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0 In food/ recipes

an insomniac oven

hazelnut chocolate cake pieces

I’ve struggled with sleeplessness since high school, and am a total night owl. I sometimes work or read until the wee hours of the morning, but more often than not, midnight finds me in the kitchen.  We do mostly homemade sweets around here, so sometimes I’m getting ahead on the next day’s to-do list- gotta keep dessert stocked! But most of the time I’m just relaxing and recipe testing, so I wanted to share a few of our recent favorites.

smore pie

This s’mores pie was rich and creamy and delicious.  David doesn’t love dark chocolate the way I do, so I used half dark and half milk.  I thought it was perfectly sweet that way, but it’s not supersweet like actual s’mores- some more or or even all milk chocolate will get you there.  And seriously, if you haven’t made homemade marshmallow yet, you need too- it’s much easier than it looks!

hazelnut chocolate pour hazelnut chocolate cake milk

Deb over at smitten kitchen mentioned that Chef Suzanne Goin served this brown butter and hazelnut confection as her own wedding cake, and I totally see why now. I adore the flavor of brown butter, and it balanced perfectly with the moreish texture of the nuts and the ganache draping. The cake came together quickly and disappeared from the cake plate in the same fashion.  I’ve more hazelnuts in the fridge, so I’m certain it will have a return engagement one night soon.

profiterole shouquette dorie greenspan

I’m totally on a cream puff kick.  In all honestly, we’ve had them two nights in a row, and I’m not even embarrassed by that-  they’re damn delicious. I’ve been using Dorie Greenspan’s pâté à choux recipe (currently reading her Baking Chez Moi),  filling them with a mix of vanilla custard and freshly whipped cream, dipping or drizzling them with ganache, and devouring by the plateful.

pb and j cake sparkler pb and j cake

Elaborate birthday cakes are the norm around here, as is replacing candles with fireworks. David mentioned wanting a pb&j inspired cake this year, so I ran with that one night. I stacked peanut butter cake with strained strawberry jam, then slathered it with fluffy brown sugar-peanut butter frosting, another slick of jam, and chopped salted peanuts. It was enormous (too big for the cake bell) and phenomenal.

pb and j cake shakeAnd the better the cake, the better the cake shake! Leftover cake into shakes is one of my very favorite revamps, and I love mixing up different flavors.  This version included pb&j cake, strawberries, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, malted milk powder, and a healthy splash of amaretto. Sometimes I even get fancy… like whipped cream and a slice of cake on top.

I guess you could say night times are good times in the Coe kitchen.


0 In recipes

rainbow cookie cake

For as long as I can remember, I have been really into rainbow cookies.  As a child, I was notorious for raiding cookie platters at parties to have all the rainbows for myself, and for going straight-up Cookie Monster if lucky enough to find myself unattended with a plateful or bakery box. Some things never change- I’m still obsessed and David is now, too. The kosher bakery in my mom’s neighborhood makes my absolute favorite ones, (White Plains Bake Shoppe if you happen to be in NYC suburbs), and I always scarf them when I’m visiting… And fly back to LA with a box too.  But I can’t exactly fly cross country for cookies, and I have never, not once, found these on the west coast, which is a travesty.

So when faced with a craving one day, I went on a recipe hunt. I came across one for a rainbow cookie cake from Adam Roberts, and the game was on, y’all.

I’ve bumped up the almondy goodness a bit, and frankly, it’s freaking delicious.  It’s dense (in the best possible way), but super tender. It’s certainly rich, but semisweet chocolate and quality preserves keep it from being overly sweet. It’s a regular on the celebration rotation, for birthdays and holidays, and the leftovers, if any survive, keep beautifully in the fridge- the ganache gets even more decadent.

I always need to level my cakes to stack them evenly. Here, I layered the cake tops with homemade preserves,  just as I did the proper cakes, then used a biscuit cutter for some darling little mini cakes.  We had some happy neighbors this night.


Rainbow Cookie Cake 

(adapted from the Amateur Gourmet


  • 3 sticks butter, softened, plus more for greasing pans
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 14 ounces almond paste (two packages)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons real almond extract
  • 2 generous tablespoons Amaretto
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • gel food coloring- red, yellow, green
  • 1/4 cup red fruit jam (I used cherry, raspberry works too.)
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • chocolate sprinkles, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350′. Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans, lining the bottoms with circles of parchment.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Begin adding almond paste slowly into the running mixer- it’s easiest just to pinch off little bits by hand. Once you’ve added both tubes, mix for at least five minutes, until the mixture is smooth and appears lump free.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, then extract and amaretto, then milk, continuing to mix through and fully incorporating each addition. Don’t fret if the consistency goes a little haywire- it’ll smooth out.
  4. Add dry ingredients- flour, salt, baking powder- and mix just until incorporated. Divide batter evenly into three bowls, adding gel food coloring for bright pink, green and yellow batters.  Pour each into a prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely, then level if necessary.
  5. Peel parchment off pink cake first, and place it on cake stand or platter. If appearances matter, go ahead and line the platter by slipping pieces of parchment under the edge of the cake- it will make the ganache frosting process much neater.
  6. Spread red fruit preserves to edges of pink cake layer, top with yellow layer. Repeat with apricot preserves and green layer.
  7. In a saucepan, warm cream on medium heat just till bubbles form. Add chocolate chips, then turn off heat. Whisk until the chocolate is all melted and the ganache is smooth.
  8. Pour and spread an even layer of ganache all over the stacked cake- an offset spatula is the best tool for the job. If desired, press chocolate sprinkles into ganache. Pull away the parchment around the bottom and take drips and excess along with it. Let set for an hour or two before serving.
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