• 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.

  • November Inspiration

    Hello ! Happy November! Here’s what’s been on my mood board this month and what’s been inspiring me.

    Falling hard for Henry Street Studio ceramics I want them all!

    Going gaga over A Star is Born and watching the Barbara and Kris version in front of a fire.

    Feeling a sense of comfort in everything Andrew Wyeth.

    Baking the Cinnamon Apple Cake from Simple Cake weekly. Pre-order your cake belly now!

    Drinking this bubbly deliciousness with dessert over the holidays.

    Obsessing over photographer Olive Cotton work and name.

  • The dead easy cookie recipe

    G'day. So apparently it was national cookie day yesterday. God bless America ! It's that time of the year, when you start playing Frank Sinatra singing Christmas songs, watch Elf with your kids, and crank out the cookies. Here's my go-to super simple, shortbread style vanilla cookie, that's essentially a blank canvas for however you want to dress them up. The recipe is from Brooklyn's One Girl Cookies Bakery,so it's foolproof and I've been using it for years. You may want to wrap the dough in the saran wrap, and leave it in the fridge for an hour to firm up but if you're feeling impatient, just dive right in and start rolling.

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    Ingredients

    2 ½ cups (325g)all-purpose flour
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ½  teaspoon salt
    10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

     

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

    2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture has begun to lighten in color and texture, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

    4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on medium speed for 1 minute.

    5. At low speed, add dry mixture to the mixer and mix for 30 seconds. Take the mixing bowl off of the mixer and finish mixing the dough by hand with a rubber spatula.

    6. Make small rounds of dough that are about 1½ tablespoons in size. Roll into a ball. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, gently press each ball, leaving an inch between each cookie. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack. Then gobble them up or gift them, your choice!

     photos: Nicole Franzen