This is a fantastic phase of summer!!! Everything in our garden is suddenly ripe or about to be, the weather is still warm but hints to us in the evenings that fall is coming, school supply commercials are on the TV (!!!!!!!), and Eggboy is in his calm before the harvest storm. July is the month that is safely nestled between the end of spring planting the beginning of fall harvest, which means that he can take full days off at a time to do things like zip down to Chicago for a quick lil visit and clean out half of his office to make room for a desk for me so that I can clear out my kitchen desk to make room for our rice cooker and microwave. Going to Chicago and making room for our rice cooker have both provided me with endless amusement and excitement.
We had just a couple of days in Chicago last week, but we packed them to the brim with fun awesome summery things: Rite of Spring at Ravinia followed by a trip down Steak n Shake nostalgia lane with Jaclyn and Katie, falafel twice from my favorite falafel place, a Cubs game (which felt a little weird since I grew up a Sox fan but the Sox were at an away game and E-boy wanted to see Wrigley Field), a stroll around the Botanic Garden that transported us to Japan and back, and a Frank Lloyd Wright walking tour which honestly freaked me out because his houses, while beautiful, look dark and haunted. I also got to sample a ton of sweets that Mia made at baking and pastry camp. Baking and pastry camp!!! Kids are so cool these days. Overall it was a successful trip but I unfortunately could not locate the Caboodles in my stash of childhood things at my mom’s house so after this I’m going to put on my helmet and dig through Ebay. I mean, name a more perfect food coloring and piping tip container.
Speaking of cake decorating supplies, here’s a cake!!!
In Paris I spotted a beautiful citrus rose loaf cake at Rose Bakery and promptly wanted to recreate it. My version is similar to the grapefruit olive oil yogurt loaf in Short Stack Yogurt but uses lemon in the batter and rosewater in the glaze, and is sprinkled with fresh thyme since the thyme in our garden is currently very happy. The texture of this cake is what I love most: it is soo dense and luxuriously moist, yet it doesn’t feel too heavy thanks to the brightness of the citrus. And this is a really versatile cake! My friend Sam used orange zest/juice in this to make a layer for her wedding cake, and while I’ve never tried it, I feel like lime would be delicious in this as well. Overall it's a very simple cake to make but between the olive oil, rosewater, and thyme, it totally tastes ~fancy~.
citrus rose thyme loaf cake
makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 c (190g) all-purpose flour
1/2 c (56g) almond meal
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, from about 2 sprigs, plus more for decorating
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c (68g) lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
3/4 c (169g) whole milk greek yogurt
3/4 c (150g) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 c (250g) sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 c (120g) powdered sugar
2-3 tb (28g-42g) whole milk greek yogurt
3/4 tsp rosewater
1/4 tsp almond extract
A pinch of kosher salt
red or pink food coloring, optional
sprinkles, for decorating, optional
Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper so that the parchment comes up all the way on two of the sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, thyme, and zest. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and yogurt until very smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and sugar until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking very well after each. Stir in the almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and yogurt mixture in three alternating additions, whisking after each until just combined. Pour into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; begin checking for doneness at 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then use the parchment wings to lift the loaf out of the pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons yogurt, rosewater, almond extract, salt, and food coloring, if using. It will seem like there isn’t enough yogurt at first but keep on stirring. If the mixture is too thick to spread once it’s fully combined, add more yogurt bit by bit until it becomes spreadable but you want it fairly thick so that the drips hold their shape down the side of the cake. Spread the glaze onto the top of the cooled cake, sprinkle with thyme leaves and sprinkles and enjoy.