I’m currently in the middle—what I like to call—autumnal chaos. I am busy editing photos every night until 10pm, which also means I’m consuming a large amount of reality television. I’m incredibly embarrassed to admit that I have watched every.single.episode of Shahs of Sunset and I have so many opinions about them. The other day I went to their neighborhood (West LA) and I was like, “If I run into one of them…I won’t be able to control myself!” I was bummed I didn’t see them.
One recipe that was at the very top of my to-make list this season was to fall-ify carrot cupcakes. This is inspired by some ras al hanout carrot cupcakes in Casablanca: My Moroccan Food.
Carrot cake is already filled with spices but with these cupcakes we’re just adding WAY more, while also adding some other spices in the mix.
These cupcakes are glorious to freeze. And then thaw in the fridge when you’re ready to eat and serve.
This is the time of year where Los Angeles weather is totally erratic. One day it’ll be 90 degrees and then two days later you’l need a sweater and some hot coffee to get your day started. By now, I know which one I get excited about.
I’m currently wearing a sweater so I feel like it’s appropriate to discuss this chai-spiced apple skillet cake with you all. I wanted to provide a recipe that is super easy. Something that you can throw together in a one, two steps max. This skillet cake is it!
Secondly, on this beautiful Wednesday morning, I made a little playlist on Spotify. It’s a cooking playlist but can be used anytime when you want to feel peaceful and escape the world around you. For me this is always at the grocery store. I always bring my headphone with me so I can be in my own world while I pick up things and put them in my cart.
Now, let’s move to this cake. This zucchini cake started with the highest hopes. It was meant to be a watercolored cake with yellow petal flower with dark green vines. Well…it didn’t work exactly according to plan. I mean does it ever? But there are plenty of happy accidents and this is one of them.
I’m currently watching old BadGirlRiri music videos because I’m procrastinating from cleaning out the dishwasher. There’s a white film that’s coating all my dishes and after I did some googling I found that it must be clogged and I gotta clean it with citric acid. Sounds fun!
Are you planning on watching the Royal Wedding? I know a lot of British people think Americans are so weird for being obsessed with their royals but we are. And I have to be honest, I definitely pay attention–I think it’s kinda fascinating.
Have you heard of procrastibaking? It’s a new term coined by the New York Times. Honestly, I feel like I invented it. I feel like I made a whole career from procrastibaking. That’s what made me start this blog! I WAS RUNNING AWAY FROM MY JOB!
If you work from home, you really can spend your days procrastibaking. I mean that’s probably what the majority of you are doing right now anyway…I’m a way for you to avoid work. Lol.
Consider me flattered!
This recipes comes from my love of those childhood cartons of pink milk at the cafeteria. Honestly, my mom always made my lunch so I wasn’t really allowed to eat at the cafeteria. I had Capri-Suns anyway so I rarely was able to drink strawberry milk. VERY SAD!
But this is a love letter to strawberry milk because it’s so good. And when we made it for this, we still thought it was fantastic and dreamy.
A few weeks ago, Nespresso invited me to Colombia to learn more about how their farming practices deliver high quality coffee in a sustainable way…You all know how huge of a fan I am so how could I say no?!!
I overnighted some rain boots and hopped on a flight to Medellín, Colombia. From there we all jumped on a helicopter (I was maybe a little nervous about it—heights are not my friend!) to Jardín, a small town about 2 hours south of Medellín. It’s a coffee town, surrounded by coffee farms, which sprinkle the region.
When we arrived in the town center of Jardín, it was early Sunday morning and the town was full of people coming in from their farms for a day of church and relaxation.
The town of Jardín is quaint, colorful and abundant with roses. Farmers and their families drink coffee in the square, gossip with their friends, buy groceries for the week and spend a day of leisure. So, we did that too. We had a chill breakfast and began to learn about Nespresso’s sustainability story…
I was lucky enough to sit with the US President and CEO of Nespresso, Guillaume Le Cunff, and Director of Expocafé, Juan Carlos Ardila, and his wife, Davi. I loved all of them so much. Juan Carlos, whose own father was a coffee farmer, told us the story of the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, developed together with the nonprofit the Rainforest Alliance.
I learned that there are so many more components to creating a sustainable company and industry than just environmental. Socio-economic sustainability is important, too!
A lot of coffee farmers, specifically small coffee farmers, are susceptible to so many things that are out of their control: mainly weather and market volatility. Meaning if one year the weather is erratic and makes a farmer’s crop unsellable, the farmer makes little to zero money that year. This obviously makes it incredibly difficult for a farmer to support their family.
Nespresso is exploring ways to help farmers deal with extreme climate impacts, including providing crop insurance for farmers in Colombia. In addition, Nespresso is working with a number of local partners on a pension plan for Colombian farmers, making retirement and financial stability a possibility.
It’s Easter this Sunday. As a child, we were not Easter Basket people. We went to church for mass and that was it. We always had a nice meal but my mother didn’t believe in treating that day as a day for gifts and money. As a child, I didn’t even know what I was missing. I talk to my friends now and they all got money, candy, baskets, Easter eggs full of cool stuff. WTF, mom?!?!
I was not a deprived child so I can’t really complain at all. I really can’t. One thing that I always loved when spring time came around was carrot cake. I think my mom would buy it from this local Italian market and theirs was SO good and fluffy.
Years ago, when I first started baking, I made a recipe from Southern Living and it was incredible. Since then, I’ve made other versions and frankly, they just weren’t that good. So this recipe is basically theirs but with more spices, walnuts instead of pecans and more salt.
And the directions have been rewritten to be a bit more streamlined. But I can’t say a bad thing about the recipe. I didn’t know how to improve it—I tried. We made this thinking we would be like oh we definitely have to make it more moist, we definitely have to change this or that.
I realize that my happy place is really simple: after a workout, I love to eat dinner, take a shower and then put on fluffy sweats (I currently live in a Vans sweatshirt my brother got me for Christmas). And then I like to get in bed and edit tons of photos while I watch trashy reality TV (right this second: Real Housewives of Atlanta). I do this and am usually like, “This is happiness.” It’s my favorite time of day!
As I was about to post this, I realized that I’m one cupcake recipe after another—very unlike me! But I know you all will forgive me because these taste dramatically different from the espresso cupcakes. And they’re a million times easier to decorate!
These are mojito-flavored, so they’re bright and zesty and a lil’ bit boozy. These cupcakes are from Jessica’s new book, Pretty Dish.