A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

I am so excited about sharing this gorgeous harvest feast today. With a simple, seasonal menu boasting the likes of homemade veggies galettes and salted caramel dipped pears, there is not a single thing not to love here. Dining al fresco at a picnic table draped in simple white linen and pretty flowers? Even better! Captured by the immensely talented Britt Chudleigh with flowers by Sarah Winward of Honey of a Thousand Flowers and featuring the food and styling of Ann Whitaker, I find this little gathering to be the perfect inspiration for a fall dinner party. I love this kind of party! Great food, a bit of gold, a line of ivy down the table and easy, yummy food. Of course, you can never go wrong with a fig and cheese plate waiting at the ready when friends arrive. (But that’s coming from a self-professed cheese addict, so take that for what you will.) This, in a nutshell, is my favorite kind of entertaining.

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

A Gorgeous Seasonal Harvest Feast

p.s. See more from this feast here and see how to style the look for your next dinner party!

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[Food + styling by Ann Whitaker | Flowers by Sarah Winward | Photos by Britt Chudleigh.]

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Coming Soon: The 2014 Gift Guide

Ready or not, it’s that time of year again! This Friday will mark the start of my holiday gift guide posts. What?! How did that happen so fast? This year I thought I’d do things just a tiny bit differently and ask you what you want to see. Usually I hit all the major categories like hostess gifts, gift ideas for men and kids, and great stocking stuffers. Maybe that works for you? Or maybe you want more specific ideas like gifts for teens or gifts for those impossible to shop for friends who have everything. So this is where you come in! Leave a comment below letting me know what you’d like to see from this year’s gift guide – I would love your input! Additionally, if you have a great shop and would like me to check it out for possible inclusion in the guide, feel free to leave a comment with a link and I’ll be sure to check it out. Buckle your seat belts, friends! The holidays are coming and we’re so going to be ready.

The Gift Guide - @cydconverse

p.s. This DIY duct tape gift wrap is one of my most popular holiday DIYs! You can find the original tutorial here.

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[Design + styling by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion. | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]

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Color Palette: Denim + Cranberry

Happy Monday, sweet friends! I hope you had a great weekend and that your week is off to a nice start. I have a seriously busy week coming up, but it’s an exciting one, too! I had some last minute project requests come in last week and I’m so happy about the additional holiday content I’m going to be able to produce for you because of those projects. That said, my schedule is getting turned upside down because of it, but I’m going to make it work. And drink a lot of coffee in the process, I’m sure. So today we’re talking about this gorgeous denim and cranberry color palette! Paired with rich espresso and sage, it’s just so pretty. Fall colors aren’t just orange and red, friends!

Color Palette: Denim and Cranberry by @cydconverse

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[Photos, from top: Silvana di Franco via Snippet & Ink | A Beautiful Mess | Hungry Girl por Vida.]

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10 Festive Fall Pear Recipes

10 Festive Fall Pear Recipes from @cydconverse So, it turns out, as much as I love everything pumpkin and all things apple, pears are actually my favorite fruit this time of year. There’s just something about the flavor of pears that feels so perfect for the fall season. Pair them up with loads of cinnamon, maple syrup, herbs, honey or caramel and they’re just over the top delicious! So today we’re talking about 10 of the yummiest festive fall pear recipes. With everything from cocktails to savory eats to dessert, this girl has you covered.

It’s fall! It’s almost holiday time! So let’s do this. Click through for super yummy pear recipes sure to put your pear craving in it’s rightful place.

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Hazelnut Cake with Apple Buttercream

I am so excited to announce that starting right now with this amazing cake, the super sweet Melina of Sugary & Buttery will officially be joining us once a month to share one of her amazing confections. Melina is an infinitely talented baker and food photographer, and she’s also a new mom. In short, she’s awesome. I can already promise you that if you’re not already following her blog you definitely should be, because I know she’s going to be serving up some amazing treats throughout the holiday season. (Currently these peach cupcakes with vanilla bourbon buttercream are rockin’ my world!) Today we’re kicking things off with this hazelnut cake with marzipan and apple buttercream. Consider this one perfect for all your fall festivities and the yummiest addition to your Thanksgiving feast. Also, I won’t judge if you want to eat a piece with your morning coffee. Cake + coffee = always ok.

Hazelnut Cake with Apple Buttercream from @cydconverse

Hazelnut Cake with Apple Buttercream

For the Cake

  • 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the Buttercream

  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural apple extract

Additional

  • 6oz of marzipan
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped hazelnuts

Hazelnut Cake with Apple Buttercream from @cydconverse

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 8-inch round cake pan.

Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and hazelnut mixture; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs, the yolks and the brown sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow in color (8 mins). Remove bowl from mixer and gently and quickly fold in flour mixture. Gradually drizzle in oil, while folding. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn cake out immediately onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and apple juice to a boil. Boil the syrup until it reaches 240 degrees (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry peaks form. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites. Turn the mixer on high speed and beat for about 10 mins. Add the butter, piece by piece, and the apple extract and keep beating. If it looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth.

Roll out the marzipan and cut out two 8 inch rounds. Cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Spread buttercream on the first layer, cover with marzipan and some more buttercream. Continue accordingly with the second layer. Frost the cake and cover the sides with chopped hazelnuts.

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[Photos by Sugary & Buttery for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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