Rum Cake


Rum Cake

recipe slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven

2  1/2 Cup cake flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 3/4 Cups sugar, divided (use 1/4Cup  for egg whites)

3 egg whites, room temp

pinch of cream of tartar

6 egg yolks, room temp

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to sl. warm

1 Tbsp. vanilla

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/2 Cup golden rum

Spray a Bundt pan liberally with nonstick baking spray or butter. Add in a few tablespoons of sugar and coat the pan until the entire pan is coated; ensuring that you also get the middle core.

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients; including 1 1/2 cups sugar and whisk; set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment (make sure it is super clean) place the 3 egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar and whisk until starts to get foamy. Gradually start adding the remaining1/4 cup of sugar about a tablespoon at a time until they reach stiff peaks. Scrape out the whipped egg whites into a medium bowl.

In the same mixer bowl (no need to clean) place the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, rum, and melted butter. Pour in the egg mixture on medium low speed and mix for about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix again for 15 seconds until combined. Stop the mixer and fold in 1/3 of the egg whipped egg whites to lighten the batter. Add in the rest of the whipped egg whites and gently fold through to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spread even on top. Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes or until when a wooden skewer returns with moist crumbs.

While the cake is baking, make the butter rum syrup.

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool over a wire rack for a few minutes. Poke the cake all over with a long wooden skewer and then pour over 1/2 of the rum syrup. Let the cake rest for 30 minutes, then invert the cake a slowly pour over the remaining syrup and allow to soak in before serving. Cover any unfinished cake and leave at room temp so the cake does not dry out.

Butter Rum Syrup:

1/4 Cup water

1 Cup sugar

1/2 (1 stick unsalted butter)

6 Tbsp. rum (I used 3 Tbsp. Golden Rum and 3 Tbsp. Meyers dark rum)

In a small saucepan place the water and sugar and heat until sugar starts to dissolve; a few minutes. Add in the butter and heat until boiling; and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in the rum and stir.





Chai Spice Glazed Cookie Thins

I don’t know why a chai latte taste better on a cold rainy day or why we tend to think of spices more during Holiday time, but chai spice is something I tend to equate with colder weather. A lazy Sunday morning snug inside your favorite cozy robe with your cold hands wrapped around a hot mug of tea definitely beckons for one of these cookies. You’ll suddenly forget you have piles of laundry to fold or the dog needs to be fed. All of a sudden, it’s only about you and this moment of sweet bliss while you sip on your tea and nibble on a couple of these sweet, but not too sweet spicy cookies. The thing is, this cookie dough almost taste better after it has sat in the fridge for a few days while the spices mingle together. You can even let the dough rest in the fridge for a week as long as it’s well wrapped in plastic wrap to avoid taking on any other odors; making sure not to park it next to an onion for instance. I tested a couple batches with 1/8 inch and also 1/4 inch thickness and found that I like the thinner version better. You can certainly make them thicker if you like; just bake them a minute or two longer. Do not skip on the glaze-it totally makes this cookie!


Chai Spice Blend

3 Tbsp. cinnamon (I like Saigon cinnamon)

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger

2 1/2  tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. white pepper

Mix together all the ingredients and store in a glass jar (you’ll have some leftover)


Chai Glaze

2 Cup confectioners sugar

1/ 2 tsp. chai spice

3 Tbsp. water


Chai Spice Cookies

(yield: 2-3 dozen depending on size) 

1 Cup unsalted butter

6 Tbsp. confectioners sugar

1/3 Cup honey

3/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste

2 /12 Cups flour

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. chai spice blend (from recipe above)


1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the honey in a slow stream and mix until combined. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix. Combine the flour, salt and 3/4 tsp of prepared chai spice in a separate bowl with a fork. Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour in two additions and mix until combined.

2. Divide the dough into two portions, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for a least 8 hours or even up to one week. Unwrap one disc at a time and roll out onto a floured board into 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles with a small cutter. Place onto a Silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Bake in a 350 preheated oven for 12-13 minutes or until light golden brown. Allot to  chill completely.

3. Dip the tops of cooled cookies into glaze, then turn cookie vertical and allow excess glaze to drip down off cookies; run finger around edge to clean off edges then rest on a wire rack to allow glaze to set until no longer wet.

Oreo (Cookies and Cream) Macarons

There are times I crave an Oreo. I mean, seriously there is nothing like an Oreo. Now snuggle a piece of that favorite cookie down into a blanket of oreo buttercream between two crisp but chewy delicious macarons and I’m telling you it’s divine.  I spent the better part of a week working on my recipe. Made some with cocoa inside, some with spirls, non swirls, some without a piece of cookie inside….you get the idea.  Last week I went a little manic macaron nuts and became obsessed-baking off tons of shells playing around with some new colors I bought and although these little morsels are colored grey I did have to play around even with the amount of black I added until I was happy with that shade of grey. Fifty shades of grey indeed.  I realized what elevates these to another level is to break off a piece of cookie and snug it down into the filling before topping if off. The surprise inside bite of that cookie and cream is delish. The Husband proclaimed “Hey, these are a keeper!” He usually loves everything I make but when he hollers back that statement after the first bite I know he really loves the recipe. He yelled that from the other room the other night after I casually dropped one in his hand while passing through the kitchen.

Oreo Macarons


Oreo Macaron Shells

124 g confectioners sugar

140 g almond flour

108 g fresh egg whites (I don’t age mine)

110 g granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

  1. In a food processor place the almond flour and confectioners sugar and run for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides so the mixture settles into the processor bowl. Repeat this 2 more times, then sift mixture through a strainer (it doesn’t have to be fine) over a large bowl (I use a 5 quart size stainless steel bowl). Preheat the oven to 300° F convection, 325° F for non convection setting. Prepare two baking sheets with Silpat mats. I use these mats by Velesco (you can get 2 for 13 dollars on Amazon).
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar and whisk by hand to combine. Place over a ban marie and stir gently for about 5 minutes until the mixture reaches about 130 F or when you touch the mixture with your index and thumb fingers you don’t feel any sugar crystals. Remove from the heat and place on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and start the meringue by running mixer on power level 4 (Kitchen Aide) and run for about 3 minutes.  Stop once to scrape the sides of the bowl to push down the mixture that appears on the sides.
  3. Increase mixer then to power level 6 and run for 3 minutes.
  4. Increase mixer to power level 8 and run for 3 minutes.
  5. Stop mixer and with a bamboo skewer or toothpick add in a bit of black gel food color (I use Americolor).
  6. Increase mixer to power level high (10) and run for 1-3 minutes or until the meringue is stiff peaks and it has started leaving tracks in the meringue and a good portion has collected inside the whisk . A sign that meringue is ready is there will be a good amount collected within the whisk and if you turn the bowl upside down the meringue will not slip or move. If you stop the mixer and tap the whisk gently on the side of the mixer bowl it will look like a bird beak; the meringue is stiff but it has a slight hooked curve when holding the whisk horizontally. If the color does not appear to be mixer to your liking at this point I add in any color and mix gently by; being careful not to overmix.
  7. Add one half of almond flour/sugar mix and start folding with a rubber spatula until mixture starts to look cohesive. Add in the remaining half and continue to gently fold, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The batter is perfect when you lift up the spatula and tip the pointed end of the spatula down and ribbons of batter fall smoothly back into the bowl. I like to gauge its ready when I can count 6-7 ribbons falling without breaking and I can “draw” a figure 8 with the batter when lifting the spatula and letting it fall into the bowl. Fill your pastry bag by using a heavy tall cup or mason jar to hold your pastry bag with the top folded over the glass. When preparing your bag after you drop in your round tip (I use Ateco 804), twist the bag right above the larger end of the tip and push it down into tip. Fold the top 4 inches of the bag over the jar or glass.
  8. Let the batter fall right into the bottom of the bag and continue filling to ensure you don’t get air bubbles. When ready to pipe and all of the batter is in the bag, twist the top of the bag and when ready to pipe, push down with your dominant hand to force the bottom of the tip to open.
  9. Pipe the batter onto prepared baking sheet with 30 macarons per sheet. Six across the long side, and five rows perpendicular. Take the sheet pan and let it drop onto the counter about 5-7 times, then look for any visible air bubbles and pop with a toothpick or bamboo skewer. Bake the first tray right away (no resting), in a preheated (convection oven if you have at 300° F , 325° F for NON convection oven*) for about 16-18 minutes or until the cookie does not wiggle when attempting to check by carefully grabbing both sides of a cookie and gently testing. Let the tray rest on a wire rack and then bake the second tray.  After the cookies have cooled about 8-10 minutes turn them upside down and let the cool on the tray until completely cooled. (I find this helps prevent hollow shells). Cool the cookies completely and pipe the buttercream between two cookies and sandwich together.

*A word about oven temperatures: EVERY one’s oven is different and after painstaking doing several batches of macarons I determined that in MY oven 300° F low convection setting is best for me. Check your oven temperature against a thermometer placed in the middle of your oven. Some people bake there’s at 285, 290, 310 etc. unfortunately it’s something that you have to play around with and determine what is best for you and your oven. 

Cookies and Cream Filling

60 g softened unsalted butter

150 g confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

3 Tablespoons finely crushed Oreo cookie crumbs (discard filling)

extra Oreos broken into small pieces  (with filling)

In a medium bowl cream together the butter and confectioners sugar with a rubber spatula. Add in the heavy cream and stir vigorously to combine. Stir in the cookie crumbs.  Keep chilled until ready to use then stir gently and place into a pastry bag with a large open tip.

Fill and sandwich two cookies together with the buttercream and before topping with the second cookie place a small piece of oreo into the buttercream. If desired, roll the sides into crushed cookie crumbs. Let assembled macarons chill in a covered container in the fridge for one day for ideal texture. Serve a room temperature.

Here are some of my other batches where I swirled the batter with extra black color.


Sometimes I like to dip one side of the assembled cookie into Oreo crumbs for a dark/light look.

Guava and Cream Cheese Mini Empanadas

Sometimes you make something so simple that even you are surprised how tasty it is. This is the case of these little morsels. I made them for a party I catered which I made several mini desserts. It was a Fiesta themed party so I made these Pastelitas with sweetened cream cheese and guava paste. The flaky dough is something that comes together really quickly in a food processor or even in a large bowl if you don’t have one. They turn out flaky and the tang of the guava with the sweetened cream cheese pair really well together. I’m lucky that I live near some Hispanic markets and guava paste is readily available. If you have a Chinese grocery store too most often you can find the guava paste as well. I had some leftover dough so I also played around and made another version with fig jam and bleu cheese crumbles.


Empanada Dough

8 oz. unsalted butter, room temp

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp

1/4 Cup heavy cream

1 1/2 Cups + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

In a food processor place the butter, cream cheese and cream and pulse to combine. Add in the flour and salter and process until it just comes together into a ball. Dump the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and cut into two equal pieces. Wrap each into a flat disc and chill for at least 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling; prepare the filling as below.

Working with one piece at a time, roll out to approx. 1/8 inch thick onto a lightly floured board. Cut into circles using a 3 1/2 inch fluted cutter. One one side place a small amount of cream cheese and top with a small amount of guava paste onto top; using a finger dipped in water to smush the paste down slightly into the cream cheese. Dip a finger into water run around the opposite edge of the pastry to help secure the edge when folded over. Fold over the pastry and crimp with a work dipped in flour. Pierce the top with a floured fork and brush with egg wash. Assemble a tray full then chill for 30 minutes before baking. Note: you can assemble these and freeze in a ziplock bag unbaked and bake off as desired.


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl place the cream cheese and microwave a few seconds until soft. Mix in the sugar and vanilla and combine. Place in a pastry bag if desired for assembly.


7 oz. store bought Guava paste

2-3 tsp. water

Cut the guava paste into small cubes and place in a small bowl with the water and microwave about 10 seconds at a time and still until smooth. Let cool and place in a pastry bag for assembly.

Egg wash

one egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water.


Bake the pastries in a 375° F preheated oven until very light golden brown. Let cool and then dust with powdered sugar.

FYI- here’s a picture of my fig, chopped walnut, and bleu cheese version. Just combine a dark fig jam with some finely chopped walnuts and top with some blue cheese. Fold over and crimp in the same manner; brushing with egg wash and chill, then bake.






Strawberry Cheesecake Squares


I might have a weakness for cheesecake; and might I note there is nothing easier than a good old 9×13 slap it in the pan, and pour it in, and bake dessert. Cheesecake in an oblong pan is like the kissing cousin of slab pie. but in my mind, even easier to pull off. Strawberries have been crazy cheap in my area lately. Last weekend I found 1 pound cartons for 50 cents. I grabbed two and threw them in the fridge not knowing what I had planned for them. A recipe popped up on my email for these squares from the New York Times. The original recipe calls for topping them with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. I decided instead to spread a classic sour cream topping in lieu of whipped cream. You could also make this in a standard springform pan as well. I tweaked it slightly by adding in some extra strawberry flavor (LorAnn Strawberry Bakery Emulsion) to punch up the strawberry-ness. You can skip that step if you cannot access the strawberry emulsion.

recipe adapted from New York Times 

Strawberry Cheesecake Squares 


11 oz. Shortbread Cookies (I used 2 packages of Pepperidge Farm brand)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or line with a parchment sling a 9×13 inch pan.

In a food processor grind the cookies and salt until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined.

Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Cool completely while you prepare the filling.


24 oz. fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

3 (8 0z.) packages cream cheese, room temp

5 large eggs, room temp

1 tsp. strawberry emulsion (LorAnn brand)

Fresh quartered/halved strawberries for garnish (optional)

In a 3 quart or medium pot, mix the strawberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the berries soften and mixture becomes saucy; about 8 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then transfer a clean food processor bowl and puree until smooth and no longer chunky; tiny bits are fine. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

To the food processor bowl, add in the cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups sugar and blend until smooth. Add in the eggs a couple at a time and blend until smooth. Add in the strawberry flavor emulsion and blend. Scrape down the sides of processor bowl and mix until all blended. Pour the cheese mixture into the strawberry mixture and fold until combined. Pour into the cooled crust and bake for 45-50 minutes until edges look set but the middle is very slightly jiggly. Note: I only baked mine for 45 minutes, but next time I will do a few mins. longer as I found the filling was still a little soft. While the cheesecake is baking stir together the sour cream topping. When the cheesecake is done, remove from the oven and gently dollop the topping on top and smooth evenly and to the edges with a small offset spatula. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 11-12 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan over a wire rack, then refrigerate over-night or for several hours until cutting into squares. Serve cold. Garnish with fresh strawberries as desired.

Sour Cream Topping

2 Cups sour cream, room temp

1/2 Cup sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl stir together all the ingredients with a whisk.



Easter Milk Chocolate Malt Cadbury Macarons



Do you know how therapeutic it is crushing candy into tiny pieces after a mind bending day at work? Yeah. Therapeutic, I’m here to tell ya. I normally don’t buy Cadbury during other times of the year; although their chocolate is amazing. There’s something about these tiny little eggs that dare you to stop after eating just a few. The hard crunchy outer shell while being smooth, is thick enough that cracking one open with a side back tooth- launches that file used just for methodical eating-corner of your brain. For me, that’s the same file used for eating macadamia nuts; but that’s a story for another time.

Cadbury egg crushing/bashing with a meat tenderizer caveman style while being encased safely inside a ziplock bag did just the trick for getting over a bad day at work.

I was unsure if I wanted to fold them inside of chocolate ganache or use them sprinkle fashion showing off their pretty little pastel like dress colors. Obviously, I went with the later. It says-look at me Mommy in my pretty little Easter dress. Yeah, I’m weird. My candy talks to me.

I chose to flavor the ganache with a malted milk chocolate flavor to envoke the same flavor as a malted milk egg. Spring is here folks!


Easter Malted Milk Chocolate Cadbury Macarons


140 g fine almond flour

125 g confectioners sugar

108 g egg whites

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

110 g granulated sugar

gel food coloring of your choice (I used a mixture of teal and navy blue)


In a food processor place the almond flour and confectioners sugar and run for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides so the mixture settles into the processor bowl. Repeat this 2 more times, then sift mixture through a strainer (it doesn’t have to be fine) over a large bowl (I use a 5 quart size stainless steel bowl). Preheat the oven to 300° F convection, 325° F for non convection setting.

In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk by hand (using the mixer whisk) until foamy for about 30 seconds. Prepare two baking sheets with either parchment paper or Silpat liners.

Set the mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment assembled to the mixer, and start the meringue by running mixer on power level 4 (Kitchen Aide) and start gradually adding in the granulated sugar- run/whisk for 2 minutes once all the sugar is in. Stop once to scrape the sides of the bowl to push down any sugar that appears on the sides.

Increase mixer then to power level 6 and run for 3 minutes.

Increase mixer to power level 8 and run for 3 minutes.

Stop mixer and with a bamboo skewer or toothpick add in your gel color.

Increase mixer to power level high (10) and run for 1 minute (Just to show it who’s boss!!) or until meringue is stiff peaks. A sign that meringue is ready is there will be a good amount collected within the whisk and if you turn the bowl upside down the meringue will not slip or move. If the color does not appear to be mixer to your liking at this point I add in any color and mix gently by hand; being careful not to overmix.

Add one half of the meringue to the almond flour/sugar mix and start folding with a rubber spatula until mixture starts to look cohesive. Add in the remaining half of meringue and continue to gently fold, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The batter is perfect when you lift up the spatula and tip the spatula down and ~ 4 ribbons of batter fall smoothly back into the bowl and the edges of the ribbons fade into the rest of the batter in 10 seconds.

Fill your pastry bag by using a heavy tall cup or mason jar to hold your pastry bag with the top folded over the glass. When preparing your bag after you drop in your round tip (I use an Ateco 804), twist the bag right above the larger end of the tip and push it down into tip. Fold the top 4 inches of the bag over the jar or glass. Pipe quarter size of your batter and let sit for about 15-30 minute until they are no longer tacky feeling with touching with a finger.

Bake in a preheated oven for ~ 15-16 minutes at 300° F- 325° F (see above). Allow to cool completely on the tray and then remove and sandwich with the malted milk chocolate ganache and roll each macaron edge into the crushed Cadbury egg pieces.


Malted Milk Chocolate Ganache

1 Cup milk chocolate chips

1/3 Cup heavy cream

3 Tbsp. Carnation malted milk powder

Crushed Cadbury Easter mini egg candies (for dipping macs into)


In a small saucepan scald the heavy cream and stir in the malt powder, combining well. Pour over the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and let sit for one minute, then stir slowly to combine. Let ganache firm up in the fridge until ready to use. Use a piping bag to pipe dollops of ganache to sandwich each cookie, then roll in crushed Cadbury egg pieces. Chill in the fridge in a covered air tight container to allow the macarons to “mature” for 1-2 days ideally before serving.





Earl Grey & Lavender Cake with Blackberry Buttercream







I came across this black loose flavored tea while in the grocery store one day and it sounded so good, I bought it, but parked it in my pantry for the longest time.  I finally decided it was time to put it to good use. I just love the flavor of tea infused into cake. It’s not the first time I have used this process for flavor. This particular combo pairs really well with the subtle flavor of the blackberry buttercream. The Husband is really picky when it comes to desserts; he will usually comment when he really likes something and this time he said this one was a “real winner”. I have to say I agree; the color of the cake is a bit strange because of the color it turns the milk when infused but don’t let that turn you off, it is sublime! The cake comes out super moist as well, so that’s always a plus. I went a bit strong I have to admit on the amount of the tea- but I really wanted the flavor to come through. If you want a more subtle flavor cake you can cut down to 3 tablespoons total if you prefer. Also- I added in a little bit of non infused tea to the cake so that it has those little bits of black flecks of the tea. (I know people will ask me why I did that, so that’s why I’m explaining it here). I get a lot of questions on why I do certain things and sometimes it’s just a whim that hits me when recipe developing, as in this case.

These would make adorable mini cupcakes as well for a party.


Earl Grey & Lavender Cake with Blackberry Buttercream



2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

2 Cups sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tea bag of earl grey (cut open and contents removed) (I used Stash brand)

1 Cup milk (I used whole)

1/4 Cup loose (earl grey with lavender black tea)

1 Cup warm water

1/2 Cup grapeseed oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

purchased blackberry seedless preserves (I like Dickensons brand)

fresh blackberries (optional for serving and decorating the top of the cake)


Preheat the oven to 340° F and prepare three 6 x3 inch cake pans (If you don’t have 6×3 inch pans you can use 6×2 and divide batter into 4 pans instead) with non-stick baking spray and line with parchment circles. You may also divide batter into 8×2 inch pans or 9×2 evenly but will have to adjust your baking times. I used a little over 2 cups of batter into each 6×3 inch pans.

Heat the milk to a scald, remove from heat and steep the 1/4 cup loose tea in the milk for 15 minutes. Strain the tea and throw away the tea and keep the milk.

In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the first 5 ingredients.

In a large glass measuring cup or mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat on low to medium speed until combined; stopping the scrape down the sides to ensure you get everything combined well. Do not over beat.

Bake until tops of cakes are no longer wet looking and when touched lightly with a finger they spring back lightly, or a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes then remove to cool completely on the rack.

For my 6×3 inch pans, I baked at 340° F for 40 minutes, but all ovens are different so make sure to test cakes often so as not to overbake.


To assemble cake:

Pipe a dame of blackberry buttercream around the edge of a cake layer and spread a layer of blackberry preserves, then top with blackberry buttercream and gently spread the buttercream evenly over the preserves, then continue to layer in this manner until you reach the top layer and spread with just buttercream. Do a crumb coat of buttercream on top and sides and chill cake at least 30 minutes until you spread the remaining buttercream over sides and top and decorate as desired.


Blackberry Buttercream

5 egg whites

1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

4-5 Tbsp of seedless blackberry preserves

optional lavender, regal purple, or violet gel food colors (I used a combination of to boost purple color)

Heat the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until temperature reaches 160 degrees. Whip with a whisk on medium-high speed until you reach a billowy meringue and meringue is cool and bottom of the bowl does not feel warm. Add butter in by tablespoons at a time and continue to beat until smooth. Add in vanilla and blackberry preserves a tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Stop and taste after 3 tablespoons of preserves to adjust flavor. You may not need all of the preserves to achieve the desired taste. I added a few drops of different purple gel colors to boost the color of my finished buttercream.