Brooke Weeber is the fantastic local artist who drew the cityscape of Portland featured on our Portland Collection. We got the chance to ask her more about her charming Pacific Northwest-inspired illustrations!
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Oregon, primarily in Eugene and Salem. I went to college at the University of Oregon and got my BFA in oil painting. When I figured out that I wouldn’t be able get a job in my field, I moved to New York City to pursue a career as a Pastry Chef and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute.
How did you end up becoming an artist?
I was raised by a family who used art making as a wonderful way to pass the time and an important way to show personal creativity, so I grew up drawing and painting and quickly developed an interest in art. I realized in high school that there was nothing else I’d rather pursue, so I followed that path to the art program at the University of Oregon. I so often doubted my abilities when I was in college, constantly comparing myself to other students with more technical skill. It took me separating myself from the institution to really discover my own unique style and to be confident with my work.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, such as Droste
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
2. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until very fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; then gradually beat in buttermilk until smooth, scraping down inside of bowl as needed.
4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Put batter in a piping bag with a large tip (or cut a 1/2-in. corner off a resealable plastic bag and spoon in batter). Form 1-tbsp. mounds of batter 2 in. apart on sheets. Bake about 12 minutes or until cakes spring back when poked. Transfer to rack to cool.
5. Meanwhile, make filling: Sift powdered sugar and matcha together into a medium-large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and mascarpone and beat with a mixer on low speed at first, then on medium until very smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, generously spread some filling on the flat side of a cake and top with another cake. Repeat for rest of cakes.
Make ahead: Cakes, up to 3 days, stored airtight at room temperature between sheets of parchment; filling, up to 2 days, chilled (bring to room temperature before spreading).