So Long For Now, Let’s Have Some Cake

Sweet Nothings wears Harlow and Fox Octavia 1

If I have done nothing else for myself on the internet, I hope at least I’ve left you all with an understanding that this is how I want you to think of me: wearing something completely self-indulgent, eating cake.

I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but I really need to say it again: I’ve loved writing Sweet Nothings, I’ve loved meeting you and talking with you, I’ve loved learning about life and lingerie with you, and this has generally all-around been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. All of those things have made working on Sweet Nothings an absolute pleasure. You all who read this blog, even if it’s just been once or only occasionally, you are the reason that I’ll continue to pay hosting and security fees for the blog. If you ever want to swing by and continue conversations, I truly hope you will. And there will be new content again this year, most likely in the form of a holiday project, and I’m so excited about it and can’t wait to share it with you.

Sweet Nothings' good-bye post, featuring Harlow and Fox's Octavia collection and also cake. Photo (c) Michi RezinIt’s been so interesting looking back over the last five years of writing. My opinions have definitely changed over time, and by changed I mean broadened and softened. There is nothing more fun than yelling about something joyfully and with full conviction that you are right, and I loved doing that here, but I’ve also talked with many more folks about their underwear preferences, and I’ve learned that while I’m ride or die with my opinions when it comes to my body (thongs are absolute garbage! minimizer bras are instruments of the patriarchy and they don’t work and screw them!), I’m pretty hands off for other people. Like, I literally don’t know your life! There are lots of different bra products out there because there are lots of different people with lots of different needs/wants/desires! That’s been a crucial thing for me to learn, and it goes hand in hand with my long-held beliefs that for many people, lingerie can feel really, really important. It can shape or affirm identity, it can express desire, it can bring comfort: it’s literally intimate apparel. With that in mind, it’s not really my place, nor do I think it’s anyone else’s place, to prescribe or dictate what you should or shouldn’t wear, or how your breasts should look, or what your body should look like. If you have questions or need information, definitely ask a retailer, a designer, a blogger, or a fitter– they likely know a lot! But if they start to bully or shame or dictate, feel free to ignore them and carry on in excellence. It’s your body, and you get to love it and dress it how you want.

Sweet Nothings' good-bye post, featuring Harlow and Fox's Octavia collection and also cake. Photo (c) Michi Rezin

Those are my words of wisdom! I assume we all feel very wise now. Let us move on to some very important thank yous, and I’m only sorry that this list can’t begin to cover everyone who’s shaped Sweet Nothings, but otherwise this post would turn into a novel:

Alysha Burch, Square Root Creative (for her unfailing generosity and support, and for her team’s gorgeous design and artwork)
Lillian Wright, Mimosa Floral Design
Cora Harrington, The Lingerie Addict
Eva Phillips, All Undone
Jeanna Kadlec, Bluestockings Boutique
Erica Windle, A Sophisticated Pair
Quinne Meyers, she and reverie
Caro, The Lingerie Lesbian / Caroline Z
Angela Friedman, Angela Friedman and Fairytales by Angela Friedman
Stephanie Bodnar, Evgenia Lingerie
Stephanie Kuhr, Dottie’s Delights
Karolina Laskowska, of Karolina Laskowska and The Underpinnings Museum
Liz Denocte, Kurvendiskussionen
Elisabeth Dale, The Breast Life
Holly Jackson, The Full Figured Chest
Catherine Clavering, Kiss Me Deadly
Krista Purnell, The Lingerie Addict
Georgina Horne, Fuller Figure Fuller Bust
Fleur Turner, Fleur of England
Lorraine Morton, Miss Mandalay
Ali Cudby, Fab Foundations
Playful Promises / Bettie Page Lingerie
Ewa Michalak
Claire Syrenne, formerly of Butterfly Collection
Dear Bowie
Parfait Lingerie
Layla L’Obatti, Between the Sheets
Freya, Fantasie, and Elomi
Panache Lingerie
Jessica Prebble, Tutti Rouge
Lauren Rich Lama-Amador, Underhaus and {un}covered
Maggie Gillette, The Giving Bride
Rachel Kenyon, Buttress and Snatch
Aisha Leh, Zathiya Lingerie
Kaaren Bedi, Layneau
Katy Payne, Katherine Hamilton
The Lingerie Francaise group, especially Maison Lejaby, Aubade, Lise Charmel, Empreinte
Steven Rosen Photography
Kate Ignatowski Photography
Michi Rezin
Lydia Hudgens Photography
caryn leigh photography
Kristen Blush Photography
Charlotte Davies, Curvy Kate and Scantilly
Avocado Lingerie
Cecily King, Miss Underpinnings
Windie, Undiegamer
Estelle Puleson, Esty Lingerie
Bok Goodall and Robin Levitt, formerly of Claudette
Marzena Listwan, formerly of Samanta Lingerie
Kimberly Hamilton, Kimtimates

Finally, to my lovely friends, to my mother and sister, to my therapist, and to the people who’ve gone unnamed but who have been so supportive, I love you, and I’m so awed by and thankful for your love and encouragement.

Sweet Nothings' good-bye post, featuring Harlow and Fox's Octavia collection and also cake. Photo (c) Michi Rezin

And of course, a thank you to the brand with a very special place in my heart, Harlow & Fox, and its founder Leanna Williams. Her commitment to creating stunningly gorgeous lingerie for DD-G cup sizes, lingerie that feels as good as it looks, not only helps me celebrate my body, but it also kicked down the doors and paved the way for a glorious influx of stylish, fashion-forward, luxury and higher-end brands for fuller cup sizes that I never could have dreamed of when I was younger. Today I’m wearing the Octavia collection, which is just the most gorgeous thing, and which I’ve been saving especially for this post.

Enough about me, let’s have some cake!

*     *     *     *     *

Sweet Nothings' Favorite Chocolate Cake (aka the Black Pearl Cake). Photo (c) Michi Rezin)

My Very Favorite Chocolate Cake (aka The Black Pearl Cake)
adapted from Katrina Markoff (Vosges) for Bon Appetit

I won’t sugarcoat it (heeee baking pun!), there are lots of steps, and it does take at least two days to prepare (not, like, two full days of cooking, just that there are some components that need to chill or rest overnight), but there’s nothing too fancy or intimidating, and the results are 100% worth it.

Sweet Nothings' good-bye post, featuring Harlow and Fox's Octavia collection and also cake. Photo (c) Michi Rezin

For the ginger vanilla bean syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons matchstick-size strips of peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

For the chocolate wasabi sesame ganache:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1-3 teaspoons wasabi powder (I can’t really taste the wasabi at 1 teaspoon, while going any higher than 3 teaspoons overpowers the other flavors. If you’re nervous about this ingredient, stick with 1 or 2 teaspoons).
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick or 1 ounce) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the cake:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the ginger whipped cream frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 tablespoon instant milk powder
  • Seeds of 1 Bourbon Vanilla Bean OR 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I was out of vanilla beans so I used extract)

The night before you plan to assemble the cake, make the syrup and the ganache:

Make the Syrup:

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat (scraping the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and then adding the pods too). Stir until the sugar dissolves, and then bring to a brisk simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and cover; let the pan sit at room temperature for 1 hour so the flavors can blend together. Toss the vanilla bean pods and strain out (and keep!) the ginger. Cover and refrigerate both the ginger and the syrup (separately) until ready to use.

Make the Ganache:

Chop the chocolate and place in a medium heatproof bow. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, ground ginger, and wasabi. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until it just begins to boil (it will foam up quickly, so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overflow). Immediately remove from heat and pour the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, then whisk until smooth. In a small bowl, stir together the sesame seeds and corn syrup, then whisk into the ganache. Let the ganache cool until it’s about room temperature, then whisk in the softened butter. Cover the ganache and let stand at room temperature until ready to use.

The next day, make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease three 8″ round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Remove the reserved ginger from the fridge and chop it finely. Whisk the cocoa into the boiling water in a medium bowl until smooth, then stir in the ginger. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over a large piece of parchment paper (or into a bowl, I just find the bowl messy when it’s time to add the dry ingredients to the batter, whereas you can make yourself a funnel out of parchment paper and lower your risk of tipping flour all over the place). Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30-60 seconds after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture alternately in four additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Turn off the mixer and gently scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the ingredients are fully combined. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and smooth the tops.

Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a tester just comes out clean (do not overbake– you want a rich, moist cake). Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then invert them onto a wire rack and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely at room temperature.

Assemble the Cake and Make the Frosting:

Using an electric mixer or by hand, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) until smooth. In another bowl, using the whisk attachment in an electric mixer, whip the cream until medium-soft peaks form (do not over-mix!). Working in batches, use a spatula to begin folding a small portion of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it up. Once a small portion is incorporated, add the lightened cream cheese mixture back to the rest of the whipped cream. Add the instant milk powder and gently fold until combined. The frosting should thicken up to hold its shape, but still be light and fluffy. Chill before using, if necessary.

Slice the domed tops off each cake to create a flat surface (then hang on to the scraps, top them with any leftover syrup/ganache/frosting, and go nuts). Brush 1/3 cup of the ginger-vanilla bean syrup over one cake layer (yes, it’s a lot! Don’t panic, you’re doing great). Gently dollop and spread 1/2 of the sesame seed ganache over the cake, then top with the next layer. Brush 1/3 cup of the syrup over the second layer and top with the remaining ganache. Top with the third cake layer and brush with 1/3 cup syrup. Spread a very thin coat of the cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake to catch the crumbs, then chill the cake for 30 minutes to set. Once the crumb coat sets, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with more black sesame seeds, if desired.

THIS CAKE IS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS, I HOPE YOU LOVE IT.

Sweet Nothings' good-bye post, featuring Harlow and Fox's Octavia collection and also cake. Photo (c) Michi Rezin

I always joked that this would be my parting shot when I left the internet, so here we go:

I will never care about your beige t-shirt bras, Sweets out!

❤️

Photos: Michi Rezin

14 Comments on So Long For Now, Let’s Have Some Cake

  1. K-Line
    June 30, 2017 at 8:13 am (5 months ago)

    Terrific blog, gorgeous photos and great parting post. Thanks so much for providing such interesting content. Kristin

    Reply
  2. Theresa
    June 30, 2017 at 8:37 am (5 months ago)

    Thanks for 5 great years. I’ve been reading since the beginning and I’ll miss it! You have opened my eyes (and my wallet) to fabulous full-bust brands and I can honestly say that I’m better for it. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Stephanie
    June 30, 2017 at 9:13 am (5 months ago)

    The perfect sendoff! I couldn’t imagine your last post any other way than with cake, exquisite lingerie, and beautiful styling. So much love to you. Thank you for including my work over the years, and for your frank, informative, friendly insight in your blog (not to mention your beautiful shoots). I discovered some awesome brands because of you! Lots of love, darling.

    Reply
  4. Erica of A Sophisticated Pair
    June 30, 2017 at 11:24 am (5 months ago)

    To borrow from one of my favorite books: So long and thanks for all the cake! :) Your blog is so amazing, and I am going to miss it. What I love about the lingerie community is how much it encourages personal growth and interpersonal friendship. In whatever ways I have contributed to your blog, you have done the same for mine. My ongoing regret is that I can never seem to get up to NYC to hang out again! Hopefully next February will be the ticket. In the meantime, I look forward to your holiday project and cherish the many wonderful things you have brought to the lingerie blogosphere. <3

    Reply
  5. Mom
    June 30, 2017 at 11:36 am (5 months ago)

    Thank you my sweet girl. I love you.

    Reply
  6. Janice
    June 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you so much for your blog. Always informative and entertaining, you have raised the bar for lingerie and cake blogging. Best wishes for the future. Jx

    Reply
  7. Lee Rivers
    June 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you for everything, Sweets. I’m moving back to the Northeast. I’ll visit the NYC area often and would love to catch up if it’s ever convenient.

    Reply
  8. Rare.Device
    June 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm (5 months ago)

    The most perfect send-off! Thank you for the many inspiring photos and thoughtful reviews! I’ll miss seeing them, but it will make the anticipation all the sweeter for the occasional projects you do share.

    Reply
  9. Isobel
    June 30, 2017 at 6:09 pm (5 months ago)

    I’ll be very sorry to see you go, I love your website, particularly as we have a similar lingerie taste and bust size (I also loathe thongs- uncomfortable and they make my arse look terrible!) Best wishes for the future:)

    Reply
  10. Bok
    July 1, 2017 at 7:22 am (5 months ago)

    Good luck Sweets. It’s been a pleasure spending (a little) time with you over the years. I’m sure your next adventure will be fabulous. X

    Reply
  11. Andra
    July 1, 2017 at 8:11 am (5 months ago)

    I will also never care about beige thsirt bras! Or thongs. Or beige thsirt thongs!
    Thank you for your awesome blog :D

    Reply
  12. Trish
    July 1, 2017 at 6:06 pm (5 months ago)

    Silk and cake, beautiful!!! I will be forever grateful for your posts about sister sizing!

    Reply
  13. Sam of Broad Lingerie
    July 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm (5 months ago)

    Thank you for this gorgeous farewell post. That final photo of you is an absolute delight, and your parting shot made me actually laugh out loud!

    Reply
  14. Leanna
    July 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm (5 months ago)

    Your voice, talent and exquisite editorials are going to be so very much missed in the lingerie blog universe – but next adventures are going to be even better! Thank you so much for wearing my designs, creating incredible imagery, and being an all-round wonderful, creative, inspiring human being!

    Reply

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