It felt like every stall at the Italian Market was selling figs, so I felt inspired to put it on a layer cake. This olive oil cake is one of my favorites, and olive oil cake + figs seemed like the perfect combination.
As a side note, I think I am 20-something year old who gets super excited about getting individual plates for the sole purpose of photography for Christmas, but I’m very ok with it.
makes 1 three-layer cake
Olive Oil Cake
- 3 c extra-virgin olive oil; plus more for pan
- 2 1/2 c sugar
- 4 c cake flour
- 2/3 c fine-grind cornmeal
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 eggs
- Preheat oven to 400°. Drizzle bottom and sides of 3 9-inch circle pans pan with oil and use your fingers to coat. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and smooth to eliminate air bubbles; coat parchment with more oil.
- Whisk cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to combine and eliminate any lumps. Using an electric mixer on high speed (use whisk attachment if working with a stand mixer), beat eggs, vanilla, and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is very light, thick, pale, and falls off the whisk or beaters in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 3 minutes if using a stand mixer and about 5 minutes if using a hand mixer.
- With mixer still on high speed, gradually stream in oil and beat until incorporated and mixture is even thicker. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions. Fold batter several times with a large rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of bowl.
- Scrape batter into prepared pans and smooth the top. Place cake in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake until top is golden brown, center is firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes.
- Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Poke holes all over top of cake with a toothpick or skewer and drizzle with 4 tbsp oil; let it absorb. Run a thin knife around edges of cake and remove ring from pan. Slide cake onto rack and let cool completely.
- For the best flavor and texture, wrap cake in plastic and let sit at room temperature at least a day before serving.
Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 c butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 c honey
- 1-2 c powdered sugar
- Using an electric or hand mixer, whip the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add salt, honey, and sugar until well combined.
I tried whoopie pies for the first time a couple months ago. Living in Philadelphia, I am surprised that it took me so long; it is a classic Amish dessert. They were so good, that I immediately added it to my baking to-do list. For my last English class today, I decided to finally try it and bring them in.
Inspired by this video featuring One Girl Cookies, a bakery in NYC famous for whoopie pies, I set out for a copycat recipe. Although traditional Amish whoopie pies have a marshmallow fluff filling, I decided to use One Girl’s cream cheese frosting instead (with significantly less sugar). Cream cheese frosting wins over fake marshmallow fluff any day!
I made a sad attempt at piping the cookies out using a ziploc bag, and then just gave up completely for the frosting. They’re not the most beautiful things… but oh man. They are so good.
I made sure to add plenty of spice to balance out the sweet pumpkin cookie. Instead of just adding cinnamon like the original recipe called for, I also added hefty amounts of allspice and instant coffee powder.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
makes 16 whoopie pies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp instant coffee groups
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons dark molasses
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, and molasses on medium speed for 3 minutes, until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and then turn the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing for a total of 30 seconds, until the batter is just combined. Scrape down the bowl and make sure the batter is thoroughly mixed.
- Fill a pastry (or ziploc #collegebudget) bag fitted with a large round tip with the batter. Pipe the batter into 2-inch diameter circles onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches of space between each cookie.
- Bake for 14 minutes, or until the cookies are a dull, deep orange color and spring back when touched. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before filling them.
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners sugar and then beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and make sure the filling is thoroughly mixed. The filling should hold its shape; so if it is too soft, add more confectioners sugar a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right.
- The filling can be made up to 5 days in advance, stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the filling.
*Note: I used granulated sugar and it worked fine. I just added a splash of milk to get rid fo the grainy-ness.
I really, really want to like tahini. It is so versatile in cooking and baking, adds an interesting umami/nutty flavor, and is a great source of healthy fat.
I made tahini lava cake last week, and it turned out perfectly. It was good… but it would have been so much better if I loved tahini. I have friends who can eat spoonfuls of tahini out of the jar, but I am just not there yet.
But then I made these cookies.
These tahini chocolate chip cookies are perfect. The tahini is not overpowering at all (even though it requires a whopping 1/2 cup), but just adds the perfect subtle umami/saltiness to balance out the sweetness. The cookie itself is puffy and gooey in the center, and slightly crispy on the outside.
One of my favorite baking blogs, Broma Bakery, posted a recipe for “The Best Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World.” I figured being “best in the world” had to be worth a shot. And while I don’t have that much experience (read: none) with tahini chocolate chip cookies, these are really, really, really good.
Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 12 cookies
Recipe directly from one of my favorite blogs, Broma Bakery
- 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (seriously! it helps w the nuttiness*)
- 6 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped (can also use 1 cup chocolate chunks or chips)
- In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg and cream for an additional 2 minutes. Add in tahini, vanilla extract, and salt and cream until light and fluffy, 1 minute more.*
- Mix in baking soda and flour until just combined. Toss in chopped chocolate and mix to combine.
- Remove dough from bowl and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours, but up to 24 hours. This part is necessary to get a nice, chewy cookie!
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll cookie dough into 2 inch balls and place on cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Push cookies down slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are the slightest bit golden around the edges. They will look puffed and underbaked, but will continue to cook as they cool. Allow cookie to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
*I am usually really impatient about beating dough with a mixer. But in these cookies, you really want to create a lot of air. Trust me, the extra minute or two is worth it!