hours and preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Streusal Topping: combine light brown sugar, butter, flour, and pie spice in a small bowl. Using your fingertips, quickly mix together until the butter breaks down into smaller pieces. Press the whole pecans onto the casserole and sprinkle the topping over the top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. If the streusal topping starts to brown too much, tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Serve with syrup of your choice, butter, and powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

3 tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Whisk all in a small bowl and store in resealable container.

*We used a 50/50 mix of French + brioche breads. It is important that the bread not be fresh so it will stand up to the custard. To accelerate the process: cube or tear bread into chunks, spread on baking sheet and allow to sit out on counter for several hours. Every hour, toss the cubes to expose them to more air. When bread starts feeling dry to the touch, ready to use.

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography

It's nutty and delicious and smells amazing when you take it out of the oven.

Fine Art Wedding Inspiration + A Red-Violet Color Story

Dear ones! A few months back I did a post on fine art wedding photography featuring color and I thought it was time for a second. While our last post focused on juicy, citrus colors perfect for warmer months, this analagous color story is beautifully suited to cooler weather. Burgundy, violet, cranberry, and plum create a beautifully rich and deep color palette that is elegant + moody without being heavy. Did I mention there's velvet? And fruit? And wine? And cake? And shouldn't we just get to the pics already, Jennifer, hurry the heck up already!

  Lush, decadent color against a light backdrop. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions .

Lush, decadent color against a light backdrop. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasions.

If you want rich and elegant burgundy minus the heaviness, go for a space with a light interior. This space had the added bonus of windows and you just can't beat natural light for lovely photos but a space intentionally designed with pale ceilings, walls, and floors will allow a photographer to bounce a flash for a truer color capture. 

  Texture is a must in a analogous color story. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions .

Texture is a must in a analogous color story. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasions.

There are two ways to achieve depth in a analogous color story: 1) vary the texture 2) very the hue. I adore texture and I used it in abundance. Silver for it's metallic and reflective qualities, glass for transparency and reflection, stone + paper for their matte surfaces, a glorious swoop of silk velvet for softness and florals. So many florals and fruits. The color scheme incorporates dark red, from cherry to burgundy, and violet, from almost black to blue, as well as accent colors like pale pink and cream to contrast with the richness of the red-violet tones. (Technical side note: an analogous color story is one that incorporates colors adjacent to one another on the color wheel. In this case red-violet; the colors that fall between red and violet on the spectrum. Google Munsell hue circle for a good, visual reference.) 

  Texture close up: velvet, paper, fruit, floral, stone, metal. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions .

Texture close up: velvet, paper, fruit, floral, stone, metal. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasions.

Let's talk dresses shall we?! How about a white gown with the most epic train I've ever seen and a dress in a delicious cafe au lait so perfect for winter. 

  The most amazing train on a gown. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions .

The most amazing train on a gown. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasions.

Can you believe this train? It's heavenly. This dress feels princess, modern, and boudoir all at the same time. Let's add Emily's bouquet to the scene...

  Amazing bouquet by   Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions , photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography ,   styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}

Amazing bouquet by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasions, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photographystyling by jennifer of {feather + oak}

And a close up of the top... (can you believe our gorgeous model's freckles?! Glorious I tell you, GLORIOUS.)

  Dress from  LVD Bridal , photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography ,   styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}.

Dress from LVD Bridal, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photographystyling by jennifer of {feather + oak}.

Let's talk dress two. The color of cafe au lait. Layers of silk chiffon. Delicate draping. It's a gorgeous alternative to white and a more subtle contrast to the rich tones of the details.

  Creamy, yummy cafe au lait color. Dress from  LVD Bridal , photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions ,   styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}.

Creamy, yummy cafe au lait color. Dress from LVD Bridal, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasionsstyling by jennifer of {feather + oak}.

That draping. I mean...

  Beautiful draping + layers of silk. Dress from  LVD Bridal , photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions ,   styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}.

Beautiful draping + layers of silk. Dress from LVD Bridal, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasionsstyling by jennifer of {feather + oak}.

Paired with violet ribbons and vintage burgundy shoes, I'd never take it off. Sorry hon, you're going to have to get used to seeing me like this every day. DARN.

  Princess perfection. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , florals by Emily Kennedy of  Kennedy Occasions ,   dress from  LVD Bridal   .

Princess perfection. Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, florals by Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasionsdress from LVD Bridal.

We've talked space, color, texture, dresses and the last piece: paper. While it's true that the paper suite is your guests first look at the style of event you're having, it isn't necessary to introduce your color scheme. Feel free to save it if you like. The style is far more important. 

  Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , paper suite + calligraphy by  Plume .

Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, paper suite + calligraphy by Plume.

You'll notice the paper suite is completely neutral: cream paper, grey ink + ribbon detailing, gold seals. All of the color has been saved for the stylist to incorporate on the invitation suite layout for the photographer. Saving the color for the background lets the paper suite take center stage and leap from the photo. It's what you paid for and that is where you want the focus. A good event stylist knows this and will communicate it to you. If you want a neutral suite with a hint of color, an envelope liner would be the perfect sneak peek to your guests of what's to come.

  Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by  Sarah Sidwell Photography , paper suite + calligraphy by  Plume .

Styling by jennifer of {feather + oak}, photography by Sarah Sidwell Photography, paper suite + calligraphy by Plume.

Timeless and classic. Always.

Our vendors: prop, food, dress styling -> jennifer of {feather + oak}photography -> Sarah Sidwell Photography | florals -> Emily Kennedy of Kennedy Occasions | paper suite + calligraphy -> Plume Calligraphy | gowns -> LVD Bridal

 

Seasonal Dessert -> Chocolate Pumpkin Skillet Brownie

Two words: skillet brownie. How can you go wrong?! At first I wasn't sure if I'd be a fan of pumpkin + chocolate together. But let me tell you: I am now a fan. Plus, I love any recipe that I can cook in a cast iron skillet + the oven. This dessert is oh so easy and slices up into presentation perfect triangles; just lift them out with a pie server. Bonus points for the baking and serving vessel being one in the same! 

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  jenna henderson

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: jenna henderson

Pumpkin Cheesecake Skillet Brownie

(adapted from Country Cleaver)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted + cooled

1 cup chocolate chips, melted + cooled

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used King Arthur)

2 tbsp cocoa powder, preferably dark

Pumpkin Cheesecake Topping:

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. In a large bowl combine butter, the cooled melted chocolate, brown + white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until mixed.  Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda until a batter forms being sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so everything is incorporated well.
  2. Spray or lightly oil an already seasoned cast iron skillet. Spoon the batter into the center of the skillet. Press the batter until it is within a half inch of the edge of the skillet. You want space between the batter and side of the skillet so the edge doesn't overcook. Create a slight ridge around the edge of the batter - similar to the edge of a pizza or pie crust -  for the cheesecake topping. It is a runnier batter so the raised edge contains it.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the softened cream cheese + sugar until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin puree, the egg, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Pour on top of the brownie batter in the skillet.
  4. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack for approximately 45 minutes. It will be soft in the middle but will set as it cools.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

3 tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Whisk all in a small bowl and store in resealable container.

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  jenna henderson

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: jenna henderson

Seasonal Dessert -> Salted Caramel Chocolate Bundt Cakelets

Need an easy fall or winter dessert that oozes simple beauty? These little mini bundt cakes pack ease, lots of flavor, + pretty presentation all in one. While you do need a few different bowls, this really is a simple dessert to put together. And it works well whether you use a mini bundt pan or a full size bundt. I've even made this gluten free using King Arthur gf flour and it still works beautifully. I love this recipe and hope you do, too. 

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography
 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Bundt

adapted from Samoa Bundt Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (we used 60% cacao)

1/2 cup butter, softened

16 oz light brown sugar

3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into measuring cup)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 oz sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot water (not boiling)

Toppings

1 jar caramel sauce

toasted pecans, chopped

flake salt (we used Maldon)

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography
 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Grease and flour bundt pan (or use a baking spray).

  3. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at 20-30 second intervals until smooth. Set Aside.

  4. Beat softened butter + brown sugar with an electric mixer (hand or stand) until blended well.

  5. Beat in each egg, one at a time.

  6. Beat in melted chocolate until blended. Do not over mix.

  7. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

  8. Add the flour mixture to chocolate batter, alternating with the sour cream, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Do not over mix.

  9. With mixer on low speed, add the hot water.

  10. Stir in vanilla.

  11. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan*.

  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan then remove cake from pan to cool. If using mini bundt pan, adjust baking time accordingly.

  13. While the cake cools, lightly spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread pecans on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for five minutes. Be mindful not to let them scorch. When cool, chop or break into smaller pieces.

  14. Warm caramel sauce in microwave and drizzle over cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped pecans + flake salt.

*Note: Baking time is for a standard 10" bundt pan. Can also be used for mini-bundt pan. Makes approximately 12 mini bundts. Baking time for mini bundts was 20-25 minutes on our oven.

 

  prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography