citrus rose thyme loaf cake

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.


team usa cake!

two. days. until. the. olympics!!!!!!!!!!! have you been following all of the ig stories of all of the skaters flying to korea and going through team processing and getting all of their fancy team outfits and rings and stuff?? it is so fun, i love looking behind the scenes.

but starting thursday, everybody please keep your voices down, i have to focus on every single figure skating event and also hockey and some speed skating and chloe kim and her great hair. it's going to be great. it's all in my ical.

please enjoy this cake that is my ode to team usa!! it's basically a big soft loaf of an italian almond cookie that's been shaped into an american flag and and topped with a marzipan olympic-y logo. it's sooo rich and almondy and requires so much butter (!!!!!). you're going to think that your stand mixer is gonna overflow, but don't worry, it won't (it shouldn't if you have at least a 5 qt), and this recipe makes two cakes so you can enjoy one during the opening ceremony and one during the closing ceremony. or share one with a friend who is equally excited about team usa figure skating. (are you that friend?? can you also be my friend? i think my friends are sick of me talking their ears off about axels.)

i thought it'd be easiest to show you how to build this cake rather than try to write down every direction, so my friend paul and i made the above video that will walk you through the steps! and the music is by my super cool bro-in-law, john cwiok! everybody check out his tunesthanks, paul and john!!! also big thanks to eggboy who did his best to be the rafael arutyunyan of this scenario. 

team usa cake

makes 2 loaf cakes


6 large eggs, separated (see note)

1/4 c (50g) plus 1 1/4 c (250g) sugar

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

16 oz (450g) almond paste, chopped or torn into pieces

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tb lemon juice

1 tsp almond extract

3 c (384g) all-purpose flour

1 c (240g) whole milk

1 tsp blue liquid food coloring or a few drops of gel

1 tsp red liquid food coloring or a few drops of gel

1/2 c (150g) apricot or raspberry jam



10 oz semisweet or dark chocolate chips

1 c (240g) heavy whipping cream



Marzipan kneaded with food coloring

Gold sprinkles


preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease two 8” by 12” quarter sheet pans and one 8” by 4” loaf pan and line them with parchment paper that comes at least 2 inches up two of the sides of the pan.

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 1/4 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 and milk in 2 or 3 alternating additions. mix to combine. use a rubber spatula to fold in the whites.

transfer 780g of the mixture to one of the quarter sheet pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly. transfer 525g of the mixture to a separate bowl and fold in the blue food coloring and spread evenly it in the loaf pan. fold the red food coloring into the remaining third and transfer it to the other quarter sheet pan, spreading it out evenly.

bake until the tops are just set and no longer shiny. begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. the blue layer will need at least 5 more minutes than the other layers since it's quite a bit thicker. let cool in the pans.

refer to the above video on how to assemble, spreading the jam between each of the layers. wrap the loaf firmly in plastic wrap, weigh them down with a big cookbook, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. tip: placing the loaf cakes on rectangles of cardboard will make transferring them easier!

trim the edges of the cakes and place them on a wire rack that's been place on top of a sheet pan. make the ganache: place the chocolate chips in a large heat safe bowl or measuring cup. bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium saucepan (keep a close eye on it and remove it from heat as soon as it starts to boil otherwise it will boil over), pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 30 seconds. then stir it up until you have a smooth ganache. Pour it over the cake, allowing any excess ganache to drip down onto the sheet pan (you can reuse the ganache, reheating it if it firms up), and using an offset spatula to smooth it all over.

Top it with marzipan olympic rings and sprinkles. Enjoy immediately or stick it in the fridge for a few minutes for the ganache to firm up.

Leftovers will keep at room temp for a few days or in the refrigerator for a little longer.

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.


chocolate olive oil cake with candied bacon

three and a half operas down, two to go! the half opera was supposed to be a whole opera but then a tornado came down and all of our power blew away so we drank bourbon instead. have i mentioned that practically every other day there is a tornado warning?? sometimes it's scary, usually it's just rumbly and deliciously cloudy, once there was a meager little watch during dinner time and we went out in the name of rattlesnake sausage. we were fine until we learned that it was the wrong day for rattlesnake at the sausage place. obviously i was actually very relieved because obviously i didn't really want to eat rattlesnake, i just wanted to be able to tell you that i did. whatever, i'm over it. 

in three days, i'll go home and once again be able to snuggle with my oven and kitchen-aid and eggboy, and i am so excited. but i will also miss my opera family dearly until we reconvene in california in june. i'll miss this music and our hotel lobby dinner parties and our post-show taco outings that end with one delicious square of condensed milk red velvet cake, passed around a table of 12. i'll miss all of that and the vibraphone. 

but my heavens, it's been three entire weeks since i baked something and i can't hardly believe it. presumably the oven has been untouched since i left, and i can't wait to fill it with all of the cake and pizza and bread to make up for lost time.

i suppose before i start thinking about the first thing that i'm going to bake when i get home, i'll tell you about the last thing that i baked before i left. it is a loaf cake, because loaf cakes are so lovably cute and one day i want to have a loaf cake spread like the rose bakery loaf cake spread. this cake is also to celebrate the birthday of the wonderful melinda strauss over at kitchen tested!! it's super earthy and dark and moist and paired with candied bacon because bacon was the first word out of melinda's mouth when i asked her what type of cake she would like. never mind that she's kosher, the cake never made it within a thousand miles of her, but it's the thought (and the instagrams??) that count! happiest of birthdays to you, sweet melinda!!!  

chocolate olive oil cake with candied bacon

makes one 2-layer loaf cake


1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 c olive oil

1 1/4 c whole milk

3 large eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 c orange juice


the candied bacon and frosting recipes are over on melinda's blog!



preheat oven to 350.

grease two loaf pans (i use 8-inch by 4-inch pans) and line the bottoms with parchment. 

in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at about 40 minutes. 

let cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn onto a cooling rack. turn the oven up to 400 for the bacon. go on over to melinda's blog for the candied bacon and frosting recipes and then assemble as follows:

level one of the cake layers and pipe or spread on a thick layer of frosting. if desired, add a handful of bacon. top it with the other cake layer and top with additional frosting and bacon. 

slice and enjoy! 


upside down plum and olive oil cake

the first time i ever had a plum was two years ago, in london. i was strolling down portobello road with one of my all-time heroes of photography, toby glanville, and he had just finished telling me that the secret to photography is that there is no secret, you just do it.

he had me practice at a little fruit stand. he said, here, go buy a plum from the nice old man and ask him if you can take his picture. i heard myself say ok as a fear of strangers and plums made me the most nervous nelly on the inside. when there was finally a plum in my hand and my camera on my face, two things came into focus: 1) the wife of the nice old man who was up in my grill, telling me that i couldn't take his picture even though he told me i could, and 2) the plum in my hand that had nowhere to go but my mouth.

if i took the photo of the man, it wasn't very good. and i suppose i considered putting the plum in my bag, but it just wouldn't have been worth the risk of it smashing all over my passport and half-eaten haribo roulettes... finally i scarfed it all down, got my hands super juicy, and then sadly didn't even pause to realize how good it was until all i had was the aftertaste, which was shortly thereafter washed away by a bowl of lentil soup from a stand across the sidewalk.

upon returning to brooklyn, i went through a plum cake phase that never *quite* yielded a plum cake to my liking. but recently i revisited those days by way of my new love for olive oil cakes, and i must say, i am pleased as a plum!

this cake is inspired by zwetschgenkuchenmaialino's olive oil cake, and the loaf cakes in the rose bakery cookbook that toby photographed. it's a moist little cake, perfect for a bit of dessert, an afternoon snack, or even as breakfast. if plums aren't your thing, it will happily work with peaches! (or you can even plop some grapes into the batter.) this recipe makes two cakes, so wrap one up and go make someone's day! 

upside down plum and olive oil cake

makes two loaf cakes


6-8 medium plums, pitted and sliced 

2 c all-purpose flour

1 3/4 c brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/3 c olive oil*

1 1/4 c whole milk

3 large eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1 tb lemon zest

2 tb lemon juice

6 tb champagne

*i've been using lucini olive oil, and subbing 1/3 cup for their lemon olive oil, which gives it an extra little somethin somethin



preheat oven to 350.

line two loaf pans (i use 10-inch by 3-inch) with parchment paper and spray them with cooking spray. cover the bottom with an even layer of plum slices.

in a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. in a large bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients. add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

divide the batter between the two pans and bake. begin checking for doneness at about 30 minutes, and bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

let cool slightly in the pan and then use the parchment paper to carefully lift it out of the pan. invert onto a cooling rack.

serve with additional brown sugar for sprinkling on the plums.



this post is part of becky's eat seasonal roundup! check out a bunch of other seasonal goodies here!