baking · bars · comfort food · dessert · easy · potluck food · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Rhubarb Custard Bars

It doesn’t get more Midwestern than rhubarb. It is the only thing nearly all of our mothers were able to grow in the backyard despite not having a garden. It grows anywhere and everywhere with no help at all from humans. I grew up with rhubarb bread every single summer, so it felt like a no-brainer to sell rhubarb bread at the farmer’s market. I wanted to keep things seasonal, and expected to change my bread offerings each week. I honestly had no idea the reaction I would receive to offering rhubarb bread, though. People love the stuff. I sold out with in the first hour and 15 minutes of my first market. I sold an entire loaf as my first sale at my second market. I knew rhubarb bread was special to me, but I had no idea that everyone else would love it just as much (or more). What felt like something that would just be meaningful to me ended up being meaningful to nearly every customer that stopped by. Offering a slice of rhubarb bread clearly brought them back to their childhood; a look of blissful nostalgia washing over their faces after each bite. I wasn’t the only one that grew up with a mom putting rhubarb to good use. I’ve chatted with so many people about their rhubarb memories growing up, many of them having not had a slice of rhubarb bread in years. It’s a funny thing to connect over, as I was truly unaware that we had all had this shared experience, and was surprised when my bread triggered something in people.

When rhubarb bread goes right vs when rhubarb bread goes wrong.

I won’t be sharing the recipes I sell at the market, but I will gladly share this recipe from Taste of Home. I cut the recipe in half, because I didn’t need 87 fucking bars lying around. It’s just T and me, and we still had a disaster of fucked up rhubarb bread to eat (long story short – I doubled my rhubarb bread recipe one night and forgot to double the flour, which left me with 4 gooey globs that tasted amazing with ice cream, but was NOT sellable or pretty). I’ll post the full recipe here, but if you want to cut it in half, just use an 8 x 8 pan instead of the 9 x 13 it requires.

Fun fact: This recipe, when done in full, uses over twice as much rhubarb as one of my rhubarb bread recipes.

It’s super tart and creamy and FUCKING DELICIOUS. My cousin served these at her wedding. She had a dessert TABLE, which is honestly what everyone should do. I couldn’t stop blabbing about the bars, so my aunt took pity on me and sent me the recipe. I couldn’t live without them, and now you don’t have to either. Go scrape together the last few stalks of rhubarb remaining for the season, and get to baking.

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They don’t photograph well/I don’t know how to properly photograph food yet.

Rhubarb Custard Bars

Cookie crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup cold butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar. Then cut butter into dry ingredients with either a fork or your fingers (I mush everything together with my hands) until it forms course crumbs* with some chunks of butter remaining. Press mixture into pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

Custard filling:

2 cups sugar

7 tablespoons flour

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 large, room temp eggs, beaten

5 cups finely chopped rhubarb (mine wasn’t “finely chopped,”and it was fine)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar. Whisk in eggs and cream before folding in the rhubarb. Pour over the baked crust and bake again for 40-45 minutes. Let cool fully before adding the topping.

Topping:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

In a mixer, whip together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Fold in whipped heavy cream. Spread over the top, cover, and set in fridge. Once set, cut into bars. Gobble up as many as you can while it’s still rhubarb season. Don’t share with friends.

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This is what I mean when I say “course crumbs.”

baking · brunch · cake · dessert · quick breads · Yummy

Cinnamon Bread and Farmer’s Market Update

Last Saturday was my first day as a vendor at a farmer’s market.

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The whole thing still feels surreal. How am I allowed to sell shit at a farmer’s market? It just seems like something that would happen to someone else. Don’t I need a more specialized license for this? Well, yes, but it wasn’t difficult to get. Of course, there are all these fucking regulations about what I can and cannot sell to the public, but I’m still allowed to sell my baked goods to the general public. That blows my fucking mind. And people bought things. That is the really crazy part.

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They bought things despite the fact that I am not a pastry chef, and despite the fact that I used to whisk egg whites into peaks with a fucking fork, and despite the fact that I once thought a head of cabbage was a head of lettuce. These people didn’t care that I learned how to bake without a mixer, or that I once made horrifically tart/disgusting raspberry coconut cookies, or that I used store-bought pie crust until a few years ago, or even that I still don’t have a clue how to properly decorate a cake. I can’t use fondant, I’ve never used a spring-form pan, and I don’t know how to adjust my ratios to properly use cake and pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. No one cared about any of that bullshit. All they cared about was eating a deliciously moist slice of freshly made rhubarb bread, baked with the rhubarb that’s taking over my friend’s yard, while soaking in a few hours of sunshine with their friends at an outdoor market. They don’t see the mistakes and hesitation behind the scenes – they just see perfectly round chocolate chip cookies with hand-chopped dark chocolate and flecks of glittery sea salt. They bought them all up and chatted with me about the neighborhood, making me feel connected and welcomed into this new space. T looked at me a few hours into the market, having just sold another few oatmeal crisps, my hand resting in my apron pocket and a smile across my face, and said, “You’re radiating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy.”

There is something so indescribably satisfying about watching people eat and enjoy the things you’ve made. And then come back to buy more! I still can’t believe I’m allowed to do this after years of wandering markets wondering who you had to be to be apart of them. I love it when something seems like magic, but it’s actually real. That’s how being a market vendor feels to me.

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I made this cinnamon bread during a last baking frenzy in my old apartment. My oven in that place was janky as fuck, and ran cold. This meant it was a guessing game with setting a timer for baking, or the temperature for that matter. I baked this fucker for a good hour and 20 minutes, which ended up drying it out. My current place has a very reliable oven, which is a fucking relief.

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I’m pretty obsessed with quick breads at the moment. They’re so easy and simple, and can be done a million different ways. Rhubarb is the best, but you won’t be getting my recipe for that anytime soon. 😉

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You’ll notice my “swirl” is just a sad line. Turns out, no one cared about that either.

Cinnamon Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking sodaIMG_20190331_172426.jpg

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the swirl/topping:

1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for coating the pans

2 tablespoons cinnamon, plus extra for coating the pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter, and coat with cinnamon sugar mixture. Once the pans are fully coated, dump out excess.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another large bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Mix well before whisking in eggs one at a time.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Always avoid over-mixing, as it develops the gluten in the flour and can make your cake dense and chewy. It took me years to learn this. Don’t be like me.

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Take half of the batter, and split it between both loaf pans. Add a layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture (reserving half), then top with remaining batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the cinnamon sugar mixture through the batter before topping with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges to loosen, then turn it onto a cooling rack. Real talk, I only got a cooling rack in the last few months. Cooling on a counter top or large plate is fine, too. Don’t listen to the snobby bakers that tell you otherwise.

As with any quick bread, slice and cover with butter to serve. Gobble it all up.

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baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · vegetarian · Yummy

Earl Grey Cake with Honey Buttercream

I haven’t moved in 7.5 years. Prior to my last apartment, I had moved every 6-18 months since turning 18 years old. But this last apartment stuck. I moved into it after spending 3 years in New York trying to “find myself,” lived there with my then fiance (my now ex-husband), started my blog there, watched my first cat suffer with cancer there, welcomed new cats into my life, reclaimed my identity after the divorce, fell into a yoga obsession, became a yoga teacher, started dating, suffered heartbreak, fell in love, welcomed a mischievous kitten into my life, and baked the whole way through it all in that tiny ass kitchen. That apartment felt like a part of my identity. It was my first true home as an adult. That being said, I was ready to move on from it. It was time. So we did it. T and I moved downtown, which is a fucking dream. I’ve always dreamed of living in the heart of the city, and now I finally have the chance.

The move itself was a goddamn nightmare, of course. I mean, it went as well as it could, but it’s a fucking huge pain in the ass to move 2 apartments in one morning. It didn’t help that we had both been at our old places for several years. Shit accumulated more than I’d realized. Fuck, we have a lot of shit. We both thought we’d have the place fully unpacked and set up within a week. We’re on day 10 and still semi living out of boxes. This adds to my stress level, which is already sky high with transitioning to a new job at work, getting all the paperwork and payment together for the farmer’s market, and being contacted by my biological dad’s sister on Ancestry. This literally all happened within the same week, which is why I couldn’t blog last week. This bitch needs some time to herself. Fuck.

I’ve literally been fantasizing about baking in the new kitchen. It’s not as tiny as the last kitchen, but it’s not gigantic. After 7+ years of cooking and baking in my old kitchen, I think I’ve earned the name Tiny Ass Kitchen regardless of where I live, but only time will tell if I decide on renaming things.

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During my last few weeks at the old place, I started a baking frenzy. I kept thinking it would be my last time baking in that kitchen. And I felt like making something fancy as fuck. Earl Grey is one of my favorite flavors. It’s really delicate, which is a sharp contrast to the dark chocolate I often prefer in my desserts. I’m not a huge fan of honey, but it works here. Lavender would also be a good addition, but plain old vanilla buttercream would also be lovely.

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I want to make this for Cortney and have it with tea and fancy dresses.

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Earl Grey Cake with Honey Buttercream (original recipe here)

For the cake

2 teaspoons loose leaf earl grey tea, separated (I used the bagged kind and just cut open the bags because I’m a lazy ass… if you are using true loose leaf tea, you’ll want to grind one of the teaspoons up a bit)

1 cup whole milk

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil (coconut oil also works well here, but you’ll want to melt it)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

For the honey buttercream

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup honey

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan over low heat add the milk and one teaspoon of loose leaf tea (not ground). Let simmer for five minutes to infuse the tea into the milk, but avoid letting it come to a full boil. Allow it to cool to room temp (feel free to set it in the fridge for a bit). Strain out the tea. Set aside. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar before adding in the eggs one at a time. Continue mixing while adding the vanilla and oil and allow the batter to become light and fluffy. I never truly know how light and fluffy these things should be, but just use your best judgement. While it is mixing, in a separate bowl you’ll want to add in your flour, baking powder, salt, and finely ground tea (or a teaspoon from a tea bag because you’re a lazy ass like me – I promise it won’t matter). The original recipe says to sift the dry ingredients together. Fuck sifting. Just don’t pack any of these things into their measuring cup/spoon, and you’ll be fine. If you want to be super accurate, you’re on the wrong food blog. This isn’t the British Baking Show. Mix the dry ingredients together before gradually adding them to the mixer while it is set to low speed. Try not to overmix. Once everything is just combined, add in the infused milk. Distribute batter into 2 greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (it calls for 8″, but I only have 9″ – it’s fucking fine). Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing cakes from the pans onto a cooling rack. If you lose a chunk to the bottom of a stubborn pan, don’t panic. Take it as a sign from the snack gods that you deserve a treat! And fill the hole with frosting. Everyone wins.

Make sure the cakes are completely cool before frosting. I cut my layers in half to create 4 separate layers. It’s nice to have extra frosting in the middle, but it’s certainly not necessary.

For the honey buttercream

Add all buttercream ingredients to the mixer and whip until light and fluffy, about 5-10 minutes. Frost as desired! I kept my cake really minimal. It had a really thin layer of frosting, so you can see the cake through it in some spots. I also used some extra honey to drizzle along the edges. This is pretty initially, but doesn’t hold up well. If you want to do the honey drizzle, do it right before serving.

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baking · chocolate · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · easy · Party food · quick · snacks · Swedish · vegetarian · Yummy

Havreflarn – Swedish Oatmeal Crisps

After more than a year of thinking about it, I finally did an Ancestry DNA test to find out more about my heritage. I’ve always been told that I’m at least 50% German, because my great great great grandparents immigrated here from Germany. Of course, no one in my family was taking into consideration that they could have immigrated to Germany from elsewhere sometime before that. Nope. We’re German, and that’s that.

Turns out that that is all a goddamn lie. My results came back last week and I am actually predominately English and Swedish, and only 15% German. While I am immensely disappointed in my lack of Norwegian ancestry (as I felt very at home in Oslo), I have fully embraced my Swedish heritage. After frantically emailing several new family members (none of which have emailed me back – fuckers), I immediately went on the search for a traditional Swedish cookie recipe. No joke, I found this recipe on Pinterest while using an elliptical at the gym. I’m not even a little sorry. I maxed out at like 20 minutes of exercise that day, and promptly ran home to start baking. I followed the recipe to a T, and my cookies still ended up looking like this:

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So I adjusted some things for the next batch. I decreased the butter by 2 tablespoons and made the cookies a little smaller. Don’t get me wrong, the original batch was still delicious. They just weren’t quite as pretty. Also, the recipe called for an entire stick of butter and it only made 6 cookies. The bowl with the dough had a puddle of butter at the bottom after I’d finished scooping it all out. It was fucking madness.

In addition to celebrating my newfound heritage, I’m also on the lookout for anyone on my biological dad’s side of the family. Not knowing who he is has never bothered me much, but now we have all this technology, so why not use it? I’m curious as fuck about this entire family that is out there waiting to be found. It’s crazy. I am the product of artificial insemination via sperm donor, so I’ve been messaging all the people I don’t know on my DNA match list (which contains over 400 people) with things like, “Do you know of any men in your family that went to medical school in Minneapolis in the 80’s and possibly donated sperm?” I’m like that lost duck in the children’s book looking for it’s mom. Except it’s my dad, and I have the internet. So I’ll just continue to message everyone on Facebook with names from my DNA list asking, “Are you my dad?” And maybe eventually someone will know something. Or at least check their fucking messages and respond even if they don’t.

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When I researched these cookies, I found out that Swedish women used to have coffee parties back in the day. At these parties they would serve seven different types of cookies. If they served less than seven, they were considered cheap asses. If they served more than seven, then they were showing off. Honestly, you’re lucky if you get one kind of cookie at my house. Who makes seven different kinds of cookies for one party? Those guests sound like a bunch of entitled bitches.

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6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 instant oats

2 tablespoons light cream (or half and half)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour 2 cookie sheets, as these WILL stick.

In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once melted, lower heat to medium-low and add in the sugar. Stir until fully incorporated. Continue with the flour and oats, again mixing well after each ingredient with a wooden spoon. Finally add in the light cream. Continuously stir over medium-low heat while the edges bubble for just a few minutes. Pour dough into a medium sized bowl and set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, or the freezer for 5-10 minutes (dough will still be warm, but not hot). Each cookie will be about a tablespoon of dough. Press each ball of dough down a little bit with the back of  a spoon. The dough should still be a bit warm, so this should be easy. It will encourage the cookies to spread, which helps make them thin and crispy. Because they do spread so much, make sure to leave lots of space between each cookie. Limit yourself to 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Recipe makes about 12 cookies.

OPTIONAL BUT AWESOME: Dip half of them in melted chocolate. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips that I microwaved for 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Place dipped cookies on parchment paper to cool.

baking · breakfast · brunch · cake · Christmas · comfort food · dessert · easy · Holiday recipes · potluck food · quick · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Cranberry Orange Bread for Christmas

I struggle hard with gift giving. There are very rare occasions that I really nail it… but it’s almost never on someone’s birthday or around Christmas. This year I agonized over presents for my family. My mom always tells me not to get her anything (classic). So I’m left guessing. I know she genuinely doesn’t care what I get her, but I have to get her something. I mean, she gave me life.

I have to be very honest here… I literally almost got her nothing. This is not a proud statement for me. I kind of just threw my hands in the air on Christmas Eve and yelled, “FUCK IT,” startling my cat and probably several neighbors. But then I got to thinking about it, and I remember that not everyone is like me. Some people like knick knacks and nonsensical pretty things. So I went to one of my favorite little shops with a certain someone who was able to finally help me make a decision. I wandered through the whole store bitching and moaning (honestly, I don’t know how he was able to put up with me) that she wouldn’t like any of it. He held up shawls and scarves. I scoffed and pouted as I continually elbowed my way through the crowds of other panicked daughters. We walked into the kitchen area where he suggested a cookbook. Sighhhh. She doesn’t really cook much – not from new recipes anyway. And she’s not a new kitchen gadget kind of person. It just ends up frustrating her, and then she asks what was wrong with the way she was already doing the thing that the gadget is supposed to make easier. “How about this?” he asked, holding up a tea steeper in the shape of an adorable animal. But she doesn’t like tea. Or coffee. I honestly thought about getting her a case of Tab (yes, in fact, it is 1976), but she flies back to Florida next week. Also, seems kind of impersonal. I was about to give up when he said something along the lines of, “She doesn’t care. She’ll love whatever you give her,” while holding a pretty candle holder that had a forest pattern on it when lit, and I was convinced. The madness was over.

My love language is acts of service. I mostly want to feed people to show I care. I want to help them with a problem, support them when they’re struggling, help them paint their new apartment, or move into a new place. That’s how I show love. That’s what comes most naturally to me. Gift giving is hard because I want everything I give to be meaningful – because I really want to be of service. Turns out gift giving doesn’t have to be that serious, and I just need to calm the fuck down sometimes. Shit. Like, what’s the big deal? Buy someone a candle and move the fuck on.

Also, who are those people that purchase the perfect gift whenever they happen to find it and then hoard it until that person’s birthday or Christmas? HOW DO I BECOME YOU?

I made this bread along with some pumpkin bread to give my family as well. Because let’s be real – I’m never going to stop feeding people.

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For the bread:

1 cup cranberries – fresh, frozen, dried (or a combo – I did mostly fresh and a handful of dried)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg (at room temp… place into a warm cup of water for 5 minutes if you forget to set it out)

1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup buttermilk (Don’t have it? Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk.)

1/3 cup vegetable/canola/coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

 

For the crumble top:

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into cubes

 

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice (I used the juice from the orange I “zested” for the bread)

As much orange zest as you like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan (or several mini loaf pans!) and set aside. You’ll want to make the crumble top first and set it in the fridge, just so it’s all ready to top the batter.

For the crumble top:

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium to small mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter in with a pastry cutter (for the fancy folks), a couple of forks (I found that to be impossible), or your hands (this is easiest!) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set in the fridge.

For the bread:

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in the cranberries and set aside. In another bowl, mix the egg with the brown and white sugars until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing gently but thoroughly. No lumps allowed! The recipe says to not over-mix… not sure what happens if you do. Try not to fuck it up.

Pour the batter into grease pan(s) and cover with the crumble top, pressing it lightly into the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes (the smaller pans need less time, so check them after 35 minutes).

For the glaze:

Whisk all ingredients together. Boom. Done. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan(s) and drizzling the glaze over the top.

Give these to everyone for Christmas/Birthdays/etc. Or just eat them all by yourself. Fuck it.

baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · Yummy

Gingerbread Cake for Thanksgiving

 

This is my very first Thanksgiving without my mom.

She’s not dead or anything – she just opted to stay in Florida. Who the hell could blame her? Sunny beaches and no one demanding anything? Fuck yes. I totally fucking get it. But now I don’t have a Thanksgiving meal being cooked for me. That’s a fucking bummer.

I spent three Thanksgivings living in New York during my early 20’s. My mom visited every single one of those Thanksgivings and cooked me a full dinner. I’m spoiled fucking rotten, and I know it. We once had a Friendsgiving at my giant, rent controlled apartment with a group of my misfit friends from the cafe in which I worked. It involved a LOT of champagne and ridiculous behavior (my mom is cool). The photos from that night are embarrassing and hilarious. My face is all shiny and my eyes are glazed over. I think I drank something like 4 bottles of champagne. I mean, that’s normal, right? Humberto was still living there, and everything was right in the world. As much as we tried to recreate it, it never fell together that well again.

Since my mom isn’t in town for Thanksgiving, I am having a mini Friendsgiving (is it still called that when it’s only 2 people?). I asked if he would be into an apple/pumpkin pie combo (can you believe that is a thing?!). He immediately responded with, “What’s wrong with you?” Okay. So no combo pies. FINE.

That means we get gingerbread cake, which is usually my go-to Christmas dessert. This cake is dark and not all that sweet – sort of like dark chocolate. It’s lovely despite it’s plain appearance. Please serve it with fresh whipped cream. You won’t be sorry.

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Gingerbread Cake

1 stick of butter cut into cubes

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup unsulfured molasses

2 large eggs (room temp, lightly beaten)

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Whipped cream (homemade is best)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the baking soda and watch it foam up like a little kid’s science fair project. I have no idea why this is a necessary step, but, you know, science. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before stirring in the butter until it melts. Whisk in the brown sugar and molasses. Mixture should be lukewarm at this point. If it’s too hot, let it sit for 10-15 minutes to cool down. Pour into a large mixing bowl and whisk in eggs.

In a medium mixing bowl, throw in flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking powder. If you’re feeling fancy, you can sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well and pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. And then, per all my cake baking instructions, throw that shit in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. It stops the baking process and keeps it moist as fuck. You’re welcome.

I photographed this with reddi-whip, but don’t be like me. Serve it with fresh whipped cream. Don’t know how to make that? You literally just whisk the shit out of some heavy whipping cream, a splash of vanilla, and a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar. If you have a mixer, use that. If not, you can do it by hand – trust me.

baking · cake · chocolate · comfort food · dessert · snacks · vegetarian

A Disaster of a Chocolate Strawberry Cake

This cake was delicious, but a fucking mess. I forgot to grease the cake pans like a goddamn amateur. It was my friend’s birthday cake (sorry, Stacy), but she was nice about it. Seemed wasteful to throw away perfectly good cake that was just a little (a lot) broken. We don’t waste cake around here!

Speaking of which, I went to a wedding 2 weekends ago where they had chocolate cake with Bailey’s cream in the middle. FML. YAAAASSS. I had two pieces, and I’m not even a little sorry. Wedding cake slices are tiny as fuck. I had one after dinner, like a normal human. Then I drank a bunch and ate another one a few hours later. I know how to do a wedding right.

It should also be noted that Hannah and I fucking badgered our way into this wedding like fucking pros (except it was by accident). I never thought Jeni would give in to our bitching about wanting to be flower girls (I never got to do it as a child). When she came up to us several weeks ago to announce that we’d be walking the dogs down the aisle, our jaws dropped. Were we really so annoying that she put us in her goddamn wedding? I can’t believe it, even now. It’s like we have a super power or something. I think we should go around begging our way into weddings more often. And dog walker? Fuck. That’s literally the best job in the wedding party. We didn’t have to buy fancy dresses, or plan any parties. We just got to show up, play with dogs, and still be apart of the whole thing.

I fucking love weddings that don’t involve dancing. This one took place in a bowling alley (but, like, a fancyass bowling alley), and also had a photo booth. I know all the hipsters do photo booths at their weddings, but my friends and I have never been cool enough. This was legit my FIRST photo booth. Excitement! And the wedding was for a coworker, so most of my badass work friends were there. We got together for a clinic photo and that shit fucking killed me. The longer I look at it, the harder I laugh. It literally NEVER stops being funny. Hannah and I did one together, too, which is just fucking fantastic. I can’t with these people. I love them so much.

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Are you seeing this?! We’re pretending to stab the bride. Obviously.

We also all traveled “up north” together last weekend. For those that don’t know, “up north” in Minnesota refers to basically anything more than an hour or so north of the Twin Cities. It’s where everyone goes on the weekends in the summer. The thing is, I don’t love being in nature, so I don’t often go up north. Stories from our drunken adventures will be in the next blog post. Have I mentioned yet how much I love my co-workers?

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Chocolate Strawberry Cake (originally from here – which is where you should go to see what this is actually supposed to look like)

For the Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
For the Ganache:

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the garnish:

Sliced strawberries – as many as you’d like. I used about 16oz.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. GREASE THE PANS RIGHT AWAY (don’t be like me, or your cake will fall apart). You’ll need two of the 9 inch round cake pans.

In a stand mixer, throw in the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, then add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 2ish minutes before adding the boiling water. Pour into GREASED pans (again, don’t be like me). Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean). At this point, I like to place my cakes into the freeze to stop the baking process. Leave ’em in there for 20ish minutes. Remove from the pans (this is easier if you greased the pans).

For the frosting:

Start by beating the butter on high in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Once smooth, set aside to make the ganache (aka the BEST part).

For the ganache:

Heat the cream in a small pot over medium-high heat until it starts bubbling around the edges. Place the chocolate into a small, heat-safe bowl and pour the scalded cream over the top. Let sit for a minute. Stir until smooth.

To assemble:

Spread the frosting over the bottom layer of cake and top with sliced strawberries before adding the second layer of cake. Pour the ganache over the whole thing. Let it set for a couple of minutes before adding more sliced strawberries.

Done. Nailed it. Eat up! Doesn’t matter if it looks janky. Serve that shit with no fucking shame. Never apologize for baking someone a cake.