I’ve been wanting to put a local event together for a really, realllly long time, so I am beyond excited to share that I’ll be hosting my first workshop here in my hometown of Portland along with Christiann of Portland Fresh! The 1-day only workshop will take place in Tillamook Station’s sweeping industrial event space in northeast Portland on Saturday, April 4th, from 9 am to 3 pm. Material covered will include hands-on styling and plating of dishes with an emphasis on greenery & spring flowers, adjusting internal camera settings and their effects on the image, lenses and their focal lengths, manipulation of natural light, as well as an hour long post-processing session in Adobe Lightroom 5. We’ll also enjoy a full sit down, styled community lunch for a chance to get to know each other and unwind, and refreshments from the local Stumptown Coffee will be served. Students will walk away with content for a full blog post, a strong understanding of styling, composition, photography, and post processing, social media content, and gift bags from local Portland vendors. I’d love to have you join us. You can click the link below for registration at our early-bird rate, which will go up a teeny bit after February 25th, hope to see you soon!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. First, begin steeping the lavender for the ganache. Bring the cream to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and use a tea strainer to steep the dried lavender in the hot cream for at least 1 hour.
While the cream is steeping, you can prepare the cake. Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the cocoa powder, vegetable oil, and baking soda at medium low speed. Add the boiling water and mix to combine. Add the sugars, milk, eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt and mix at low speed until a silky batter forms.
Evenly distribute the batter between 2 greased 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan and allowing the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack, parchment paper side down. The cake is very moist so if you do not leave the parchment paper on, the cake will stick to the wire rack.
While the cakes are cooling, you can finish preparing the ganache. Remove the lavender from the cream and discard it. Heat the cream and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
To prepare the buttercream, beat the butter and powdered sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the cream, vanilla extract, and lavender essential oil and continue beating until the frosting takes on an airy whipped texture, about 3-4 minutes.
To assemble the cake, cut each cake layer in half horizontally so that you have 4 small cake layers. Place the base layer on your serving dish and coat the top with the ganache. Repeat two more times so you have three cake layers with ganache on them. Place the top fourth layer on the cake and ice the top and sides with the buttercream. Garnish with chocolate shavings or cacao nibs and serve.