mint coconut chocolate cake

I needed to improve my cake track record because, you know, there was valentine's day and then in Arizona when I tried demoing tahini buttercream in a 90 degree tent it got all gloopy and ploppy. So I called a quick meeting with my editorial calendar and very subtly changed the words “salad pizza” to “mint coconut chocolate cake.” Because I love using coconut milk in chocolate cake for the rich, almost fudgey texture that it lends, and the super target has started stocking fresh mint again just in time for St. Patrick's Day! And I simply cannot think of a better threesome than coconut, mint, and chocolate.

lemon, feta, mint

peter, bjorn, and john

cheese, tortillas, ketchup

chocolate, tahini, more tahini…?

Anyway, the fact that I subbed salad for cake did not mean that I was an unhealthy ursula for the rest of the week. On the contrary, this week was one of those wonderful awesome weeks where at the beginning of it I sat down and did dinner planning! I do that once every five weeks or so and it’s just the best, I should really do it more often. I sit with my dinner planning notebook, a very large stack of cookbooks, my notebook where I keep my grocery lists, and the internet opened up to about 30 different good looking recipes, and then I compose four days of meals, leaving Friday open for pizza Friday. This week’s theme was yogurt because did I tell you that I am writing a yogurt short stack book??? It will be out a year from now and I am so excited because yogurt is one of my very favorite ingredients, not just for the flavor and texture, but also because it makes me feel de-puffed. As in, it has the exact opposite effect of eating a bunch of salt.

So we ate farro and kale with yogurt green goddess, yogurt marinated chicken (I am extra excited about this recipe), a yogurt frittata, yogurt on tacos, yogurt fattoush… and on top of all of this we went to the gym every night (!!) so am I feeling like a million bucks and ready to poke fun at it all with a week of schnitzel in Berlin? Maybe so! Or maybe I'll hunt down a vegetable in Germany, which I have never been very successful at since I am always so enthralled by Amerikaners and Brezeln and Döner kebabs, but there is no time like next week to change all of that. Do you have a favorite salad in Berlin? Tell me tell me.

But Molly what happened to the cake?? 

We had one large slice and then I redecorated it by frosting the inside where the slice was taken out so that it could lock in all of the moisture:

And then we brought it over to Emily and Evan the cow farmer along with a hotdish because they have a brand new tiny human in da house!!! Yay! I am like a little bummed that spontaneous gin and tonics and cheesy pickles with Emily at the Toasted Frog have been put on temporary hold, but I am also really getting into this new hobby of making freezer meals for E and E. It's so fun. Expect some more freezer meals up on this blog. 

So this cake is essentially this chocolate mint cake, oomphed up with coconut milk, coconut oil, and a bit of coconut extract. Mint and chocolate are awesome together but I often find I want a bit more richness to support it and coconut does just that. It also makes the cake part dairy free, so if you have a great dairy free frosting or want to mix up a quick coconut milk with powdered sugar glaze, you’ve got an awesome df dessert option on your hands. The cake pictured here is six inches-- this batter is enough for four six-inch layers, but I gave the fourth layer to eggpop as a thank you for driving us to the airport. You could also make a two-layer eight-inch cake. Or 24 cupcakes. You know the drill. 


mint coconut chocolate cake

makes one 2-layer, 8-inch cake or one 4-layer, 6-inch cake (see notes above)

ingredients

10 fresh mint leaves

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 3/4 c sugar

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 c coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

1 tsp coconut extract

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c boiling water

 

frosting:

10 fresh mint leaves

3 sticks unsalted butter

4 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/8 tsp salt

2 tb coconut milk

 

assembly:

food coloring, sprinkles, marzipan, rubber stamps, all optional but all very fun

clues

preheat oven to 350.

grease two 8-inch round cake pans or four 6-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

muddle the fresh mint leaves in a saucepan and pour in the coconut milk. bring to a simmer over medium heat, and keep it at a low simmer (lowering the level of the heat as needed), stirring often, for 15 minutes. remove it from the heat, strain out the mint leaves, and measure out 1 cup of coconut milk. set it aside to cool slightly and save the remaining few tablespoons of coconut mint milk for the frosting in the refrigerator. discard the mint leaves. 

in a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, mint coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut extract, and vanilla extract. (it's important to make sure that the milk has cooled enough so that it doesn't cook the eggs, and that the eggs aren't so cold that they firm up the oil.) whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then gradually stir in the boiling water. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking 8" cakes for doneness at 28 minutes and 6" cakes for doneness at 25 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack.

to make the frosting, muddle the fresh mint leaves in a saucepan and add the butter. melt the butter and heat over medium low for 15 minutes, stirring. strain out the mint leaves and then add the butter to a large metal bowl. place the bowl in an ice bath and use an electric mixer to beat it until it becomes pale and fluffy. (alternatively, you can let it sit overnight at room temperature, allowing it to firm back up.) beat in the powdered sugar, coconut extract, and salt, and then add 2 tablespoons of the reserved coconut mint milk. when creaming the butter, it may look a little grainy and congealed, but keep on beating it, and add a bit more coconut milk if you'd like, which will help smooth it out. 

to assemble the cake, mix in some green food coloring to the frosting if you'd like. spread a layer of frosting between each layer and then frost all over the sides and top. top with additional frosting decorations and sprinkles. to make a little marzipan label, cut out a marzipan square and then use rubber stamps brushed with a tiny bit of gel food coloring to stamp out your words! enjoy!


-yeh!

cake stand by anna wallace

black and matcha cookies

we took the quickest ever little trip down to arizona this weekend! phoenix is one of the very few places where you can fly directly to from grand forks so even though we jumped one time zone there and two on the way back (arizona can’t be bothered to take part in daylight savings time), it felt like we were just visiting the neighbors. very, very hot neighbors because it was 90 million degrees and ok i am done talking about the weather. i kind of missed having my customary little layover at the minneapolis airport since i’ve gotten into the routine of buying moon cheese and a short green tea latte at the starbucks by the mall, but it was also a delightful flashback to my chicago and new york days when direct flights were the complete norm. 

other delightful things about this trip included a sunny hike fueled by cracklins and these tasty pb and j bite things i just discovered, happy hour with eggaunt, and stumbling upon our new hands-down-would-totally-fly-back-to-airzona-just-eat-them favorite breakfast burritos at the los favoritos in apache junction on the way from mesa to tucson. they were hot eggy loaves of glee, cheesy but not greasy, and wrapped in the softest chewiest flour tortilla i’ve ever met. the only thing that would have made mine better would have been if i had mustered up the nerve to ask for ketchup with mine. **i know, i know** but i think i have a ketchup addiction.

when we arrived in tucson, i made hotdish and cake at the tucson festival of books! it was such a huge festival, i couldn’t believe my eyes, and it was right on the university of arizona campus which made me want to go back to college. the demo was in a great big tent filled with a lot of midwesterners because i am learning that arizona is mostly made of midwesterners, and it was such a great time even though i was a little bit nervous making hotdish for midwesterners. and one of my homeslices from junior high came! afterwards we ate salad and cookies at time market, 10/10 would recommend. 

that night we drove into the tucson hills for a taco party where we got to hang out by a pool with julia and naomi and a bunch of other folks involved with the festival. everyone was so sweet!!!! it made me want to stay longer, but alas there was only like one flight option home and it was on sunday morning. 

so now i am back and gearing up for a week of green food because of st. patrick’s day! one reason i am extra excited this year is because i am officially over my great matcha overdose of 2015 and matcha makes the prettiest natural food coloring. these cookies are miniature versions of the black and matcha cookies from adrianna’s book a cozy coloring cookbook and i have to be careful not to eat too many of them late at night otherwise the caffeine will keep me awake. it’s so hard to though because they’re so tasty! and i love their soft chewy texture. the other green foods i plan on making this week are salad, salad pizza, and the avocado dressing from a cozy coloring cookbook because avocados were on sale. but most importantly, if you like fun and crafts and cooking, you need adrianna’s coloring book!! it’s got super cute quirky recipes that you can color and cook! at the same time. if you’re an octopus. 


black and matcha cookies

makes 50 mini cookies or 11 large cookies

from adrianna adarme's a cozy coloring book

ingredients

for the cookies:

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1/4 c cornstarch

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

3/4 c milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

for the matcha glaze:

1 c confectioners' sugar

1 tsp matcha powder

1-2 tb hot water

1 tsp brown rice syrup or light corn syrup

 

for the chocolate glaze:

4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

2 tb unsalted butter

2 tsp brown rice syrup or light corn syrup

pinch of salt

clues

to make the cookies: preheat the oven to 350ºf. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

in another large bowl, combine the granulated sugar and butter. with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the mixture until it's pale yellow. Next, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mix just until combined. add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

for large cookies: using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, drop scoops of batter onto the baking sheets, gently flattening them. bake for 15 minutes, or until slightly risen. repeat with the remaining batter. for mini cookies: use a piping bag to pipe out 1 1/2" plops of batter onto the baking sheets and begin checking for doneness at about 10 minutes.

to make the matcha glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, matcha, water, and syrup until smooth.

to make the chocolate glaze: in a small microwaveable bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, stirring once, or until melted. mix in the syrup and salt.

decorate the cookies by adding the matcha glaze to one side of the cookie and the chocolate glaze to the other half. repeat until you've glazed all of your cookies.


-yeh!

marzipan sprinkle hamantaschen

ok i have come closer to achieving my third my new year’s resolution, the one about having one or two more hangovers than i did in 2016! i had a hunch that it was going to happen this weekend when i landed in louisville and the first person that i met said that the best local food to have in louisville is… bourbon. and then i found myself surrounded by all sorts of super hilarious awesome food writers who were ready for a party and then molly on the range won an iacp award (!!!), and so did ingredient by my new bff ali and so did harvest and honey and food nouveau and alanna's book, and and--here are all the winners! so bourbon was in order. funny faces too. and goofy boomerangs. promises were made to make other people’s wedding cakes, plans were started for a pickle farm visit outside of berlin, it was the silliest, it was the best time ever, i got two hours of sleep on sunday night and it was a-ok.

before this weekend i had never been to a big conference except for the percussion conference that i went to in high school, and i was so nervous about meeting all of these new people whom i have admired and fangirled over for such a long time. but then everybody was *so* nice and welcoming and supportive of one another and it made me so gosh darn grateful to be part of this community. ugh i am getting so mushy!!!! but look i even got a neck scarf selfie with sweet dorie:

so let’s cover some things with sprinkles!!!! purim is coming up this weekend and eggboy and i will be in arizona for the tucson festival of books. so i was thinking that my purim costume could be to just get a tan on our friday hike and be the tan version of myself? i’ll keep thinking... are you dressing up? can i interest you in a schnitzel costume

these marzipan sprinkle hamantaschen are not too far off from the bakewell tart in that the filling consists of a thin layer of jam and and a frangipane-type almond concoction. the result is a chewy nutty cookie that also gets some crunch by way of a small sea of sprinkles. i’ve made these now with a couple of different dough recipes— the one from the breads bakery book, which is buttery, light, and almost flakey like a pie crust, and the one from leah koenig’s modern jewish cooking, which yields a denser oil-based cookie (there’s no need to get out a stand mixer) and is graced with some nice citrus flavor. the recipe below focuses on the filling, which can be used with one of those two dough recipes, or your favorite go-to hamantaschen dough recipe.

a bonus: if you have any marzipan filling leftover, you can bake it into chewy little gluten-free, dairy-free, dare i say passover-ready cookies! 


marzipan sprinkle hamantaschen

makes about 30

ingredients

for the dough:

1 batch of hamantaschen dough from the breads bakery book or modern jewish cooking (or feel free to use the dough of your choice)

for the filling:

2 c almond flour

1 c sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs, separated

1 tsp almond extract

a tiny splash of rosewater, optional

All-purpose flour, for dusting

lots of sprinkles (I use a mix of sanding sugar and cylinder sprinkles)

6 tb raspberry or cherry jam

clues

Make your dough, and refrigerate it for the amount of time listed in the directions. 

Preheat the oven to 350º. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set them aside.

To make the marzipan filling, in a large bowl, combine the almond flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine the egg whites, almond extract, and rosewater, if using. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. It always seems like there won’t be enough liquid at first, but keep on stirring until it comes together into a dough. (If you’re preparing this in advance, at this point you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to two days.)

On a work surface, roll out the marzipan until it is 1/4” thick, dusting with additional almond flour or all-purpose flour if it gets sticky. Cut out 1 1/2” circles with a round cookie cutter, or if you don’t have a 1 1/2” cookie cutter you can simply roll little balls by hand and flatten them into circles. In a small bowl, make an egg wash by whisking together the egg yolks and and a splash of water. Brush the marzipan circles with egg wash and dip them in sprinkles so that the tops get evenly coated. Set aside them aside.

Dust your surface with more flour, if needed, and roll out your hamantaschen dough until it is 1/8” thick. Cut out 3” circles, re-rolling scraps as needed. Brush the tops with egg wash, place a 1/2 tsp jam in the center and then top with a marzipan sprinkle circle. Fold the edges up to form a triangle shape and pinch the corners firmly to seal. Place on the baking sheets, 1” apart and bake until the bottoms are lightly browned, begin checking for doneness at 13 minutes. Let cool slightly and enjoy! 

(And if you have any marzipan leftover, bake the circles by themselves (with or without sprinkles) for about 8 or 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool and enjoy!)


-yeh!

february adventures

luckily my effed up valentine’s day cake experience didn’t dictate the tone for the other parts of february because i squeezed in so many fun adventures for such a bite sized month! i got to hug old friends, eat schnitzel with cool new ones, play loud music, and jump a whole delta airline status!!!! i like you, february. come back again soon. 

let’s make a list:

photos 1 & 2: i spent a whole entire weekend at the grand forks ice arena watching the synchronized ice skating sectionals competition and i only left to get jimmy johns across the parking lot. i got to cheer on my old team!! it was sooo fun! it was sad when they didn’t win but the team that beat them was from north dakota so i still got to kvell. eggboy joined me for a few of the divisions but he got a lil bored so he left and did taxes.

photos 3-14 &16: i went to canada! which is a thing that you can do quite successfully in february if you live in the north pole already. my first stop was toronto where i stayed at the *coziest* bed and breakfast, ate at fat pasha, gave a couple of tahini covered #mollyontherange demos with hillel students and at their palatial jcc, and made ras al hanout hotdish on the marilyn denis show. i tried to make a ketchup joke because i thought that canada was the land ketchup, but either i’m incorrect about that or my delivery sucked? come on, ketchup chips, ketchup on mac and cheese, right??

in montreal i stayed with my bb and lead monkey bread inspiration, talia, in an apartment filled with hudson’s bay stripes and st. viateur bagels. we ate poutine and smoked meat and wore patagonia quarter zips for a majority of the time. my friends from the wandering chew put on the most magical #mollyontherange dessert party at the museum of jewish montreal. so many wonderful humans came out and we all ate so much sugar so naturally we needed to disco it off after. also in my two days there we managed to have one of those late-night perfectly boozy meals at maison publique, followed by some thick babka and schnitzel the next morning at hof kelsten

photos 15 & 17: kittsona, the town boutique, put on a cookie decorating #mollyontherange signing. i substituted the almond flour for hazelnut flour in these cookies and they were so tasty.

photos 18-22: conrad is a beast of a pianist and the last time we performed together, he was seven and soloing with our youth orchestra and i was 13 and putting on lip gloss and waiting for my triangle note. so it took a while, but we managed to perform together again in aspen this month with the aspen music festival! i decorated dobos torte and made cheesy spätzle while he played beethoven and jason eckardt music. from now on i only want to listen to beethoven while being covered in chocolate frosting. 

photos 23-28: proud of myself for not exploding from happiness during my 36 hours in new york, but somehow the stars aligned and i found myself in selfie distance from my all-time favorite podcast hosts, my all-time favorite ice dancers, three of my all-time favorite college homies, and i made my all-time favorite food on the today show. i also acquired a pair of comfy cool shoes called blog. i also got to eat hummus with rob and brian and they didn’t even fart when i was in the room. such mensches they are.

photos 29-36: then i went to florida! my friends george and sam have a new music group that was playing a david t little quartet (and u know how i love the loud music of david t little), so i dusted off my vibraphone mallets and brute forced some notes out. it was such great fun. i also got to see my tampa family and my old roomie and eat some fresh tomatoes which are in season down there, which felt so weird but so awesome! 

not pictured: eggboy and i went to see the town choir perform in a warehouse, it was so hip, it was like we were in brooklyn! i made suuuuuuuch a good chicken and dumplings (here is the recipe, next time i’m going to start with 2 tsp salt in the stock and work my way up and maybe not use the whole 4 tsp that it calls for). i acquired a love of matcha lattes and neck scarves. ooh and i watched this lucius, over and over and over.

tomorrow i leave for kentucky for the iacp conference! i'll be leading a cake workshop, talking on a panel, signing #mollyontherange, and seeking out the best kentucky dance clubs!! see you there??

-yeh!