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.


french yogurt "malabi"

Happy Friday everyone!!!!! Are you on your way to recovering from post-Olympic blues? We put in a great effort this week by taking up a Westworld habit and partying for Purim! I thought we’d be partying just the two of us but then we last minute found out about a little Purim party with a rabbi from Fargo and it was so fun! I dressed up as a hot dog and brought a weenie whistle for my noisemaker but then I dropped it on the ground and didn’t want to get cooties so I chickened out. I was also just way too sheepish to take out a weenie whistle in front of people I’d never met before. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Next year, with a weenie whistle!

Now I’m making bagels and getting ready for Mackenzie’s baby shower, but they’re cooling now so I thought I would bop in and post another quick little yogurt recipe! 

This is another recipe that was cut from Short Stack Yogurt. It is *so* simple, (and follows a similar format as another recipe in the book, which is why I think we ultimately decided to cut it) but the flavors aren’t anything you’d find in a typical yogurt section. At least not in America. It’s a recipe inspired by Malabi, the Middle Eastern milk custard that is commonly topped with rose syrup, crushed pistachios or other nuts, and shredded coconut. (I’ve got a version in Molly on the Range!) It’s refreshing and fruity and floral and also so pretty!! Pistachio + rose is easily one of my favorite combos ever, for looks and taste.

With this version, I’ve put these same flavors onto my new obsession, French style yogurt. French style yogurt is that yogurt that comes in the cute glass or ceramic jars. It’s not that way just for show, it’s actually cultured within those individual jars, as opposed to other styles of yogurt which are cultured in big batches and then portioned out. French yogurt is so rich and custardy and not at all tangy, so if you’ve been avoiding Greek yogurt because you don’t like its sourness then this is 4 u. (Yoplait’s French yogurt, Oui, came out recently which meant that I could suddenly for the first time buy French yogurt in Grand Forks and my life has been better ever since. But St. Benoit is another brand that I’ve had in California that is really good, and I’m sure if you live in New York or another big city you can find some various brands pretty easily.)

This is a healthyish dessert but also a passable breakfast I think because not only do you get yogurty probiotics, but you can also assemble it in a rush because it takes all of six seconds. Just make your syrup on a day when you have a little time and then keep it in your fridge to use throughout the week. And it comes together directly in your yogurt jar! How easy is that. Fit for a morning when your dumb alarm clock didn’t go off.

French Yogurt "Malabi"

makes 1 serving; easily scaleable


1 tb Pomegranate Rose Syrup (recipe follows)

1 jar (~5 oz) plain French yogurt*

2 tsp shredded unsweetened coconut

2 tsp toasted pistachios, almonds, or another nut, coarsely chopped

2 tsp pomegranate seeds

A small pinch of cinnamon

A large pinch of lemon zest, optional but recommended

*I use plain yogurt here since the syrup is quite sweet, but vanilla or coconut flavored yogurt could certainly also work. 


Spoon 1 tablespoon syrup over the yogurt and top with shredded coconut, crushed nuts, pomegranate seeds, a small pinch of cinnamon and a bit of lemon zest, if using, and serve. 

Pomegranate Rose Syrup

Makes about ½ cup


1 c pomegranate juice 

¼ c (50g) sugar

1 tb fresh lemon juice

2 tsp rosewater


In a small saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice and sugar to a simmer over medium high heat and cook until reduced by half and syrupy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and rosewater and let cool (this can be made up to a couple of days in advance and kept in the fridge). 



photos by chantell and brett!

Short Stack Yogurt, available here

coconut rose cake

i spent the weekend doing two of my favorite things: filling up an entire deep freeze with chocolate chip cookie dough and morning-after-eggsister-wedding bacon muffins, and cleaning the house with eggboy and stacy, our pet roomba. i don’t know when my geezerness became so extreme that house cleaning jumped to the top of my list of favorite things but here we are, sitting in a living room that now feels twice the size, thanks to some furniture rearranging and cookbook organizing, in a house that won’t be a total embarrassment when my family arrives from chicago later today for a visit. yay! we’re going to defrost this carrot cake finally.

and speaking of cake we’ve now passed the three week mark until eggsister’s wedding which means that cake baking can now comfortably commence without fear that freezer smell will soak into the layers. i am so excited. all i really want these days is 314 people to come to town every weekend, hungry for wedding cake, so that i can bake this much all the time. oh, i guess that’s what bakeries do...

so the past two weeks have been filled with finalizing the recipes for all of the layers. did i tell you eggsister’s brilliant idea? rather than having each of the cakes a different flavor, each layer will be a different flavor so the cakes look rainbow-y. 

two of the cakes will be: pistachio, hazelnut, and orange blossom almond (very excited for this recipe in particular, i’ll be sharing it soon!!) 

and two of the cakes were originally supposed to be: sprinkle, chocolate, and coconut…

but as i was visualizing the white sprinkle layer, the brown chocolate layer, and the white coconut layer together, i kept wanting the coconut layer to be pink. wouldn’t that be pretty to have sort of a neapolitan look? so i got to work, testing what seemed like a reasonable choice given the floral theme of the cakes and bridesmaid dresses: coconut cake with hibiscus! i loved the idea of making a naturally pink cake using just hibiscus flowers. so i ordered a pound of dried hibiscus online, confirmed via lily that coconut and hibiscus would go well together, and then spent a wild week wishing i hadn’t been such a slacker in high school chemistry. here’s why: what makes hibiscus that beautiful bright pink color are anthocyanins. based on some limited harold mcgee and bravetart research, i learned that anthocyanins are red/pink in acidic situations. but to make a cake rise you have to add leavening agents like baking powder, baking soda, egg whites, which are all alkaline and can bring the ph of the cake batter into basic territory. not basic like loving ryan gosling, but basic like opposite of acidic, like your ph is higher than 7. and in a basic situation, anthocyanins turn anywhere from purple to a gross grey. so the challenge was adding just enough leavening agents to produce a tasty fluffy cake but not so much that the color turns gross grey. and enough acid to keep it a pretty color but not so much that the flavor makes you pucker up. here is a video summary:

eventually i started packing the batter with acidic ingredients like lemon, buttermilk, vinegar, and toward the end i was subbing honey for part of the sugar. i was starting to love the color!! but also toward the end i made the biggest discovery of all which was that… hibiscus…is…not…good? i mean, i like it in tea. i like it in glaze. i like it pickled and stuffed with goat cheese on the streets of tel aviv. but in this application, i kept doing this face 😝😝😝😝😝 at the thought of having to taste test any of this cake. and when i finally admitted this on instagram stories, so many kind humans came out of the woodwork to tell me that yes, it’s totally ok to not like hibiscus because they, too, do not like hibiscus. thank you, kind humans. also thank you to all of you who sent over all sorts of awesome suggestions and cake batter ph resources (especially stella, who is wrangling some strawberry cake batter ph right now)!! 

so i had a talk with myself, i said self, if you don’t like hibiscus cake, how are 314 of eggsister’s closest friends going to like hibiscus cake?

and i sent the working recipe to michelle who is hopefully going to pick up this experiment where i left off.

and i pulled out my rosewater and food coloring. 

and i changed my stripper name from chinese hotdish to coco rose. 

and when, on test cake #6 i still couldn’t help myself from sneaking big bites of this new coconut rose cake, i knew i’d made the right decision. y’all i am so proud of this cake!!! it’s crazy moist, buttery, soft, coconutty, rosey, a tiny bit almondy, and it’s going to look great in between a chocolate and sprinkle layer. i slathered it with a layer of american buttercream but then whipped up some swiss buttercream to practice my roses. like italian buttercream, swiss buttercream was really easy to pipe and had a nice light texture. i love the look of it. but i just hated the process of making it, i get so stressed out heating egg whites and it always takes longer than i want it to. even though i was watching legally blonde the whole time i still wasn’t a fan of the process. additionally, i’m not wild about how italian and swiss buttercream pick up color. i thought i was adding a lot of food coloring but american buttercream seems to pick up color more easily… so i'm still leaning towards using american buttercream for the final wedding cakes but i also want to first try german buttercream. little sis mia will be in town to help me with that later this week!

also, here is another great buttercream rose video that i found that helped with this rose practice session. 

coconut rose cake

makes one 3-layer, 8-inch cake


3 1/3 c (423g) all purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 c (100g) virgin unrefined coconut oil, soft but not melted

2 1/4 c (450g) sugar

pink and/or red food coloring (i used a bit of pink and a bit of red from this kit)

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1 tsp rosewater

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp coconut flavor oil (i get mine at michael's and prefer the flavor to extract, but if you can only find extract, use 1 tsp of that)

1 2/3 c (400g or 1 can) full-fat coconut milk


for the frosting:

1 1/2 c (338g) unsalted butter, at room temeprature

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt

6 tb (90g) coconut milk (or heavy cream, if you don't want to open another can of coconut milk; in that case, add 1/4 tsp coconut flavor oil or a splash of extract)

1/4 tsp rosewater


preheat oven to 350ºf. grease and line the bottoms of three 8" cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.

sift together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. add the kosher salt and give it a little mix.

in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, coconut oil, sugar, and food coloring until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. add the vanilla, rosewater, almond extract, and coconut flavor oil.

reduce the mixer to low and, in three alternating additions, add the flour mixture and the coconut milk and mix until just combined.

divide the batter among the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

for the frosting:

in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, coconut milk (or heavy cream + coconut flavor oil), and rosewater until smooth and combined.

frost the cake as desired (see notes for details on the buttercream roses!) and enjoy!



rose rose cake

We had our first Bagel Sunday at Amazing Grains this weekend!! Robert, one of Grand Forks’ resident bagel experts came in and we spent the weekend making plain and onion bagels. He hadn’t made bagels in 19 years and I hadn’t made bagels in, well, probably 19 years too, so we hacked our way through our first couple of batches and they miraculously turned out so deliciously dense and doughy, just the way I like them. I was so pleased! We used Robert’s recipe that he used when he owned his bagel shop in boise. It doesn’t have barley malt in it, just a nice amount of brown sugar, and we made them so pleasantly plump. (I have never been bound to my bagels having a well-defined hole, is that ok??) We offered three basic options: salmon and cream cheese, egg and cheese, and just cream cheese, and sold out in an hour and a half!! It was so much fun. Sundays are my new favorite. In future weeks I’d like to do pizza bagels, fancy avocado toast bagels, maybe even bagel dogs. But first I really need to improve my bagel rolling skills because mine came out bumpy and lumpy. 

After Bagel Sunday we got a snowstorm and it was so cozy inside. I made a big sunday supper of tahdig (my first try!) and the fava bean meatball dish from Jerusalem, which I loved except for the unshelled fava bean part. I still have a bunch of favas left though so I think I’ll put some on a pizza and then make ful with the rest.

When I wasn't shelling fava beans or rolling bagels these past few days, I was practicing my buttercream roses. Part of me thinks I should just stick to using marzipan since my clumsy hands can handle that so much more easily than buttercream, but I’ve found that once I kind of get into the rhythm of things, I can churn out buttercream roses way faster than marzipan roses (even if they are a little rustic... but that’s why I’m practicing).

And I’ll indeed need to up my speed because I am planning to cover enough cake for 400 million people with buttercream roses for Eggsister’s wedding in July. That's the whole reason I'm on this buttercream rose kick! The idea came after she decided that all of the bridesmaids and eggboy (the man of honor) would wear something flowery. I thought that with a floral theme, a whole table of floral-inspired cakes would be appropriate. So over the next few months I plan to: figure out recipes for a hibiscus cake, an orange blossom carrot cake, a chocolate lavender cake, and any other flowery cakes that eggsister and eggsisterfiancé want (got any suggestions??), and then also improve my buttercream roses and succulents. I tackled this vanilla rose cake first since rose is a flavor I’ve been comfortable with ever since I realized that you only need the teensiest bit of rosewater to have a great effect. 

I watched a bazillion video tutorials on how to make buttercream roses and also looked at instagram accounts like brooklyn floral delight. I figured out a few things:

-American buttercream probably isn’t the best for this since it can get a little bit flimsy. I’m including the recipe for it here since it’s my go-to buttercream when frosting cakes and if you’re just doing a basic frosting job for this, it does the trick, is easy to make, and is tasty. I haven’t yet experimented much with Italian buttercream but that’s what I’m going to use for my next rose practice session.

-It’s important to get one of these thingies and a few of the proper tips (and I’ve been using couplers so that I can switch the tips easily between colors). 

-I found that it was easiest to pipe the roses onto a little square of parchment (stick the parchment onto the metal thingy with a blob of frosting) and then transfer the parchment with the rose on it to a sheet pan. Freeze or refrigerate the sheet pan until the roses are firmed up and then pick em up with your hands, peel off the parchment, and just plop them right down onto your cake. From there you can fill in any empty spaces or clean up the edges with any reserved frosting in your piping bags. One pan of roses made enough to fill up this whole sheet cake, so I’m thinking that I’ll want to pipe about six full pans of roses in preparation for eggsisterwedding. I’m hoping that by that time I’ll be able to bang em all out the day before and then hold on to the extra frosting that’s still in the piping bags at room temperature so that I can fill in any holes the morning of the wedding. I’ll plan to bake the cakes three days out, frost them with a base layer two days out, do the roses the day before, assemble the morning of, and then party my tuchus off. 

-Best not to watch Bojack or anything else that is funny while you’re piping because laughing leads to ruffled petals. Which is fine if you’re going for that look, but I have to get a handle on clean petals before I can start taking artistic liberties.

Alright, gotta go make spätzle! My second rose practice session is in a few weeks, I’ll report back.

Here's a rosewater cake that's got the body of a vanilla cardamom cake but the sparkle and shimmer that only a drop of rosewater can add:

rose rose cake

makes one 9 x 13" cake


for the cake:

1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 tsp rosewater

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 c water


for the frosting:

1 c unsalted butter, softened

3 c powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

a couple of drops of rosewater

a pinch of kosher salt

2 tb heavy cream


for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line a 9 x 13" baking pan with parchment and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cardamom. in a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, rosewater, almond extract, and water.

whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 35 minutes.

let the cake cool in the pan before frosting.

for the frosting:

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, rosewater, and salt and mix until combined. mix in the heavy cream.

frost as desired! you certainly don't need to cover the whole darn thing in roses, but if you'd like to, see notes above and then here are a few reference videos: 

video 1

video 2

video 3

video 4