While on our way to my friend’s annual lobster boil (possibly the best event of the year) the other day, Erik asked something to the effect of whether I had “best blogger friends.” Babe, let me tell you. I started rattling off a list of my favorites, but had to stop close to the top to explain about NORA.
I am such a big fan of Nora (of A Clean Bake) for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that she graduated from business school fairly recently and doles out b-school advice whenever I ask like it’s her JOB. She is a hero for all non-gluten/dairy/refined sugar eaters everywhere and had the major cojones to ditch her former, very successful blog in favor of a brand-new one once she realized her old premise didn’t fit any longer.
Since Nora’s getting married in a few short weeks, the joyous occasion obviously calls for cake and a virtual wedding shower! I can’t wait to see what kind of amazing wedding dessert(s) she ends up with on her big day, but my contribution to her virtual wedding shower are these little mini chickpea/coconut flour cakes layered with almond butter, jam, and chocolate. In honor of her dietary restrictions, there’s no gluten or dairy in the cake, and traditional refined sugar is omitted in favor of coconut sugar. (I can’t take credit for this genius; the original recipe on Power Hungry and I adapted it to make these mini cakes.)
This is one of those posts where I tell you what I did to adapt the recipe and what I might suggest for you since I didn’t develop the recipe myself. The only alterations I made to the recipe was to use almond milk instead of coconut milk and cornstarch instead of potato starch. I used all coconut sugar and my cake turned out darker than the recipe photos with strong undertones of an earthy sweetness. For these reasons, I would suggest using raw sugar next time, or perhaps a mix of coconut and raw sugar. Though I wasn’t bowled over by the taste straight out of the oven, I was IN LOVE with the texture. The moist, soft crumb is not at all spongy or gluten-free-ish, and after layering cake rounds with almond butter, jam and chocolate, my roommate and I declared them delicious and I proceeded to eat two.
I made super-thin cake layers that were kind of reminiscent of pancake stacks, which I actually really liked (surprise surprise). But feel free to make them thicker to enjoy more of the luscious cake crumb.
Congratulations, Nora! Wish you were here to eat these with me, and I wish you all the best (and no stress!) on your special day <33
Check out these other beautiful eats in celebration of Nora’s wedding!
Mini ABJ Layer Cakes (GF, V)
- 1 recipe this cake (see subs in notes)
- 1/2 recipe easy chocolate icing from the same post
- almond butter
- sour cherry preserves
Line a small baking sheet with greased parchment paper. Spread the cake batter evenly across the baking sheet to your desired thickness (the batter is extremely thick, so even if the baking sheet is too large for the amount of batter, you can simply spread it as far as you like to achieve your desired thickness of cake layers. Cake will rise just barely during baking). Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Test for doneness with a fork, your finger or a toothpick--depending on thickness, the cake may not be done at this point. Continue baking for 5-10 minute increments until the cake is done.
Let cool completely. Cut out circles using a biscuit cutter or, if you're lacking in biscuit cutters, you can use a sheet of acetate (flexible plastic sheets or transparencies) rolled up and stapled into a makeshift cutter (my ghetto cutter is pictured in the second photo). Not quite as accurate as a biscuit cutter, but it will work. I don't recommend using an upside-down glass as a cutter because the edges are not sharp enough to get a clean cut.
Layer a cake round with a smear of almond butter, a smear of preserves, and repeat as desired, finishing with a smear of chocolate icing and sprinkles.
Substitutions: You can sub almond milk for coconut milk and cornstarch for potato starch. I recommend using at least half raw sugar instead of all coconut sugar.
Adapated from here.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the past two days with my nose glued to Murakami’s 1Q84, but when I finally emerged for sustenance after plowing through nearly a third of the 1,200 page novel in one day, I was really in the mood for soup.
School’s letting us out for a break this week to recharge our batteries after a battering of midterms, so even though I should technically be getting ahead in Finance and Accounting and networking and researching for jobs and all that, I still have some much-needed free time. There was time to make a giant pot of chili, if I wanted, but what I really wanted last night was to get back to my book–and some really tasty soup.
Among many other things, 1Q84 is interspersed with scenes of simple meals being prepared: boiled vegetables, simple fillets of white fish, crackers and cheese, and miso soup with seaweed and tofu. I’ll attribute my craving for soup to the novel as well as the addition of miso to this–the first time I’ve ever thought to add it to my beloved corn + egg drop soup.
This is one of my favorite soups of all time: wispy ribbons of egg floating in hot, sweet and savory broth, buoyed by juicy nubs of corn. In my book, you can never go wrong with corn, but sometimes my soup broths can end up insipid and bland since I tend to never have vegetable broth on hand. With my mind still clicking through the plot of the novel, there was no recipe when I made this–just the frying of onion in aromatic sesame oil, a grating of ginger, some miso dissolved into a cup of water, and a can of corn. Lastly, an egg swirled into the hot, sweet and savory liquid. The first sip was shocking enough that I had to pull my eyes away from the book to marvel at the balanced sweetness and savoriness of the broth–you guys, it’s perfect student food (cheap), perfect cold night food (warm), perfect book-reading food (fast) and basically perfect anytime food since it’s crazy delicious!
(To be real: this was also partially inspired by a lost can of corn I found at the back of my pantry after a giant re-organizing. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win the $500 value prize in this post!).
Simple corn + egg drop soup
- toasted sesame oil
- about 1/2 medium onion, diced
- fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 15 oz can of corn, including juice (not unsalted)
- 1 large egg
- splash of soy sauce (optional)
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. One hot, swirl in some sesame oil and add the onion. Stir to coat. Grate some ginger directly into the pot (I use a zester)--about 1/2 teaspoon worth, but you can do more or less to taste.
Once the onion has softened and is starting to brown, add a cup of water. Add the miso and stir it around with a wooden spoon--it's okay if it doesn't dissolve all the way. Cover and bring to a low boil. Add the entire can of corn, including the juice. Stir and cover again to bring to a low boil.
Lastly, turn down the heat and crack and egg into the soup. Immediately stir the soup to disperse the egg evenly throughout the soup. Finish with a dash of soy sauce if desired.
Today’s extra-special, post-midterm post features a behind-the-scenes peek at my kitchen. Important disclaimer: there is no recipe, but you do get the chance to enter an insanely awesome giveaway!
So, organization. While it’s true that the stress and constant studying for midterms allowed several elements around my household to slide over the past couple of weeks (ahem, laundry. Cooking. Blogging. Eating. Cleaning. Sleeping. Etc.), I also can’t lie and tell you that the state of my kitchen pantry was the result of midterms. Because it was really the result of poor organization. Here was my pantry in its original state. Cue the screech screech screech screech horror music:
Note the upside-down hummus container (filled with ground peanuts) on the left side of the photo. The yogurt container filled with granola that’s perched precariously behind my trail mix and honey. The crooked cereal box that is about to topple over and spill cereal all over with one wrong move from the box of dates lurking under a sack of cashews. The yellow lid of my nutritional yeast that is lying in a horizontal position because there was simply no room for it to stand straight up on my crowded shelf.
We’re wallowing in this for a little while so we can appreciate the beauty that follows:
If you are a person of normal humility levels, I would argue that there is no greater way to be humbled than to go to business school. Or anywhere, really, where you’re surrounded with really smart people every day. But add pretty strong social skills, really intense motivation and a huge collection of accomplishments on top of that really smart population surrounding you daily, and it’s a pretty good recipe for a pummeling to the self-esteem.
Reasons why business school is awesome:
learning (like about how compliments can help achieve world domination)
free roll-your-own burrito dinners, professionally-boxed lunches, bad (but free) wine
you get to cut the leash to your 8-5 office desk
i.e: midday swims and lunching on the sunny patio
a rare combination of humble but brilliant AND funny teachers
an atmosphere of smart people. genius is contagious, right?
you get to attend TA sessions and stare at your cute boyfriend at the same time because he is the TA.