Raspberry Lemon Yogurt Cake Recipe | Plus 7 Easy Baking Tips

Today I'm sharing one of my favourite family recipes. This raspberry lemon yogurt cake is light and moist and not overly sweet. It's always a hit when I serve it at dinner parties and leftovers rarely last long. I posted it on instagram and snapchat and several of you inquired about it. So I decided a post was in order. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Erica Cook's Raspberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup lemon yogurt
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanillapinch of salt
4 tbsp milk
lemon zest optional
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. grease and line four 6" cake pans or two 8" or 9" cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each. 
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Then fold in the lemon yogurt until combined. 
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to medium peaks and fold into the cake batter. 
  5. Next fold the raspberries into the cake batter. If you freeze them they stay whole in batter.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake 25-30 minutes (less for 6" cakes), or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  7. Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  8. To make the icing cream butter until smooth. Gradually add icing sugar a cup at a time until well blended. Add salt and vanilla then slowly beat in a tbsp of milk at a time until combined.
  9. Plate bottom layer on a cake stand and start icing each layer until each is completed. Flatten top and ice sides.
  10. Serve with fresh raspberries. Enjoy. 

7 Easy Tips To Make Baking Efficient
  1. Read through entire recipe before starting. I can't say how many times I've glanced at a recipe and forgotten a key ingredient by not paying attention. Not such a big deal with a salad but something that can make a baking endeavour completely unsuccessful.  
  2. Keep all measuring utensils organized in a separate container so you can grab the bin from the drawer rather than fumbling for measuring spoons and cups. 
  3. Organize smaller containers of baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the same manner as above. 
  4. Clean as you go. I measure out all dry and wet ingredients and put them away before I start blending and combining. It makes the whole process seem less disastrous at the end. 
  5. Preheat oven and at the same time pre treat all baking pans. They're fine to sit and wait on the counter and once your batter is mixed there's no fussing with pans. Just pour and pop in the oven. 
  6. Use a levelled measuring cup to ensure that you get the exact same amount of batter in each pan. Sometimes eyeballing it yields cakes that are slightly different sizes and the layers look off. Making three layers and only have 2 pans. Set aside the third layer in a bowl.
  7. If baked layers come up humped on top cut them off with unflavoured waxed dental floss. Be sure to flip the cut side down before icing so that the crumbs don't stick to your spatula. 


Around The House | Ethan's Room Update

Gone are the days when children grew up with the same boarder print wallpaper and furniture they'd had as toddlers. In our knowledgeable and aesthetically aware society, kid's rooms are often updated more than once now. Baby to child, child to tween, and updated teen space.
I did a tween space for my son Ethan a few years back. It had a subtle travel theme and was still boyish enough to delight him and make him feel right at home.
We recently had guests visit overnight and given the lower level of my home (where the guest room is) had flooded a year ago (read about that here) and has remained in a state of demo since, we asked Ethan to give up his room for a night. We put in some new bedding and he announced he liked the stripped back look much better.
I've planned a simple update that will involve bedding, a new light fixture to replace the broken ceiling fan, some art and side table lamps.
Here's what I'm starting with:
The space is boyish and fun, but I think we're all over the vibrancy of it. The desk and wall mounted shelf from Ikea were rarely used and were recently donated to someone who needs them. The bed and side tables are still in great condition.

Here's what I'm thinking of adding to the space:
1.  I'll be replacing the broken ceiling fan with this polished nickel light fixture (which is currently on sale!)
2. I like how clean and simple yet modern this Ikea Brasa lamp is, and the price point was great too. I picked up the last two boxed new ones for a song in the as-is room. It seems to be a perfect nod to the Louis Poulsen Panthella lamp which is a higher price point. (link here) I found another great and more moderately priced version (here).
3. New Bedding... I'm torn between getting something dark or going with extra white sheets that can be bleached and line dried if need be (Like these ones below- here). All of Ethan's sheet sets before were stripes or checks and very boyish. 
So this is what I'll be organizing this weekend. Lots of ordering and maybe a little purging. Stay tuned tomorrow for a cake recipe that several of you had asked me to finally write up. Hope your Friday is fabulous! xo e


Weekend Edition : Mini No Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Recipe

One of my favourite things to make for guests are different versions of mini mason jar cheesecakes. Somehow I've come to enjoy experimenting with the recipe to create new versions for upcoming holidays.
I've gotten them down to a fine science and to whip up 6 mini cheesecakes takes 20 or so minutes.
For those of you looking for something delicious to make for Thanksgiving this might be the best recipe I've come up with yet.
I always seem to do everything for Thanksgiving at the very last minute... I think I mentioned that in my post last year about table settings (here). But this year I'm prepared and very excited to eat these little guys.
If you do happen to make this please be sure to let me know. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do and Happy Thanksgiving to all my dear Canadian friends. xo e


Local Love: XO Treatment Room

If you follow me on snap/stories you'll often see me popping into XO treatment room. I've always been a believer that when you discover someone or something awesome, you need to let your friends know so they can get in on it too. There are lots of local people I promote for this reason (#LocalLove).

The beauty industry can be misleading... I resent the empty promises and miracles companies claim with their product application and have felt duped in the past when I've become excited about something that doesn't do what it says it will. I was also startled to learn that because most spas offer employees commission on skincare products and services they aggressively push them regardless of your needs. I can think of several times when I've left a spa with an armful of products. Enter Annie Graham, owner of XO Treatment Room and talented facialist who radically changed the way I look at how I care for my skin. She has me whittled down to 3 or 4 steps depending on the day and she refuses to let me buy things that aren't impactful to my skin type... no matter how much I like the package.

What is XO treatment room? It's a medi spa that focuses on providing anti-aging treatments with little to no downtime. A less is more mentality prevails with regards to products- practically unheard of in this industry, and the shelves are dotted with bottles of serums and lotions, many derived from natural sources that actually have proven beneficial application.
I've been following the advice of the staff at XO for exactly a year now and am so enthusiastic and happy about the results.

Annie's advice for good skin, regular facials. I recently had the XOA treatment and discovered what all the fuss was about. In this facial session, Annie herself looks at your face and curtails a treatment specifically to you. She mixed a custom peel for my dry skin, blended another pharma-grade concoction for my pigmentation issues and zapped some scars, blackheads/pimples. I left with a visible glow and lasting results. As I've been attending these regularly I see results such as the disappearance of a couple of scars, tighter pores and firmer skin in general.

Annies tips for all skin types:

1. Use a mild cleanser morning and night
2. A retinol moisturizer will work wonders in anyones routine
3. Always wear spf.

I've also been using a bottle of her XO PM face serum (available here), a cult fave, and known by other who use it to be an amazing rescue remedy. What does this mean? Well, it's anti-inflammatory properties keep my puffy under eyes and skin flare ups at a minimum and it truly does feel rejuvenating when I wake up in the morning. The anti-aging botanicals heal and nourish the skin, and just as an added bonus, the serum is completely organic and vegan, which my skin totally loves.   
Hope this helps you as much as it's helped me. 


Discovery Files : Willow Park Village

Stampede is in full swing around us... no pun intended. As much as I love it and all of the amazing events and activities that surround it, it's nice to be able to sneak away within the city and not have to worry about parking and hectic traffic.
The last few weeks have been so incredibly busy and I felt like Luke and I were long overdue for a date night. We also needed to pick up veggie burgers, for a bbq Sunday from M&M's meat shops; so I suggested that we go to Willow Park Village and double up enjoying our date and running an errand or two at the same time.
We decided to try The Broken Plate and had an amazing authentic greek dinner.
From there we wandered over to the Starbucks and picked up some iced coffee to sip since it was still 29 degrees out. From there we went to indulge in some of my favourite cupcakes at Crave for dessert and to bring home to LL.
On the way, I was delighted to discover the art installation that I've heard so many people talking about. I had to stop for a picture at the hydrangea wall (image at top) and then we sat for awhile to admire the colourful display of dozens of umbrellas overhead.
I think it's wonderful to have these sorts of art installations at our disposal to pop by and see. They create an interesting experience for children and I can't wait to return with LL sometime before July 28th when they'll be coming down.

We left feeling happy and full and inadvertently had picked up everything we'd need to make our way through the weekend and even a few things we didn't need.  All in all a great night at Willow Park Village.
xo Erica 


National Iced Tea Day with teapigs

Today's post is all about tea. Iced tea to be specific. After all, it is National Iced Tea Day.

The weather is gradually getting warmer and as I had mentioned in a previous post (here), my covered back deck is almost finished and set up after flooding and repairs. I'm so excited that we'll be able to use it rain or shine all summer long, and extend our living area outdoors. In honour of its completion, I plan to throw a garden party, and I was inspired to make up my own signature iced tea cocktail ahead of time.

I've partnered with my favourite tea company, teapigs, to create an Iced Tea Sangria. It turned out delicious and I can't wait to share it with my guests. In the meantime, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to enjoy it too.

teapigs super fruit Iced Tea Sangria

4-5 super fruit tea temples steeped in 4 cups water
1 Bottle Verdejo Wine (or white wine of choice)
2 ounces Apricot Brandy
Sliced peaches, raspberries, blueberries

  1. Steep super fruit tea temples in boiled water for at least 3 minutes. Set aside in fridge to cool.
  2. In a pitcher mix chilled wine with brandy.
  3. Gradually add tea to taste.
  4. Reserve some fruit to add to the pitcher whole and muddle the remaining fruit. Add all to pitcher.
  5. Stir, garnish and serve.

*You can make this drink the evening before and store it covered in the fridge. This will actually make it even more flavourful.

This post was sponsored by teapigs. Recipe, styling and opinions my own.


Outdoor Lifestyle : How To Set Up The Perfect Deck

Summer is on it's way. My build project with the covered deck outside ( posted here ) is still being finished but that hasn't stopped me from organizing and pulling together all the bits and pieces I'll need to set it all up. In the meantime I thought I'd share my favourite tips and tricks for you to set up your own outdoor space and get outside!

1. The right outdoor candles with citronella not only set the mood with a soft glow, but also serve as a mosquito repellent when you light them. I love this arrangement of clear glass candles nestled in moss on a golden tray. So pretty.
2. Make yourself a lidded jar to keep your outdoor matches safe and dry with this 5 min DIY. You'll never have to fumble around or look for a lighter. Simply cut a piece of fine grit sandpaper and glue to the inside top of a mason jar. Voila. Dry Matches. Or save yourself a trip to the hardware store and order a pre-made bottle (here)

3. Keep a basket in a safe place with extra blankets for chilly evenings. Having throws designated for outside means you won't have to raid your linen closet and if the outdoor ones get a dead bug or dried leaf stuck to them you're not bringing it back inside. I love falsa blankets, like the one below. They're inexpensive and oh so soft so I ordered several that I keep tucked away for evening guests. There are plenty of soft options without a pattern as well.

4. The perfect serving tray will be an indispensable key to your entertaining and daily living outside. It makes transporting multiple things so much easier. It also serves as a base for candles, matches, a lantern, succulents, etc... (here)
5. Succulents are such a nice touch. I'm not the best at keeping them alive so I've resorted to faux this year... and bonus, they don't need any sun OR water. Win/Win. (here)
I've put these essentials on my list. I'll be giving away a pale green falsa blanket to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment about your favourite tip or the one outdoor accessory you can't live without. Thanks as always for joining me! 

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