Mazel!!

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I made a wedding cake!

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You guys – I am so proud of this one. I’d never made a wedding cake before – and now it’s all I want to do! Informal poll: who among you thinks I should start a side biz for occasion baking? Yes, no, maybe?

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Creating this for Vanessa & Jacob brought me so much joy – if any couple was to be my first for a wedding cake, they were perfect! I’ve known them as a couple for 12 years – and I am so glad they are in my life.

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The wedding weekend was amazing! Beautiful scenery up in mountains and so much love and laughter – I was incredibly happy to be a part of it, especially since my fave human came along to be my handsome dance partner, emotional support, and cake honor guard for the endeavor (and he always has floss for me – what a guy!)

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We had such a great time… you know it’s a solidly amazing wedding when you dance so much you break a shoe! (And yes – before you ask – I did indeed dance all night in those -they make surprisingly comfortable dancing shoes)

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Some progress pictures, just for fun – I think this takes the cake (har har) for my biggest and most involved baking effort to date. But omg, how much fun I had!

Big ol’ vat o’ buttercream:

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I used this recipe – no messing with a classic when it’s for a wedding! I did, however, make it whole wheat and reduce the sugar slightly ;) I mean, come on – it’s me!! I also didn’t use the frosting featured there – I did a simple vanilla buttercream instead, which paired perfectly with almond cake.

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It seemed to be a hit… it all got eaten!!

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I’m so happy! It’s Tuesday and I’m still so thrilled by how well this whole thing went… excuse me while I bask in the afterglow.

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There is a fine mist of edible glaze spray on my phone that won’t come off and it makes me laugh – a great reminder of such a lovely weekend celebrating the love of two of my favorite people, with my favorite person.

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Camp and cherry cobbler

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Hello friends!

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Usually I do a camp post when I get back with a bunch of photos – this post will have to do double duty for that and this cherry chocolate cobbler situation! I came back from camp a week ago and face planted into a squillion work projects, so I am just getting caught up on life.

Camp was so, so amazing as always. It never ceases to amaze me how much impact it’s had on my life over the years (this was year 15! omg) – both in regards to my huge camp family, but also how much it’s helped me grow as a person. I LOVE Two Sentinels: it is truly is my home away from home. I had a great session, with 14 great girls and two amazing co-staff.

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It was a time of some serious belly laughs, friendship, relaxation, grounding, stargazing, singing, rafter climbing, mental resets and a reaffirmation of what is most important in life: love, friends, time in nature, and a break from technology. I’m having wilderness withdrawals!

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Definitely wishing I was still up among the pines in the high sierra, rather than behind a computer, but I know I’ll be back so I guess I can deal for now ;)

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At the very least, it’s nice to not wear shoes 24/7 – I always bake barefoot, and it felt great to get back into the kitchen for some summer baking.

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This cobbler is legit amazing for a summer breakfast – one guess who I ate it with! C and I stepped out for some cool foggy hiking up to Twin Peaks and Glen Canyon (this photo looks like something out of Middle Earth!) and ate it afterwards as part of delicious breakfast spread – usual eggs & kale not pictured but rest assured we ate them anyway.

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C and I have a serious obsession with cream biscuits – you’ve seen them featured in a many of my other desserts, but this time I figured I’d go the chocolate route. Despite looking like they’d be deadly chocolate death, they’re actually very lightly chocolate-y, which sets off the natural cherry sweetness perfectly. The cobbler itself is refined sugar free and whole grain! There is very little added sweetener, which we both love. I suggest making it for breakfast on a lazy summer morning!

Happy Summer!

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Cherry Cobbler with Chocolate Cream Biscuits

Whole wheat and refined sugar free! The natural sweetness of the cherries is complemented nicely by the chocolate biscuits, which despite their appearance are not overly chocolatey. Great for dessert or breakfast! A Wait are Those Cookies original. Serves 2-6, ish. I used my 2 qt dish that is 8 x 8, but you could also do this in a deep 9″ pie dish, or a larger, shallower pan (ie 9×11 or somesuch – it’s very adaptable).

For the filling:

enough cherries to fill your dish of choice! I used about 1.5 lbs, pitted (I used a combo of Bing & Ranier)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp port (optional)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp tapioca starch

For the cobbler:

1 cup whole wheat flour minus 2 tbsp
1/2 c cornmeal
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 c chopped dark chocolate chunks

Heat the oven to 375°F. In your dish of choice, toss pitted cherries with maple, lemon zest and juice, port, and tapioca starch.

Mix the dry ingredients for the cobbler topping. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and chopped chocolate together in a large bowl. Add vanilla and pour in the 1 1/2 cups cream. Stir until just combined.

Scoop 2-tablespoon blobs of the cobbler dough onto the fruit. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Brush the cobbler dough with the 1 tablespoon cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Place the cobbler on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips, or place aluminum foil beneath it in the oven. Bake until the topping is turning golden brown around the edges (difficult to tell with the chocolate – make sure the centers of the biscuits are firm) and the fruit filling is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes.

For the Horde!

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Brace yourselves for another Nerd Pie!

This one is…. FOR THE HORDE! Obviously.

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I thought the red/purple-y color of the filling seemed like an appropriate Horde color, so there you go – Nerd pies strike again!

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I have it on good authority that the leftovers didn’t even last a day, so I consider my mission accomplished. This pie is definitely a winner if you like tart things – there is barely any sweetener in here, since we very clearly like tart things around here. I love unadulterated rhubarb – it smells SO good when it’s baking!

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Pie for breakfast? …. Obviously, have you met us?!

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In other news, aside from pie…

Great hike/walk up to Twin Peaks with fave human and some beautiful wildflowers. Thankfully, this world never stops being beautiful – no matter what else is transpiring.

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Also, I made my mama some Mother’s Day cookies (because she is amazing and in Scotland as of today so it had to be something portable) and this one kind of looks like the Millennium Falcon…? No? Just me?

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Keeping it short because it’s (the end of!) Monday and I’m tired… and can’t quite believe we’re already halfway through May! What?!

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Happy baking!

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Rhubarb, Blackberry and Ginger Pie on a Whole Wheat Crust

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. This pie is for those who love all things tart but naturally sweet: the rhubarb is allowed to be its true self! Sugar need not apply. Sweetened very minimally with a little maple – feel free to eat with whipped cream, ice cream or just plain as you see fit. Yield: 1 9″ pie. Recipe is a riff on the many pies that have shown up on here, such as this one or this one.

For the pie crust:

2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 c unsalted butter
1/3 c vegetable shortening
5-6 tbsp ice water
For the filling:

4 c rhubarb, chopped*
2 c blackberries*
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c whole wheat flour
zest of 2 meyer lemon
juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
1/4 c candied ginger
1/4 tsp salt

*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. In a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, blackberries, maple syrup, whole wheat flour, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes — easiest to do this while you roll out the pie dough.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a lightly greased pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in rhubarb filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and get all Horde-pie nerdy…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Horde crest. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I use a beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, and brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired.

Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the rhubarb filling. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier.

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All things lemon, almond & poppyseed

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Hi blog friends!

I have cream biscuits and meyer lemon curd for you today. These biscuits are a huge favorite around here; in fact, we ate all but one in two sittings but very nearly ate that last one too… I think it will last until tonight but I wouldn’t place bets past midnight!

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These cream biscuits are so fast to throw together and really, they are an excuse for me to use Straus cream, which is just the best thing ever. We ate them with lemon curd and ice cream for dessert, which is awesome, and then with just lemon curd alongside (any guesses?) eggs and kale for breakfast – also awesome, obviously!

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And yes, that mason jar was completely full of lemon curd as of last night. We might more appropriately call it a VAT of lemon curd… which I’m not at all sorry about.

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I am going to keep this short today – today was crazy busy and I’m tired of looking at a computer screen…

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I do want to leave these here:

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Jessie has been featured on here regularly and as of last week I had to say goodbye to her for now. I miss her terribly but I know she’s happily off chasing bugs in kitty heaven with her brother. Such great cats – they are very missed.

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I did some therapy baking this weekend – a batch of my favorite cookies (I should post those eventually… they keep getting eaten before I can take any pictures) – and then of course these biscuits on Monday.

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Side note – lemon curd freezes really well – I’d frozen two batches back in March and it was perfect to pull them out to accompany these for dessert. Obviously they didn’t last long – I’d consider them winners.

Happy May Day!

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Almond Poppyseed Cream Biscuit Shortcakes with Meyer Lemon Curd

Barely sweetened but indescribably creamy, these biscuits are a perpetual favorite around here. They work with pretty much any fruit – we ate them this time with lemon curd and vanilla ice cream. I love this for dessert since it is barely sweetened – there is only a little sprinkled over the tops of the biscuits and the lemon curd only has 2.5 tbsp for the entire batch. The lemon curd is one you’ve seen many times on here, and the cream biscuits lightly adapted from Alice Medrich of Food52, here. Yield: 6 shortcakes.

For the cream biscuits:

1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
4 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tsp baking powder
heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c + 6 tbsp cream
1 tsp coconut sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with three pieces of parchment, to prevent excess browning. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and sea salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the cream and almond & vanilla extracts. Using a rubber spatula, push the flour into the cream (not stirring), until everything is moistened. This really only takes a few seconds! The dough will look shaggy and porous. Drop large spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle generously with coconut sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back once halfway through, until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat warm).

Maple Lemon Curd:

2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1/3 c lemon juice
zest of 4 lemons
pinch of sea salt
2.5 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

I used a double boiler for this lemon curd, which literally is a game changer. Highly recommended! Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler until it’s at a high simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the coconut oil one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, not adding the next tbsp until the first is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the lemon curd thickens and will coat the back of a spoon (or your whisk leaves tracks) – usually around 5 to 8 minutes. It’s a noticeable change when it happens, so just watch the cooking magic! Remove from heat and store in a glass container in the fridge until ready for use.

Serve biscuits with a giant dollop of lemon curd and vanilla ice cream for dessert, or just lemon curd alongside breakfast. The biscuits keep well loosely covered in foil on the counter overnight, but I would definitely bake them the day you plan to eat them – they are best that way!

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Pie in the sky(line)!

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I’ve discovered in the last year that I really love making fancy pies! That’s probably fairly obvious to anyone who reads this on a semi-regular basis — I’m still dreaming of one day starting a pie/dessert business – we shall see!

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This is a start at least – to benefit the Lamplighters at their annual Champagne Gala auction, I made pie! Excited to report that it went for $45 — not too shabby! Besides, it was such a joy to make and to help benefit a group I love — everyone is just winning all around :)

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This one is an ode to my beloved Bay Area – despite all its issues (traffic and ridiculous cost of living, to name a couple), there is nowhere I would rather live. Besides, since the Lamps are based in SF, it was a fitting auction contribution.

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The recipe is the same I’ve made before; namely the Death Star pie (here) – I find wild blueberries are optimal for decorative pies, since the small berries don’t create distortions in the top crust like chunkier things do (think blackberries, rhubarb, and apples). Plus, they look like night sky, AND they’re delicious – what’s not to like. This pie was refined sugar free and whole wheat.

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I’m excited for so many top crust ideas – since I draw my own templates, the options are endless! Watch this space for further pie shenanigans ;)

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Eat, drink and be rosemary

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THIS CAKE.

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OMG.

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Okay okay I know the rule is you’re not supposed to say your own cooking is amazing, but… I’m going to break it. For this cake.

Because, it is OUTSTANDING.

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Probably my favorite cake I’ve ever made, to date. And I’m not the only one – it got rave reviews from the lucky duck who got to eat most of it. So, I consider that a win.

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I am loving rosemary and more ‘savory’ herbs in desserts lately – apologies in advance if there’s suddenly a bumper crop of rosemary or herby desserts on here. It’s just SO good! This cake teeters on the edge between sweet and savory – it’s really not all that sweet, but it’s perfectly satisfying for dessert with some ice cream and strawberries, and perfect for breakfast alongside some eggs and kale (and coffee. obvs).

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I will absolutely be making this again (I think other parties would be amenable to this as well… no, I KNOW they would, they said so!) – it really is my new favorite, go-to cake. It’s also really quick to throw together – the most time consuming part is likely mincing rosemary. But it’s worth it, when your hands and kitchen smell deliciously like rosemary and chocolate and lemon zest.

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In other news, I did some *colorful* art the other day! A short break from my black ink and paper usual beat. It was lovely to paint again – I miss having paint on my hands! I’ll have to rectify that, and soon.

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Do yourself a favor and bake. It’s not so hot right now; the weather is perfect for baking and sharing. Make cake. Feed the ones you love!

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Rosemary, Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake with Dark Chocolate

This cake is a breeze to throw together; and it’s absolutely beyond delicious for either dessert with ice cream & sliced berries, or for breakfast. Lightly sweet and very aromatic, the rosemary is perfectly complemented by the chocolate and hint of lemon. Coconut oil makes for a slightly denser cake with a moist (hydrated?!) crumb. Easily could be gluten free and dairy free – substitute any gluten free all purpose blend for the whole wheat and non-dairy greek-style yogurt for the whole milk greek I used here. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves…. 2! Jk. More like 8 (but save some for breakfast!)

  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt (I use whole milk greek)
  • 2/3 c coconut oil, melted, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1/3 + 1/6 c maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chunks (mine were 70%)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan with coconut oil (I used 8″ and it was perfect with no spillage; you’ll have a slightly shorter cake if you use a 9″).

In a large bowl, whisk together greek yogurt, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, rosemary, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at at time. In a smaller bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add dry into wet, stirring until just combined. Roughly chop the dark chocolate chunks (I like how that yields a variety of chunk size) & add them to the batter. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be golden brown & a tester should come out clean – I took mine out at 40, but realistically it probably could have used another 2-3 minutes to get the center full done (there was a small spot that was less done than I would prefer).

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge, flip the cake onto a plate and then back onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with ice cream (why not?); sliced strawberries are also excellent.

Store any leftovers covered in the fridge overnight – the cake will solidify a bit & be extra delicious for breakfast the next morning.

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Gettin’ figgy with it

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My morning yesterday was perfect: zesting meyer lemons early in the morning, to the sound of rain in the leaves and thunder overhead, under cloudy skies.

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Well, it would have been extra perfect with a latte, but no such luck!

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I LOVE the rainy weather we’ve been having – we don’t get summer storms all that often out here, so I’ve really been enjoying them (minus the super muggy nights – I could really do without that). We’ve also had cooler days, hooray! No more turning my apartment into a sauna by virtue of turning on my oven…

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A few shots from life lately… My last series of weekend snapchats was so stereotypically Bay Area Californian, I had to laugh at myself. Latte –> poolside lounging (with sci-fi novel, obvs) –> whole foods flower display –> sushi….

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However. This is a food blog (well, okay… dessert & baking blog these days), so let’s back to the topic at hand!

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This pudding cake is really fun to make – it totally looks like it’s not going to work when it goes in the oven (fingers crossed, beseeching the baking gods) – the cake batter sinks into the pudding underneath and you think to yourself “OMG THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK AND I WILL BE SCREWED!” but then… you put it in the oven 25 minutes, try to walk away and ignore it….

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Lo and behold, when you take it out, there is CAKE on top of your PUDDING SAUCE! Borderline baking miracle right there, just the sort of thing to make you feel like you’ve won your day, even when it’s only 7am.

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Happy almost-weekend!

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Meyer Lemon Vanilla Pudding Cake with Port Roasted Figs

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. I reduced the sugar heavily & used maple for unrefined-ness, because of personal proclivities… Lightly sweet, super fun concept where the cake bakes into a pudding bath, basically. Essentially it becomes a self-saucing cake, which looks like it won’t work, but it does! Adapted from King Arthur Flour, here. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves 2-5 (but really 2, for dessert & breakfast w/ a few snacking leftovers…)

The port roasted figs are also a great way to use an abundance of figs if you can’t eat them all fresh – they freeze well, and can be kept into the dark winter months when you want some figgy goodness!

For the roasted figs:

  • 1 lb fresh figs (however many you need or want!)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a baking sheet. Slice the ends off each fig, and then halve them. In a large bowl, toss the halved figs with honey, coconut sugar, port, and lemon zest, then place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with foil, and roast for 20 minutes. They will be soft, with more liquid – if you want them drier, bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. When done, carefully remove the foil (watch out for steam!) and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze – I’d say use them within 3 months if you freeze them, for best quality.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons maple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon juice

For the cake:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, minus 2 tbsp
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ square pan (I used a ceramic baking dish with nice results).

To make the sauce: place tapioca in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until no lumps remain. Add the remaining milk, maple, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture simmers, about 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but no more than that. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

To make the cake: in a largish mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice (Or, if you’re me and baking at 6 am and kind of sleepy, just dump it all in one bowl – it’ll turn out just fine). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the sauce. It will kind of puddle into the sauce, which will creep up around the sides, and you will look at it and think that this will never work, but stick with me! Promise.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be golden brown, with some bubbles from the pudding that has crept up around the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for 15 minutes, and serve warm, OR refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat briefly before serving (or just leave at room temp for a few hours). Store covered leftovers in the fridge & eat for breakfast (it’s essentially breakfast food anyway: maple, milk & whole wheat…) Serve with roasted figs, warmed.

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