baking · cake · comfort food · dessert · potluck food · snacks · Yummy

Almond Poppyseed Cake

Okay, so here’s the thing. I fucked up pretty hard on this recipe last week when I was trying to bake it in a bundt pan to be fancy. I should know better than to try and be fancy. But I wanted something that looked different from my other loaf cakes (rhubarb and grapefruit). I wanted a bundt cake with a glaze. Is that so much to ask? I have a few glass cake stands with domes leftover from my wedding 7 years ago (at least something lasted), and I thought one of them would look so sweet with a glazed fucking bundt cake sprinkled with slivered almonds. I mean, that would have looked amazing! Right?! So professional.

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I baked this cake as directed on the recipe (I mean, with a few small edits of course). I sprayed the shit out of my bundt pan, which I should mention was purchased from Zabar’s back in my NYC days to make a wine cake that turned out to be fucking disgusting. It didn’t help that I purchased red “cooking wine” at the shittiest of shitty C-Town groceries stores in Harlem, instead of whatever nice wine the recipe required. I was literally making $7.50 an hour while living in Manhattan, so nice wine wasn’t really on my priority list. I did have a weird love affair with Malbec during that time, but I was certainly not going to pour it anywhere other than down my poor-ass gullet. Anyway, I literally haven’t used that pan since the wine cake fiasco, but I don’t remember having a problem with it back then. This time, though, that shit was not going to separate itself from the pan. They were fused as one the moment I poured in the batter. The recipe warned me that it would be difficult to remove from the pan, so I was supposed to wait until the cake fully cooled. It was starting to get late the night before the farmer’s market, so I stuck it in the fridge to speed things along. Then I banged it on the counter so hard that all the cats scattered. NOTHING.

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Slightly less pretty once sliced.

After several attempts, the first chunk came out. I admitted defeat, covered the cake in foil, and went to work making another batch with loaf pans instead. The trick with loaf cakes is that you can line the bottom with parchment paper to avoid ANY OF THIS UNNECESSARY BULLSHIT.

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How cute would a bundt cake have looked on that cake stand?!

Not all is lost, since T and I have literally been eating the cake with our hands right out of the pan all week long.

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Oh, and the loaf version turned out perfectly. Here’s the recipe, minus my minor edits (I can’t give away all of my secrets).

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Almond Poppyseed Cake

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 1/2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

8 ounces butter, melted

Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons poppyseeds (this does nothing for the flavor, but it looks so much prettier)

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2-4 tablespoons milk or cream (I used water because I was selling to the general public, and cottage food licenses don’t allow for un-refrigerated dairy outside of butter)

Slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350. If you’re feeling brave, thoroughly butter and flour a bundt cake pan. Do not do this unless you are a goddamn professional. If you’re a normal person like me, use 2 loaf pans. Line just the bottom of the pans with some parchment paper and grease the whole thing. You just can’t be too careful.

In a large mixing bowl (only one bowl needed – yay!), beat the sugar with the eggs. Mix in flour, baking powder, milk, and almond extract. Mix well, then add in the melted butter. Fold in the poppyseeds. Pour into cake pan(s) of choice and bake for 40-50 minutes. Edges should be golden brown, and a toothpick should come out clean.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before removing from loaf pans. For bundt cake pans, remove at your own risk, but only once completely cooled. If you can’t remove it from the pan, don’t fret. Just look at it as a gift from the snack gods.

For the glaze: whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk/cream. Pour over cakes after they are completely cooled. Sprinkle with slivered almonds.

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My nemesis.

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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