orange blossom almond cake

by the time that she's old enough to date i think i'll be so far removed from junior high drama that any advice that i may be able to offer my little sister would be completely unqualified and terrible. same for anything pertaining to fashion and applying eye shadow. but as her trusty middle older sister, i can definitely educate her on the value of sprinkle tweezers and the proper fluffiness of a cake batter. and if her enthusiasm now for baking (and—get this, cleaning up) is any indication of her future, i think that sprinkle tweezers will take her much further than eyebrow tweezers.

all of her birthday and holiday presents for the past few years have been baking centric: cake in a crate boxes, decorating classes with alekka (including one all about buttercream roses!!) and this year i was gonna go for the big piping set but apparently stoopie beat me to it. last week she did baking camp!

when i was her age i was into my tamagotchi flock and doing math, i thought i wanted to be a math teacher when i grew up. now i practically have to use a calculator to compute how many bagels a double batch of 12 will yield. so i realize that the chances are not unlikely that mia will probably get serious about a million other things before she grows up but i do selfishly have this fantasy that she’ll turn into an ivenoven or bk floral delight so the tables can turn and i can go visit her for buttercream flower advice. 

speaking of that, i don’t know what i’m doing on my computer right now, i should really be doing some crumb coats for the eggsister wedding. two days until show time!!!! i just really really wanted to show you these pictures and this cake before the big day! mia came for a visit a couple of weeks ago and, like the rest of our family, has a strong pull toward almond things (yass!!) so we made this almond cake that’s based on the pistachio cake from molly on the range. to keep with eggsister’s floral theme we added a tiny splash of orange blossom water that isn’t easy to detect on its own but it adds a complexity that’s just slightly bitter and fancy. mia chose all of the buttercream colors out of my new fun nifty fifty set. at first i was horrified at the mix of neon and pastel colors that she chose but i love how they turned out! and i enjoyed playing with colors that i otherwise wouldn’t have used. chantell and brett came to take some photos and mia brought out all of her sia-inspired hair bows to choose from. don't be fooled by our very serious concentration faces, it was the best day!!!! 

a couple of notes on this cake: it is so dense and packed full of nuts that it functions best as a one-layer cake (its original form is a loaf, so feel free to go that route if you'd like). it will look super ugly and like a meteor has crashed on top when it comes out of the oven but flip it over and it will be nice and smooth and have a slight dip in the center, which is best for holding a pool of glaze. i’ve included some brief buttercream rose directions below, one of which is to watch a million instagram and youtube videos, and at my current skill level that’s the best advice i can offer. i know i said i was going to try german buttercream this time but we ate all the eggs. oops. 


orange blossom almond cake

makes one 9" cake

Ingredients

2 c (224g) almond flour
1/2 c (56g) all-purpose flour or gluten free all-purpose flour with 1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c (300g) sugar
4 large eggs
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp orange blossom water

For decorating

Powdered sugar glaze (a couple cups powdered sugar mixed with milk, cream, or water until creamy and spreadable)
Buttercream roses

Clues

Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottom of a 9” round cake pan and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and then add the lemon zest, almond extract, and orange blossom water. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Scrape into pan and bake until browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are just slightly pulling in from the pan. begin checking for doneness at 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

To decorate, pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Watch a million instagram and youtube videos for how to pipe buttercream roses. Pipe them onto little parchment squares and place them on a sheet pan. Freeze the sheet pan for about 15 minutes or until the frosting is firm, and then peel them off the parchment and stick them on the cake. Fill in any spaces with buttercream leaves and sprinkles, if desired.

 


-yeh!

all photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

apron by enrich and endure

here are some more buttercream rose posts: 

italian rainbow cookie gelato sandwiches

Hello from Alaska, friends!!! I am here learning about salmon fishing, hiking, eating s’mores in the shadows of glaciers, living a cell phone service-less life, and looking at all of this wild beauty from underneath four layers of fleeces and I’m as happy as a clam. I can’t wait to tell you more about it!! I’ll be back in a couple of days, right in time to spend a week doing nothing but prep Eggsister's wedding cakes and then party my bum off on the big day.

Right before I left I filled the freezer with gelato sandwiches so that E-boy doesn’t go hungry while I’m gone. Full disclosure, with Eggmom across the street he never actually goes hungry when I’m gone (…it’s when Eggparents go camping and I happen to be gone that I really have to make sure that there are frozen tater tot hotdishes in the freezer.) So I guess these sammies are more like a Tour de France viewing treat. They are made with Italian Rainbow Cookies which I always used to find next to the Black and White Cookies in New York. They’re basically colorful marzipan cake layered with jam, so basically a perfect food. Every time I see one of those “name the ice cream/gelato flavor of your wildest dreams” contests, I enter with Italian Rainbow Cookie flavor. I haven’t won yet but I vow to keep trying. I just love their soft consistency all cozied up with ice cream. And cakey cookies make the best ice cream sandwiches since they allow your whole bite to be a smooth ride, you don’t have to deal with any of that business where ice cream splats out the sides. 

I partnered with Talenti Gelato to make these little guys in celebration of National Ice Cream Day this Sunday!! I’ve been a Talenti fan for so long, especially since it’s because of them that I can get my pistachio gelato fix in Grand Forks. Short of making my own, Talenti is literally the only way that I can get pistachio gelato in town, and I am down with that because their ingredients are great and I just found out that the Talenti Sicilian Pistachio Gelato contains my new favorite ingredient, pistachio butter. It's also got pistachios from volcanic soil near the Mediterranean sea! So in addition to using pistachio gelato in these sammies, I also used their Double Dark Chocolate Gelato (which has a dash of vermouth!) since Italian Rainbow Cookies are typically covered in chocolate, and Vanilla Blueberry Crumble Gelato which has little tasty brown sugar oat crumbles throughout. The flavors/richness/creaminess are a perfect match to the almondy Italian Rainbow Cookies and while making these sandwiches is a process that requires two extended resting/freezing periods, they are worth it, yo. The key is having taste tests along the way: have a bite of almond paste when making your cookies, steal a scoop of gelato when assembling, you know the drill.


italian rainbow cookie gelato sandwiches

makes 15 sandwiches

ingredients

6 large eggs, separated (see note)

1/4 c (50g) plus 1 c (200g) sugar

2 c (450g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 oz (340g) almond paste, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tb lemon juice

1 tsp almond extract

2 2/3 c (340g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp green liquid food coloring

1 tsp red liquid food coloring

6 tb (112g) apricot or raspberry jam

3 pints Talenti Gelato (you really can't go wrong with flavors but i like Sicilian Pistachio Gelato, Double Dark Gelato, and Vanilla Blueberry Crumble Gelato!)

rainbow sprinkles

clues

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease three 8-inch square pans and line them with parchment paper that comes at least 2 inches up two of the sides of the pan. if you don't have 3 pans, you can bake the layers in batches.

in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. with the mixer running on medium, gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar. increase the speed to medium-high and beat to stiff peaks. set them aside (see note). in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, almond paste, salt, and remaining 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. reduce the speed to medium and add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. beat in the lemon juice and almond extract, then reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the flour. mix to combine. use a rubber spatula to fold in the whites.

transfer one-third of the mixture to one of the pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly. transfer another third of the mixture to a separate bowl and fold in the green food coloring. fold the red food coloring into the remaining third. transfer these into the remaining 2 pans, spreading them out evenly.

bake until the tops are just set and no longer shiny. begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then lift them out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

stack them up (from bottom to top: green, white, red) with 3 tablespoons jam between the layers. wrap the loaf firmly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

with a long sharp knife, cut the cookie loaf into long skinny slices, 1/2" thick. line the bottom and two sides of a 9” x 13” pan (or something of relatively similar size, i used an 8” x 8” pan plus a loaf pan) with parchment paper, allowing parchment wings to come all the way up the sides. lay the cookie slices flat and snuggly in the bottom of the pan. soften 3 pints of gelato at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until spreadable. give the gelato a little stir so it’s all one consistency and then spread it evenly over the cookie slices. top with the remaining cookie slices and then freeze for 4 hours or overnight, until firm. use the parchment wings to lift your giant cookie sandwich out of the pan and onto a cutting board. with a sharp knife, trim the edges so they’re nice and even and then cut into squares. (save edge scraps in an empty talenti container!)

Note: with any recipe that calls for beating something else in the same mixer, I do a few steps to cut down on dishes and ensure that my egg whites don't have any bit of yolk in them, which will cause them not to beat to stiff peaks. I first separate an egg into 2 medium bowls. I then pour the white into my mixer bowl. then I repeat for each egg, adding the whites one by one so that if one gets contaminated, they're not all ruined. and then i beat the whites to stiff peaks first, scoop them out of the mixer bowl, and then use the mixer bowl for the next step. if you use a rubber spatula to get 95 percent of the whites out, there's really no need to rinse the mixer bowl for the yolk step.


-yeh!

thank you, talenti gelato, for sponsoring this post! 

s'mores mini cakes + instaglamp registration!

in the alternate reality where we never grow up and i am eternally a 12-year-old with crimped hair and a body glittered face, you will find me at summer camp near the canteen with a frozen charleston chew going into my mouth. and i might also be writing a letter home on hello kitty stationary or on my way to pick up a care package full of tampon boxes that are actually secretly full of red vines and cow tales. this is my heaven. 

idk, maybe it’s obvious from the fact that i sleep in this sweatshirt every night and watch wet hot american summer and camp nowhere as often as possible and devoted a whole chapter in molly on the range to camp and just about fell off the treadmill when unorthodox announced their summer camp episode but i am the most summer camp obsessed lady in all of the red river valley. 

which is why i am excited af x 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 to announce that registration for a **new** grownup summer camp is officially open!!!!!!!!

instaglamp is what happens when summer camp grows up, leaves home, gives away its juicy velour sweatsuits, and now instead of playing gaga and eating spray can cheese, it is into things like styling cute picnic lunches, cooking shakshuka by campfire, foraging, and posting all about it on instagram. all of the great campy things like s’mores and care packages are still there but these s’mores will have ~fancy~ marshmallows and the care packages just might be boozy. and the spray can cheese will get swapped out for cheese tasting at a goat farm!!! 

it will be held at firelight camps (just look at the tents that you get to stay in!!) and the counselors will be johnna foxmeetsbear, emma frisch, and me! emma and johnna are the best and we’ve been chatting and scheming for months now and have cooked up a schedule that is geared toward anybody who is looking to work on their photo taking, food styling, editing in both lightroom and mobile apps, and all of the fun things that go into building an instagram feed that you love. we’ll also venture out around the finger lakes to explore breweries, farms, and the ithaca farmers market. it’s going to be bonkers and i hope you will join us!

spots are limited, so head over here for more details and book as soon as you can!

to celebrate instaglamp registration opening, i made cakes! duh. they are s’mores inspired mini cakes that are made up of graham cake, chocolate buttercream, and a marshmallow topping that i torched with eggboy’s tiniest farm torch. i was inspired by deb’s s'mores cupcakes to put actual ground up graham crackers into the cake rather than hunting down graham flour, and it is such a tasty addition. if you don’t have a little torch, you can totally skip that step (but do add a kitchen torch to your next birthday list because torching marshmallow frosting is sooo satisfying). 


s'mores mini cakes

makes 10 mini cakes

ingredients

for the cake:

1 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

9 large graham crackers (1 package), finely ground in a food processor

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c water

 

for the chocolate frosting:

3 oz chocolate chips

1/2 c unsalted butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

a pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tb heavy cream

 

for the marshmallow topping:

4 egg whites

3/4 c sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

sprinkles, optional

clues

for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line a half sheet pan with parchment and set aside.

in a large bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. in a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and water. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes. let cool in the pan fully.

when the cake is cool, use a 2 1/2" circle biscuit cutter to cut out your mini layers. (to get the cleanest edges, i typically wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and then freeze for an hour or so (or even up to a couple of weeks) before cutting out my circles.)

for the frosting:

melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, set aside to cool to room temperature.

in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla until combined. add the cream and then with the mixer on low, stir in the melted chocolate.

to assemble:

stack up three layers of cake circles with a layer of chocolate frosting between them, leaving the top unfrosted and ready for the marshmallow topping. it's important to do this step before making the marshmallow topping since once you make it you'll want to pipe it on immediately. 

for the marshmallow topping:

in a double boiler fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the egg whites and sugar and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it reaches 160ºf.

transfer the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on high with the whisk attachment until the mixture forms glossy stiff peaks. stir in the salt and vanilla and then immediately transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large circle tip. pipe large blobs onto the tops of the cakes and then torch with a kitchen torch to lightly toast it. top with sprinkles if desired.

enjoy!


-yeh!

firelight photos by: andy noyes, kathryn leighton, and allison usavage!