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14 In food/ lifestyle/ travel

new orleans neutrals

stella-and-dot-necklace cape-shirt-3

Man, oh man, it was good to be home in New Orleans.  The official excuse for the trip was a wedding, for one of my college roommates and sorority sisters. But we always want to spend time with David’s mom, have friends and family to love on, new babies to meet and kiss, so our weekend in NOLA was a long and busy one. Continue Reading →

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 food/ travel

new-to-us nola eats 

If we weren’t socializing or exploring New Orleans during our visit, we were in pursuit of delicious eats. I doubt that’s shocking-  y’all know how passionate I am about food, and we needed to make our first visits to some yummy new spots.

johnny sanchez nola new orleans brunch sunday saints-3 johnny sanchez nola new orleans johnny sanchez nola new orleans brunch sunday saints johnny sanchez nola new orleans brunch sunday saints-2

John Besh and Aaron Sanchez’s bromance is behind the aptly-named Johnny Sanchez, a farm-to-table taqueria in the CBD. We headed there for a hair of the dog and brunch before the Saints game, and it was scrumptious. The smoked pork grillades on jalapeno grits were tender and flavorful, ceviche was perfectly balanced, and we had multiple bowls of queso. Ordering every taco on the menu led to the discovery that there are no bad options there, and the bartender was on point as well.

st roch market new orleans east nola

st roch market puppy cappuccino new orleans nola

The St. Roch Market was renovated and opened after we moved away, so I was excited to check it out for lunch. So many eatery options exist in this Marigny food hall, it was hard to narrow it down and order. An adorable cat-puccino from Coast Coffee was good browsing fuel, and I considered sweet Louisiana satsumas from St Roch Forage excellent souvenirs.

st roch market charchuterie plate bbq pork new orleans nola st roch market gumbo new orleans nola st roch market bbq pork new orleans nola st-roch-market-new-orleans-east-nola-2

The food didn’t disappoint either! I was so pleased with a bowl of duck gumbo, a scrumptious charcuterie plate, and a gigantic pulled pork sandwich.  The blue crab and persimmon salad from Elysian Seafood was fresh and flavorful, the perfect counterbalance to the richness of the rest of the meal.

nola new orleans shaya bead machine nola new orleans shaya pita hummus

As soon as we booked our flight, I made our reservation at Shaya.  I’m obsessed with Israeli food, and  Alon Shaya is racking in the accolades as he modernizes and honors the foods of our forefathers.  We ordered most of the items on the menu, which was an excellent life choice, and tore through mounds of pillowy steaming pita alongside.

nola new orleans shaya shashuka nola new orleans shaya fried califlower nola new orleans shaya avocado toast nola new orleans shaya fried cheese-2 nola new orleans shaya fried cheese nola new orleans shaya falafal nola new orleans shaya girlsfriends

We got an assortment of delicious dips: a trio of hummus topped with lamb ragu, fried chickpeas, and curried cauliflower,  smoky baba ganoush, lutenitsa, tabouleh,  and ikra, a caviar and shallot spread I simply adore. Ever the  avo toast lover, I had to try Shaya’s version, topped with smoked whitefish and pink peppercorn. The crispy halloumi and falafel were crunchy and light, the  shakshouka spicy and delicious, and the duck matzo ball soup downright incredible.  David practically had to roll me and my best girlfriend Shelly out… such a magnificent meal.

liberty cheesesteaks nola new orleans liberty cheesesteaks nola new orleans-2

And I may love a fancy meal, but celeb chefs don’t have anything over decades of friendship.  My friend Mike was one of the first I met at Tulane, and he’s killing it at his restaurant on Freret Street, Liberty Cheesesteaks. It was bustling and it just made me so proud of him, his hard work, and success.

liberty cheesesteaks nola new orleans-3 liberty cheesesteaks nola new orleans pepper tasting liberty cheesesteaks nola new orleans faceNo shocker that all the eats were excellent. I’m not normally a cheez-wiz girl, but it just works with the provolone and steak. Italian subs are my deli go-to, and Mikey is making some killer overstuffed ones, but the personal heat index option is clutch.  With an assortment of locally grown peppers sorted by spiciness, you can turn up the heat perfectly- Padrons are my jam, but I had a taste of all of them!

If you’re headed to New Orleans soon (lucky!), don’t hesitate to try any of these good eats, and make sure and let me know what you think!


0 In food/ recipes

the friday five 004 avocado toast 

Avocado toast is everywhere, it seems. There’s a version on every fancy brunch menu, and at most coffee shops here in LA as well. A million recipes abound, all something to the extent of seasoned smushed avocado, on toasted bread. Let’s be real- it’s not freaking rocket science, but it’s delicious.

avocado lemon bread

That said, we eat unreasonable amounts of it around our house. Most days, it’s merely toasted homemade bread, the avocado seasoned with lemon, salt and peppers (black and Aleppo). But more is more. So I regularly upgrade with yummy toppings, whether for company or mere kicks.


Some of our favorite assortments:

blackberry avocado basil toastblackberries / shallot / basil / Aleppo pepper


pear pecan blue cheese avocado toastsliced pear / Gorgonzola / spicy candied pecans / hot honey


tomato prosciutto balsamic avocado toastgarlic confit / tomato / prosciutto / balsamic vinegar


radish black salt avocado toastsliced radish / smoked salt


chili granola egg avocado toast
fried egg, Bad Seed chili granola (I stockpile this when I’m in New York.)


Try one (or all!) of these avocado toasts, and let me know which is your favorite!



1 In food/ travel

new orleans eats: old faithfuls

new orleans nola water meter

New Orleans is practically a foodie’s fantasyland. Especially on our busy trips, there are never enough mealtimes to eat all the things I want…. what a first world problem! I sometimes have crazy cravings for distinctly NOLA food experiences, so we made a point of making it back to some long-term loved eateries.

nola new orleans la crepe nanou

We ate fondue and mussels at Le Crepe Nanou on our first date a dozen years ago, and celebrated our engagement there as well. There’s nothing like a glass of rosé and a little French bistro romance, and they consistently bring both to the table, along with delicious food.

nola new orleans creole creamery nola new orleans creole creamery inside nola new orleans creole creamery inside-2 nola new orleans creole creamery black and gold crunch

Creole Creamery is just up the block, and I couldn’t help but answer the siren’s call. The darling little boy I made friends with would insist you try the Cookie Monster, creamy vanilla crammed with Oreos and chocolate chip cookies. They mix a whole red velvet cake into their ice cream of the same name, and it is unreasonably good, but they offer a sampler of four mini scoops, and that’s where the party’s at.  Banana cane malt, roasted pistachio, creole cream cheese, brown butter pecan- those are just a few of the yums on offer, but my favorite flavors are seasonal. I devoured my cone of black-and-gold crunch- the French vanilla and chicory ice cream with Oreos and chocolate chips is only available during Saints season.  I’d argue that my artisan ice cream obsession was honed in this old-timey scoop shop… I for sure ate way too much Creole Creamery in college!

nola new orleans la boulangerie nola new orleans la boulangerie-2

Our apartment was conveniently located in the Garden district, perfectly placed for morning walks  toLa Boulangerie.  It’s been revitalized by Donald Link and his restaurant group since we moved away, so it’s no surprise there were lines for their fantastic French pastries and breads. It wasn’t yet king cake season, but the decadent Paris brest, glossy croissants, and bountiful fruit tarts more than made up for it.

the cure bar cocktail nola new orleans the cure bar cocktail sazerac nola new orleans

The Cure really focuses on their mixology- that’s why they make some of the best and most creative drinks in New Orleans. I always suggest some flavors I enjoy to my bartender, and am rewarded with the perfect custom cocktail creation. I can’t be that brave most places, but they nail it every time.

Before heading out for drinks, we had a little take-out dinner party at our house.  We picked up Creole-Italian from Vincent’s, which was a frequent date-night spot in college,  just around the corner from David’s apartment. The corn-and-crab bisque, canneloni,  and Parmesan crusted chicken were all as incredible as I remembered.

crabby jack's nola menu crabby jack's nola crabby jack's

Like every good New Orleans girl, I love me some po-boys. Out near the parish line, Crabby Jack’s makes some of the best in town. Like a blast from the past in the building by the train tracks, the fanciest thing is the display of local art for sale. You order at the counter and serve your own fountain drinks, but who needs fancy service when the food is this good?

crabby jack's oyster po-boy crabby jack's cochon de lait crabby jack's fried green tomatoes shrimp crabby jack's-2

Keeping it classic, my typical poboy order is a half and half of fried gulf oysters and shrimp, dressed with extra hot sauce, but I also have a weakness for the smoked duck. The cochon de lait was juicy and tender and messy and scrumptious, like always. We also got a fried green tomato with shrimp remoulade- old school New Orleans, but for good reason-  the flavors are on point together.

middendorf's seafood middendorf's seafood-2 middendorfs gumbo middendorfs thin fish

In all seriousness, I sometimes dream of Middendorf’s thin fried catfish. You might not think fried fish could be that amazing, but that just tells me you’ve never eaten there. They’ve been serving it along the water in Manchac since the 1930’s, and along with a deep, dark, sausage-and-seafood gumbo and a Dixie beer, the goodness feeds my appetite and my soul.

middendorfs back patio smoke housenola new orleans oustide middendorfs

Growing up, David and his family used to boat across Lake Maurepas and dock out back for supper. it looks much different now- there were major repairs and renovations post-Katrina, but the lake is ever-lovely. We love relaxing out by the water, with a full belly and a fresh beer… even when the mosquitos are out, the bayou is a truly gorgeous place.

lake maurepas middendorfs fuel dock off the freeway



1 In festivities/ food/ recipes

a bacon bouquet


I may be a sucker for nearly any flowers, but not everyone feels that way. David has zero interest in almost all of my floral arrangements, that is, except for when I make a candied bacon bouquet. It’s a perfect Valentine’s Day treat for anyone, especially an enthusiastic carnivore.


One of our favorite restaurants at home in New Orleans, Elizabeth’s, makes the most amazing praline bacon. Over the years, I’ve refined my hot-and-sweet candied bacon recipe- we served twenty pounds of pig candy on our wedding dessert buffet, and I make it regularly for friends, family, special occasions and no reason whatsoever.


For such an impressive display, it’s not an unreasonable amount of work. Yes, drilling holes in the bottom of your mini-muffin pan (wearing eye protection, pleaseandthanks) may take a minute, but that just gives you the ability to whip up a batch of bacon roses anytime.

pulling-the-petals makin-bacon-bouquet


Candied Bacon Roses



  • 1 lb thin cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • cayenne pepper
  • Aleppo or other chile pepper, optional


  • mini-muffin pan
  • electric drill
  • Several stems of artificial roses (3 in pictured bouquet, from dollar tree)
  • aluminum foil
  • cookie sheet



  1. Preheat oven to 375′. Carefully drill drainage holes in the bottom of each well of the muffin pan. Wash and dry well, and place on foil-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Mix brown sugar with enough cayenne/pepper to have an intense sweet-spicy balance,  to your liking. We like ours hot, but start with a half teaspoon or so.
  3. Working with one slice of bacon at a time, dredge both sides of bacon in spiced sugar, pressing to adhere. Gently shake off any excess, and roll slice up into a rose bud shape. Place into muffin pan, and repeat until pan is full.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, until rendered and deep brick red. You may need to lift rosebuds on occasion to let grease drain. They will firm as they render, but not fully crisp until cool.
  5. Meanwhile, strip blooms from floral stems and wash stems well. Place cooled bacon roses on stems, arrange pleasingly, and spoil your valentine deliciously.




0 In food/ recipes

cookbook chronicles: Lemonade


lemonade-on-ventura lemonade-rocksbox-jewlery lemonade-salads

I can be a picky brat about eating out, especially at casual chain restaurants, but Lemonade is one you won’t find me fussing about.  I swear, we grab food there at least once a week.  The Gemini in me adores all the quality options, and I love delicious and varied ways of enjoying my veggies with minimal fuss.  A six-portion salad and a lemonade to share is perfectly sized for a lunch date!


When I saw the Lemonade cookbook at checkout one day, I knew it would be coming home with me. Having tested it in the kitchen, I wanted to share some thoughts on a few recipes I tried in this installment of Cookbook Chronicles.


Going for the namesake, I had to make a lemonade. The key to the tart richness of their lemonades is  a freshly made thick fruit purée. With so many flavor options, I chose pear basil lemonade (page 231), which I’ve never seen onsite. Pears are incredible this time of year, and I love the herbaceous flavor of basil in sweets, so this was a major hit for me.


Unfotunately, the corn chowder (page 171) was not nearly as good. I went for the Malibu clambake variation, which included seafood stock and clams, but the soup was bland and watery and just kindof boring. We tried topping it with smoked paprika, pickled red onions, jalepenos, and each helped, but nothing could fully save this soup.


Black bottom cheesecake brownies (page 201) are my favorite treat from the dessert case at  Lemonade, and I’m a big fan of the chocolate-cheesecake flavor combo in general. But I found this recipe really disappointing- the batter wanted to be clumpy, despite the tedious method, and the finished products were tougher than I’d like. For a chocolate cheesecake craving, I’d rather point you to Smitten Kitchen’s cheesecake marbled brownies for fat superior deliciousness for much less time and effort anyway.


I tend to skip over cookies for more elaborate sweets, but I made these Oatmeal-Golden Raisin Cookies (page 189) over the holidays and they were really yummy.   I love golden raisins, and they were lovely bursts of sweetness in these  tender, chewy cookies.


When I first saw the coconut cake (page 206) in the desert case, I was all heart-eyed over the coconut-milk-soaked layers, but they somehow managed to be both dry and sticky… I thought they might have been serving it a day past its prime. I felt certain I could do better at home, and I did.  The barely sweetened frosting balanced the sweeter cake and filling nicely, though I did substitute half the sugared coconut shreds in the topping with unsweetened coconut flakes.


So it’s been a little hit-or-miss as far as experimenting, but I’m certainly liking having the recipes on hand to some of my favorite salads and homemade dressings. I’m pretty sure more than a few Lemonade recipes will be making it in to the regular mealtime rotation.




2 In food/ travel

The best Tickets in Barcelona

barca-tix-INTOne of the things I was most excited about on our Eurotrip was eating at Tickets. In all seriousness, I set an alarm to wake at 2:55 am one night two months before our trip to score the reservation, and it was worth every bit of wasted sleep.barca-tix-porkleg

As a foodie, this was a serious bucket list item for me. I was on the waiting list for a reservation at el Bullí when Ferran Adrià announced its closure, and was heartbroken at the thought of having missed my chance. So this, his brother’s restaurant, was the next best thing. The Michelin star was reflected in well-executed decor and lovely service. And as we settled in to our seats at the open kitchen, to watch the chefs execute our tasting menu and enjoy our caparainhas, I knew we were in for the meal of a lifetime.


Mini airbags de queso were served on a platter of rock salt.  Filled with Manchego foam, topped with aged Manchego, caviar, and pimentón, it was a cascade of flavors and textures.

barca-tix-olives barca-tix-oliveeat

Then I had my mind blown by the legendary el Bullí olives.  Alignate spherification encases an intense olive purée just until it dissolves on your tongue. I am no olive fan, but these were glorious and a little bit life changing.


Our oyster course included two delicious variations. I especially loved the second, where the oyster was served with its pearl  (spherified champagne and powdered silver). Full disclosure, I might have been influenced by the darling waitress who suggested it was because I was una princesa and complimented my skirt.


Monica was the most perfect waitress ever, for the record. So solicitous about indulging our palates and preferences throughout the tasting menu, and so enthusiastic when discussing the food with us, but never a bother.  We exchanged addresses and emails, I adored Moní that much.




She’d just brought me my next cocktail, with a dragonfruit base and dry ice cloud, when I was admiring the fancy gold-wrapped jamón iberico gran reserva on the counter. I watched as another waiter lifted the entire ham and its stand to deliver to a nearby table, and I nearly fainted when I realized who was sitting there… Albert and Ferran Adrià.



I’m not typically the type to get starstruck, but Ferran Adrià is practically a god. Some people hunt big 5 game, but my big five is Choi, Chang, Bourdain, Ripert, and Adrià. The hero worship is real. So after I worked up the guts to stop creeping and staring at the master of molecular gastronomy, I was grateful to have Monica to translate. I was practically vibrating as I held his hands and fawned and babbled about how he inspired me and food and love and cried a little and god knows what all else- sucked to be David attempting to get a picture of my hot mess, and I was too much of a wilting violet to bother him again. The entire exchange is a blur, but I will never forget it as long as I live.


It seemed almost silly to eat when I was so excited, but the next arrival brought my attention right back to the plate. Crunchy pizza with Bufala straciatella is one of the most popular tapas on the menu, and it was easy to see why. Shatteringly crisp crust, brightly flavorful dehydrated tomato dust microbasil and spherified basil oil are topped with strands of creamy burrata. It was at the same time both definitively a margherita pizza yet completely unlike any pizza I’d ever had.


Scrumptious smoked eel mini sandwiches were accented with shiso leaf. The bread was an ultralight and crispy air baguette, a perfect contrast to the tender unagi.


Crabmeat and vegetables were delivered in delicate cucumber rolls,  served floating in a watercress broth.



This dish was dubbed the Nordic landscape. Veal tartare, lingonberry, shallots, soft smoked cheese and greens were piled upon a dark crisp bread and dusted with sherry vinegar  ‘snow.’   We were loving the experience of eating with tongs rather than traditional cutlery.


The suckling pig mollete was a delicious grilled jamón y queso sandwich. The tender bread was totally unique to me, with the delicacy of a steamed bao but the crumb and crust of an English muffin.


Roasted sunchokes and celeriac were drenched in a rich truffle purée. My mouth is watering just remembering- I’m pretty sure I fought David for the last bite of this goodness.

barca-tix-unipasta Korean king oyster mushrooms were spiralized into spaghetti, and serves  in a creamy Parmesan porcini sauce. The texture was just impeccable, and the umami was so perfectly highlighted.


Spicy fresh tuna tartare  was served on a nori mille-feuille with popped tapioca. Fresh and delicious, the different textures combined beautifully, in a way that recalled California sushi bar tuna crispy rice.


Maresme was bright and refreshing. Whole Catalán green peas floated in delicate pea soup, drizzled with fennel jus and and sprinkled with crunchy pancetta.

Even dessert was a three-course affair- my sweet tooth was thrilled! The first was caramelized carrot cones, with a fluffy queso center. All the best aspects of carrot cake and cheesecake, they were served planted in chocolate soil.


The meringue churros were positively meltaway. I could barely stop nibbling to dip them in the rich spiced hot chocolate, but I was glad I did- the two together were incredible.

A seriously scientific candy bar, the molecular chocolate eclair  was just plain delicious. Crispy rice and a peanut butter center enrobed in chocolate may sound typical, but it was outstanding.


A dessert drink to share rounded out our meal.  Cocoa and citrus combined with cachaça for a cocktail that managed to be equally rich and refreshing. And then my new friend Ferran sent over shots of his family reserve orange-and-limoncello and I was so flattered I could have died right there on the spot, and I’m certain I would have ascended straight to heaven.

barca-tix-outside barca-tix-afterdinner

After such amazing food and drink and the emotion of surprise hero worship, you could have stuck a fork in me, I was so done. Our incredible dinner experience had stretched more than four hours, so we paid the (substantial) bill and headed out for a moon-and-neon-lit walk home.


0 In travel

la boqueria: a foodie’s paradise


Our first morning in Barcelona, we grabbed a Spanish SIM card for my iPhone first thing, then walked to Mercat de la Boqueria to begin indulging in authentic Spanish cuisine. It was the perfect way to start our week of food and fun.

I’d heard tale of ‘cones of Spanish ham,’ and pork is hands-down my favorite protein. I was so excited to find them right at the front! Shopping while munching on luscious treats was simply glorious, and there was literally yummy snack after yummy snack.   I especially loved fresitas, tiny super-sweet wild strawberries.

 And once I realized it was perpetually happy hour, I was in heaven! Through the week, I got friendly with the sweets-and-sangria go-cup vendor. Leisurely day drinking is one of my vacation priorities, and Spain agrees with me.


I juice regularly at home, so went a little crazy at the 1€ fresh juice stands, trying tons of flavors. The pitahaya + coconut,  pineapple + passion fruit, guayaba, and kiwi strawberry were some of the standouts. I couldn’t help myself- I got at least one juice, usually multiple, every time we were there.


I also made a habit of visiting the nicest fishmonger. She had incredible ceviche,  and was happy to pry open ultrafresh oysters and sea urchin for me, so I was happy to oblige her by slurping them merrily down. I practically gorged myself on the most delicious (and inexpensive!) uni I’d ever come across.

Total first world mini-regret, but I wish we’d had more time in Barcelona simply so I could have done some serious cooking. Our apartment kitchen was spacious, and the raw foodstuffs at La Boqueria were so lush and varied, but we had so many amazing restaurants to try and things to do, I never served more than cava and pinxtos at home. But seriously- I dream of being able to do my grocery shopping here, with access to all that gorgeous seafood and artisan products.  


Slightly more seriously, I remain upset that US customs and my dear husband conspired against me- I desperately wanted a whole jamón iberico as a souvenir. David staunchly refused, spouting some sensible nonsense about rules and room (in our luggage), so I consoled myself with purchasing some amazing smoked pimentón to take home, and eating as much as I could while in Spain.

Honestly, we wound up at La Boqueria almost every day for a snack, a meal, or to pick up yummies for a picnic or our apartment. Wandering the market, we also had delicious paletas and croquettes, pastries and gelato, and more. All of the fruit was perfectly ripe, which made it so tempting and gratifying. And I had some positive feasts of cheese and charcuterie. We truly endeavored to eat everything in sight, and were pretty pleased with our showing.


 I always found new and delish things along with my established stops (ham, sangria, juice) and such great people-watching to boot! I didn’t even mention the amazing sit-down meals available at the tiny restaurants interspersed with the vendors;  I’ll share our meals at La Boqueria soon!



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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