Most of my readers know that as much as I love writing, I love teaching writing as well. Inspiring others to write. I have helped create conferences and workshops, spoken and taught. I love the creative energy that sparks, flames and electrifies, that fills a room and overflows when a group of passionate writers and photographers gather, discuss and work. Most of my readers know that Ilva Beretta and I together created the Plated Stories blog as a purely creative endeavor, allowing us a space where we can explore, find new ways to express ourselves, break away from the expectations of what a food blog is.
And now we are excited to announce the creation of the first Plated Stories Workshop! Partnering with Tuscan Muse in Italy, the workshop is part of an extraordinary 10-day experience with Tuscan Muse and will be dedicated to food writing (I will be teaching) and food photography and styling (with the super talented Ilva teaching).
Discover the Plated Stories workshop by clicking over to the Tuscan Muse website. The five days will include intensive, hands-on exercises in both food writing and styling/photography, heady discussion and lively exchange. The workshop will include a cooking class with chef Enrico Casini, photowalks in stunning Tuscany and the city of Pienza, fabulous Italian food and all in a divine and inspiring setting.
The Plated Stories workshop will be held at Le Casacce agriturismo among the olive trees in the heart of the Val d’Orcia. Once the workshop is over, you will take your camera and your imagination and continue on the voyage with Tuscan Muse, discovering the magic of Tuscany.
Plated Stories the blog is all about finding inspiration and tapping into our creativity, pushing ourselves beyond our own limits. This is exactly what we will help you do at Plated Stories the workshop: you will be inspired to take that step beyond and you will learn how to channel your creativity in new ways for your own purpose, be it for your blog, professional work or a hobby.
Take a look at the workshop description and itinerary. Spaces are limited (allowing so much more personal guidance, critique and one-on-one time with both Ilva and I) so sign up/register quick quick! This will surely be a great adventure and we would love for you to join us!
Take note: The Plated Stories workshop is organized and managed by Tuscan Muse so any questions about the workshop week and organization, travel, location, cost, meals, etc should be addressed to Tuscan Muse (find the link here). Ilva and I are teaching the workshop, so any question about the workshop program itself feel free to leave in a comment below or by emailing us privately at platedstories (at) gmail (dot) com. Also, please let us know if you would like to be put on the Plated Stories email list to receive further information as well as the Plated Stories newsletter by contacting us at platedstories (at) gmail (dot) com
And to celebrate our newest venture, I baked a cake ! I started with my Chocolate Spice Cake with Sour Black Cherries in Syrup and replaced the cherries with sweetened chestnut cream and the vanilla with rum. The result is much lighter and more tender than I expected, a beautiful balance of chocolate and chestnut with a lingering hint of rum. Perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert.
CHOCOLATE RUM CHESTNUT BUNDT CAKE
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) Bundt – can also be baked in layers or in a loaf pan but adjust baking time as needed.
7 Tbs (100 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 ¾ cup (230 g) flour
3 Tbs (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
7/8 cup (200 ml) milk
2 Tbs rum, cognac, Grand Marnier or Cointreau (or replace with 1 tsp vanilla)
4 Tbs (100 g) crème de marrons (sweetened chestnut cream)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) Bundt pan – (or two 9-inch layer cake pans or one loaf pan). Lightly flour the pan and knock out all the excess.
Place the softened butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until thick, smooth and doubled in volume. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition to increase the volume of the batter.
Stir or sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Add the rum to the milk.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter in three additions, alternating with the milk/rum in two, beginning and ending with dry, beating after each addition until well blended.
Beat in the Chestnut Cream. Carefully ladle the batter into the pan and gently smooth the top if needed and place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes (Note: if using layer cake pans or a loaf pan and depending upon your oven, baking times may vary greatly, so begin checking the cake for doneness after 35 minutes.) The cake is done when a tester stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean - or cleanish, with no liquid batter.
Remove from the oven onto cooling racks and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before gently shaking the cake lose and turning it out of the baking pan and onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Slide the cake onto a serving platter, dust with a bit of cocoa powder and serve. For an elegant dessert, serve the cake with very lightly sweetened whipped cream, rum-spiked whipped cream or ice cream (rum raisin!).