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.
Every now and then I look at my inbox and a random person sends me something called a “food trend report.” This has happened multiple times and usually before I even open it, I sort of roll my eyes because most of the time they’re filled with super trite info like, “kale is on trend!” or “quinoa is trendy.”
Things that make you go, kewl info. But one place I love to read about trends is within the pages of Bon Appett. The trends they talk about are definitely before they hit mainstream so they make me think a lil’ bit and make me go, huh…kewl.
In a recent issue (I forget which month), it was all about kefir being a big thing now. And not just for hippies or people trying to settle an upset stomach but an ingredient that chefs and home cooks are putting all up in their foods. I figured I’d give a simple dessert a big of a tangy twist with kefir.
Enter: dis banana pudding. It tastes almost like normal banana pudding. It’s that kind of twist that will make people a little puzzled when they eat it. They might think to themselves, “this is good but what’s different about 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.
This weekend is the quiet before the storm. My April is a gigantic busy monster with fangs and I like to think that next week is the prep before I have this spring-like metamorphosis into a busy bee.
Speaking of bees…for the past few weeks there has been a nest behind my apartment growing and growing and growing. And it’s sort of grown into a monstrous bee hive which is totally effing scary but also REALLY COOL.
Tomorrow a very nice stoner bee keeper dude is coming over, dressed in his E.T.-like costume to remove the honeycomb one by one and transport all 10,000 bees and the queen bee to South Pasadena.
I’m really excited to watch through my glass back door, which will very much shield me from said 10k bees and my face. I, of course, asked if I could have some honey but he said everything has to go into the boxes, every drop of honey. Kind of a bummer but I’m excited about their new life.
We’re back at it on this Monday morning. I’m wishing you a chill to-do list, lots of coffee and warm memories of a restful weekend. Right now my mom is in town (she’s a teacher and it’s spring break) so I decided to take a mini break, too, which meant that last week was complete insanity trying to prepare for taking a break. But I’m doing it, enjoying it and thriving!
This cake is from Yossy’s new book, Sweeter Off the Vine. Yossy’s book is so beautiful. The chapters are divided by season and fruit. The recipes include everything from cakes to ice creams to popsicles to crumbles. When I saw this rhubarb upside down cake I was like, yussssss.
Upside down cakes are maybe my favorite type of cake because they’re ridiculously easy. No layers. No frosting to make.
I always like creating patterns if I can. And this one couldn’t be simpler, all that’s really required is cutting the ribs of rhubarb to fit the pan, after they’ve cooked with the sugar, vanilla bean and butter.
And let me tell you, butter and rhubarb are SO good together.
Lately I’ve been lucky enough to have it together so I actually shoot my blog posts a week or so before they go up. This leads to me not being super duper stressed about things not working out, recipe wise. It also makes it so my photo editing and writing timeline is a lot more chill. But last week I had the hardest time getting rhubarb (s/o to Whole Foods for making it happen!) and late last week I was on panel after panel so I was totally out of the kitchen.
Leaving my house is such an event! So two days in a row had me for a lil’ bit of a loop. Yesterday was the day to bake this much awaited pie and getting the topping just right was sort of stressful. I was covered in flour from head to toe and my socks which are black were like grey. But the pie worked! And I love it so much!
Today is pi day! One of the best days of the year and the day the internet throws up so many pie recipes that by the end of the day you’re probably sick of pie.
This one is pretty simple. Just rhubarb and pears and brown sugar. The meyer lemon zest gives it nice, fresh flavor.
The act of binge-watching is one of my favorite past times. It’s always so nice and cozy to be in sweats, in bed, with a dog at your feet and selecting “play next episode” over and over again.
It always makes me a feel a little lazy and terrible about myself after but during it’s great! This past weekend I plowed through the new season of House of Cards. It’s like political candy. I couldn’t stop myself!
During the entire time of watching ova and ova again, I was craving a milk tea. One of the perks of living in LA is the large amounts of boba shops all over. I loooooove milk tea. I recently started making it at home because I’m too lazy to leave the house AND I get to make it with almond milk so I feel less badly about drinking it all of the timez. (Highly recommend the almond milk version because it’s so tasty and less heavy.)
This legit is maybe the strangest looking cookie I’ve ever made. I hesitated about sharing this one because I was like, “Are they gonna think I’m weird?!” but then I was like, they already know I’m weird so it’s ok.
We’re friends like that!
These cookies are sort of halloween looking. When I finished them I gave them a little side-eye not gonna lie, but then I tried them and they are so good! SO GOOD.
I had black sesame paste in my pantry (not an obvious pantry staple, I know) and was in the mood to incorporate it into a cookie. I googled “tahini thumbprint cookie” to see if it had been done before and the first thing to pop up was my recipe! DUH MOMENT! I made tahini thumbprint cookies with concord jam a few years ago. Forgot about ‘em.
I tweaked this recipe and paired it with lemon curd after I saw these beautiful cookies from Hummingbird High (her blog is so pretty!).
It was the best combination evrrr. Thanks, Michelle for da inspo!
I’m currently planning a lil’ trip to Mexico this summer (mainly for my best friend’s wedding) and am super amped about spending a night or two in Mexico City. Josh is excited about fancy, five-star Michelin restaurants, while I’m mostly excited about churros on the street.
I want a piping hot churro, as big as my face! served in a paper sleeve. I know I live in Los Angeles and have experienced a good churro but I’m hoping there even better there.
Churro-making is reserved for those special occasions because they require a bit of hot oil. And no, no one should be baking churros. NO ONE.
I usually reserve churro-making for that time when I want to see grown adults get all starry-eyed and excited about something fried and sweet. The matcha sugar that’s dusted all over is the thing that will seal the deal.