I had a full-blown, real, non-working weekend. There was a good dose of working out, dinner at a newly-opened neighborhood restaurant (highly recommend it)! I helped my friend Hourie with her charity bakesale that was sold out in an hour (!!!). There was also loads of salsa and smoothies and working out.
Moving onto cakes, specifically this one. Easter is this weekend, which really is the kickoff to spring brunches. There’s Mother’s Day and spring weather, which makes for ideal brunching-weather.
If you love cakes but can’t find the energy/skillz to decorate them, then the whole ‘sheet cake category’ is for you. They are ridiculously easy. All you’ll need is a proper baking pan and a spatula and a handful of sprinkles.
This strawberry + rhubarb sheet cake is the complete opposite of this Neapolitan number. That cake requires a few cups of coffee and some concentration (or at least the decorating part does).
This cake is made up of the most delicious white/strawberry cake combo ever. I could eat it over and over. And the rhubarb frosting is delicious tart and smooth.
Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day aka the day when Josh and I are going to start talking about wedding planning (interesting date we chose, eh? we didn’t do it on purpose I swear!).
Yeh, we’ve put that off for a while because when we first started, like, two days after we got engaged, I immediately downloaded Aisle Planner and started to put a bit of a plan together. And then…it got stressful. So many people. It adds up so quickly! And if we’re doing a destination wedding…good gracious it’s a lot. Anywayz, we told each other that maybe we need to chill out and just enjoy this time a bit and put it off for a few months. So we did. And now that date is here (ugh!). But we’ll figure it out, I suppose. I’m not that stressed out about it.
I’ll share more on that soon (like, when we know what we’re doing)!
For now I wanted to share this cake recipe I made for Epicurious. I wanted a spring-y cake that would remind people of how a strawberry malted milkshake would taste. The barley flavor in the malt powder is so delicious in the cake and frosting.
And to make it Easter-centric, there’s a nest on top that’s made up of shards of white chocolate—it truly couldn’t be easier. I filled it with Cadbury pastel-colored chocolate eggs. They are the best holiday candy our of all holiday candy in my very humble opinion!
Ok so for like three weeks I thought Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day fell on the same exact day, which made me incredibly conflicted! Which one am I supposed to celebrate on da blog?! Am I supposed to combine the two holidays? Grasshopper Pie, anyone?
It wouldn’t be bad and honestly it sounds really, really good and part of me wishes I made that instead of…well, too late now, so please welcome Ms. Matcha Strawberry Battenberg Cake!
If you’ve never heard of a Battenberg Cake, don’t worry, I honestly had never heard of it until I was watching an episode of Great American Bake-Off and in the season finale they had to make one and it seems SO hard so naturally I was like “oooooo.”
Making this cake felt like climbing Mt. Everest. It was bit of a beast to develop but I’m so glad I did because I LOVE IT!
There is no one that loves Neapolitan anything more than me. I think it started with Breyers ice cream when I was a kid. My dad was an avid ice cream buyer/eater and we always had it in the freezer. Strawberry ice cream was also so heavy in the rotation but I loved chocolate so often times that I’d mix chocolate cream with a scoop of strawberry ice cream. Seriously the best idea evrrrr.
I recently started to think about Neapolitan and wondered: “Why don’t we make Neapolitan with other flavors?!?!”
This is a Mexican Neapolitan. The flavors are slightly different and use Mexican ingredients.
The pink layer (usually strawberry) is agua de jamaica (hibiscus). If you’ve ever gone to a Mexican restaurant, you most likely saw or had the agua de jamaica, which is made with hibiscus leaves.
Hibiscus leaves are tart! To make this layer more tart and make sure the flavor comes through, I added a bit of lime zest and juice to the mixture. We use the agua de jamaica in both the cake itself and the frosting.
I did add some food coloring to the cake because when it’s baked, it turns an ugly horrible purple so I counteracted that by using hot pink food coloring and red. (If you don’t have hot pink, you can use just red and it’ll look pretty!)
The chocolate layer is Mexican chocolate. There’s cloves, cinnamon, cayenne and allspice. It’s really flavorful and super rich and chocolate-y.
The last layer is Mexican vanilla. Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Mexican vanilla but I used a good amount of it to really make sure the flavor was very present.
I have finished The Crown (I am a professional binge-watcher) and I LOVED IT. I love history and fell right into the series because of Wallis Simpson. I watched a documentary on her a few years ago so I felt like I already knew a small piece of the puzzle. I will admit that it was rather slow in the beginning but if you stick with it, it’s fascinating.
Now I’ve moved onto ABSTRACT. It’s like chef’s table but for artists and I’m so very into it because I find the process of any and all artists so interesting. I even love finding out how my food blog friends work. Like, oh you use fake light?! COOL! You get your surfaces and props from where? Interesting. I love the behind-the-scenes; I find it so very interesting.
I’m gonna be honest: these lil’ cakes look so neat and tidy but decorating them blew up my kitchen. I had five piping bags and somehow forgot to put twisty-ties on the end and frosting was gushing out the other end. I had like a pile of towels all filled with chocolate frosting and my hair was a hot mess. VERY grateful I was home alone because Amelia passes no judgement!
But when I finally came up for air and dug myself out of the mess, I loved how these little cakes turned out.
The yellow cake is delicious and rich. And the frosting is my absolute new-favorite.
I am currently prepping so hard to chill TF out for the break. I’m gonna be honest, this fall put in borderline burn out mode so I’m hoping that a bit of rest and chillaxation will give me some much needed energy.
This is also my favorite time to take a break because EVERYONE is taking a break. Usually if I go on a vacation in the month of May or April, I still end up working because I’m addicted to checking my email BUT NOT NEXT WEEK!
I’m also spending a bit of time doing some last bits of work, cleaning and organizing my apartment before we all head up to The Bay for the holidays.
We’ve also been binge-watching The OA and I am not mad at it. It’s SO good and weird and addictive and weird.
If you have a bunch of time over the next week, definitely watch it. It’s also family-friendly (no weird sex scenes) so you will be a-ok to watch it with your father-in-law/grandfather, etc.
This cranberry chestnut cake is a lil’ thing I made last week when I had some cranberries in the fridge and remembered this beautiful cranberry frosting I saw on Food52 a month ago or so.
Tomorrow we’re headed to a Netflix-themed Halloween party with my friend, Cassie, who works at the company. This entire week has been spent working and recipe testing and shooting. And in addition to that, I’ve been worrying if my costume is going to hit the mark. Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday and I usually stay home like an old person and eat candy.
I really wanted to bring Amelia and dress her up like Eleven but we all know that she would never, ever tolerate a blond wig on her head. And seeing her in a bloody dress might genuinely creep me out! Check my Insta-stories for all of my costume details this weekend—it should be fun(ish).
In other more chocolate-y news, I have this fine dessert for you today. I teamed up with the most delicious, decadent, luscious chocolate maker: ScharffenBerger to create my chocolate ombre dreams in form of a cake.
I’m not going to lie, creating and developing this recipe hurt my brain. There was a lot of math! What I didn’t want was anyone (including myself) to have to make four separate batches of cake batter and frosting. I wanted to create one of each and then mix in the different amount of chocolate to make them different. After a few tries—success!
The frosting is maybe my favorite thing in the entire world because it is cinnamon-y and a little spicy and tastes SO much like Mexican chocolate.
And surprisingly, the ombre frosting isn’t too difficult. You sort of just slap on the different colors and use a bench scraper to combine them!
I kept the topping super simple with a handful of ScharffenBerger cacao nibs and a sprinkling of pearl sugar.
Today is National Chocolate Day, so here’s to hoping you’re eating chocolate (and hopefully making this cake!).
When I was away over the weekend, Josh told me that Amelia was sleepy and calm, which she never is. He blamed me. He said that I was her spirit animal.
It’s sort of true. We both humor and entertain and keep each other company every single day. She is my best friend.
We go everywhere together (Target, Home Depot, World Market, Michael’s) and are rarely not around each other. Since I work from home, Josh knew we’d be good for each other.
It’s Amelia’s birthday! She’s one year older but oddly not less puppy-like. She still plays ALL THE TIME. She still chews your hand when she gets excited. She still steals my socks and won’t give them back. She still barks at cakes and roast chickens and anything else she feels like she deserves.
CAKIES! I learned this term from Izy’sbook. I’m not sure if she invented it or if it was around before then. It’s hard to pin-point the origin of very sophisticated terms like that…but if you’re unfamiliar, it’s when a cake meets a cookie.
These are delicious spongey-cake-like cookies that are super floral thanks to olive oil. I used average-ly fancy olive oil. It’s hard for me to buy a bottle of $30 of olive oil AND THEN USE IT, you know?
When I bake with olive oil I still use stuff that’s not THAT expensive. Josh tries to talk me into using nicer stuff but it’s so so hard. I leave the fancy stuff for drizzling on salads or veggies.
I’m currently (trying) to stock pile recipes for fall. I have a feeling the season is going to swallow me whole so this was one of the last summer-ish recipes that I wanted to make.
I’m obsessed with adding fruit to glazes and frostings. You may think that some sort of artificial coloring was added to this frosting but think again, my friends.