October is in full effect here with falling leaves, overcast skies, and chilly weather countered by many cups of hot tea brewed with my electric teakettle. This atmosphere makes me long to bake bread, but alas, I have no kitchen. Temporarily. But seriously - take a look. I'm going through baking withdrawals already. However, there are a few sweet bites to be made and enjoyed without the virtue of an oven, like these Mascarpone Stuffed figs I've made for Fair Trade Month.

Yes! It's Fair Trade Month, which means I've got a box full of Fair Trade goodies to give away to one lucky reader! If you've been reading this blog for very long, then you know each year I love to promote this worthwhile cause (see previous entries here, here, here and here). In a nutshell, buying Fair Trade means Buying Fair Trade means you’re getting quality products and the people who grow, sew and craft them get a fair deal for their hard work. In fact, your everyday purchases can help farmers and factory workers in 70 countries work in safe conditions, earn extra money to invest in their communities and improve the lives of their families.

Coffee, drinking chocolate, chocolate chips, 
chocolate spread... this year's box may be the best yet! 

To enter,  just leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post with what you'd love to make with these Fair Trade goodies.

If there's one recipe that is quintessentially fall - correction, early fall, then this must be it. You'll find these fritters dense with apples yet light and pillowy, tart yet sweet. Both ugly and beautiful, they are a contradiction of the best sort: fried and smothered in cinnamon-spiced glaze. They bring to mind a dozen clichés, but especially the one about not judging a book by its cover.

The Autumnal Equinox is on the horizon and if you're a fellow sky gazer, then you may have noticed signs of the season's change. Here in my corner of the world (Northern Hemisphere), daytime brings a shade of brilliant blue that is only visible in fall. Indoors the shadows move across the windowsills differently. Crisp nights make it easy to examine a new (old) set of constellations that have moved across the sky and have different orientation.

The whole thing makes me wax philosophical. I suppose looking at the night sky will do that. It made me consider the zodiac, which I've never put much stock into, but have on occasion nodded my head when someone explains the behavior of a Scorpio or Cancer. Each sign supposedly describes characteristics of each and every human being on earth. I've decided it's not such a stretch. My baker's brain chalked it up to this: We're all different slices from the same cake - why not? Sound overly poetic? Yet another side effect of star-gazing. As is this cake.

Hello friends, bakers, and fellow dessert-makers! I thought it might be fun for you to see what I've been up to lately. Namely, there's a book trailer in the works for Sea Salt Sweet!

In the picture above I'm trying to look like a normal not-nervous person, but we all know that pictures can be deceiving. The thing you can't see is that hours before this snap, I'd broken a dozen eggs on my kitchen floor and then accidentally stepped in the mess, which made me slide across the room and end up on the floor. Hello giant upper arm bruise! Hello Martha Stewart-esque button-down shirt to hide said bruise. I was still feeling shaken and camera shy to boot, but absolutely without question I had best production team who made me feel safe and special and yes - maybe even a little normal (smile).

I don't know how to feel about September. It's here too soon. The past two weeks have been especially full of sound and fury in my kitchen (the best kind of both) and many baked goods that you have yet to see. Most of those treats were for a book trailer (more on that in a future post), and others were for special projects that I'm just dying to share. Definitely stay tuned - this fall season promises to be quite full!

September is prime time for apple-picking, but before I dive head-first into all things pomme, I wanted to have one last peachy hoorah. These orange-zested cupcakes are filled with the most delicious fragrant cooked peaches. They're topped with peach schnapps-infused buttercream, which is all kinds of awesome, if you ask me. They taste like a peachy-orange creamsicle.

This past week has been filled with the deliberate business of comparing flooring samples, cabinet colors and countertops for the kitchen remodel. The whole thing feels foreign to me; too serious, too adult. To balance out all of that grown-up stuff, I decided to create a cake that would bring genuine childlike joy to my face - extra sprinkles, please!

Behold the Triple Stack Donut Cake. It's big on fun and it's too easy to make! It's basically three giant butter cake donuts with the usual donut glaze and rainbow sprinkles. I've been mulling over the idea of a giant donut cake ever since I purchased a Savarin pan. I've yet to use the pan for its intended purpose, but I'll get around to it eventually.
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