Tessa Huff


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Sparkling Cranberry Cake

Sparkling Cranberry Cake


SparklingCranberryCake1 'Tis the season for giving, right? Please forgive me, but I'm gonna take a moment to be a bit selfish. Over the last 5 months, my life has been completely devoted to the recipes in my book, sprinkled with my freelance work and a few fun recipes here and there. Strangely enough, I am not sick of making cake, but just needed a mini break to get my creative juices revived. And by break, I just mean the past few weeks I spent writing instead styling every single day.

I could not be more thrilled with the photographs heading off to print for my book - but with a tight deadline and having to shoot 4-5 cakes a week, there was not a lot time to really play and experiment with new techniques and styles. After a couple weeks of my camera actually being put away, I stole a few hours this past Sunday to make a cake just for me. The flavors, the styling, the lighting - all were at my complete disposal. No restraints.  I was not working for a client, I did not have to make sure the final product coordinated with 59 other cakes, and my only pressure to get things done in a certain amount of time was the setting sun. Work hardly ever really feels like work to me, but I surprised myself by just how fun playing with different light and arrangements can be.



My photography is ever evolving, as I think it should be. I try to practice all types of styles, so I am prepared to work with a variety of clients. But when it comes to my own personal expression through photography, I love to challenge and push my own boundaries. I strive to be just barely satisfied with what I capture, but continue to want to do better and expand my repertoire. A good day shooting ends with photos I am excited to share, new knowledge about something I tried, and an idea of what I want to experiment with next.


I wanted to capture the chilly temperatures and short days we've been having up here (the sun sets at 4pm!). I think it was half luck, but I ended up getting the most gorgeous light bouncing off the windows of the building across the street to depict exactly what I was feeling. The overall tone is a bit darker than I normally work with, but I think it really helped set up the rustic feel that I wanted. The cake itself is festive but not too stuffy, so I tried to mimic this in the styling.

Speaking of, this cranberry cake is definitely a keeper. I made a simple buttermilk cake filled with a gorgeous cranberry curd and iced with silky buttercream. The sugared cranberries made for a beautiful edible garnish.  I love using ingredients to help style my photos and the cranberries added just the right pop of red to the image.  Pretty right?  So maybe being selfish every now and then to work on your craft isn't a bad idea.  Hopefully this baby on the way will let me continue to steal some "me time" from time to time in order to keep playing and growing.





Assembly serves 8-10

Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish.  Pipe a 1/2" high buttercream ring around the top edge to create a dam for the cranberry curd.  Fill with curd and spread out with an off-set spatula.  Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.  Frost cake with the buttercream or give it just a rustic crumb coat, like I've done.  Garnish with sugared cranberries.

Vanilla Buttercream Recipe - minus the sprinkles

Sugar Cranberries by Bakers Royale






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