The Perfect St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail

Lots of folks think that festive St. Patty’s day beverages are limited to Irish car bombs and shamrock shakes. But we can do better than that, right? I called on my pals at Cocktail Academy, and once again, they delivered. This smooth cocktail is the perfect aperitif to serve before sitting down to a meal of corned beef and cabbage. And best of all, there’s absolutely no chugging involved.


Wild Eyed Rose

2oz Irish Whiskey
0.75 oz Lime Juice
0.75 oz Pomegranate Grenadine

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, shake and strain over ice, garnish with a lime wedge.

Creamy Carrot Cake

This week on TOP Talk, I’m chatting with Chef Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger, who dishes with me on lots of yummy topics, including this creamy carrot cake. To die for!


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla

4 cups peeled and grated carrots
1 ½ cups nuts (I used half chopped walnuts and half sliced almonds)
1 cup dried fruits – use a combination of whatever dry fruits you like

Mix dry and then sift.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until smooth, then add sugars, melted butter, lemon zest and vanilla. Mix well.

In another bowl, mix the nuts and dried fruits with a little of the flour mixture – this will help to break down the fruits in case they are stuck together, and also should prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

To the egg mixture, add the grated carrots and mix.

Add dry to the egg/carrot mixture and fold.

Add nuts/fruits and fold well.

Brush 3 10 inch cake pans with butter (bottom and sides) and layer with a parchment circle (I always do it but you don’t have to).

Divide batter between pans and smooth surface.

Bake at preheated oven (350 F) for about 20 minutes. You could open the oven after about 15 minutes to rotate.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

½ cup sugar (raw or white)
½ cup water
few stripes of lemon and orange peel
cinnamon stick
vanilla bean (if you don’t have, add vanilla extract after cooling this down)
Optional: star anise, clove etc.

½ cup whiskey, brandy or bourbon

Cook all the ingredients except for the alcohol, (medium/low heat) until sugar dissolves. cool completely and then add alcohol.

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 ½ lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a stand mixture, beat the butter (use paddle attachment), until super soft. Add cream cheese and beat until soft and creamy.

Add powdered sugar, a little at a time – make sure you let the machine work a little before you add more and that you scrape the bowl before each addition, this will prevent unpleasant lumps of sugar in the frosting.

Add the reaming ingredients and mix well.

Cake must be completely cooled before frosting. For better results, chill the cakes a little or overnight.

Same goes for the frosting – make sure it’s super firm. Just fold it a little before frosting.

Boho Baby Shower Brunch

When I was tapped to collaborate with 100 Layer Cake co-founder Jillian Clark and GATHER Events for a boho baby shower brunch, it took me about two seconds to throw my hat into the ring. The guest of honor was Lisa Ashley, founder of The Wedding Artists Collective, and the shower was held at LA’s Casa Shelter Half, a super cool venue. I knew this would be one fantastic event.


Photography by Brian Tropiano

We cater plenty of evening events, so I welcomed the opportunity to plan a brunch menu that highlighted seasonal SoCal flavors. Are you hungry? You’re about to be…

Here’s a look at some of the culinary highlights of the morning. Like this savory egg dish, which was served in baby-sized skillets. Aren’t they the cutest?


Mike & Sons baked eggs, baby chard, chili flakes, ciabatta, parmesan

We also served up some sweet oat pancakes with sour cherry syrup. Yum.


Cake topper by Alexis Mattox Design

There were also orange currant scones with whipped butter and jam. It’s California, people, and the oranges are falling off the trees! This was a total no-brainer.


More bready goodness coming up! Check out the burrata, lemon, pomegranate, and olive bread. Such a pretty spread.


Also on the menu? A crunchy kale, pepita, feta, and lemon sumac salad, and a yogurt bar with lots of yummy toppings (almonds, apricots, cranberries, granola, honey) served in sweet wooden bowls.


Wanna see more? Click here to see the ful post at 100 Layer Cake-let. And if you want to put a TOP spin on your next baby shower or special event, give us a holler!


This week on TOP talk, we’ll be hearing from Moet Hennessy; the founder of Oregon Bark; and Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae, who is also sharing this tasty Coffee Banana Malt Milkshake recipe with us. Good stuff, y’all. Tune in here.


Coffee Banana Malt Milkshake

Serves 4

Ice Cream Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 oz. finely ground fresh coffee
8 egg yolks


Simmer cream, milk and sugar. Add coffee and let steep, covered for 1 hour. Reheat mixture and slowly whisk into yolks. Strain and chill. Spin in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Freeze.

Milkshake Ingredients:

1 pint coffee ice cream
1 cup whole milk
1 ripe banana, sliced
¼ cup malt balls
Whipped cream


Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.