September 20, 2018

These bars… where do I even start!? If you make one dessert/snack recipe from this blog, I highly recommend this one! 🙂

There’s a delectable peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough layer underneath a rich cacao-date-walnut layer. That all sounds fancy, but these are actually very easy to put together. You won’t be able to stop eating them, but that’s ok because they’re made with some wonderful wholesome ingredients and a few (delicious) superfoods, like cacao and maca powder. They store well in the fridge and freezer, but good luck keeping them for any great length of time. I’ve been trying to hide them everywhere, but, in my house, they have a way of quickly disappearing.

So what the heck are cacao and maca? Cacao is the most pure form of chocolate, and it’s packed with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium (read: chocolate is healthy!). Maca is powder from the Peruvian maca root, and has a malty, vanilla-y, butterscotch-y flavor that’s insanely delicious in this cookie dough layer. It’s known to naturally support the body’s ability to adapt to stress and improve energy, vitality, and stamina. I usually put it in my smoothies, but I also love stirring it into baked goods, or in this case: non-baked goods.

While I love using these types of ingredients, they’re often hard to find and can be really expensive at regular stores – which is why I’m SO excited to partner with Thrive Market today. It’s the best place to stock up on all of these wonderful non-GMO ingredients for 25-50% below traditional retail prices. If you haven’t heard of Thrive Market, it’s an online marketplace whose mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable. Fancy superfoods aside, I found that so many of my kitchen staples – organic whole rolled oats, almond flour, organic nut butters, organic dates, and organic maple syrup (to name only a few) – are all a fraction of the cost of the brands I find in the grocery store.

Another neat feature is that if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free, you can shop by those specific filters – which means that you won’t have to closely read packages to figure out if your seemingly-vegan item contains traces of dairy.

The last thing I’m going to gush about is the personal obsession I have with their peanut butter. I know it seems like peanut butters would all be created (somewhat) equal, but theirs has the best texture and flavor I’ve ever tasted – just look at the photo near the top of this post to see how oozy it is.

So with your oozy peanut butter, make this cookie dough layer by simply stirring the ingredients together and pressing them into the pan…

Make the cacao layer by pulsing the above ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Then the best part – layer them together! So yummy… I’m having trouble not drooling all over my keyboard right now.

To make them extra pretty, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt…From here, you can dig them out of the pan if you need your snack NOW… otherwise let them firm up in the freezer for 20 or so minutes so that you can neatly cut them into squares. Store the finished bars in the fridge. For longer term storage (yeah right), they can be frozen.


Author: Jeanine Donofrio
Serves: makes 20 bars
Cookie Layer
Cacao Layer
  • 1½ cups walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top, optional
  1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, until combined. Add the almond flour and maca, and stir to combine (the mixture will be thick). Fold in the chocolate chips and press into the pan and place in the freezer so that it firms up a bit while making the next layer.
  3. In a small food processor, pulse the walnuts, cacao powder, and sea salt, until the walnuts are well chopped. Add the dates and pulse to combine, adding 2 tablespoons water if the blade gets stuck. Process until smooth, then spread onto the cookie layer. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Freeze for 30 minutes (this will help them firm up, making them easier to cut). Remove and slice into bars. Store remaining bars in the fridge.
  4. Finished bars can also be frozen. To thaw, let each bar thaw for about 15 minutes at room temp.
If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

This post was created in partnership with Thrive Market. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!

Original Content and Images for this post were found on Love and Lemons here! 


September 10, 2018

Classic combination of chocolate and vanilla flavours with a  zebra pattern twist! Soft and moist cake, filled with rich chocolate ganache and silky vanilla ermine buttercream.

Now, I know lots of people find this chocolate-vanilla combo boring. I think we can all agree it’s a safe bet. But, it’s a very delicious one. How can you resist this stripey zebra look? It’s like an elevated marble cake that we all know and love. Like the one moms would make on a Sunday afternoon to go with a glass of milk.

Only this time, I wanted to make it fancy, nice and layered. I decided to fill the cake with rich and decadent dark chocolate ganache – one of my favourites! Along with my Vanilla Ermine Buttercream which is just to die for and perfect for decorating! It was a match made in heaven, one of the best vanilla-chocolate desserts I’ve ever had!


I wanted to reduce the amount of dishes to clean after (worst job ever), so I decided to make this cake using only one cake batter. Yaay! I used my favourite vanilla cake recipe. It’s a really soft and moist cake with a strong vanilla flavour I got from my homemade vanilla extract.

I was thinking how much cocoa powder I should add to make chocolate batter and if I should add some extra liquid to compensate for cocoa powder. I didn’t want to add melted chocolate because that would alternate the consistency too much and I wouldn’t get dark enough colour. Therefore, I used dutch-processed cocoa powder and it worked like a charm!

Of course, I added too much liquid (I was winging it) so my chocolate batter was a little thinner than my vanilla batter. Thus, the zebra didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted to. You can see it in the bottom of every layer, it kind of mixed together. But it’s still kind of artsy and I grew to love it.

To sum up, it’s very important that both chocolate and vanilla batter have similar consistency.

The next time I’m going to make this cake I probably won’t add any liquid. That’s why I didn’t tell you anything in the recipe about adding liquid. You decide if you need a little bit of milk to make that consistency just right.


It’s easier than you think! To ensure you have the same amount of both chocolate and vanilla batter, you need to weigh it. At least I do. My kitchen scale is probably one of my best friends in the kitchen.

TOP TIP: Weigh the bowl in which you plan to mix your cake batter, so when you need to divide it – you know exactly how much batter you have in there because you will retract the weight of the bowl. And save yourself from cleaning yet another bowl.

Now, once you have both of the batters ready, it’s time to create fun zebra stripe pattern. For this part here I also like to use my kitchen scale because it helps me make sure I have the same amount of black and white every time.

The whole process is actually about layering one batter on top of the other one. The best way to do this is by using spoons. Start with putting a spoonful of one batter in the middle of the pan and then a spoonful of second batter right on top of it. Since I’m using a kitchen scale, I try to put the same amount of each batter.

Every now and then you’ll need to shake the pans a little bit to help it distribute evenly. Maybe I should have filmed a video for this, but I think you get what I’m talking about haha.

And remember, if you don’t succeed at first – it’ll still be so darn delicious!

If you make this cake, make sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see it, or tell me all about it down below in comment section!

Zebra Marble Layer Cake

Classic combination of chocolate and vanilla flavours with a zebra pattern twist! Soft and moist cake, filled with rich chocolate ganache and silky vanilla ermine buttercream.

Course Dessert
Keyword cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 2 minutes
Servings 12
Author Ana


Zebra Cake

  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 240 g all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 125 g sour cream room temperature
  • 120 g buttermilk room temperature
  • 15 g dutch-processed cocoa powder

Vanilla Ermine Buttercream

  • 50 g all purpose flour
  • 225 g granulated sugar
  • 390 g whole milk
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 350 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 150 g dark chocolate (min 50% cocoa solids)
  • 150 g heavy cream

Chocolate Drip

  • 75 g dark chocolate
  • 75 g heavy cream


Zebra Cake

  1. Preheat your fan oven to 160°C (325°F). Grease and line with parchment paper three 6″ round cake tins.

  2. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined and set aside.
  3. In a measuring jug combine sour cream, buttermilk and vanilla extract. These are your wet ingredients.

  4. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on a medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. (approx. 3 min) Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

  5. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and add eggs one at a time – making sure it’s fully incorporated after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  6. Add your dry and wet ingredients, alternating between one another, starting and finishing with dry ones. (3 additions of dry and 2 of wet ingredients)

  7. Divide the batter in half and add cocoa powder in one to make a chocolate batter.

  8. Divide the batters evenly among the 3 tins using spoons – putting a spoonful of one batter in the middle of the pan and then spoonful of the other batter on top of it. (Check the information in the post above)

  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
  10. Once they’re done, let the cakes cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack before removing them from the pans to cool completely.

Vanilla Ermine Buttercream

  1. In a small saucepan combine flour, sugar, salt and milk. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until it thickens.
  2. Once it’s done, put a cling film over it touching the surface to prevent “skin” forming and let it cool to room temperature. This is your pudding base. You can do this in a fridge, but before using it let it come to room temperature.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 5 minutes until it’s pale and fluffy. Then add spoonful by spoonful of previously made pudding. Mix until it’s all nicely incorporated and with no lumps. Add the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

  1. Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl. Bring heavy cream just barely to a simmer and pour over chopped chocolate. Cover it with a plate and leave it 1-2 minutes. Stir with a spatula until combined and smooth.

    Cover in cling film and put it in a fridge for an hour until it thickens to spreadable consistency.

Chocolate Ganache Drip

  1. Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl. Bring heavy cream just barely to a simmer and pour over chopped chocolate. Cover it with a plate and leave it 1-2 minutes. Stir with a spatula until combined and smooth.

    Make it 10 minutes before pouring over the chilled cake so it has time to cool and thicken a bit.


  1. Using a cake leveler or a long serrated knife level the tops of your cakes if needed.
  2. In the middle of your cake board or a serving plate put some buttercream to stop the cake from moving around.
  3. Spread a nice layer of buttercream on top of the first layer and pipe a border around the outside to hold the ganache in. Repeat with the next layer.

  4. Place final layer on top, upside down, and do a thin crumb coat on the cake. Chill for 20-30 minutes in the fridge before final decorating.

  5. Use the leftover ganache filling to make a chocolate buttercream, mixing it with some vanilla buttercream. If it’s too loose, put it in the fridge to thicken a bit.

  6. Place both of your buttercreams in piping bags. For a vanilla buttercream I used a Wilton 1A tip and for a chocolate buttercream I used a Wilton #12 tip. But you do you. 🙂

  7. Place the chilled cake on a turntable and alternately put the stripes of buttercream on the cake. Once you’re done, fill the top with vanilla buttercream and smooth the sides using a cake scraper.

  8. Every time you use a cake scraper be sure to get rid of the buttercream that you’ve scraped down so you don’t mess up the stripes.

Recipe Notes

*If you don’t have a standing mixer you can use a hand mixer.
**Not all ovens are the same. I suggest to check the cakes at 20 min mark and then adjust the baking time accordingly. Get to know your oven!

Original Article courtesy of Ana’s Baking Chronicles. Find it here!


June 18, 2018

Quite honestly, there is nothing better in the summer time than a glass of chilled Rose or a frosty cocktail, and this little beauty is one of our favorite hot day mixers! This classy and fresh tasting libation is absolute perfection, whether you are throwing a backyard get together or lounging by the pool. We strongly suggest giving it a try! You won’t be sorry!

Grapefruit Elderberry Rose Vodka Cocktail

When we crafted this cocktail at home, we chose Hangar 1 Rosé vodka, which can be ordered online if you are unable to find it in your area. Make a big batch for a gorgeous and tasty cocktail for your gathering, or one by one to add a bit of sweetness to your day. Enjoy!


  • 1 ounce (30 ml) Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) freshly squeezed, strained pink grapefruit juice
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) dry sparkling rosé
  • ½ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur (more or less to taste)
  • a few drops of lemon juice, to taste
  • ice
  • a pretty thyme sprig or mint leaf for garnish (don’t be shy, a bit of color never hurt anyone!)
  1. Simply combine the Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka, the grapefruit juice, the sparkling rosé, the St. Germain, and lemon juice in a stirring glass and then add ice to fill to halfway. Stir for a few seconds until thoroughly mixed, strain into gorgeous coupe glass, and serve. A perfect Summer cocktail to fill your Rosé cravings!

In a creative rut when it comes to all things outside of your work? We understand and we’ve got you covered! Take a look at our complete collectionCreative Lifestyle Posts here. 

XOXO, Tori

* All Images and original recipe courtesy of the incredibly talented and elegant  The Bojon Gourmet. Check her out for plenty of cocktail and food recipes.