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


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


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.



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

mini rhubarb princess cakes

our house right now is covered with decorations that fall into one of five categories that altogether make up the theme for eggsister’s bridal shower next weekend:

-cute objects from the woods

-tea parties

-floral things


-things that are supposed to look like they fall into one of the above categories but because eggboy and i have limited crafting skills they create a category all on their own

we’re actually really proud of our work so far though and have our trusty hot glue gun to thank but we still have a lot of decorations to make before the big day. we’ve been referring to my friend melissa’s book, scandinavian gatherings, for inspiration because it has a whole chapter on creating a woodland tea party, complete with teacup terrarium and mushroom felt garland tutorials. so kewt. i’ve been looking forward to throwing this party since i got the book last year so when eggsister got engaged and i connected the dots that eggsister likes tea and the woods and is scandinavian, i got very (!!!) excited!! since she also loves all things floral, we’re going to be making flower crowns. i’ve been lightly stressed about this because navigating real flowers is even more intimidating than buttercream flowers and i don’t know the protocol for ordering them. is it appropriate to just say: i want a lot of different colored flowers, i don’t know the difference between a petunia and a daisy? maybe we should simply pipe buttercream flower crowns to our heads? that’s got to have some moisturizing benefits…

i can’t tell you the other big activity that we have planned because it’s a surprise. but i can tell you that it is not a game where you guess the date of the bride and groom’s first smooch and it is not the thing where you sit in a circle and watch the bride open presents. it’s way more violent than that. i’ll tell you next week!

the menu is obviously filled with lots of pretty colored tea cakes and crustless tea sandwiches. i’ve got petits fours in the making and little sandwich picks with tiny clay mushrooms on the end, and eggboy is making tiered plates out of tree stumps from the yard. since princess cakes are scandinavian and adorable, i thought they would be perfect for this occasion. i love making mini princess cakes (well, since this whole thing they’ve been referred to as “boobie cakes” in our house.) and i figured that if ikea sells them in freezer section, then i too can make them ahead and keep them in our freezer until sunday. fingers crossed that this works.

our rhubarb patch is currently bursting at the seams so rather than the traditional raspberry jam i’ve gone with a basic rhubarb jam which adds a nice springy sour note. i also made one batch that subbed the almond flour for hazelnut flour, which was great. ooh i bet pistachio flour would also be great! the fun with princess cakes is endless. honestly how could it not be when there is all of that marzipan?

mini rhubarb princess cakes

makes 20 mini cakes


for the cake:

1 1/4 c (150g) all-purpose flour

3/4 c (84g) almond flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda 

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c (145g) sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 c (112g) buttermilk


for the assembly:

1 c (227g) heavy cream

1/2 c (60g) powdered sugar

a pinch of kosher salt


1/4 c (90g) rhubarb jam, store bought or homemade (Recipe below)


13 oz (370g) marzipan

food coloring

Powdered sugar, for dusting


for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350°f. line a quarter sheet pan with parchment and set aside.

combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In a separate large bowl, use an electric or stand mixer to beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. add the egg, vanilla, and almond and beat well. add 1/3 of the the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. then add 1/3 of the buttermilk. repeat with another third of each, and then the final third, mixing until just combined.

spread the batter out evenly in the quarter sheet pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes.

let the cake cool fully in the pan (the cake can be made in advance and frozen) and then use a biscuit cutter to cut into 20 2" circles.

for the assembly.

make whipped cream by beating the heavy cream, sugar, and salt to stiff peaks.

spread each cake circle with a layer of jam, and top with a small mound of whipped cream. stick in the freezer while you prep the marzipan.

prep the marzipan by kneading food coloring into the marzipan, dusting your work surface with powdered sugar if it’s sticky. knead a majority of it with blue or green, and then color a small ball of it with pink for the roses and leave another small ball uncolored for the petals. roll the marzipan out to 1/8" thick. cut out a large circle, and then press it down around each of cakes, trimming off edges and re-rolling scraps. 

make little marzipan roses with pink marzipan by making little flat snakes and rolling them up in a swirl, add little petals, and place on top of the cakes.

serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a day or two until serving. enjoy!

rhubarb jam


2 c (250g) chopped rhubarb

1/2 c (100g) sugar

a pinch of kosher salt

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp rosewater, optional

juice of 1/2 lemon


in a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, salt, vanilla, and rosewater (if using). cook over medium heat until the mixture gets bubbly and then reduce the mixture over medium heat until thick and sticky, stirring often, about half an hour. stir in lemon juice, let cool and store in the fridge. 


peach bakewell tarts

ok hi from dinnertime in sydney! i'm eating couscous and french fries in bed right now and refreshing my email every few minutes to make sure that i can download the final pass of molly on the range in time for the thousand hour flight that i'm about to embark on. i get that room service couscous is not what you're supposed to eat on your last night in sydney (and that kangaroo and emu pizza probably is what you're supposed to eat on your last night in sydney??), but i am totally pooped! i had quite the day of eating vegemite and butter on toast, getting emotional at the sight of the sydney opera house, and then ferrying over to the zoo to meet koalas.

my number one goal of the day was to cuddle a koala. i put on extra lip gloss and cleaned the frosting off of my nice sweatshirt, and then figured out the ferry boat system to get to the zoo and restrained myself from taking 100 pictures of the opera house on the way in order to save camera battery life. and then when i got to the zoo i thought i'd better eat a small snack so that i could be extra alert and not at all woozy for my new koala friend, so i bought a bit of pumpkin, which is so common and great here (my understanding is that all squashes in australia are actually called pumpkin), and then sat and caught up with eggboy about the tour de france, the sugar beets, etc., and then i just sort of enjoyed my pumpkin and the crisp winter weather... 

and do you know what was happening during the exact moment that i was leisurely eating my pumpkin and being an all-around space cadet????? the koala cuddling station closed for the day. two hours before the actual zoo closed, i had no idea! 

i frowned so hard. it was my only chance because i leave bright and early tomorrow. so i bought a cherry coconut chocolate bar to try and make up for it and watched some koalas sleep and climb trees from a distance. they are the cutest plops of fluff in the world, they would make such great cuddlers!!!!!! 

oh well, more reason to come back! 

these peach bakewell tarts were cut from molly on the rangei was so sad because they are so tasty and almondy and i love how the photos came out, but ultimately they didn't totally fit right in with the story of the book, so here they are now! they are a great summery version of the cake-within-a-pie that is a bakewell tart, and they transport well. so bring these on your next picnic, as soon as the weather cools down (or heats up, depending on where you are in the world).

peach bakewell tarts

makes 12


1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 c sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 tsp almond extract


1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 c almond meal

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c unsalted butter, softened

1/2 c sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/3 c peach preserves


1 c confectioners’ sugar

5 tb heavy cream

1/4 tsp almond extract

To make the shells: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-cavity muffin tin with cooking spray and set it aside. In a food processor, pulse to combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is pea-sized. Whisk together the egg and almond extract and add it while pulsing. Process until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 12 equal small balls. Roll them into about 4-4 1/2” circles and press them into the muffin cups, trimming the edges. Freeze the shells for 10 minutes, fill them with paper muffin liners and pie weights or beans, and then bake for 15 minutes. Let them cool.

To make the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, almond meal, and flour and set it aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the lemon juice and almond extract. With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture and beat to combine. 

To assemble the tarts: Spoon a heaping teaspoon of peach preserves into the bottom of the tart shells. Spoon in the filling and then bake until lightly browned, begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove to the rack and cool completely.

To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cream, and almond extract. Spread it over the tops of the tarts and serve.

Note: for a more transportable version, forego the glaze and simply dust the cooled tarts with powdered sugar.


pictured: mini cake pan

watermelon mini cakes

macaroni and tofu turn one this week!!!!!! 

i can't believe it. *they grow up so fast* look at them a year ago (!!):

and now they are beautiful colorful egg-layin ladies and tofu is a handsome young man and they bring us so much joy (and lots of shakshuka). happy birthday, macaroni and tofu! we love you! 

obviously we made little cakes for them with all of their favorite things: watermelon, yogurt, mint, and "sprinkles" (sunflower seeds and stuff). we sang the birthday song and thought about making little party hats... but i don't think chickens really like hats. sweaters, maybe. but hats? do you have any intel on this?

yogurt, i recently learned, is really good for chickies since it helps their digestion, and mint keeps them cool and helps repel any pests. and of course watermelon hydrates them, oh boy they are big watermelon fans.

i didn't sweeten the yogurt in these since chickens don't really have a sweet tooth, but if you're looking to make a human version of these, it might be tastier to use whipped cream or sweetened yogurt between the watermelon layers. or! you could take the old sweet/savory route and use slices of feta. these are easy little cakes to make and perfect for a hot summer day!

watermelon mini cakes

1. slice thin layers of watermelon and use a biscuit cutter to cut out your cake layers

2. stack up your layers with a layer of yogurt/whipped cream/feta (see note above) and a few mint leaves in between

3. top with mint leaves and sprinkles and enjoy!