chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

Sugar beet harvest is well underway!!!! It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s by far the busiest and the sleepiest, but also the most exciting. Eggboy has a weird, vaguely nocturnal sleep schedule which has me waking up way before him (this has been a little nerve wracking since he’s the only one who knows how to operate our very complicated coffee grinder) but it means that I can make a big breakfast when he wakes up in the afternoon. Tonight will be my first night home during harvest since I was away over the weekend and I intend to just binge Pretty Little Liars and restock the freezer with pita and soup for quick harvest break snackees. Good thing there are enough PLL seasons to take me through even the longest of harvests, which luckily this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be. Based on my extremely limited knowledge, I’m gonna bet you a dollar that this harvest will take shorter than last year’s verkakte muddy harvest but longer than the easy breezy beautiful year before that. Which affects you and me in the sense that it determines how many baked goodies I make for the crew. I filled our deep freeze with pumpkin bread, blueberry scones, and a sprinkle cake last week before I scampered off for a quick trip to Harbor Springs, Michigan, for a Molly on the Range event and then to Boston for the Forbes Under 30 summit. 

Wow, Harbor Springs is one of the prettiest cutest places in the world! I could eat it all up. Or at least see myself going back again and again to crash the book festival and look at the beautiful houses. I got to stay with Maureen, who wrote one of my favorite cookbooks, Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, and we made raw kibbeh!! It was a dream come true. I’ve been wanting to make raw kibbeh since reading about it in her book but was never confident enough in my butcher finding skills to get clean enough beef that could be eaten raw. So I waited until I got to Harbor Springs, and then we feasted on raw kibbeh, baked kibbeh, fattoush, hummus, knafeh, and this amazing sticky date cake with orange blossom caramel. I also got to hang with Nicole and a whole bunch of new sweet people. It was heaven! 

After Michigan I zipped on over to Boston for a quick day and a half at the Forbes Under 30 summit, surrounded by break fast at Mamaleh’s (with a truly inspirational kasha varnishkes), brunch time tahini buns, sofra with family, and then sofra again with friends, and some hardcore catching up with old college homies. I was in a cloud of congestion and snotty tissues (ew gross sorry forget I said that) but came home with a full heart and a full suitcase of saffron gummies, aleppo pepper, the la boîte halva mix, and Maureen’s nougatsA+ souvenirs

Ok one last thing before we get to cake: Molly on the Range turns one today!!!!!! I can hardly believe it! This last year has been a year filled to the brim with your sweet posts and messages about recipes you’ve made from MOTR and they make me the happiest bean in the world. I love seeing you guys celebrate birthdays and holidays with MOTR cakes and challah and schnitzel and I am so freaking happy that I've gotten to meet and hug so many of you at book events. I cannot thank you enough for how much joy your support of Molly on the Range has brought me over this past year. I am going to try and express all of my gratitude by making some of your favorite foods though!! Since so many of the recipes in MOTR were homemade versions of my childhood favorite foods (lunchables, pigs in blankets, you know…), I want you to hop over here and tell me some of your crazy childhood favorite foods and then I’m going to pick a few to recreate from scratch! If yours gets picked, you’ll get a special one of a kind edition of Molly on the Range :) Head to Instagram for more details.

Alright, cake time!!!! Because all of this harvesting and book birthdaying is calling for celebration. Eggboy put this cake out for all of our harvest helpers on the first day of harvest and from what I can tell, it got gobbled up immediately. It’s your basic super rich chocolate sheet cake covered in a buttercream that has my current obsession, pistachio butter, all up in it. It’s the same pistachio butter that was in these pudding pops but now that it’s getting a little colder I’m giving you a more weather appropriate use for it. Pistachio butter, the fanciest of the nut butters (?), is so great in this buttercream. Just think of how great peanut butter frosting is and then... make it pistachio. This frosting is rich, pistachio-y, a little lemony, and almondy. AKA basically perfect and greenish, the best color. Hooray!   

chocolate sheet cake with pistachio butter frosting

makes one 9" x 13" sheet cake


for the cake:

1 3/4 c (350g) sugar

1 3/4 c (223g) all-purpose flour

1 c (85g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs

1 c (240g) buttermilk

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

3/4 c (178g) boiling water

for the frosting:

1 c (128g) roasted pistachios (preferably unsalted)

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt (omit if pistachios are salted)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tb heavy cream


for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease and line the bottom of a 9" by 13" pan with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and oil. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. whisk in the boiling water.

pour the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. let cool in the pan.

for the frosting: 

first, make the pistachio butter. in a food processor, blend the pistachios, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and pistachio butter until creamy. add the powdered sugar and mix to combine and then mix in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest, and then heavy cream. 

spread all over the cake, decorate as desired, and enjoy! 


sugar beet sugar cookies + a #mollyontherange tattoo giveaway!

i covered portland in tattoos this weekend! it was the least i could do in exchange for being filled up with my favorite candy in the world, tahini drenched toast from alon shaya, and shakshuka so beautifully covered with hawaij that it nearly brought me to tears. and tahini semifreddo with sumac on top! (note to self: find a more uses for sumac in dessert) oh, it was a delicious weekend at feast. it was my first time, but i had michelle to lead me around and drive us to tusk in a little cozy coop when our feet got squishy in the rain, and jonathan and todd to film a bunch of it. we made a cute stop motion and a candy covered cake and something that required a scissor lift but that video hasn't been released yet so idk what that was about. there were also lots of photo booths:

and a nacho cheese fountain! 

and a person walking around in a costume that was either a bed bug or godzilla (??) or something of that aesthetic... 

so tattoo sleeves seemed appropriate and i felt extra cool and *in* with the chef crowd when mine started to fade and look like real tattoos. if you're wondering what the heck these tattoos are, they are all of lisel's illustrations from molly on the rangethey include the following:

-a burger

-a recipe for hawaij

-a cake

-pizza dough ingredients

-a handy dandy "#mollyontherange" which is probably going to make it onto my forehead at some point during my book tour

-and a sugar beet!

michelle wanted to give herself a sugar beet sleeve but i told her we had to save some to give to you guys (it still looks good though, no?? that is her arm and picture with the boba tea up top!) mr. beet has been called a turnip, a parsnip, a nondescript root vegetable... but no, he's a little white beet that's modeled after all of the beets that eggboy is about to pull out of the ground in just 10 days when harvest starts.

i can't believe harvest is almost here!! this will be kind of a weird one since eggboy will become completely nocturnal and i'll be in and out for the tour. i'm bummed that i won't be able to be around every day to restock the little table in the workshop with homemade treats for all of the farm workers, but i've started filling up our deep freeze with some things that eggboy can defrost and put out for everyone. 

day 1 is going to be these sugar beet sugar cookies! they are a super simple sugar cookie, iced with an even simpler glaze, and decorated in a way that caters to my clumsy inability to do detailed work. i have no idea how people in those instagram videos make celebrity faces with icing (!!). but for these i just pulled out every green sprinkle i own and mixed up some edible water color paint and went to town. i'm having trouble finding an online listing for my cookie cutter, but if you google "carrot cookie cutter" some similar options pop up.

happy almost beet harvest, everyone!! 

sugar beet sugar cookies

makes 16 beets



3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c whole milk + more as needed

for water color effect:

a few drops of food coloring
a splash of vodka

sprinkles, for decorating


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

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. in a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium high until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. reduce the speed to medium and add the extracts and egg and mix to combine.  reduce the speed to low and then gradually add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. pour the dough out onto a clean work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together. divide it in half, wrap half of it plastic wrap, and refrigerate it while you roll out the first half. (alternatively, you can make the dough in advance, wrap all of it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.)

dust your work surface and a rolling pin with confectioners’ sugar or flour and roll out the dough to 1/4” thickness. cut out sixteen beets with a cookie cutter.

use a small offset spatula to transfer them to a baking sheet, 1" apart. re-roll scraps and repeat with the remaining half of the dough. bake for 10-12 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned. let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer them a wire rack to cool completely.


in a small bowl, mix together sugar and milk, adding more milk a tiny bit at a time until it's spreadable/pipeable. 


add icing to a piping bag and ice cookies as desired. for the watercolor effect, mix together the food coloring and the vodka and brush onto icing that is fully dry. don't worry, the vodka will evaporate! decorate other cookies as desired with sprinkles. enjoy!

if you've preordered molly on the range and would like to win a sheet of #mollyontherange temporary tattoos, leave a comment here! we're giving away 30! open to u.s. residents. enter now through pub date (10/4) and have your preorder receipt ready for if you win!


p.s. molly on the range tour dates are out!! click here for more info. many of the events are ticketed, so be sure to get those while you can! and i am so excited to have deb from smitten kitchen and phyllis from dash and bella joining me at a couple of the stops! 


some time ago, at a party (this party in fact), i saw eggboy for the first time in years. it was before he became my super special manfriend and after we had spent some years in school together. i noticed he had a tattoo that he didn't have when we were students.  

i said: what's that? 

he said: it's a sugar beet. 

i said: what's that? 

he said: oh, my family farms them. they're big white root vegetables that turn into sugar.

i said: oh cool! ok, well, um, welcome back to the city! see ya! 

(he's a very shy boy. and the performance was starting... so... that was the end of that for a few months.) 

it was the first time i had ever heard of sugar beet and now my life is indirectly controlled by them. for this entire past month, when the weather is good for harvesting, i see eggboy basically never and i get a shit ton of work done. when the weather is rainy or too hot or too cold, i see eggboy a ton and we snuggle and eat eggs together and it's great. 

still, i think most of my friends believe that a sugar beet is a fictional object and i haven't actually moved to a sugar beet farm in the midwest. rather, i am hiding out somewhere and eating cake all day. actually, i guess that's kind of true too.

so to prove to all of you that sugar beets are real i present an article in modern farmer featuring an interview that i did with eggboy! i am very very very excited about it. as much as his vintage 1940s eyeglasses will argue, egg is totally a modern farmer.

oh! and i almost forgot, it includes a recipe for sugar beet latkes!