Category Archives: sweets

strawberry shortcake

A lot has happened since the last time I posted! Busy times on the farm!

These chicks

got turned into these broilers

A new calf was born on Saturday morning!

And local Vashon strawberries are back in season!

I bought a couple pints of strawberries at the market yesterday and some got turned into this year’s first shortcake. These shortcakes were the culmination of our mostly local meal over the weekend, including the roasting of one of the broilers! We roasted the chicken over some of our turnips and radishes, tossed together a simple salad with avocado and sunflower seeds, and made a gravy out of the giblets from our chicken. But my favorite part of the meal was the strawberry shortcake.

Shortcakes are really just slightly sweet biscuits and are quite forgiving. This recipe is easy to multiple and are decidedly rustic. Recently, I have been including almond flour in a lot of my baking. It tends to give baked goods a denser, fine crumb, but is not gummy. Almond flour is also great to have on hand for gluten free baking!

These would be even better with fresh, barely sweetened whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, but we used some half and half to add some moisture and richness to the shortcakes. Over the season, fill with whatever fruit you have on hand; peaches and nectarines would be lovely, as would any other berry.

Strawberry Shortcake

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling

4 tbsp cold butter, cubed

1/3-1/2 cup of buttermilk or milk

1 egg, whisked

Strawberries or other fruit, as much as you want

Whipped cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a baking sheet. Trim and hull your strawberries. If they need a bit of a flavor boost, toss them in a bit of sugar and vanilla extract. Another option is to toss them in sugar and balsamic vinegar for an interesting twist.

Combine flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles damp sand. Whisk together the milk and egg. Gradually stream in the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Fold until just combined. You may or may not need the entire amount of the milk mixture. Turn the dough out on a floured board and shape into a 12″x6″ rectangle. Cut the dough into 6 shortcakes and transfer to the sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until done.

Cool shortcakes on baking sheet. When ready to serve, split each shortcake and fill generously with berries and whipped cream or a drizzle of half and half. Enjoy!


1 Comment

Filed under summer, sweets

cardamom pear and almond bread

This time of year is hard for creative cooking. We are on our fourth month of kale salads, vegetable soups, lentils, and root vegetables. It is hard to not keep wishing for spring to arrive, along with asparagus, strawberries, and snap peas! I am definitely grateful for all of the work that I put in last summer, canning, preserving, and freezing produce for these months. Nothing perks up a simple meal like a ramekin of dilly beans or pickled carrots!

Baking is what I turn to in the winter. Not only do I get a treat afterwards, but the apartment is warm and cozy for the next few hours! This is an easy tea bread that makes use out of another winter storage staple: pears. A lot of pears are good cold storage types, allowing farmers to keep coming to the market with local fruit all through out the winter. If you do not want to go through the (very little!) effort of making pear sauce, you  are more than welcome to use a commercial applesauce; just make sure it is unsweetened. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices and here it compliments the pear and almonds quite nicely. I decreased the sugar from the original recipe a bit because I intended on eating this sliced, lightly toasted, and spread thick with last year’s apple butter. Delicious for a light breakfast, with a cup of afternoon tea, or as a not-to-sweet dessert.

Cardamon Pear and Almond Bread

adapted from eatliverun

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup sucanat or sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaw + 3 tbsp water)

1 cup pear sauce (about 2-3 ripe pears, diced, and cooked for about 5 minutes or until soft and pureed until mostly smooth) OR applesauce

2 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

about 1 cup of almonds, ground almost finely in a food processor or blender

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, egg, pear sauce or applesauce, and melted fat. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, until just combined. Fold about 3/4 of the ground almonds into the batter and pour into the prepared pan and top with the remaining almonds and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack and enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under breakfast, pickle, sweets

pumpkin gingerbread

Less than two weeks until Thanksgiving! I am excited to cook the big meal, maybe run a turkey trot, and turn my mind towards holiday baking. I love all of the warm spices often associated with the season, especially ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. So it is no surprise that I gravitate towards gingerbread and ginger cookies. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that this is only one of several gingery recipes that I have made so far this season and there will most likely be many more.

This pumpkin gingerbread has a good punch of spice and rich molasses flavor and still manages to be light and delicate. A square warm from the oven makes a great dessert (ginger is good for digestion, right?) and any leftovers make a pretty delicious and slightly indulgent breakfast the next day. The original recipe includes an additional suggestion for a cinnamon infused buttercream on top, but I really liked this just by itself.

On a side note, I recently purchased several plates from the new West Elm in Seattle, such as the one above, from the Organic Shaped Dinnerware collection. I love them and they are pretty cheap to boot!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

slightly adapted from Oh She Glows, one of my favorite vegan food blogs.

1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup sugar or sucanat (if you like things sweeter, go up to 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup molasses

1 flax egg, 1 tbsp ground flax plus 3 tbsp water, mixed and set aside until thickened. Or, 1 egg

1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

generous handful of chopped, toasted walnuts, optional, but highly recommended

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a 9″x3″ loaf pan or an 8″x8″ pan. A square pan bakes a bit fast, allowing me to eat this gingerbread a bit quicker.

Combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sugar, oil, molasses, and flax or real egg in a mixing bowl. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, spices, and salt in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold until just incorporated. Fold in the toasted nuts, if using.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes (loaf pan) or 25-30 minutes (square pan) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack, stealing small slices every few minutes, and hope that no one notices.

1 Comment

Filed under breakfast, ginger, holiday, sweets

apricot fig bread

Oh no! It has started to rain here. And from what I have been told, will not stop until sometime next June. In defense, may I suggest some fresh apricot fig bread and a mug of hot tea? I have made this bread a few times and, as with most quick breads, it is best the first day. This bread is easy to throw together with whatever dried fruit you have on hand, but I really liked the combination of dried figs and apricots. It is whole grain, potentially vegan, and not too sweet.

Apricot Fig Bread

adapted from fannetastic food

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1/3-1/2 cup cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanant

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup applesauce (I have used a combination of applesauce and yogurt before and it has turned out fine)

1 large mashed banana (or 1/2 cup yogurt)

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with three tbsp water, set aside to thicken)

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped (I have used prunes instead and it is also delicious)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the applesauce, mashed banana, and flax egg or real egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold until everything is just combined. Fold in the dried fruit, and pour into a greased and floured pan. I used a 8″x 8″ pan, but you can also use a loaf pan or make muffins. Sprinkle on a bit of coarse sugar and rolled oats to make it look pretty. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. For the 8″x 8″ pan, it was about 30 minutes; a loaf pan will take 45-50 minutes.

Leave a comment

Filed under breakfast, from the pantry, fruit, quick, sweets

cat cake

We made a cat shaped cake for a friend’s birthday a couple weekends ago. Not only was it cat shaped, it also was checkered inside! When cut, it looks pretty impressive, but really it is quite simple to do, provided that you have the proper tools. The cakes used were a simple vanilla/yellow cake and a delicious chocolate cake, with a thin layer of raspberry filling (just some thinned out jam) and vanilla buttercream. In order to cut and shape the cake easily, I recommend freezing, or at the very least heavily chilling the layers. The best results will come with the use of a stencil, easily made by a manilla folder, an x-acto, and  a straightedge, the last two items are best acquired over 6 years of architecture school.

I really liked the chocolate cake that I wound up using. The crumb was tender and moist, even after a lot of fridge time, flavorful enough to be eaten sans frosting and held up to the flipping, flopping, and shaping. Using some raspberry jam brushed onto the cake will ensure some moisture, so I highly recommend doing that, especially with all of the freezing. I wish I could have let the crumb coat set on the cake a bit longer, as a result, the final icing was a bit messy, but maybe that just added some interest to the final cat.

If anyone is interested in a “how to” tutorial about making the layers and shaping, leave a comment and I will write up a more detailed post. If you don’t want to attempt a cake cat, this chocolate cake, served with some chocolate frosting or vanilla buttercream, is sure to disappear at your next summertime gathering.

We celebrated at Delancey, the pizza joint run by Orangette and her husband. It was DELICIOUS and the staff was so awesome and accommodating that they stored the cake in the fridge, and took it out in time for it to come up to room temp. They even stuck candles in for eyes! Hooray!

(Photos from Stephanie)

Chocolate Layer Cake

adapted lightly from gourmet, via smitten kitchen

This recipe is sized for 2 10 inch round layers; I made 1 9×13 sheet and 6-7 cupcakes out of this recipe. Nothing wrong with having extra cake!

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups hot coffee

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (not dutch processed)

2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp fine salt

3 lrg eggs, room temp

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of soymilk, well mixed)

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300. Baking at a lower temp for longer results in flatter, more even layers. Flatter layers=less leveling. Grease and line pans with parchment and then grease again.

In a heat proof bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and hot coffee and let it sit until melted. Meanwhile, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs until they lighten in color and become a bit thicker (3-5 minutes with an electric beater) stream in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Then add the melted chocolate mixture. Do this slowly. Beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until the batter is just mixed.

Divide into the awaiting pans. I usually drop the filled pans onto the counter from a few inches to let any air bubbles rise to the surface and pop. Bake in the middle of the oven until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. This will differ based on your pan size and oven. Cool in pans and then flip out onto a rack, if needed, or just frost in the pan and enjoy.

Leave a comment

Filed under sweets, Uncategorized

ginger chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches

last week, i ate my last mission burrito, avocado enchiladas, and breakfast tacos in houston and moved to seattle. luckily, this past weekend was picture perfect northwest summer weather and filled with a trip to gasworks park, ice cream bars, and guacamole. i am not sure what i will be doing with my life, but i hope to keep up with this little blog, get a patch at a community garden, and continue to cook delicious, (mostly) healthful food. and with the slow seattle spring, i get more of my favorite spring produce again. shaved asparagus salad, strawberries, and morels in cream will all be eaten soon.

one of the last things i made in houston were these ginger chocolate cookies from super natural everyday. i had to use up some unsweetened chocolate so they turned out to be not quite sweet enough, but perfect for ice cream sandwiches. i omitted the chopped apricots since i didn’t have them on hand and used sucanat instead of plain sugar. these are definitely grown up cookies with a spicy ginger kick and deep chocolate flavor.

and thoughts on super natural everyday? heidi swanson’s blog 101 cookbooks has long been one of my favorites and i adored her other cookbook super natural cooking. all of the recipes are full of whole grains, seasonal produce, and quirky little touches. the photography is beautiful and everything that i have made delicious.

ginger chocolate cookies

1/2 cup turbinado sugar (i wound up not using all of it)

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped very finely

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup molasses

2/3 cup sugar or sucanat

2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 egg, beaten


combine the turbinado sugar and chocolate in a small bowl. in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt. heat the butter in a saucepan until just melted, stir in the molasses, sugar or sucanat, and fresh ginger. whisk in the egg (make sure the butter mixture is not super hot). add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined. chill for about 30 minutes.

preheat the oven to 350 and line/grease two baking sheets. scoop out the dough by tablespoon and roll in the chocolate and sugar mixture. place on the baking sheet and squash gently with the bottom of a glass and bake for 7 to 10 minutes.

fill with your favorite ice cream for ice cream sandwiches, which, in this case, was blue belle vanilla.

1 Comment

Filed under ice cream, sweets

gluten-free strawberry cupcakes

i wanted to make something for a gluten-free friend for her birthday many, many weeks ago. unfortunately with charrette and finals, i didn’t get a chance until this past week. continuing with the strawberries from this past week, here are gluten-free strawberry cupcakes!  gluten-free baking is certainly another beast. there are so many flours and starches to chose from! but here, coconut flour seems like a good idea and i like that these are sweetened with honey or agave nectar. i liked the dense crumb and the fluffy cream cheese frosting. but in the end,  i liked that i could make something (successfully!) for a friend to enjoy, most of all.

gluten-free strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

from joy the baker

after eating one two, i thought that next time i could lighten this up a bit if i beat the egg whites separately and folded them in at the end, like an angel food cake. if anyone does this, let me know how it turns out. also, these baked up pretty dark in my oven, so keep an eye on them. or use cupcake liners. also, these really do only need 1/2 cup of coconut flour!

1/2 c coconut flour

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 lrg eggs (room temp)

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 c finely diced strawberries, plus more for garnishing

preheat oven to 350. line or grease 8-9 cupcake molds.

whisk together the coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda. make sure to whisk out any lumps in the coconut flour. in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, and vanilla. add the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir well. the batter will get thicker as you stir. fold in the diced berries. scoop out to the prepared pan and bake about 20 minutes or until cakes are done. cool on a rack and frost.

cream cheese frosting

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp honey

beat the cream to stiff peaks. in another bowl, beat the cream cheese to lighten and beat in the vanilla and honey. fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and frost your cupcakes!

photo taken at pondicheri, houston, texas

Leave a comment

Filed under fruit, gluten free, sweets