Friends, I've been writing to you for months. This late winter while I was at a writing residency, I wrote to you from the top of bluff overlooking the roaring Pacific ocean, from a desk in the sweetest cabin with a wide view of a Sitka spruce forest, and from within a crescent of wild purple foxglove just waking, sending their furry leaves out across the mossy forest floor. I'm not quite done with that letter, one in which I've finally been able to articulate something I've been working quietly on for over ten years now,—the link between my forthcoming memoir A Library of Light and my collaborations with plants, specifically flower essences—but I hope to be able to share that soon.
Today, I write to you from home glowing with spring light to share a recipe for my Olive Oil Rosemary Cake in honor of the vernal equinox and new moon. A potent double threshold to celebrate and cross with care. As well as 5 new flower essences that I've been working with for almost a year now and are finally ready to share!
May these essences help us initiate new energy and consciousness patterns as we navigate these times. May they help us move boldly into new, healthier ways of holding and being transformed by our our emotions.
first, The Cake!
—1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour
—¾ cup (150 g) cane sugar
—1½ tsp (6 g) baking powder
—½ tsp (3 g) sea salt
—1 ½ tbsp (7 g) fresh rosemary leaves (finely chopped, stems removed)
—¾ cup (162 g) extra-virgin olive oil
—Zest of two organic lemons (or: one large orange and a lemon; or two oranges)
—2/3 cup (158 ml) mylk
—3 large eggs at room temperature
—½ tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract
—Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch round cake pan and line bottom of pan with a round of
—In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together until well combined. —Add in zest and rosemary and mix well (unless you are infusing it in your olive oil (see note below), but no need if you don’t have the time). —Add olive oil, mylk, eggs, and extracts, mixing gently between each addition. —Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes.
—Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, brush with additional olive oil, and let cool completely.
—I then dust with powdered sugar and top with edible flowers.
Some helpful tips:
*Be sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
*I find weighing ingredients makes the best cakes!
*I infuse the chopped rosemary and zests in olive oil for a few hours, leaving it in the morning sun to gently warm it. This is totally optional.
*I use a light coconut milk, but use the milk you like best.
I made these essences on my ancestral island of Sicily and have been living and working with them for almost a year. They've finally let me know they're ready to share.
Flower essences have my heart. They're like perfectly sculpted poems in a bottle. Each flower has its own gift and what I think of as a light signature. These light signatures, when introduced into the body by way of the bottled essence, act as a kind of tuning fork within us. Our specific light signatures—the energetic pattern of our bodies—vibrates to meet and learn from the vibrational teachings of the flower. It is miraculous. A meeting of water, light, and embodiment.
I'll highlight each new essence briefly, but there are full descriptions in the apothecary.
Mandrake, to galvanize inspired transformation —
Long associated with witches and healers, Mandrake activates hybridized consciousness and sight making it a powerful guide when traveling between worlds, shape-shifting, entering into conversation with the vegetal kingdom, or seeking clearer, ecstatic visions of all kinds.
Olive, I am revitalized; my life-force, a flame —
For when we feel all reserves of inner strength, optimism, intuition, and energy have run dry, Olive is our guide back to ourselves. Olive flower essence brings profound revitalization to the physical body by opening the conduit and connecting us to our inner spiritual source.
Borage, when heavy with grief, I find buoyancy, joy, and direction —
For heart-courage, optimism, and playfulness in the face of profound heartbreak and sorrow. Borage helps us honor and integrate the weight of deep loss not by numbing the spirit, but by allowing the spirit to recognize and integrate emotions that may initially seem too intense.
Wild Fennel, gifts of clarity, balance, evolution, & grace —
Essence of Wild Fennel helps us evolve, to let go of that which no longer serves us, and to see the divinity within ourselves and others with greater clarity.
Cyclamen, for creative initiation; I birth new projects and perspectives —
Supported by the union of root-to-spirit energies, the below-to-the-above, Cyclamen is a beautiful ally for birthing new projects or perspectives, for channeling, and for the synthesis of earth and spirit intelligence. Cyclamen reminds us that we are softly and fluidly in our power when we are at our most creative. And that inspired creativity is aligned with the very root of our being.
And, finally, Coven of 3: Across with/in's years, I've noticed most people purchase my essences in a cluster of 3. The number 3 has long been considered a number of wisdom and harmony. Coven of 3 is my gift to those of you who would like to work with a triad of self-selected essences. You save $6 by ordering this way. Choose any three of with/in's flower essences — not tinctures or oils — and list them in the notes at checkout.
Wishing you all a sweet and energizing start to spring!
With love, Danielle