Week 17: Chocolate Torta Soffice

I’ve never been a fan of goodbyes. Whether I’m the one leaving or it’s someone else, I usually end up choking back tears and feeling mopey about it for days.

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Case in point, I found out a few weeks ago one of my closest friends was moving to Minnesota for an amazing job opportunity (we’re talking actual childhood dream job!!!). Rather than being devastated about her impending departure, I distracted myself by researching potential cakes to serve at the going away party.

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Week 15: Carrot-Bran Muffin Cake

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It can be incredibly overwhelming and challenging to come up with ideas that will photograph well, taste good and not throw me into a total sugar coma. While I do have a total sweet tooth, I try and keep it in check with healthier indulgences, i.e. date balls, dark chocolate and alternative sweeteners to regular old cane sugar.

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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 3: Yeasted Savory Cake with Fennel, Olives and Capers

Before I started my 52 cake challenge, I started to think about all of the possible iterations of cake, one of which was savory. Since then, I’ve fixated over the idea of a cake filled with herbs, vegetables and cheese.

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I know what you’re thinking… how can savory cake count as actual cake. Trust me, I’m not cheating on the challenge this early. Even though the cake does include vegetables and cheese, the recipe also includes eggs and butter, giving it a rich, moist and decadent crumble, much like a classic traditional cake.

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