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Blackberry Cream Shortbread Cake (GF)

This will give you a good reason to go blackberry picking!!

I made this for my friend’s birthday, BBQ and dance party! There’s nothing like fresh cream and locally picked blackberries on a shortbread cake to top a perfect summer afternoon!

I used Gluten Free flour and coconut sugar to create a more shortbread style cake that wasn’t too sweet, but regular flour and sugar are fine, too!

Ingredients for the Shortbread Cake:

  • 2 Cups Organic Brown Coconut Sugar (Big Tree Farms)
  • 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks at room temp)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla extract

Grease and flour 2 x 9″ pans. Mix the coconut sugar and butter together until creamy. Beat in the eggs, ONE at a TIME, and add the vanilla extract.

  • 3 Cups Flour (Bob’s Red Mill GF 1 to 1 baking flour)
  • 3 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1 cup Half & Half or whole Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Apple sauce

Mix the baking powder into the flour and fold into the creamed mixture. Add the milk and apple sauce. Keep mixing until smooth and creamy! Pour into pans and bake at 350 for 30 mins! Let cool.

Ingredients for the frosting & filling:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup if the blackberries are too tart

Heat the blackberries in a pan until simmering, keep stirring until you have a nice thick reduction. Cool in the fridge and strain into a bowl.

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup organic seedless blackberry fruit spread / jam

Whip cream until fluffy. Set aside 1/4 cup reduction. Add remaining COLD reduction to the cream and stir. Keep the blackberry cream in the fridge.

Filling: Tap the COLD cakes out of their pans. Spread a very generous amount of seedless blackberry fruit jam over the bottom cake and a layer of blackberry cream. Then spread a generous amount of blackberry fruit spread on the BOTTOM of the top cake before you place the layers together.

Frosting: Cover the cake with fresh whipped blackberry cream and drizzle the 1/4 cup of reduction over it. Cover it all all with fresh blackberries; et Voila! Delicious Blackberry Shortbread Cake ~

Recipe by Sooz at Melinas Garden! Please let me know how yours turns out! 🙂

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Raspberry Butter Cream Cake

I love making birthday cakes for friends when I have the time! Last weekend was one of those days when the ingredients were in the cupboard and I had a couple of hours to spare! I decided to make a gluten free cake as the birthday boy doesn’t eat gluten! It turned out very well and was a huge hit!

You’ll need 2 x 9″ cake tins or glass dishes for this! Preheat the oven to 350….. Here are the ingredients:

Sponge Cake:

  • 2 cups flour (gluten free or all purpose)
  • 4 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbspn unsalted butter
  • 1 + 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk

If you don’t have buttermilk just make some!
Measure 1 cup of milk with 1 tbspn lemon juice, stir and let stand for 5 mins. That’s it!

  • Lightly grease and flour the pans
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together
  • Mix butter until creamy
  • Add sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and stir well
  • Add egg whites
  • Add flour mix and stir until smooth and creamy
  • Divide mixture between the two baking pans
  • Bake at 350 for 30 mins (poke with a chopstick to check it’s done. If chopstick comes out wet, it needs a few more minutes. Keep checking)

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 tspn lemon juice
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 1.5 cups fine baking sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • Mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth
  • Add vanilla extract and salt
  • Gradually add sugar and apple sauce to sweeten. Stir as you go. If you want it sweeter just keep adding sugar! You can use up to 4 cups of sugar for this recipe and omit the apple sauce if you don’t have it!


I used Organic Raspberry fruit spread because it’s made with all fruit and juice with no added sugar, and it’s delicious!

  • Let the cakes cool while you make the frosting
  • Tap the cakes out of the tins once cool
  • Place frosting and cakes in fridge until ready to frost
  • Generously spread raspberry jam over one sponge
  • Stack the second sponge on top of the first and spread thickly with dollops of frosting
  • Decorate with crushed cacao nibs or grated chocolate and fresh raspberries

Why did I cut the cake like this? If there are more people than you bargained for that want a piece of this delicious cake, simply cut a big circle into the cake and make small pieces of the outside circle followed by slices of the inner circle. You’ll gain at least 4 and sometimes 6 extra pieces!

I hope you love this as much as we did!

Sooz xo

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Autumn break foraging for Chaga and Reishi!

North Carolina


Autumn is such a pretty time of year with the leaves turning to hues of golden yellow, orange and red. The days are shorter, and the long nights are cooling down. We’re digging out our beanies, gloves, scarves and warm fuzzy sweaters.

This year is an especially poignant time as we deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems we must all surrender to another few months of uncertainty and alone time.

Trail walking has been a happy pass time for me and a place to reflect on recent events in the USA with a new President being elected in an exciting and unusual election.

At this time of year, I’m especially happy when I stumble across medicinal herbs and plants that are ending their cycle or beginning a new one. My newest products are Chaga and Reishi mushrooms that are free foraged in the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

If you’re looking for a strong immune booster over the winter months that is full of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals and is fiber rich, then this is for you. Reishi adds to these qualities as well as reducing stress, improving sleep and fighting infection. Both Chaga and Reishi mushrooms have been used in the treatment of cancer and respiratory disorders.

Simmer the mushrooms in water and use as a tea drink or as a soup base depending on what additional ingredients you use.

There are directions for both on the label. Buy your mushrooms on my product page:

Enjoy some photos of my recent travels to where these wonderful mushrooms are found!

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Turmeric Golden Honey

Nature’s cure for cold and flu season!

Golden Honey for balancing Immunity during cold and flu season!

Turmeric, which contains the active compound curcumin, has become widely known in the last couple of years as an anti-inflammatory, immune booster, natural antibiotic and blood pressure regulator amongst many other remedies. Golden Honey (a mixture of turmeric, honey and black pepper) is a natural remedy that can be taken by the whole family. (Check with your physician if you are taking medications for blood pressure or gall bladder disease before consuming)

Golden Honey Recipe and how to use:

At the first signs of a cold, flu or feeling run down, make Golden Honey and consume it in this way.


  • 1/2 cup of raw organic Honey
  • 1 tablespoon of organic Turmeric powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black Pepper (do not omit this ingredient. It’s necessary for the benefits of Turmeric to enter your bloodstream)

Mix together and store in a glass jar.

  • At the onset of a cold or the flu, take 1/2 a teaspoon of the Golden Honey every 2 hours until symptoms are alleviated. Let the honey sit in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
  • Use as cough mixture. Take 1/2 a teaspoon for annoying tickling coughs or sore throat.

This Golden Honey also makes a great cup of Golden Milk to give you a good nights’ sleep! Just add a spoonful to a cup of warm milk of your choice (cow’s, coconut, almond, etc.)

Stir and enjoy!