A few weeks ago I hopped in a car and drove 2 hours north to a small town called Solvang where I checked into a cozy little hotel and put on a robe (my favorite part) and was then scurried off to dinner (not in the robe, I put on real clothes) on a vineyard. Not the usual Monday around these parts but I reveled in being outdoors, tasting wine and food for a few hours straight.
This was all in honor of ALDI grocery stores coming to Southern California. I’m visiting my first ALDI store in a few weeks and can’t wait to show you more. I’m excited about the extensive organic products they have, especially organic butter and organic dairy (my two most expensive splurges in any given week).
In the meantime, here’s a little bit about my experience at the dinner and how it inspired this recipe for a Chocolate Bundt Cake with Almond-y Cream Cheese Frosting.
I know it’s not your birthday but I made you a birthday cake. I’m guessing I probably have never wished you a happy birthday because there are a few of you and I’m not exactly sure when all of your birthdays are. And even if we were friends on Facebook, I never check it because it’s filled with a bunch of people’s kids from high school and random political rants that make my eyes roll back very far into my head, so FB isn’t a reliable birthday reminder for me anymore. So….I figured I’d make you this cake and whenever your birthday shows up, you can just look at this post and know I’m wishing you a happy birthday!!
I love making people birthday cakes. If you follow me on snapchat (acozykitchen), you might’ve caught a glimpse of me making Josh’s birthday cake. I wanted to show step by step how I was putting it together. And then I made the biggest mistake: I left the room. I came back and Amelia had somehow managed to get herself up onto the counter and eat half of it! Yes, nearly half. It was actually very similar to the cake you see pictured: a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (luckily i hadn’t frosted it yet when she consumed a big chunk of it).
When Tessa’s beautiful book showed up in the mail, Layered, I was immediately drawn to this classic. I figured I needed to give it another go, with Amelia far far away from it.
Today I’m headed to Santa Ynez (right by Santa Barbara) for a super short trip for the grocery store ALDI (more on dat soon!). I have a few days of eating and drinking and taking lots and lots of photos—-I’m excited.
It’s super cliche but right now I’m really inspired by trips to the farmer’s market. I don’t always go the farmer’s market, which surprises most people since I live in California but my defense is that I bake a lot and many times when I’m recipe testing for the blog, I already have an idea of what I want to cook and many times the farmer’s market is too fickle. sometimes they have stuff and sometimes they don’t, so I usually just buy my ingredients from the grocery store. but recently, walking through the aisles of the markets has been so inspiring.
Thank you for contributing to the very serious reality television conversation. SO many good recommendations that I’m mostly scared to check out because what will happen if I watch that much reality TV?! Will my brain turn to mush?! PROBS. I’ll need to balance that shit out with some articles from the New Yorker.
Let’s talk about this dessert because it’s the freakin’ weekend. This “winter” the two drinks that have been in very heavy rotation have been the golden milk tea and chai tea from The Year of Cozy. I usually make them for a mid-afternoon pick me up when really my body is calling for espresso but I’m scared I’ll be up all night. Those two drinks help me the most in that scenario.
When I’m recipe testing, I like to prop up my computer on a cutting board and watch trashy television. It helps cake and pie and cookie failures go down a bit easier.
Oh and my standards for trashy tv are SO low. It has been everything from Say Yes to the Dress (the Atlanta season is my favorite) to Rich Kids of Beverly Hills (oof!) to what I’m currently watching, Teen Mom.
Teen Mom always makes me want to throw things at my computer because the teen boys are usually gigantic babies and can’t get it together. Like, you have 3k worth of speeding tickets and you’re still getting them!! (This actually happened.)
This cake, inspired by my childhood favorite (the sno ball!), was created with Teen Mom playing in the background.
Episode after episode, I still yell at the television over the same thing: usually the boyfriends being immature babies. Not all the dudes are bad but omg most of them are. LIKE GROW UP!
For the broken hearted! Or the people who have had a rough few months on The Tinder.
These cookies are dedicated to my former single self who sort of hated Valentine’s day and would vom a little bit when she’d see cute couples at Whole Foods buying groceries to cook dinner with each other. So much side-eye but only because I was really lonely and isolated. Looking back I should’ve learned to enjoy that time so much more.
I was reading this book called Cooking by Hand one night and came across a description of a recipe (there are barely any photos in the book) called zuccotto. I liked the name and said it like I was an old Italian man: “zuccccotoo!” V exaggerated, you know?
It sounded really interesting: a dessert made with slices of poundcake and put into a mold and stuffed with whipped cream. I did some googling and came across this really fun video of this man making his with lady fingers and flavoring the ricotta with amaretto, chocolate, marscapone and nuts and fruit. When he removed it from the bowl, it looked amazing!
I was sold. I made this with poundcake instead of lady fingers and I stuffed it with a few different flavored ricottas.
I watch MasterChef Junior and am sort of in awe of those kids, on television, articulating themselves so well, while perfectly icing cupcakes. Like, what was I doing at age 10?!
Let’s see…I was probably convincing my mom to give me money (or trying to earn it by doing random chores) so I could ride my bike to the corner store and load up on Starbursts to only pick through them and only eat the pink ones. I was probably thinking about my frizzy hair and how unlucky I was to be born this way bc no boy would ever like me. Now, I like my hair but still only like the pink Starbursts. We don’t change that much!
I’m currently watching Little Women over and over with a million blankets over me. It’s legit cold in LA, like, maybe colder than New York and other parts of the east coast. WEIRD! But I’m not complaining, I love it, please continue this, LA.
Not sure if you noticed but it’s December and the world has been taken over by gingerbread houses and buche de noels and hot toddies. I’ve been out of town for the past few weekends so the next few days are my first time heading into to holiday soirees.
If you, too, are looking to make something chill and delicious, here are some options:
I’m currently eating a cannoli mid-flight, making my way back to Los Angeles where Amelia and Joshua are waiting for me.
The past few months have been filled with lots of traveling and me going from one place to the next. This homebody is V excited to stay put for a while.
I’ve been wanting to make some form of babka for a long time because the spiral chocolate vibes make me super happy.
Initially I wanted to make something similar to these wreaths (aren’t they beautiful?!) but then I tried it and this dough, while delicious, spread (thanks to maybe too much butter). But, they work great when formed into a knot and baked up in a muffin tin! Second (or third time, can’t remember) was a success.