Chai Snacking Cake with Honey Buttercream

summer has finally peaked its head around the corner. i’ve been waiting and waiting for gardening season, and it is finally upon us. who knew rhubarb and spinach grew so fast? but, my oh my, the newly blossomed flowers have been the apple of my eye.

i absolutely adore peonies. how lucky i am to have a luscious bush of them in the softest peach-pink. it has instantly become my favorite color.


when it comes to my personal art, i don’t believe in perfection. that is to say, i add random elements that may or may not yield good results. in film photography, i throw caution to the wind, subjecting my prints and negatives to all sorts of experimental tortures. i love burying photos, or dipping then in boiling oil on a whim. awaiting results is a delicious pain.

this practice of mine expresses itself differently when cooking. i simply don’t use measuring tools. i guess this is a disclaimer that all measurements below were estimated! oops.

Chai Snacking Cake with Honey Buttercream

recipe inspired by taste and tell

serves six

cake:

  • ½ c unsalted butter, room temp.
  • scant 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, large
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ c all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground cloves

buttercream:

  • 2 c unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1/8 c honey
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 3 tbs milk (i use almond)

method of preparation:

preheat oven to 350*F. prepare two cake pans with oil and a sprinkling of flour.

whisk butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together.

add in 1/2 of the flour and all spices, baking powder, and salt. whisk then mix in rest of flour.

for a two layer cake, divide the batter into cake pans and bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

mix all frosting ingredients together until smooth, adding honey or brown sugar to taste and flour or milk for consistency.

once layers cool, spread 1/3 of buttercream across the top of the first. place the second layer over the first, pressing down slightly, starting from the middle then to edges. spread 1/3 over top of the second layer and if desired, the rest along the sides.

decorate with in-season florals.

35185284055_9276bf930c_o

Advertisements

Vegan Milkshake

*sigh*

being a senior in high school, college app season has just ended. i’ve got 11 in, so now i must wait.

to keep myself from going insane, i’ve been busy with friends, school, photography, and modeling.

unfortunately, something other than the wait has tipped me over the edge. i recently moved, and had to live without a kitchen. hey, I love eating out, but a girl’s gotta cook. now that the oven is in, you can catch me making batch after batch of berlinerkranser, rum blondies, and éclairs at 10pm. good times.

img_2283img_2282

in these days of attempting to balance laziness with ambition (and hunger), i recreated sam of so beautifully raw’s vegan milkshake. it was a game changer.


Vegan Milkshake

serves one

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk and/or coconut cream
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs sugar or honey  
  • cinnamon to top

method of preparation:

blend and top with cinnamon.

yup. that’s it.

Skoleboller

hello from norway!

right now, i’m in the mountains of bergsdalen, just a hop from bergen.

the land here is covered in colorful mosses, berries, and sti- little trails made by the local wildlife. sheep roam the hillsides while rain and melted snow keep everything green. people drop by neighboring cabins after hikes to drink the home-brewed beer that fills every cellar.

IMG_6407IMG_6361IMG_6319

i’ve had a great past few weeks filled with family, hiking, and of course, eating.

i’d forgotten how good the food is here. breakfast and lunch consist of nutty cheeses, goat or cow, and homemade jams over thick-sliced, whole-grain, homemade bread. dinner is typically meat or fresh fish with boiled potatoes, carrots, and lingonberry jam.  a dessert of sugared waffles, vanilla ice cream, rhubarb pie, or cake, all topped with berries, is paired with black coffee and aquavit.

IMG_6341IMG_6349

i’ve taken these past few weeks here as an opportunity to learn family recipes from my grandmother. school rolls- skoleboller -have been my dad’s favorite pastry since childhood, so i was compelled to make them before anything else.


Skoleboller- A Norwegian Sweetroll

makes 2 dozen

a family recipe translated from norwegian

ingredients:

 bread-

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup milk

custard filling-

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbs milk
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbs heavy cream
  • 2 tsp potato flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean stalk, seeded but reserved

icing-

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

shaved coconut to top

 

method of preparation:

whisk together dry ingredients, but yeast, and set aside.

prepare yeast by dissolving in 1/8 cup warm water.

whisk together all wet ingredients, including yeast. combine with dry ingredients.

knead dough until shiny, adding milk/flour as necessary. allow to rise for one hour.

to make the custard, whisk together all ingredients until thick. set aside.

to make the icing, whisk together all ingredients. the icing should be thick, so add milk/sugar as necessary. set aside.

divide raised dough into 12-24 even balls. many norwegian bakeries make hand-sized skoleboller, but homemade rolls are often smaller.

make an imprint, where the custard will be poured, in the center each ball. pressing your thumb down, while rotating the dough yields good results.

place rolls on a lined baking sheet.

allow to raise for 30-60 additional minutes.

preheat oven to 425°F.

proportionally scoop custard into the wells bake for 12 minutes.

once cooled, pour icing around custard well and sprinkle with coconut shavings.

IMG_6224IMG_6202IMG_6196

 

Classic Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting

lately i’ve been obsessing over pictures of simple, aesthetic cakes.

11pm? cakes.

grocery shopping? cakes.

watching tv? cakes.

waiting for a cake in the oven? cakes.

these are the kinda cakes one could say are “too pretty to die”, to which i would respond “gimme”, while grabbing the nearest eating utensil.

Dahle_3

anyways, the story behind these cakes is otherwise quite simple. one was a birthday cake for my gal nia, the sweetest, most sincere woman i know, and the other was for selena, who flat out asked me for a cake. that kind of honesty is attractive, and because she is also the kindest human being ever born, i just had to make her one.

IMG_4784Dahle_1IMG_4818

sadly, i couldn’t get any photos of the cut cake, there was simply no time before it was devoured. that’s fine with me though, i take it as a compliment. all the photos i was fortunate enough to get were taken from 9-11pm, and 6-6:30am. thank god for raw files and natural light, amiright?


Classic Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting

makes one 9″4-layer cake (i made two 9″ 2-layer cakes, but cake recipes are so customizable, any pan will do but the number of layers will differ)

recipe adapted from acozykitchen

ingredients:

cake- 

  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cups  whole milk

chocolate fudge frosting-

  • 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted (may be increased for added stiffness)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • splash of whole milk
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

 

method:

preheat oven to 350*F and prepare 4 9″ cake pans with butter and a light dusting of flour.

whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. set aside.

in another bowl, beat butter until smooth. add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, a few more minutes. add vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary.

slowly add in flour mixture, alternating with milk. do not over mix.

evenly divide between prepared cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick from the center comes out clean. let cool for 15 minutes before inverting.

for the frosting-

beat butter until smooth, then gradually add confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  add vanilla and splash of milk, mixing until fluffy and smooth. fold in chocolate.

assembly-

when layers have completely cooled, level them and place the one that will be the bottom layer on a serving plate. spread a layer of frosting on top then place the next layer over it. repeat with the other layers and use remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake*.

*i like more rustic-looking cakes (if that’s even a thing), so i created swirl patterns on the top of the cake and created the ribs on the side by dragging a spoon (an offset spatula would be perfect) gently up the sides, one row after another. i also garnished the cakes with dried flowers i had laying around. i loved the way they turned out!

IMG_5037IMG_5081

Roasted Vegetables + Kale Pea Puree

it’s spring, y’all. and though its a season for beautifully colored salads and daring flavors of ice cream in handmade cones, i can’t seem to part with my oven. every day goes the same way, i’m making dinner, apron and all, with the fan on full blast, when i nearly faint opening the oven to take out a batch or two of cookies, enchiladas, or some other baked/roasted thing.  i can’t help it.

IMG_4588.JPG

i have been trying to incorporate fresher elements into my diet, in an attempt to embrace this new season. this recipe was born from such a desire and inspiration from a culinary institute i recently toured in new york. the dishes being prepared by the students at ice, the institute of culinary education, were all so aesthetic in simplicity and color, it was amazing.

IMG_4624

 

 

so, i challenged myself to embrace those values and attempt to incorporate them into my daily cooking. this is the first dish i’ve prepared with those goals in the forefront of my mind.

it’s simple enough; peas, kale, onion, carrots, and potatoes. pairing this dish with a rice pilaf or crisp bruschetta on a tv tray in pjs would complete the meal quite nicely, don’t you think?

 

serves 4

ingredients:

roasted veggies-

one large bushel of carrots, trimmed and washed

8 potatoes (red, gold, or white variety), washed

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tbs olive oil

1/8 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

puree, from vegkitchen

1 medium onion, chopped

10-ounce bag frozen green peas, or the fresh equivalent

2 tbs kale, chopped

1/4 cup almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

method of preparation:

preheat oven to 450*F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

cut thick carrots in half, lengthwise. slice potatoes into 1/4 inch thick circles. alternatively, cut veggies in any desired way.

arrange on baking sheet in a single layer. whisk oil, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. brush over vegetables and bake for 20-30 minutes, until slightly crispy.

meanwhile, steam the chopped onion until tender. stir in frozen peas and allow to cook until peas have defrosted. be sure not to overcook, as they will loose their beautiful green color.

place cooked onions and peas, along with all other puree ingredients in a food processor until at the desired texture, around 3 minutes, stirring as needed. the puree can be thinned by adding vegetable stock or more milk.

arrange all the components; carrots, potatoes, and puree, as aesthetically as possible. or, you know, just pile it on and eat.

IMG_4660IMG_4653

 

 

Hvitdame- the Traditional Norwegian  White Lady Cake 

aka my birthday cake.

aka the best cake ever.

and, yes, i realize that that was a bold statement, but it’s how i feel- at least until i make a better cake!

i’ll give you a few reasons why it’s my favorite, in term of layers.

  1. a dense sponge cake
  2. strawberry jam
  3. a beautiful hazlenut macaron
  4. more jam
  5. whipped cream
  6. marzipan

that’s right… six layers.

!!!

  

but what really gets me about this cake is its history. only made during special occasions- it’s become a lost art. when I decided to bake this, my norwegian famiy scoffed. hvitdame were only bought at bakeries, it was almost unheard of to make from scratch. but, i must say- it turned out pretty darn well. and the folks were very impressed.

  
  

so yeah, it was good.

recipe by ingrid espelid hovig

ingredients:

cake-

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

macaron-

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup raw hazlenuts

1 1/2 tbs flour

2 egg whites

filling-

1/2 cup jam of choice

3/4 cup whipped cream (preferably homemade)

to cover-

3 marzipan logs (21oz)- use leftover to make flowers or other decorations

method of preparation:

preheat oven to 350*F and grease/ line the bottom of an 8 in. cake pan with parchment paper

beat eggs and sugar together until doubled in size.

sift flour and baking soda together then carefully fold into egg mixture, carful to not deflate them.

pour into prepared pan and bake on middle rack for 30 minutes. let cool for a few minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.

begin macaron:

preheat oven to 200*F.

grind nuts into a meal in a food processor and stir in with flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar.

beat egg whites with the rest of the sugar until doubled in size. fold in hazlnut mixture, careful not to deflate the eggs.

pour mixture into an 8 in. cake pan and bake for ~40 minutes, or until crisp and dry.

cool on a wire rack.

whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

roll out marzipan into a thin layer, ~1/6 in.

assembly:

place cake on plate/stand, spread with 1/2 of the jam. place the hazlnut macaron on top and cover with the rest of the jam. smooth the whipped cream over the top and thinly on the sides. carefully drape marzipan over the cake, cutting of any excess. use this to make any decorations, such as flowers or braids.

  

3-Salt Chocolate Disc Cookies

When someone turns to you and says “I think you need to make cookies. Soon“, you make them cookies. You make them the best darn cookies you can, and ever have. 

And that’s what I did. 

  

I made a few extra (4 dozen 😉), but that worked out well because I brought them to a house warming party- my own!- and packaged the rest up as gifts.

Cookies are always a welcome present, I’ve found. 
   
 

The cookie dough is heaven too. Even if you are a no-raw-eggs kinda gal/gent, make an acception. It’s gotta happen. 

P.S. This recipe looked super daunting, but trust me, it’s easy!!! 

~recipe based off Mindy Segal’s Cookie Love~

Makes ~40 cookies

Ingredients: 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.

1 cup cane sugar

1 cup packed light muscovado or dark brown sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temp.

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp sea salt flakes

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups chocolate discs (53-64% cacao)

Sea Salt (Cyprus preferred) for garnish, optional

Method of Preparation: 

On medium speed, whip butter in a large bowl for 5-10 seconds. Add sugars and cream until mixture is aerated and pale in color, ~4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula and bring together the batter with a stir or two.

Crack eggs into a small bowl or cup and add vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salts, baking powder, and baking soda. 

On medium speed, add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, one “egg” at a time. Mix for 5 seconds before adding the next. Scrape down sides of bowl and bring batter together again. 

Mix in the dry ingridients all at once- apart from the discs- until the dough just comes together but is still relatively shaggy. Don’t over mix. Bring the dough together fully by hand. 

Fold in chocolate. 

Form dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap tightly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. 

Heat oven to 350*F. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or oil (I always use coconut oil). 

Scoop ~1 1/2 tbs worth of dough into a ball and roll top in Cyprus salt (optional). Space 1 1/2′ apart on the prepared sheet. 

Bake for 8 minutes, rotate tray, and bake for 4  more minutes. Additional time may be needed for edges to caramelize. 

Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool compleately. 

Repeat with the rest of the dough.