Our Late Summer Wedding

 A huge thank you to our amazing Photographer  Brandon Werth  For capturing these beautiful Images from our wedding day. ALl images are © Brandon Werth .

A huge thank you to our amazing Photographer Brandon Werth For capturing these beautiful Images from our wedding day. ALl images are ©Brandon Werth.

As our families might tell you, our wedding day, August 11th, was a long time coming. After dating for eight and a half years (surviving two years long distance, five moves between three cities, and buying a house together), the question wasn’t if Chris and I were going to get married, but when.

After finding out we were joyously expecting (!), our growing family gave us the nudge we needed to set a date and start planning. We both knew we wanted a small, intimate ceremony with our immediate family. Sharing our day with our closest loved ones felt the most special to us.

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With a wedding date set for little more than two months away, we threw ourselves into planning mode and managed to have a majority of the details solidified within a week. Growing up, I had dreams of an outdoor wedding. So, we crossed our fingers against the rain and chose a local arboretum for our ceremony, hoping to enjoy the garden in full bloom.

I thought my wedding dress would prove to be the most difficult, knowing that I had to buy a style off the rack (due to the short deadline) that would also accommodate a baby bump. Moreover, I am notoriously “particular” (as my mother would say). When my sister was married a couple years earlier, we joked how I would have to try on every dress in the city before I would find one.

Yet, despite the restrictions (or perhaps because of them), the second dress I tried on was “the one.”

Although we were working on a short timeline, the ease at which everything came together made it feel as if this was the way it was supposed to be.

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Unfortunately, the groom came down with the flu a few days before our wedding day. I kept myself quarantined, making frequent trips to the drug store hoping for some miracle medicine that would quickly cure him. Despite our best efforts, Chris still woke up with a fever on our wedding day. We half-joked that we would have a “first hug” instead of a “first kiss.”

While we had crossed our fingers against rain, we had forgotten to cross them against the flu as well. But, after all, we are committing in sickness and in health, right?

Even so, once the day got started, the whirlwind of getting ready and setting everything up captured our attention and left little room for worrying.

Although I expected to feel nervous about getting married, when the moment was in front of me I found I was pretty calm. After spending so many years together, our life together was already comforting and familiar.

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We blocked off a couple hours before the ceremony for photographs, starting with a “first look” in the fern garden. The day may have been hot and humid, but the light was perfect (scattered gently through a Canadian wildfire haze that dappled the ground with occasional pockets of sunlight, before breaking against a clear sky). The time flew by as we wandered the grounds, laughing with our photographer (illness forgotten), and enjoying the last few moments before becoming husband and wife. We picked up a few “friends” along the way, as the tulle on my dress proved to be excellent material for capturing insects of all shapes and sizes.

After taking a few minutes to freshen up (and for my mother to guide the bug friends out from under the layers of tulle), it was time for the big event.

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A month earlier, Chris and I made the decision to write our own ceremony, personalizing the details and readings on our relationship together. Instead of the traditional exchange of rings, we chose to “tie the knot,” to signify our two separate lives becoming one. The ceremony ended with our exchange of personal vows. It was short, sweet, and sentimental.

With Ella Fitzgerald’s At Last to send us off—after eight years together it was about time—we were official.

We ended the evening in a private room at a local restuarant, enjoying the several courses of food and family in equal measure.

Our wedding day may have been untraditional in many ways, but it was perfect for us.

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Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

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With less than nine weeks to go before we meet our little one, the nesting phase has been setting in quickly for me. Unfortunately for my husband, this means waking up on the weekend to pressing “to do” lists featuring half a dozen lengthy chores that need to be done right now because we are running out of time.

Last Sunday I pulled out the holiday lights to hang on the roof right after breakfast. My poor husband asked if he could finish his morning coffee before pulling out the ladder.

The desire to get the house organized and ready is more than I bargained for. Even though I wanted to relax and enjoy our time as a couple before we become a family of three, the need to “nest” is proving hard to suppress.

Today’s quote is perhaps more aspirational than reflective of my current state of being, but I trust I’ll find that happy medium soon.

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Although autumn squash is primarily featured in savory preparations, as a baker I have a hard time imagining it as anything other than sweet. While pumpkin is the go-to squash when it comes to baking, butternut squash can also work equally well in many of the same recipes.

For this seasonal cake, I started by roasting and pureeing a small butternut squash. The squash is then sweetened in a traditional cake batter. With the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, the cake takes on the classic autumn flavors.

And, because chocolate only makes things better, I added a cup of chocolate chips to the batter and covered the cake in a thick chocolate glaze. The combination of chocolate and spiced squash is one of my favorites. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.

This Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake features the spices of autumn. Butternut squash forms the base flavor of the cake, which is enhanced with spices and chocolate chips. While the cake can certainly stand-alone without the glaze, the addition of the glaze will help seal in the cake’s moisture and enhance the overall chocolate flavor.

Serve with a hot cup of coffee, a rainy windowpane, and a sense of happiness being exactly where you are.

One Year Ago: Apple Pandowdy
Two Years Ago: Apple Cinnamon Muffins & Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones
Three Years Ago: Pear Almond Tart & Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake
Four Years Ago: Pumpkin Molasses Bread, Vegan Caramel & Rustic Apple Tart
Five Years Ago: Butternut Squash Biscuits & Apple Crisp
Six Years Ago: Pumpkin Waffles, Apple Cinnamon SconesPear Crisp, Pumpkin Rolls, & Butternut Squash Cake
Seven Years Ago: Red Wine Chocolate Cake, Pear Spice Cake, Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake, & Apple Cinnamon Cake
Eight Years Ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Apple Tart with Almond Cream, & Fresh Ginger Pear Cake

Butternut Squash Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Yields 8-10 servings

Butternut Squash Batter
1 1/2 cups (370 grams) butternut squash puree
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (177 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Glaze
6 ounces (170 grams) semisweet or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heavily grease a 10-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.

For the butternut squash batter, beat together the butternut squash puree, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt until smooth and uniform in appearance. Stir in the chocolate chips.

In the prepared baking pan, add the cake batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before un-molding and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate glaze, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until steaming. Be careful not to boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt for 5 minutes before stirring until smooth and uniform. Allow glaze to cool until it reaches a thicker consistency before pouring glaze evenly over the top of the cooled cake.

Serve the cake after the glaze has fully set. 

Apple Crumble Cake

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I have been keeping some big news from you the last few months—Chris and I are expecting! We are delighted to welcome a baby girl into to our family this January.

The announcement of this baby feels extra sweet because we were not sure this day would ever come to pass. I was born with a heart condition, which carries its own unique set of challenges. Since my teenage years, my doctors have placed a question mark over my head when it comes to the idea of carrying my own children. While I knew I wanted a family someday, the path to creating that family was always in question.

I came to terms with the uncertainty, researching adoption and surrogacy in equal measure. I was fortunate to find a wonderful husband who was open to whichever path life would eventually deal us. Yet, I still fantasized about pregnancy—how could I not? But I knew deep down it was a distant dream that may never be fulfilled.

When I was officially given the doctors’ blessing, it felt like I had been awarded a golden ticket. Happily, I can report that so far this pregnancy has been healthy, for both mother and baby. I was lucky to completely avoid many of the classic pregnancy symptoms, including morning sickness. In many ways, I have felt completely normal except for the ever expanding waistline.

As I near the third trimester, the aches, pains, and exhaustion are slowly starting to set in. Even so, these inconveniences pale in comparison to the moments when our baby shares her little kicks and movements with me. I’m trying to enjoy this time, knowing it is so brief.

I find it hard to believe that we’ll be parents in a few short months.

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While this baby hasn’t brought about any food cravings, she does seem to have a preference for salty foods over sweet. Though there will always be room in my diet for cookies, I have been leaning heavily towards natural sugars the last few months, particularly enjoying the sweetness found in summer fruits.

With autumn’s arrival and apple season in full swing, I took the opportunity to create a cake to take advantage of the harvest and fall’s comfort spices. This Apple Crumble Cake is sweetened primarily with honey, which lends the cake a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor that traditional sugar alone cannot provide. Because the cake is not overly sweetened, I recommend using apples that are on the sweeter end of the spectrum, which truly allow the apple flavor to shine.

Along with a cinnamon crumble topping, the slices disappear quickly.

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This Apple Crumble Cake celebrates autumn’s apple season. The cake is sweetened with honey and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Sweet apple pieces are baked evenly throughout the cake, which provide additional sweetness and texture. After baking, I recommend cooling the cake completely before cutting and serving so the flavors have time to develop. Serve the cake plain or warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

One Year Ago: Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread
Two Years Ago: Roasted Fig & Almond Cake
Three Years Ago: Carrot Almond Muffins
Four Years Ago: Espresso Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake & Boiled Cider
Five Years Ago: Vanilla Bean Malt Cake, Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread, Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, & Classic Apple Pie
Six Years Ago: Pumpkin Espresso Cake, Triple Coconut CookiesChewy Vanilla Bean Bars, & Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Seven Years Ago: Pumpkin Granola, Chocolate Cherry Bread, Pumpkin Spice Latte, & Oatmeal Raisin Crisps
Eight Years Ago: Maple Roasted Bananas, Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes, & Butternut Squash Custard

Apple Crumble Cake

Yields 10-12 servings

Apple Cake
2 1/4 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (118 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (340 grams) honey
2 large eggs
4 cups (500 grams or about 4 medium) apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced

Crumble Topping
3/4 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (67 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (67 grams) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 10-cup tube pan and set aside.

For the cake, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the vegetable oil, honey, and eggs until uniform. The batter will be thick. Stir in the diced apples and set aside.

For the crumble, stir together the flour, brown sugar, spices, and butter in a medium mixing bowl until uniform and crumbly. Set aside.

In prepared pan, spread out cake batter evenly. Sprinkle the top with the crumble topping and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring cake to a cooling rack to cool completely.