Blackberry Fig Cornmeal Cake


Outside is changing. It’s getting darker earlier, and cooler. I bring the usual dinner fixin’s to the table on our little backyard patio at 7pm and the sun is setting. The light is tinted with the oranges usually reserved for hours later. By the time we’re finished eating it’s nearly dusk, mosquitoes nipping at my ankles all the while. It’s crisper in the morning, too. The air is less thick and it’s much easier to run. The sun feels warm, not oppressive. The wind doesn’t feel reminiscent of someone breathing in your face on the subway. It feels practically chilly, compared to those 95 degree days last month. But that doesn’t last long. You could miss it if you aren’t a person who stays awake after getting up at 5 am from particularly unnerving dreams you’re not an early riser. By 8, it’s just as hot as it was in July, when summer was in full swing. It’s only at nighttime that the looming season change is unmistakable.

The other morning I woke up and all the windows were open. I think I was supposed to shut them before going to bed, but I won’t tell if you won’t! The golden August light streamed through the glass. Breeze blew in, disturbing the not-at-all messy and horrifying stack of newspaper clippings and magazines I have piled on my desk. The air was so NOT hot and sticky it almost made me want to put pants on. Almost. I think the thing I’ll miss most about summer is the relative acceptability of pantless-ness. No, actually, beers outside. No, pants. No. Yes. Uh uh uh can we call it a tie? The temperature is going back into the nineties later this week though, so I think this is just a fluke.

But maybe the real thing I’ll miss most about summer is the blackberries. I’ll come clean: I intended to make this cake many weeks ago, but every time I bought blackberries, most ended up in my mouth before I could get the rest of the ingredients together. I finally had to buy several cartons: one use to jazz up my breakfast smoothie, one to munch on, and one for cake. It was worth it.

“As she approached the corner of the barn where the sugar maple stands, she plucked a few blackberries from a stray bush and popped them into her mouth. She looked all around her – back at the house, across the fields, and up into the canopy of branches overhead. She took several quick steps up to the trunk of the maple, threw her arms around it, and kissed that tree soundly.”
—Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

I find this cake to be most enjoyable very early in the morning with a large cup of coffee or around 4 pm with…another large cup of coffee. It’s not too sweet, so you could definitely pile on the vanilla ice cream/whipped cream if you feel the need, but I rarely do. It’s also very acceptable to eat half the cake tiny slice by tiny slice with one’s fingers directly from the fridge. Not that I did that or anything.

Blackberry Cornmeal Cake (loosely adapted from Tastebook)

1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup melted coconut or olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 scraped vanilla bean
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup blackberries
2 fresh figs*, sliced very thinly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, sugar, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry, and whisk until combined. The batter will be very runny. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 15 minutes, then take it out of the oven and quickly top with figs and berries. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes, testing at every 5 minutes after 35. When the cake is done, the top will spring back when lightly pressed, and the edges will start to pull back from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely and slice with a serrated knife as not to disturb the berry magic!

*note: some vegans/vegetarians don’t eat figs because the plants have a tendency to pull an Audrey II on wasps. I’ll leave it at that, but you can read more here if you’re concerned/interested, and use your own discretion when it comes to eating figs. 



Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

I woke up a few mornings ago and walked down to the little playground down the street from my house with every intention of sitting in the sun for a few minutes with my over-microwaved mug of coffee and the Times travel section- because now I can actually read for pleasure again whaaat? But the moment I sat down, the sky got dark and still. I knew the rain was coming and I should pack up, but I just stayed put, breathing in that summer pre-storm smell. Memorizing the grayish blue tint of everything around me.

I’m happy. For the first time in long time, I catch myself smiling about nothing. This sounds silly, I know. Many people probably have no trouble finding things to smile about on a regular basis. But I’ve been like this for a while. I don’t dwell on the good stuff as much as I gulp it down in the moment. And then I’m left with nothing but emptiness until the next good thing reveals itself. I was a fairly serious little kid, always wanting to be a grownup so I could have important things to think about. At family gatherings the real adults would laugh at me as I sat in the corner reading or looking around while the other kids screamed and ran around in the dirt. I wanted to be grown so badly; surely then no one would think my solemnity was so funny. But since I’ve actually “become” one, (air quotes because let’s be real I don’t pay for my health insurance I’m not an adult yet am I?) I’m beginning to understand why they were so serious, and why they found my behavior so funny. Being older is hard. There aren’t a lot of things to smile about. If I’ve discovered that anything is constant over the last few years, it’s that life is bursts of joy and misery. Peaks and valleys and all that. In the past I’ve rarely savored the good moments, and sometimes find myself wallowing in the not-so-good. And then I get stuck in waiting for something better. I was always waiting. And all that waiting only made me more serious. But I don’t need to live that way anymore. I never needed to, really. But there were circumstances outside of my control encouraging that life. The constant waiting. The looking down instead of up. There’s enough horror in this world without dwelling on the mean reds of my own making.

It is easier, of course, to find dignity in one’s solitude. Loneliness is solitude with a problem. Can blue solve that problem, or can it at least keep me company within in? –No, not exactly. It cannot love me that way; it has no arms. But sometimes I do feel its presence to be a sort of wink– ‘Here you are again,’ it says, ‘and so am I.’           -Maggie Nelson, Bluets

I’ve treated a few posts here in the past as little shoutouts to the good and allusions to the bad going on in my life. This is a good one. I haven’t wanted to sit and smile in a while. Some of those smiles are being shared nationwide and some are just for me. Some are for things not quite fit to talk about here and some are for raspberry buttercream, which you’ll learn about very soon.

But there are things to smile about.

Cake (from the Magnolia Bakery)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat convection oven to 375 degrees F. Butter two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan, butter the paper, then dust with flour. Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add egg mixture into the sugar-flour mixture and whisk until combined. Whisk in boiling water just until combined (the batter will be watery.) 3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Raspberry Frosting (adapted from My Name is Yeh)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam + extra for cake assembly

Whip the first four ingredients together until light and fluffy with an electric mixer, then add the jam.


seedless raspberry jam

Cool cake layers completely (I like to refrigerate mine wrapped in plastic for at least a few hours if not overnight. This prevents the cake from getting really crumbly when you’re frosting it.) If you want to be a real professional, level off the cake domes using a serrated knife. Line a cake plate with three thin pieces of parchment or waxed paper to catch any frosting drips. Place the bottom cake layer on the plate. Dollop a good amount of frosting on top of the bottom layer and spread it out, then add a thick layer of raspberry jam. Place the second layer of cake on top and press it down gently. Form your crumb coat by spreading a very thin layer of frosting all around the sides and top of the cake with an offset spatula- thin enough so you can still see the cake underneath. Put it back in the fridge for another hour, then frost up the rest of this bad boy however your heart desires. Add sprinkles because sprinkles make everything better. If you want to be impressed and/or up your layer cake game, check this tutorial or this one. Feed this to all your friends because in my opinion pie is better but shhhhh.

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DIY Funfetti Cake

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I used to love the November time change. Getting up for high school was always a challenge, especially at six in the morning in the dark. Knowing that all I had to look forward to was maybe not failing a math quiz or watching one of those fantastic The Universe videos in Physics class was not as exciting as it may seem. So, obviously, the prospect of having an “extra” hour of sleep was always craved- looked forward to, even. But something changed this year. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I would get snips of this in previous three years, that restlessness with the time change  -maybe for the fifteen seconds between pouring out my first cup of coffee from the institutional coffee vats (which really do look like a slightly more Bauhaus-inspired version of this) in the brighter light and it becoming ice cold because it had been brewed hours earlier- but there’s something about a florescently lit stark white space that smelled vaguely like the previous night’s marinara sauce and burnt toast that didn’t scream “calm”.

I actually really have been enjoying waking up to the last bits of night in sky and the air. It’s cold and quiet and there’s a really beautiful blue tint to the light. I’m always the first one awake in the apartment and it’s so peaceful; I walk downstairs in my slippers, measure rounded tablespoonfuls of coffee, and open the big curtain that covers the window-wall. The hints of daylight begin to stream in and I listen to my coffee drip down, usually while emptying the dish rack. By the time the coffee is brewed, the sun just starts poking out and I sit in the dark living room with a steaming mug. I don’t turn any lights on. I just breathe deeply and sit. It’s shocking the wonders I’ve found this does. So I’ve been ever-thankful for this new space I can call my own (or at least, 25% my own, I do have apart-mates)

Ever since we changed the clocks (fell back?) the light is different. The sun is bright, too bright for how early it’s supposed to be. I feel like I’m running late for no reason; it seems strange to be eating a bowl of oatmeal in broad daylight. Today’s sunset is set to happen at 4:31 pm. I keep reminding myself we only have 39 more sunsets until the days begin to get longer. Of course, then I remember that by December 21 I will have finished my penultimate semester of college, so maybe I’ll put that thought on the back burner for now. In the meantime, I’ll try my best to just enjoy the daylight while it lasts, even if it’s happening earlier than I’d like. PS- I made this cake for my lovely friend Kelsey’s birthday a few weeks ago, but I guess we can pretend I used it to celebrate mine too, as I just turned 22 over the weekend! Aaaah!

Cake (from My Name is Yeh and Food52)

1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 c sugar

4 large egg whites

2 tbsp vanilla extract (Molly Yeh recommends imitation for that real boxed-cake effect!)

6 tbsp vegetable oil 2

2 1/2 c cake flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 c whole milk

2/3 c plus 1 tbsp sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line them with cut out circles of parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment (I like canola spray). With an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy (several minutes). Add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add the vanilla and oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With your mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Once you have a smooth batter, fold in 2/3 cup of sprinkles. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Pour the remaining tablespoon of sprinkles over the top and bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check at about 25 minutes- they may need a minute or two more. Cool in the pans for a few minutes, then flip them onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.


I used my recipe, see this post!

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Chocolate Almond Cake (GF)

According to David Lebovitz, this recipe is considered a “snack cake” in France. Which in my world means I can eat it for breakfast. And let me tell you, chocolate + almond + cake + morning coffee – anywhere to be at a specific time = happy morning. These late July mornings in particular have been calling me to eat cake for breakfast, specifically because of how I’ve been waking up. I’ll explain: on more than one occasion this summer, my sister and I have lugged our old air mattress onto the screen porch in our backyard. We’ve then fallen asleep listening to the crickets and the rustling of summer plants in the breeze and sometimes the dull roar of VERY low flying planes (because apparently we live in an airport now?). But no matter how hot the following day gets, when we wake up on the porch it’s always that great kind of summer chilly where you absolutely need a comforter and big wool socks even though your PJs are a tank top and shorts. What could possibly be better than to heat up a piece of chocolate cake and a mug of coffee and devour both on said porch under said comforter?? Nothing. Nothing could be better. Except maybe relocating the coffeepot to the porch permanently. This summer has definitely been one of the mildest I can remember. And this very likely could be indicative of climate change- which at this point will probably require everyone needing SPF 5000 to leave the house in daylight while also wearing snowsuits from the blizzards that happen every hour (#science, everyone. You heard it here first). But honestly, if it leads to more brisk summer mornings I think I’d be okay with it.

JUST KIDDING. Okay let’s have some cake!


Cake (adapted from

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 c unsalted butter, cubed

4 eggs, separated

1/2 c raw sugar

1/3 c plain  yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 c almond flour (but rly you can use any nut flour you’d like)

dusting of powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

In a large, heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth (stirring with a wooden spoon) then remove from the heat and let cool a bit.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Then whisk them into the melted chocolate. Stir in the flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand with a whisk) whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whip in the other half of the sugar until the whites form firm peaks. Fold one-third of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining chocolate mixture just until it’s completely combined. Pour the batter into the pan and level the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (the outer edges of the cake will feel set, but the center should still be soft). Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake pan. Dust with powdered sugar.



Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake

This pound cake is out of this world! I’ve found that with many chocolate recipes, the intense cocoa flavor gets lost in the cake as a whole- not so with this recipe. It stays wonderfully chocolatey, with just the right hint of crunchy coconut and sugar on top. Whether you serve it with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert or with fruit in an effort to disguise eating straight-up cake for breakfast, I do not doubt you will walk away in bliss.


Cake (from Bon Appetit)

– ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more)

-1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

– ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 tsp. kosher salt

– ¾ tsp. baking powder

– ½ cup coconut oil, room temperature

– 1½ cups plus 1 tbsp. sugar

– 3 eggs

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– ⅔ cup buttermilk

– ¼ cup unsweetened coconut (shredded or flakes)

Preheat oven to 325° and butter an 8×4” loaf pan lined with parchment paper (leave a generous overhang on long sides). Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat coconut oil, ¼ cup butter, and 1½ cups sugar until pale and fluffy (5–7 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, blending between additions. Continue to beat until mixture is very light and doubled in volume  (5–8 minutes). Add vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (don’t over mix!) Scrape batter into the loaf pan and run a spatula through the center, creating a canal. Sprinkle with coconut and remaining 1 tbsp. sugar. Bake until very dark and toasted, when a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (tent with foil if coconut browns too much before cake is done), about 70–80 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out and devouring!

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Guest Post: Chocolate Stout Cake

Emily has put beer in cake, and it was DELICIOUS. Can you handle it?

Whenever I see a chocolate Bundt cake, I think of the episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch with the truth sprinkles. I’m pretty sure its one of the first episodes of the whole series. The school bully, Libby, is spreading rumors about Sabrina and her friend. When they make Bundts in Home Ec class, Sabrina puts truth sprinkles on her chocolate Bundt and gives some to Libby. The bully reveals that she was lying and all seems right. As it goes though, the truth sprinkles get into the wrong hands and soon everyone is telling their thoughts. That isn’t important though, what is important is that Sabrina made chocolate cake and it looked delicious. Everyone loves chocolate. And if you don’t, we can’t be friends anymore. There are lots of things that go great with chocolate – more chocolate, peanut butter, coffee, mint, and did I mention more chocolate? It turns out that beer (that’s right folks) is also delicious with chocolate. Not that I ever really need an excuse to bake with alcohol, but this cake is excellent for a 21st birthday, New Years party, or St. Patrick’s Day. It does not taste distinctly like beer, but it enhances the chocolate flavor and has a slightly hoppy note. Without the glaze, I like to think that it is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food (I mean it looks like a giant doughnut). Here I made a chocolate-espresso glaze, but a white chocolate, or even caramel topping of some sort would be just as delightful.

Cake (barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

– 1 cup stout (I used Guinness)

– 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

– 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 2 cups sugar

– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

– 3/4 teaspoon salt

– 2 large eggs, room temperature

– 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease a Bundt pan (I always use Baker’s Joy spray. That stuff is seriously magical.) Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the stout. Simmer over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Using a mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream in a large bowl. With the mixer still running, slowly drizzle the stout-chocolate mixture into egg mixture and beat just to combine. You don’t want to do this too quickly or you might cook the eggs. Add flour mixture in two parts, beating on slow speed after each addition. Do this until the dry is just barely incorporated into the wet. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake cake toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan.


– 6 ounces good dark chocolate (I used semisweet, but bittersweet works too)

– 6 tablespoons heavy cream

– 1 teaspoon instant coffee

– rainbow sprinkles

Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee until it’s smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Immediately drizzle over the top of cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles, this is mandatory.

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Earl Gray Madeleines

I love baking with tea, particularly that of the Earl Gray variety. Tea adds a level of complexity that just can’t be achieved with mere spices alone. As for madeleines, this was my first success with the cookie/little cake. I’d made them several times before with one recipe and had mediocre results: while they looked absolutely beautiful, they tasted only okay fresh from the oven, and once cooled they became tough and just plain weird. Such a bummer. Anyway, this time I used a different recipe (thanks Emily!) and they honestly came out incredibly. They did get very dark in the oven, but that didn’t affect the flavor or texture at all. Very exciting stuff, guys. Really. I did only make one batch though, so for all I know it was a fluke. Guess I’ll have to try it a few more times before I can confidently say I make good madelines. A few tips before trying this for yourself: get a good madeleine pan, make sure your eggs are ROOM TEMPERATURE (it’s the magic solution for baking. Trust me), and don’t over-beat the batter. You’ll want to. Resist the urge. Good luck!

Madeleines (from Baking: From my Home to Yours)

– 5 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature (plus extra for molds)

– 2 tbsp loose tea or tea from removed from 2 tea Earl Gray tea bags

– 3/4 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 tsp. baking powder

-Pinch of salt

– 2 large eggs at room temperature

– 1/3 cup sugar

– 2 tbsp. honey

– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1/2 tsp (packed) finely grated lemon peel

Line small sieve with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth and set sieve over a small bowl. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat, then mix in tea. Let stand 10 minutes, then pour into sieve. Twist cheesecloth around tea mixture, releasing tea-flavored butter into the bowl.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until thick (about 4 minutes). Add honey, vanilla, and lemon peel; beat 1 minute longer. Gently fold in dry ingredients, then tea-flavored butter, being careful not to overmix. Press plastic wrap onto surface of batter; chill batter at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Perfect time to catch up on Netflix homework!

Preheat oven to 400°F, positioning a rack in center. Brush madeleine molds with extra butter and dust with flour (tap out any excess). Place pan on top of a baking sheet. Drop 1 scant tablespoon of batter into each mold (don’t worry, it’ll spread while baking!) Bake madeleines until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Sharply rap pan on work surface to loosen madeleines, then turn out onto rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with a steaming cup of Earl Gray to feel the most fancy.

(Can you tell from the pictures my goal is to be a hand model on Unique Sweets? If you don’t know what I’m talking about look at :03, :17, :29, and 8:05 of this video. Srynotsry)

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sixty one

Guest Post/Mini Post: Grated Chocolate Cake

Spices and Spatulas readers, meet Katie! Katie is so wonderful that she will watch me bake for hours and not complain for a minute, and even if the thing she watched me bake for hours isn’t that great, she doesn’t leave/scream. She’s perfect. And now she’s baking on her own, which REALLY makes me happy. I wish I lived in DC with her so I could’ve had a chance to try this cake!

Hey everyone! This is my first (of hopefully many) post for this blog, probably for good reason. I’m not much of a baker or chef. While Becca aspires to be Betty Crocker (or Draper, I’m sure she’d be fine with either), I aspire to bake WITH Betty Crocker. Which is exactly what I did for this! It was my first time baking since St. Patrick’s Day, but I was leaving my internship and wanted to give them a thank you gift. This cake is perfect for that, if you’re like me and not so good in the kitchen. Since it’s from a mix it’s relatively easy and pretty much guaranteed to be good on the first try, as long as you don’t burn it, which I actually did a bit. It still tasted great, and the old ladies I worked with this summer loved it.

The recipe comes from “The Cake Mix Doctor,” by Anne Byrn.

-1 box of yellow cake mix (I actually did use Betty Crocker)

-1 small box instant vanilla pudding

-4 eggs

-1 cup of vegetable oil

-1 cup of milk

-1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

-1 german chocolate bar, grated* (to be honest I didn’t know what “german chocolate” was—I just got a semi-sweet 4 oz. chocolate bar which worked great!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray a bundt pan with a nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the cake mix and the pudding. Add the eggs, oil, milk and beat for about 4 minutes. Fold in the chocolate chips and grated chocolate. Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45-55 min (my gas oven baked it in about 45). Let it cool in the pan for 15 min before flipping onto cooling rack or serving dish. Lightly sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

*Important note! Though this recipe is incredibly easy and yields one of the tastiest, most moist cakes you will ever eat, grating the chocolate was a HUGE time suck for me. I only have a cheese grater, as I was living alone this summer in my first apartment and don’t have a ton of appliances. You definitely need it to make the cake not just a typical chocolate chip cake, but look up alternative ways to grate the chocolate. Seriously it took me about 2 hours and almost drove me insane. (Note from Becca: An easy way to grate chocolate is to freeze the chocolate and use the grating disk on a food processor, or place a room temperature chocolate bar broken in to a few pieces and then process until grated)

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fifty six

Arnold Palmer Cake (aka Lemonade Layer Cake with Earl Gray Frosting)

Have you heard of an Arnold Palmer? Even if you haven’t heard the name (where have you been living, under a rock?) I’m sure you’ve experienced this beverage before: it’s just iced tea and lemonade. A truly awesome combination- you’ve got sweet, sour, and bitterness happening in one cup. Perfection. I’ve had the idea to use the drink as inspiration for a cake for a while, ever since I saw Momofuku‘s version, which is incredible. It involves making a bitter tea soak for a traditional lemon tea cake in addition to homemade tea jelly and lemon mascarpone for fillings. Honestly, I can’t get over how cool this recipe is. I have to try it out myself sometime. But I was in the mood to do a little creating of my own so I decided on this: Lemonade Layer Cake with an Earl Gray Buttercream Frosting. It was a very substantial cake- one slice was definitely enough for one sitting, but it WAS pretty yummy. I’ll keep working on this recipe and keep you posted if anything magical happens.

Cake (adapted from

– 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

– 6 tbsp softened butter

– 2 tbsp lemon zest

– 4 tbsp lemonade

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 2 eggs

– 2 egg whites

– 2 cups flour

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Add the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for about five minutes. Add eggs and whites, one at a time, beating well after each. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into pans and tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on a wire rack, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.


– 1/2 cup strongly brewed Earl Gray tea

– 1 batch of Vanilla Buttercream 

Prepare the buttercream according to the directions, then blend in the tea. Add more powdered sugar to reach your desired consistency.

When the cake has cooled completely, frost it, then garnish with fresh fruit or lemon zest (I think blueberries compliment the lemon perfectly). Yum!

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twenty six

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting

News flash, another baked good post!

While the most historical information I could find about apple cake were a super brief description of traditional Devon, Somerset, and Dorset Apple Cakes (all coming from those parts of England) with no date given whatsoever and Jewish Apple Cake, based on Apple Kuchen (German for “cake” for any interested parties) with once again no date. Nevertheless, there were a large number of recipes from the 50s! All seven recipes I used to create this one all incidentally had titles somehow involving either “Mom’s”, “Mommy’s” or “Mama’s”……why? I’ll tell you!


I don’t know.



– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 tsp ground cloves

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

– 3/4 c unsalted butter, room temp.

–  1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

– 3 eggs

– 1/2 cup buttermilk (as I’ve said in many posts before, I use dry buttermilk in my recipes, so…yeah, check it out. It’s very handy)

– 5 cups peeled and diced apples (I find that apples on the more tart side, like Granny Smith, tend to be the best when baked)

– 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 glass baking dish. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves (and if using, dry buttermilk) in a bowl. In an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk (or again, if using dry, then the water/recommended liquid) being careful not to overmix. With the last batch of flour add the apples and walnuts as well. Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean!



– 3/4 cup REAL maple syrup (none of this Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s stuff. If you use it I’m coming for you)

– 1 1/2+ cups confectioner’s sugar

– 1/4 cup unsalted butter

– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan on low heat melt the butter, then turn heat to medium and add syrup.  Cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. If the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat until they subside, then turn heat back up.  Take off the heat and pour mixture into a bowl.  Using an electric mixer add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and whip until desired consistency is achieved. Allow frosting to cool (HAH!) and then frost the cake and devour!