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Santa Surprise: Peppermint Buttercream Chocolate Christmas Cake

What’s black, and white & red all over? My newest holiday baking experiment, a moist chocolate cake with a sweet peppermint buttercream!

It feels like it’s been ages since I wrote a baking post! While I haven’t been diligent about documenting my various creations, I love surprising my friends and family with a homemade baked good (typically of their choosing) for their birthday.

For example, my parents’ cake this past July we nicknamed the earthquake/flux capacitor cake. If the photo doesn’t answer any questions you may have as to why we named it that, there was a massive crack/rift that occurred in the top layer. It was a complete and total #pinterestfail and absolutely not “blog worthy”, but rest assured it was delicious and was all consumed in short order.

Alex’s birthday in November brought about a labor intensive but crowd pleasing sea salt caramel cupcake. These little goodies consisted of a caramel cake, filled with gooey caramel, and topped with a swirl of sea salt caramel buttercream. Personally I found them a little too sweet, but the birthday boy gave them two thumbs up.

Which brings me to this holiday season’s latest birthday treat. A good friend of ours has a December birthday, and when I asked her what kind of cake I could make her this year she was brave enough to leave it up to the baker. I poked around online for some inspiration, but no matter what I looked at I ultimately kept coming back to her favorite childhood cake, red velvet with candy cane frosting. I made this for her a few years back and wanted to put a new twist on it this time around. 

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About Ashraf Akkilah

Ashraf Akkilah
Architecture and design is my passion. I'm an architect who is interested in building design and decor trends. I'm also interested in sculpture design and landscaping. I'm "outdoor" architect who love to be involved in the project site and supervise finishing and final touches works. I had contributed to many construction and decor projects.

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Bringing Vintage Chairs Back from the Brink Using Penetrol

When Alex and I moved into our first apartment, we were decorating novices. While we tried our best, we came up short in many ways, the most obvious being that we were so anxious to have our new home "finished," that we rushed out and bought what we needed. This resulted in a cookie-cutter straight-out-of-a-catalog look that did little to reflect our personalities, hobbies, or style. 

As the years have passed, I've learned to better appreciate the approach of curating a carefully selected mix of both new and old. Working in vintage finds, souvenirs and art from our travel adventures, and pieces passed down to us from family and friends along with new pieces creates a more layered, inviting, and less cookie cutter look. It's ultimately a formula that I've found results in the successful completion of a space that is comfortable, interesting to look at, and reflective of our personalities and who we are. 

Now that the majority of our focus is on renovating, decorating, and projects in our new home, my approach to its decor is to heavily use these lessons I've learned over the years. While many people's first reaction in a new space is to run out and buy as many news things to fill it as they can, we're taking a much more measured (and budget friendly) approach to our home's decor. We've been extremely fortunate to have many friends and family members gift furniture and accessories that they could no longer use. So last year when our neighbors offered us a pair of vintage garden chairs that didn't quite work in their home (and couldn't be returned), we jumped at the chance to become their new owners.

As you can see, this pair of vintage metal arm chairs have a beautiful patina and I loved the blend of several shades of green and turquoise. However, they were pretty rusty, so I knew I wanted to clean them up while still preserving much of the original paint. The goal was to both seal them to better protect them from outdoor weather while preserving their patina, and also preserving the pants of anyone that might choose to sit on these beauties. 

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