• Coffee & Cake with Amy Chaplin

    Amy Chaplin, is the James Beard Award winning author of, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well. Currently Amy is wrapping up working on her second book, that will be coming out next year with Artisan. I've caught a few sneak peaks at the photos, shot by Anson Smart and I'm just saying, I think we should all be getting excited. I met Amy at a friends art gallery opening in Soho, nearly ten years ago. We gravitated towards each other and ended up spending the entire night talking next to the cheese and wine table, like we've known each other for years. We had a lot in common, growing up in Australia, somehow ending up living in New York, and a deep love of cooking and food. Amy taught me a lot about baking without gluten or refined sugar without sacrificing any of the texture or flavor. Head on over to the recipe page on the blog to give Amy's Lemon Maple Coconut Loaf a spin for a nourishing morning or afternoon cake.

    1) What’s the best cake you’ve ever had?
    It was my 34th birthday cake, made by my sister. I think it’s called a Princess Cake (editor: Prinsesstårta, a traditional Swedish layer cake or torte). It was about 12 thin buttery vanilla layers with chocolate ganache between each one and a thin dark chocolate coating.

    2) What small joys do you get from baking a cake?
    The sheer joy people experience looking at and eating cake. The temporary scent winding through the house.

    3) Who deserves a cake in your community?
    Who doesn’t? :)

    4) What’s been your best cake fail?
    No cake fails are good. But a lot can be hidden by a really good frosting.

    5) Who would you like to have a slice of cake with?
    My mother. No one likes my cakes more!

    6) Any tips for the cake bakers at home? 

    Give it a try! It’s worth the time and mess, as nothing tastes as good as homemade cake.

    ***

    Amy, I 100% agree, frosting can hide all sorts of sins, but the main point is, you gave it a crack. Even if your cake is lopsided, or full of unexpected character...who cares! You've still got cake. 

  • Coffee & Cake with Julia Turshen

    Toward the end of editing "Simple Cake," my editor and I had to ruthlessly cut pages. I was over what the book had been commissioned and my publisher had already kindly negotiated me an extra twenty-four pages. One of the things that got cut was the reference page. I loved this page because it was an extension of my bookshelf. A list of all the wonderful authors and books that I have turned to for advice, recipes, inspiration and companionship over the years.

    In the lead up to the release of "Simple Cake," I’ve decided to share a series of five quick questions with some of the authors that were on the list. And yes, it’s all about cake.

    So friends, meet Julia Turshen: writer, cook, activist and good soul. Be sure to check out Julia’s books: "Small Victories," "Feed The Resistance" and the newly released "Now & Again." Anyone who names a cake ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life Cake’ is a woman of my own heart. Julia is the connective tissue between food and community. Her work is bigger than just a beautiful image. It’s about empowering home cooks, and making sure all walks of life are welcome at the table.

    1) What’s the best cake you’ve ever had?
    I love coconut cake and the best I've ever had is the one made by the great Dolester Miles in Birmingham, AL.

    2) What have you learned from baking?
    So much! At a young age, baking was the only thing that helped me really understand math and science. I still think of any fraction in terms of cups….! Baking also teaches me over and over about the power of patience and the possibility of transformation. Each time I pull a baked good out of the oven, it feels like a small victory.

    3) Who deserves a cake in your community?
    Every single public school teacher and volunteer firefighter.

    4) What’s been your best cake fail?
    I have done the dreaded thing where you mistake salt for sugar. That's hard to come back from.

    5) Who would you like to have a slice of cake with?
    If it could be someone who is no longer with us, then definitely my Aunt Debby who had the sweetest tooth. If someone living, Michelle Obama.

    ***

    Yes, mistaking salt for sugar is very hard to come back from. If you meet with Michelle…call me…I’ll bring the cake. I’m planning on baking Julia’s ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life Cake’ for Halloween this week. I know it’s going to be a winner because it has buttermilk in it! Thanks so much Julia.