the perfect summer cake - the mary ann cake with mascarpone and berries via lauren kelpHello, hello summertime warriors! While back to school sales are around every corner, August isn’t over yet and we’ve still got some summer baking to do! Head to your farmer’s market, or local grocer and grab all the berries you can find for this delicious Mary Ann cake. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, heck, even cherries – bring ’em all to the party. In my opinion, you can never have too many berries for this cake.

For you Williams-Sonoma junkies out there (hey, I will gladly raise a hand), you might recognize this recipe from one of their catalogues many, many moons ago with the name sake after their Mary Ann cake pan. If you have no idea what I am talking about, this is a bitching cake that isn’t wildly difficult to make, tastes like a dream, and looks like you casually took a year off life to become a pastry chef.

Don’t get caught up if you don’t have the right pan, a spring pan works great. Besides that, put on some kitchen jams, pour yourself a glass of wine or some iced tea, and get to baking, baby! If you are looking for an excuse to try this puppy out, first day of school celebration cake, birthday cake, or even a  “hooray you made it to Wednesday” cake. See, it really is a cake for all occasions! Happy baking, babes xoxo LK
the perfect summer cake - the mary ann cake with mascarpone and berries via lauren kelp

Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 12 -16
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries
  • 4 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 6 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chilled heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F & grease and flour a Mary Ann cake pan (if you don't have this kind of pan, a spring pan is perfect too).
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 1 to 2 minutes). Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until blended. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3 to 5 minutes).
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl & add the eggs in one at a time. Make sure to beat thoroughly after each egg is added. Beat in the vanilla.
  5. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, beating just until blended and no lumps of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out onto the rack and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.
  6. Just before serving, prepare the topping: In a nonreactive bowl, combine the berries and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar and stir until well blended. Set aside. In a small bowl, using a rubber spatula, gently combine the mascarpone, sour cream, vanilla and the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Fold in the whipped cream. Spoon the mascarpone mixture into the well of the cake, spreading it to the edges. Arrange the berries on top of the mascarpone mixture and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

the perfect summer cake - the mary ann cake with mascarpone and berries via lauren kelp

Photography by Constance Higley & Baking by Brendon McCaskey. Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma


CHOCOLATE WHISKEY CAKEAre y’all ready for the most delicious thing your Monday has ever seen? It’s boozy, chocolatey, & perfect for literally every occasion. It’s our new favorite dessert, the Chocolate Whiskey Cake! One bite of this & your life will be changed forever! xoxo, LK

Hello there! Constance here. Confession: I definitely ate more than half of that cake pictured above. I’m not sure how it happened, but just beware, it’s sort of dangerous! Perfect for a birthday, celebration, “hooray we made it through Monday” party, or just because – no matter the occasion, this cake is perfect for a crowd and will please even the most dessert averse friends. Trust me when I say this, you are about to become everyone’s favorite baker. Bring this to your next dinner party & you could start a fan club. Not such a terrible thing to be known for fantastic whiskey cake, you know?


-1.5 cups of dark chocolate chips
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup instant espresso
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-4 cups flour
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-2 tsp baking powder
-2 cups of unsalted butter (4 sticks)
-6 large eggs
-3 cups sugar
-1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
-2 cups whiskey (we used Knob Creek)


-1/2 cup egg whites
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 1/2 cups butter (cubed, room temperature)
-1 tsp vanilla
-3 oz dark chocolate (melted and cooled)
-Ground cinnamon for dusting
-1/2 cup of dark sweet cherries



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 4 8-inch cake pans with coconut oil spray & in a medium sized saucepan, slowly melt the dark chocolate and set aside to cool.
2. Bring the water to a boil, add the espresso and cocoa powder and set aside to cool. Add the chocolate to the espresso/cocoa mixture, and whisk until evenly combined.
3. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Add the whiskey to the coffee/cocoa mix and then combine that mix with the batter. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter. Beat until evenly combined. Divide batter evenly amongst pans and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.


1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar until until the mixture becomes a meringue (approx. 10 minutes.) Slowly add the cubed butter and mix until smooth. Add the vanilla, melted chocolate and whip until smooth.
2. Frost cake and top with a light dusting of cinnamon and the sweet dark cherries.


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TURKEY BACON AVOCADO BREAKFAST SANDWICH because breakfast sandwiches are the best


Hello friends! Constance here. Hope you’re all having a wonderful week! Guys-it’s almost March. Can you believe it? I’m not quite sure how that happened. I feel like I’m just now ready for Christmas. We’re getting ready for a crazy influx of house guests over the next month. Spring training starts soon here in Phoenix, and while I like to pretend everyone’s coming in town for some good quality hang time, let’s be real….it’s all about baseball.

Regardless, I’ve been working on coming up with some foolproof recipes that don’t have me slaving away in the kitchen all hours of the day. I definitely want our guests to have a hot meal, but I also want to keep a small ounce of sanity while doing it. My solution? Recipes that you can make in bulk and freeze for later. We’ve got more of these coming your way, but to start–biscuits. My plan is to make at least a few dozen of these before our guests begin to arrive so we can all eat our weight in breakfast sandwiches. Truly, they’re just the best. You can customize to fit any and all diets, and it’s as easy as frying a few eggs and some bacon and voila!



-2 slices thick cut bacon

-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-1 large brown egg

-1 buttermilk biscuit


-1-2 oz. roasted turkey

-1/2 avocado, thinly sliced



-In a medium sized pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.

-Remove bacon from pan and add olive oil. Continue to heat on medium until olive oil is hot.

-Crack egg slowly over pan, and immediately reduce heat to low.

-Cook slowly until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard.

-Remove egg from heat, top with fresh cracked black pepper, and set aside.

-Cut biscuit in half, and spread a light layer of Sriracha on the bottom half.

-Top with turkey, bacon, avocado, egg and the other half of the biscuit.

-Cut sandwich in half and serve immediately.


We’d love to hear your favorite combos below!  constance button

COQ AU VIN Subtitle Text Goes Here to Capture Audience

COQAUVIN0017Oh, hey friends! Today quite possibly marks the day that officially got fancy. We whipped up the most gorgeous twist on a traditional Coq au Vin dish in our new Le Creuset mix & match Dutch Oven (you know, to break it in and stuff) & the results were nothing short of mindblowingly delicious. We’ve always been a big fan of the Dutch Oven, but this little beauty seals the deal. It’s stunning!
COQAUVIN0015Now, I know we talk a lot about simple recipe and quick little cooking hacks, but today is the day we flex our cooking mussels. Our take on Coq au Vin isn’t wildly difficult to make, it just takes a bit more prep work and a little more patience, but the results are nothing short of magnificent. COQAUVIN0012Traditional Coq au Vin calls for chicken thighs & breasts, but we felt a bit daring so we switched it up and used Cornish Game Hen. The best part about the Dutch Oven is that it does a lot of the heavy lifting, flavor-wise, for you. This dish is perfect to make for a special night, a fun dinner-party, or if you just want to elevate your kitchen game. As always, it won’t go perfectly, but that’s the best part! Who knows, you may just add something that makes the dish perfectly your own! COQAUVIN0009


8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups full-bodied red wine (we used a Cabernet Sauvignon)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Cornish Game hen

Olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

10 white pearl onions, blanched and peeled

1/2 pound small cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Cognac

5 fresh thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish



1. Place Game Hen in a large bowl, and add wine. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Remove Game Hen from wine, and pat dry; reserve wine. Season Game Hen with salt and pepper.

4. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving drippings in pot.

5. Raise heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook Game Hen, flipping once, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add chopped onion to pot, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 2 minutes. Add pearl onions and mushrooms, and cook until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and flour, and cook 2 minutes. Add Cognac, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

6. Return bacon and Game Hen to pot. Add thyme and bay leaves. Cover, and place in oven until Game Hen has cooked through and vegetables are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Discard herbs, and skim fat from surface.

7. Serve & enjoy! Pairs wonderfully with mashed potatoes and your favorite bold red!


Recipe adapted from the queen herself, Martha Stewart

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Happy Monday! Constance here. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is seriously struggling with coming off of the chocolate high after the holidays?! It seems to be so much more difficult than it was last year. I’m a firm believer in the gradual change, and I think that this little recipe falls a bit more into the power bar/trail mix category than the dessert category. Right? And dark chocolate is basically a superfood. Thus, I bring you Ginger & Walnut Dark Chocolate Bark. It’s easy. It’s delicious. And it’s obviously super healthy…



-18 oz. dark chocolate chips or chunks

-2 tablespoons almond extract

-1 cup candied ginger, chopped

-1 cup walnuts, chopped

-1 cup shaved almonds



-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/3 cup of ginger, 1/3 cup of walnuts and 1/3 cup of almonds.

-Stir until evenly combined.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining ginger, walnuts and almonds evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.


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HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPOoh, dear, dear friends, you are in for a treat today. For all of my cheese lovers out there, today’s recipe is for you! We’ve got the most glorious baked brie and it’s basically a cheap & easy lifesaver. It takes no time, is cheap to make, and makes you look like a total pro! Go ahead invite the mother in law over, you just popped a brie in the oven 😉 – xoxo, LK

Oh friends. Constance here. Is anyone out there as excited as I am that the holidays are over? Never before in my life have I uttered that sentence. I almost feel ashamed saying it, but it couldn’t be more true this year! I think it must be a combination of a way too busy holiday season around our house (I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe for a couple of days there!) and an overwhelming sense of excitement about 2016. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but there’s something about this year that has me giddy. I have a feeling 2016 is going to be quite the game changer.


All of this excitement, however, doesn’t come without some sort of reflection. I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the art of entertaining, especially when it comes to the holidays. Confession: I’m 100% certain that that busyness I mentioned earlier had much to do with me spending way too much time in the kitchen trying to impress our guests rather than cooking smarter and spending more time actually enjoying my loved ones. There’s a way to be intentional and make much of your guests, without entirely missing the celebration yourself, and I truly believe that if that’s not happening there’s a big problem.

So to remedy this for future celebrations, I’ve decided to learn from my mistakes this year, and share with you the recipes that truly did work. The ones that are simple and quick, but still communicate to your guests that the dinner you’ve invited them to is a celebration! And you guys, this is the pièce de résistance. Because who doesn’t love brie…


-12 ounce wheel of good brie (a younger brie works best, but ask your cheese monger for a good option)

-honey (the more the better)

-3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Remove brie from packaging and place in camembert baker or on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with honey (we prefer to completely cover the top of the brie, but it’s up to you). Top with fresh rosemary sprigs.

-Bake for 12-14 minutes.

-Remove from oven, and serve with crusty french bread.


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CHOCOLATE TART - LAUREN KELPDid y’all have a lovely holiday? Are you gearing up for the next one? Well, if you plan on entertaining soon, we more than recommend this delicious salted dark chocolate tart. It’s unreal y’all! – xoxo, LK

Well hello fellow chocolatiers! Constance here. We hope you all had the most wonderful Christmas weekend celebrating with family and friends! Good news? We’re still going strong over here. We’re taking advantage of the rest of this glorious month, and continuing to celebrate by eating chocolate all day, everyday. I’m assuming you’re all doing the same, and this here little recipe is my go-to for all NYE parties. It has the classic black & white thing covered, and it’s really just a crowd pleaser. Because let’s face it, if you’re crowd doesn’t like dark chocolate, you may need to reevaluate your crew…



-1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1/3 cup coconut oil, melted & slightly cooled
-1/4 cup agave syrup
-2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


-1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
-1 cup dark cocoa powder
-7 ounces dark chocolate, melted & slightly cooled
-2/3 cup agave syrup
-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2/3 cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large food processor, pulse the oats, flour, coconut oil, agave, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon until coarsely ground.
-Transfer dough to a 13 3/4 x 4 1/2 – inch tart pan with removable bottom.
-Firmly press dough into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
-Bake crust until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
-Combine espresso powder and 3/4 cup of hot water in a food processor, and mix until espresso is dissolved. Add cocoa and let sit for 5 minutes.
-Add melted chocolate, agave syrup, vanilla, coconut oil and sea salt, and process until mixture is really smooth and thick (roughly 45 seconds).
-Pour filling into cooled tart crust, and smooth the top (you may have a little extra filling left over–you’re welcome!)
-Sprinkle tart with see salt flakes and place in refrigerator until filing is set (about 1 hour).
-Cut tart into small bars and serve chilled!

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XMAS0004Hello merrymakers! Constance here! If you’re anything like me, you’re in full scramble mode. It’s Monday and that means you have less than one week until THE day of gifting. No matter how hard I try and how much I plan, I’m always working, shopping, cooking up until the last minute. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs that said the best work is done under pressure? No? Well….someone did, and I’m sticking to that nugget of wisdom!
And friends, if you’re in the same boat, this recipe is clutch. Total prep time? About 10 minutes. Total time? About 8 hours. BUT 7.5 hours of that is spent in your refrigerator which means this little recipe is foolproof! And better news? It’s truly so, so good. And it just to happens to be red, white, and green!


-18 oz. good white chocolate
-2 tablespoons almond extract
-1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
-1 cup chopped dried cranberries


-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of cranberries.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and cranberries evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.


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SUN-DRIED TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE FRITTATA Hello again beautiful people, and welcome to Monday morning! We’re so glad you’re here, and since we realize you may be less than thrilled with the current time and day, we wanted to share a little recipe that may help bring some cheer to the beginning of your work week – the swanky frittata!

I’m currently in the middle of some serious cleaning and purging of everything in our household, and this yearly event always makes me crave the  simple, classic, go-to’s in life. Like the tailored little black dress, the perfectly curated linen closet, the newly arranged and edited book shelf, and the classic and perfected recipes that never grow old. Back to basics is my spring theme, and this frittata is an essential component of our little regimen.

The best part is, it’s basic appeal allows you the freedom to mix things up if you choose! So show us your take on this classic by tagging #LKmakes, and we’ll be featuring our favorites soon!



-3 teaspoons olive oil

-2 cloves minced garlic

-4 eggs

-1/2 cup milk

-2 ounces goat cheese crumbles

-2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1 lemon, juiced

-2 large handfuls of arugula

-Fresh cracked pepper



-Preheat oven to 375.

-In an 8″ cast iron skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-low heat.

-Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

-In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

-Add egg mixture to skillet and increase heat to medium. Cook until bottom begins to set, about 5-6 minutes.

-Transfer skillet to oven and continue to cook until edges are slightly brown, about 8-10 minutes.

-While frittata is baking, whisk together 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the juice from one lemon, and fresh cracked pepper. Toss with arugula.

-Remove frittata from oven, let cool slightly, and top with arugula. Serve and enjoy!





Hello & Happy Monday, you beautiful birds! It’s chocolate day here at LK HQ and we are busting out a good one – chocolate fudge! It’s pure heaven and it’s perfect to share, gift, or indulge in after a good meal. Thankfully, Foodie Bad Ass Constance Higley brings her A-game and knocks this guy out of the park. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think! – xoxo, LK

Hello friends! Constance here. Remember how we said Mondays were made for chocolate? We weren’t kidding. It’s what we live for…at least on Mondays. I’ve always steered clear from any sort of fudge recipe, thinking it was way out of my league. And the whole tahini thing (see recipe) threw me for a complete loop. But like with anything that may seem scary, once you get started you realize it’s truly easy and so worth it. And any recipe that I can make the day before a dinner party and freeze overnight is 1000 times worth it!

If you love chocolate, dessert, a good time, or a delicious recipe – this little guy is absolutely for you! Check it out and see what I mean…



-1/2 cup pure maple syrup

-3 tablespoons coconut oil

-340g hulled tahini

-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

-sea salt flakes



-Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

-Slowly heat the maple syrup and coconut oil until just melted.

-Remove mixture from heat and add the tahini, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

-Mix together until combined into a smooth, runny paste.

-Transfer mix to prepared 8×8 pan, and top with sea salt flakes.

-Place pan in freezer for at least 4 hours to set.

-Remove from freezer, but into small squares, and serve immediately.


constanceRecipe adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme.