my friends zach and jodi came over from fargo the other day and took photos of all of my messes! we counted the tahini jars in my fridge and made a fancy sheet cake using chamomile and bachelor buttons from the garden. we also ate a bunch of cheetos, free of shame, because it was the fourth of july and it just felt like the american thing to do. it was the best day! next time we should probably just pulverize the cheetos and sub out the flour for cheeto dust, right?
anywho, hi from australia where i have been wide awake since 3am researching the most convenient way to pet a koala. in my two days here i have eaten about 30 avocado toasts, a lamb harissa sausage roll from bourke street bakery (10/10 would recommend), and a wonderful labneh-filled meal at kepos and co with hetty and luisa and their gaggle of great ladyfriends. i also had an insane almond macadamia milk cappuccino yesterday down the road from my airbnb, at reuben hills, which is actually embarrassingly where i have spent a majority of my time, camping out with my computer and the second pass of molly on the range because it is due tomorrow. oyoyoy! i'm finding it quite easy to concentrate here though since it's their "dead of winter" (scrumptious sweater weather but still warm enough to wear birkenstocks) and so the beach isn't calling me at all hours of the day.
other than everyone being so friendly and everything being delicious here so far, my main first impressions have been that 1) sydney reminds me a lot of san diego and boston, and 2) a lot of words are shortened here, such as "capp" for "cappuccino" and "scram" for what i *think* is "scrambled egg" but i'm going to do some research to confirm that later today at reuben hills. wish me luck.
tomorrow we head to the mountains where there is no wifi! i cannot remember the last time i was in a no-wifi area for longer than a few hours, so i'm excited, terrified, and armed with a new notebook to write "letters," aka email drafts.
i like to think that this sheet cake is an updated version of church potluck sheet cakes of yore. for the longest time i considered the sheet cake something that people make when they don't have the time or tools to build a nice round layer cake. but i'm coming back around to convenience items like these and learning how lovable they can be. (case and point: i've been living in my fashion-backward yet sensible turquoise fleece pullover...) is this getting too normcore? is normcore still in style?
of course if you want to make a two-layer 8" cake, this recipe will certainly work for that. but these days i'm most excited about a convenient one-layer sheet cake with a creamy cloud of frosting spread rustically all about like a sugary toupée.
tahini sheet cake with cream cheese frosting
makes one 9x13 inch cake
1 3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola
1 c tahini
1 1/2 tb vanilla extract
3/4 c water
1 c unsalted butter
1 c cream cheese
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
a pinch of kosher salt
1 tb vanilla
herbs and edible flowers, for decorating
preheat oven to 350ºf. line a 9x13" cake pan with parchment and set aside.
in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. in a separate bowl, mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, tahini, vanilla extract, and water.
whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well-combined. pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.
let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn the cake onto a lightly greased cooling rack.
cream together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until combined. mix in the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla.
spread cooled cake with frosting. decorate with herbs and edible flowers. slice and enjoy!