Holiday greetings

I recently celebrated a milestone birthday (Thirty? Forty? Fifty? I'll let you be the judge but don't you DARE say fifty! Not yet anyway...) and we partied at my favorite little wine bar/club downtown - the chic little rabbit hole that is Vin De Syrah.

There were even burlesque dancers!

And as the night wore on, the wine bar turned into a club.  Can you see that pretty pink Swedish princess cake behind me?  

It was a blast and we even managed to make it to another friend's party the next night, so obviously we can manage our wine.  Right?

The rest of our holiday season has delightfully revolved around the Littles, seen here decorating their Gingerbread houses.  

When they aren't doing this they are snuggling, asking me to play a game, singing in front of their stuffed animals or helping me cook.  

Speaking of cooking, our Christmas Eve dinner tradition is to dump a mountain of crab legs into a bowl and have at it (and it's pretty much the only time of year that we do this) because they are amazing, but also super quick and easy on what is always such a hectic day.

I also made this breakfast-y Fennel Crumb Cake this morning and it was a smash hit. Served with fresh whipped cream because we were out of the canned stuff.  What an interesting flavor the fennel adds!

You can find the recipe here.  Happy holidays!  xo

“This cake is super easy to make, which is good because it is devoured in seconds. Even the crumbs. I always contemplate making two so I can hoard one for myself,” says Jessica.

For the topping:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups fresh raspberries (6-ounce container)
Nonstick vegetable cooking spray

Heat the oven (with the oven rack in the middle) to 350°F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch springform pan or round cake pan with cooking spray.
For the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and fennel seeds and mix together with your fingertips. Pour the melted butter into the bowl and stir together with a spoon to form moist crumbs. Refrigerate.
For the cake: In a medium bowl, measure and whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Measure the milk and place next to your mixer.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the room-temperature butter and granulated sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, crack in one egg, and beat it in. Repeat with the other egg. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula, then mix in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, use a large spoon to gradually add in about half of the flour mixture. Pour in all of the milk, then add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until the flour is just incorporated (do not over mix).
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Scatter the raspberries over the batter and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center still has a few moist crumbs attached, 38 to 42 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Then run a paring knife around the edge of the cake and remove the metal ring (if using a springform pan). Slice and serve.


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