I'll be honest. I made these cakes for myself. I wasn't even super concerned if they made it onto the blog. I just had a bad craving for little yellow cakes filled with blueberry, raspberry and blackberry jams. It was only after I scarfed down one of each  flavor (still warm) that I decided to cover them in fondant. Color-coding was in order so we'd know what jam flavor was inside each cake - blue fondant for blueberry-filled and etcetera. The fondant really helped seal in the moisture of the yellow sponge, and I think the cakes were even better the next day!

I recently purchased six 4-inch springform pans, and I can't stop using them. I may need a baby cakes intervention. It's like making the fancier cousin of cupcakes; these are slightly larger and with straight edges. They have the prettiest petite cake shape.

My mom's birthday was at the beginning of this month, but with all the icy weather we've been having lately we didn't get to celebrate on time. Now that our world is finally thawing, the  family's coming over this weekend and we're doing it up Southern style with barbeque, cornbread muffins and gallons of sweet tea. And cake of course!

I asked my mom what she'd like for her birthday this year and her only request was a birthday cake. She added "and not that meringue stuff, I like the frosting with confectioners' sugar. And I like that white sour cream cake, the kind that starts with the box mix. That's my favorite."  What can I say? The woman knows what she wants (and she should have it!).

I decided to do a sewing-themed birthday cake because mom is fine seamstress. She even made some Sprinkle Bakes-themed oven mitts and potholders for my Christmas pop-up shop (and by the way, thanks to everyone who made that a success - I truly felt like a Christmas elf!  Over 80 sprinkle mugs alone were shipped out and I'm pretty sure my mailman hated me for a while after that...I digress.) 

Do love potions exist? I say yes. Okay, kind of.  The words potion and elixir both imply conjury - perhaps a bubbling test tube or a little amber bottle of murky liquid - but I'm referring to something much less hexed. It has more to do with the allurement that draws us outdoors to the first camphoric buds of spring and makes us pinch them right from the stalk. I'm talking aromatherapy meets sugar and cookery. Kitchen alchemy with herbs and flowers.

Our sense of smell is estimated to be ten thousand times more sensitive than our sense of taste. So, getting together flowery herbs and dessert is an exciting thing! Of course, this is not a new idea. Infused simple syrups have long been a staple of confectioners and the effects of aromatherapy on the body and spirit have been studied for ages. The novelty here is using herbs and flowers with specific characteristics. Intoxicating floral notes (lavender, rose) and stimulating scents (mint,citrus) are best suited for syrups we're giving the conceit of "love elixir".

Just like any simple syrup, these can be be poured over ice cream, added to cocktails, or drizzled over buttermilk-vanilla bean cupcakes with the recipe provided at the end of this post. Most infused syrups are colorless, and if you make a lot of different infusions at the same time as I have, adding a drop of complementary food color to each syrup is a good idea (i.e. green to mint-infused). This will help you identify them quickly and easily. 

It was fun to learn about each herb's characteristics as I stirred them into syrup, and I've given some information with each elixir I created below, but it's also fine to disregard the back story and just enjoy them for what they are - yummy on dessert.

l to r:
Lavender-Juniper Berry - floral and heady with evergreen flavor. Maybe we should call this elixir "keep calm and forget-me-not" because lavender is known for relaxation and juniper berry reportedly helps improve memory! This one is a nice addition to cocktails.

Rose-Vanilla - rose is sweet and intoxicating and vanilla bean evokes feelings of safety and home. Cuddle up with your favorite person and a little of this over vanilla ice cream (one bowl, two spoons of course).  

Lemon-Thyme - the scent of lemon is bright and energizing. Thyme has traditionally been associated with courage and reduces fatigue. Let's toss out our energy drinks and have a little of this over poppyseed pound cake instead, shall we?

Mint-Rosemary - cool with a kiss of pine. Mint is refreshing and invigorating. Rosemary is mood-lifting. Both pair extremely well with dark chocolate -and don't forget, chocolate supposedly simulates the feeling of falling in love. Mint/Rosemary/Chocolate? Win/win/win.

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