Week 13: My Recipe for Coconut-Banana Cake

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Anyone who’s anyone that shops at Trader Joe’s knows their bananas are the best deal in town. At 19 cents a pop they’re hard to beat. Throw them in you smoothies, pack them as a mid-afternoon snack, sprinkle them over a little peanut butter toast–you can’t go wrong. However, you can go wrong when you leave them on your counter uneaten all week. And since you’re anyone who’s anyone, you know that Trader Joe’s produce isn’t one to wait around for you to eat it. Don’t even get me started on how fast their conventional sweet potatoes last!

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Week 12: Vegan Chocolate Cake

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I double checked the astrology charts to make sure mercury wasn’t in retrograde. Maybe it has to do with the change of the seasons, but I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself craving chocolate cake. While I usually go for light fruitier flavors with a nut flour based recipe, I could not get the thought of biting into a luscious slice of chocolate cake out of my head.

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But why vegan?

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Week 11: Almond Ricotta Cake with Blood Oranges

Of all the ingredients to have on hand, blood oranges might have been the most fortuitous. Rooting around my refrigerator, the royal purple-red color caught my eye, begging to be more than a brown paper bag after thought, the blushing porous skin becoming a seductive canvas for this week’s cake.

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Before I even started week 1, I had this recipe tucked away on my book shelf. The inspiration for this cake comes from issue No. 7 of my favorite indie magazine, Cherry Bombe. For those of you who know me, you’ve probably heard me talk about the magazine, and for those of you who read it, it’s from the issue with Chrissy Teigen on the cover. The recipe accompanied the article, From Scratch, highlighting the matriarch behind San Francisco’s acclaimed bread bakery, Tartine. You can find the recipe on, Tartine Matriarch, Liz Prueitt’s Instagram as well as in the magazine; however, I recommend picking up a copy of the magazine, it’s really something special.

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Week 10: Pistachio Cake with Honey Apples

I’ve had boxed cake in the back of my mind for a while now. Before you start to question my cake-baking scruples, I want to point out that nowhere in the Sweet Sweet Love parameters does it state that I cannot phone a friend, aka dial up my girl Betty Crocker.

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If there was ever a week to make a box cake, this would have been it. I traveled to Michigan over the weekend and was welcomed back to Chicago with back to back booked weeknights. Not ideal for baking a cake, letting it cool and eagerly waiting for the perfect Saturday morning light to snap a few pictures. however, I didn’t want to give into cake mix just yet!

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Week 9: Tahini-Date Cake

Sometimes we crave things that comfort us. Whether it’s places, food, activities or people, there are certain rituals we lean on to guide our feet back to earth when deep breaths aren’t enough.

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After watching the Oscar nominated documentary shorts, i.e. an emotionally draining evening, and allowing other anxiety inducing thoughts to enter my mind, I found myself scrambling for the rituals that balance me and put my mind at ease. It’s no surprise that baking cake is on the top of that list.

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Week 8: Plum, Pistachio & Lemon Cake

This weekend the air in Chicago turned sweet. Stepping outside on Friday afternoon, I took my first few breaths of the unseasonable weather, mildly unsure if the warmth I was feeling was true. After my second breath, I was convinced, spring is definitely coming.

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It’s interesting how as the seasons change our tastes begin to turn as well. We trade in cozy sweaters for swingy sun dresses and prefer morning runs over Netflix marathons. As the winter grays fade way to blue afternoons and pink sunsets, we start to crave foods that match our vernal surroundings–brighter, fresher, lighter.

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Week 7: Nostalgic Mini Morsel Pound Cake

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Seventh through twelfth grade, I coveted my best friends lunch box. Not because of the sandwiches with hand cut rotisserie chicken and munster cheese layered between ‘everything’ ciabatta rolls. Definitely not because of that. I was envious of what came after the sandwich. When the savory was over, she casually whipped out a parcel fastidiously wrapped in shiny tin foil. Inside the palm sized package was tucked the most delicious mini morsel pound cake her mom made fresh every week! If I was lucky, she’d let me have a bite.

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Week 6: The Hemsley Sisters’ Carrot Cake

Currently I am obsessing over the latest cookbook from the Hemsley sisters, Good + Simple.  The book is full of recipes that source natural ingredients, think cannelloni beans in cake and butternut squash soup steaming with freshly grated ginger. I knew I wanted to incorporate one of their cakes into the challenge, and when I saw that last week celebrated National Carrot Cake Day, I knew exactly what to bake for week 6.

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