rhubarb cake!

It is my birthday! And also Doug’s and the eve of my Dad’s and the dawn after Stefani’s. And maybe also yours??? Happy birthday to all of us! It’s a great day to turn 29. 28 was honestly starting to feel a little stale, although it was a great year! It had a solid ratio of time spent doing things I love (making cake! traveling about! sitting on the couch with Eggboy watching tv eating dinner with my favorite spoon!) to things I don’t love (brushing my hair! cleaning the fridge!) so I’ll try to keep that going. Overall I think one big takeaway from this year was that I learned to like doing healthy things more, like drinking green juice and being up to date on my dentist visits. Kind of vanilla, right?!? My 22-year-old self would have felt so ashamed that this was my big birthday takeaway but well here it is. It’s probably just that my older wiser brain can now see further into the future and know more easily when something that feels fun at the time, like putting too much mayonnaise on my french fries, isn’t going to feel good in my belly after an hour. Which doesn’t mean I don’t do that anymore I just do it less. 

So with that I’d like to announce a temporary hold on my birthday breakfast sandwich tradition, for I will be having a green juice. And then I’ll be working out, and then getting a massage with the strongest masseuse in town, then I’m going to lunch at the museum cafe, and then I’m going to sit down with my favorite cookbooks and plan really awesome dinners for the rest of the week until dinner time when I’m going to make chèvre chaud salads for Eggboy and me. A salad! For my birthday dinner! I barely recognize myself. I’ve just been craving it soo hard since Paris (omg cannot wait to tell you about Paris) and fried cheese on a salad is my favorite form of balance. 

There will also be this rhubarb cake but not until the weekend when I defrost this sucker for some friends!! It was going to be an alpaca cake until I realized that llama has a silent “l” at the beginning and that’s way more quirky and cool than the trendy alpaca. No offense, alpacas. So this is a happy llama cake! It was inspired by this embroidered llama and I used this cookie cutter. My biggest challenge was making it not look like a baby shower cake, hence the mustard yellow frosting. 

I’m so happy that I could use some of our backyard rhubarb in this. Before it even popped up, I knew I wanted to make a pink fluffy buttery cake. Just like Stella's and Adrianna’s strawberry cakes but rhubarby. Only when I googled rhubarb cake the only things that came up were cakes with entire stalks of rhubarb in the batter or upside down cakes. So I experimented, using my sprinkle cake as a general roadmap and turning to Stella's and Adrianna’s cake as examples for incorporating fruit purée. I thought I’d have a long road of hibiscus-cake-style tweaking ahead of me since rhubarb is quite sour and anytime you change the pH of a batter you need to pay attention to the leavening amounts, but it turns out strawberry and rhubarb have extremely similar pH levels. So the first go was deeelicious! Fluffy, buttery, fruity, and bright. A handful of moisture tweaks later and here it is! It's so tasty and the sourness of the rhubarb balances the sweetness really nicely. To emphasis the rhubarb flavor, I’ve added a layer of rhubarb jam between the layers, along with buttercream. I like a basic vanilla buttercream with this but if rhubarb buttercream is speaking to you then go for it!


rhubarb cake

makes one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

cake:

10 oz (284g) rhubarb, chopped

1/4 c water 

1/2 c whole milk

2 3/4 c (352g) cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c (50g) flavorless oil

1 1/2 c (300g) sugar

Red or pink food coloring, optional

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

 

assembly:

vanilla frosting (recipe here) or rhubarb frosting (recipe below)

rhubarb jam (1/4 c per layer)

sprinkles, marzipan, optional but recommended

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 350°f. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8” cake pans with parchment and set aside. 

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then combine with the milk in a blender and purée until very smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar, and food coloring, if using, and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing after each, and then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry ingredients and rhubarb purée in three alternating additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over-beat. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and spread it out evenly. Give them a tap on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and then bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make your frosting of choice! 

Stack up the layers with a thin layer of frosting and rhubarb jam in the middle. If you want to get really fancy and have more rhubarb jam distributed throughout you can slice the layers in half to make four very thin layers. To make the cake pictured, add a layer of funfetti cake in the middle.

Decorate with sprinkles and a marzipan llama. Or alpaca. Up to you.


rhubarb frosting

makes enough for one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

8 oz (226g) rhubarb, chopped

2 tb water

1 1/2 c (338g) unsalted butter, softened

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1/4 tsp rosewater, optional

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 tb heavy cream

pink food coloring, optional
 

clues

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then purée in a blender.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until combined. Add the vanilla, rosewater (if using), and salt and then gradually mix in the cooled rhubarb puree. It may look curdled but continue to beat for 3-5 minutes until combined. Add the heavy cream and food coloring (if using) and beat until combined.


-yeh!

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

Pictured: Sweater (cuyana), Funfetti socks (old navy), cake stand (mosser glass)



P.S. Thank you, friends, soooooooooooo much for all of your sweet messages about Girl Meets Farm!! I am so darn thankful for your support and I cannot wait to show you behind the scenes pics and vids and tell you all about the process of filming. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 24th, 11am eastern/10am central/11am pacific!
 


pistachio nutter butters + a giveaway!

Hello to my birthday month, the month where I get to chill a little more, eat a little more, and spend a little more, at least at Sephora, so I can get my free birthday lip gloss. Every day feels like pizza friday during birthday month! And this month I’m going to Stars on Ice so like, wow, if you thought I freaked out at the Olympics, just wait until Meryl and Charlie take the ice. I cannot wait.

Here are some photos from over the weekend when I met Nile’s Beethoven dog puppy, Frida, and then went to the Empire gala! We danced our butts off, wore big dresses, sang, it was the perfect eve to birthday month. 

Now I’m kicking off May with two recent objects of my obsession: pistachio nutter butters and jewelry that reminds me of rainbow sprinkles. Pistachio nutter butters felt like such an obvious thing to do, given my love of pistachio butter (see: pistachio buttercream and pistachio pudding pops). So I replaced the peanut butter in my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe for pistachio butter and they came out chewy and amazing. And then when sandwiched with creamy pistachio frosting, they just got better. They are thick nutty wonders of the cookie world. And, yes, they deserve to be rolled in sprinkles.

Speaking of sprinkles, I have the most fun giveaway happening over on Instagram for the colorful ring that I’m wearing in these photos! I have been a fan of Elisa Solomon’s jewelry for years, ever since finding her rings at Catbird. (I sometimes just go onto the Catbird site just to look at this ring). Her jewelry is right up my alley, it’s colorful and whimsical and dainty and every time I look at my ring I think of rainbow sprinkles!! So I could not be more excited to partner with her on this giveaway. To enter, head over to Instagram (but if you don’t have Instagram, you can leave a comment here)! And be sure to check out her other jewelry, like this Sven cat ring!!! 
 


Pistachio Nutter Butters

Makes 8 large cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

1 1/4 c (160g) raw pistachios
1 1/4 c (160g) raw almonds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c (200g) sugar, plus a couple more tablespoons for rolling
1 large egg

Filling

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened
1 c (120g) powdered sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
a pinch of lemon zest
Optional: splash of rosewater

Sprinkles
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 350ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

To make the cookies, in a high powered food processor, blend the pistachios and almonds for 10-15 minutes until spreadable. Remove 1/4 c (or 64g) of the mixture and set aside for the filling. To the food processor, add the salt, lemon zest, almond extract, and sugar to the food processor and blend together. Add the egg and blend to combine. Scoop out 16 tablespoon sized balls and roll in sugar. Place on baking sheets 1 inch apart and flatten with two presses of a fork to get a crisscross pattern. Bake for 12 minutes (they’ll still be very soft but they’ll firm up as they cool). Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the butter and reserved pistachio butter. Add the powdered sugar and blend to combine. Add the salt, vanilla, almond, lemon zest, and rosewater, if using. 

Fill a piping bag with the filling and pipe in the centers of half of the cooled cookies, sandwich them with the other half of the cookies and then roll in sprinkles. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

apron from enrich and endure, cookie plate from le creuset

Passover Recipe Roundup!

Whazzup! I'm just popping in to say a quick hello before we down some extremely chametzy pizza and then zip off to Whistler for our Passover ski trip!! This is gonna be a great Passover, not only because we're going to be spending it on a cozy mountain, but also because there's a new haggadah up in here (!!!), a new seder plate from lily (bonus: lily is also a new member of #teamsavory matzo brei. welcome, lily!), and some of my favorite new Passover recipes are in the April issue of Rachael Ray Magazine. Pick up a copy, there's a Passover tater tot hotdish!!!! 

Below are a bunch of my fave Passover recipes, old and new. Enjoy! Happy Passover!


-yeh!

photos 1, 4, 11, 12, 13, and 14 by chantell and brett quernemoen!

sprinkle macaroons

Sup, homies! Happy spring and also happy snow day (!) which leaves us with the best case scenario: a beautiful wintery day where the sun stays up long enough to enjoy it on the drive to (and maybe even from) the gym. These kinds of days are delicious because you get the coziness of the snow and the energy of the extra light, and the light has that perfectly diffused snowy quality that is all fluffy and cloud like. Is there a name for this type of winter weather that seeps into spring? Like Indian Summer, but for winter? And don’t say something like Annoying Winter, that’s not the point of this exercise. 

Speaking of exercise, I’ve been on a remarkable health kick, spawned by a sudden urge to eat kale four times a day. I’ve been eating kale and eggs for breakfasts, kale grilled cheeses for lunches, kale tacos for snacks, kale salads for dinners, I’m definitely going to get sick of it really soon but for now I’m riding it out and feeling excellent. The Adventures of Kalegirl and Eggboy!! Also, World Championship Ice Skating is on! Which is great, obviously, but did you also hear about the 13-year-old Russian figure skater in Junior Worlds who became the first female to land two quads in a program in competition??? Bonkers! The future is now! Additionally, I’ve gotten into so many awesome books recently, like Alon Shaya’s new cookbook, Jessica Merchant’s new cookbook, Stephanie Izard's Gather and Graze, and Call Me By Your Name, so if there was a sunny side of the street to be walking on right now, and if I actually walked anywhere, I'd be there. That's what's going on in my world!

But enough about kale and books, let’s talk about sprinkles. I feel a little funny that I’ve never funfetti’d macaroons before. I don’t know why it took this long but the other day a giant box of sprinkles from Beautiful Briny Sea arrived and I immediately felt compelled to fold them into egg whites, condensed milk, and coconut to make the first macaroons of the season. They were so tasty! Crisp on the outside, rich and moist on the inside. And how do you make a tasty thing tastier? Dip it in chocolate. It felt like the right thing to do, and then it felt more right to coat the chocolate with sprinkles. Eggboy said it was too many sprinkles! Can you believe he let those words exit his mouth?! I was stunned. I love the extreme amount of sprinkles because they add a fantastic crunchy quality that you don’t often find on a macaroon. And they’re fun to look at. And sprinkle flavor is good!! These ones are at least. (Use sprinkles you’d want to eat by the spoonful because you’re essentially doing that here.) I used these chocolate sprinkles in the batter and these rainbow sprinkles on the bottom.

All general sprinkle-flavor dessert rules apply here: do not use sanding sugar in the macaroon mixture because the colors will bleed and use clear imitation vanilla for that nostalgic birthday cake flavor that will also keep your batter bright white. As with almost all of the macaroons that I make these days, these are based on Danny Macaroons' delicious basic macaroon recipe. And speaking of macaroons, I wrote a little piece about them for this cool new huge Tablet feature that you should check out, 100 Most Jewish Foods

Happy almost Passover!


sprinnkle macaroons

makes 16

ingredients

1 c (283g) sweetened condensed milk (reserve the rest of the can to add to your morning coffee!)

2 tsp clear imitation vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 (14 oz) bag sweetened shredded coconut

2 large egg whites

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 c (48g) rainbow sprinkles, plus about 1/3 c (63g) more for topping and dipping

3 oz (85g) chocolate (any kind!)

clues

preheat oven to 350ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

in a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, vanilla, and almond extract. mix in the coconut and set aside.

in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. 

fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture and then gently fold in the 1/4 cup of sprinkles. spoon lightly packed 2" balls of the mixture onto the baking sheets, 1" apart and sprinkle the tops with more sprinkles.

bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes. remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the pans. transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

place the remaining 1/3 cup of sprinkles in a shallow dish. melt the chocolate in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each, or in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often. dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate, scrape off any excess, and then dip the chocolate in the sprinkles. place back on the parchment paper and let cool at room temp or in the fridge. enjoy!

these can be kept at room temperature for about 3 days or in the fridge for up to a week.