hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote + (vegan) cream cheese frosting

today i turn a year older, an occasion mostly met with celebratory cake, birthday cards, and random birthday wishes from high school acquaintances on facebook; but it's also a day i like to take in, see where i've come, and concoct some notion of where i'm going, or where i'd like to be.  and i'm super-duper lucky because i get to share it all with my insanely awesome husband who's birthday was just a few days before mine.  so, mid-september has become somewhat of a birthday blowout with multiple cakes, family, and birthday songs, candles, mini weekend trips and love...always tons and tons of love.   

last year was all about my husband's favorite combination of sweets, but this year i'm going fruity with it! end of summer fruit is just simply beautiful, with all those purple-y, violet, almost red wine hues going on.  so, i wanted to celebrate those colors here, and add some figgy flavor to an otherwise creamy, toasted hazelnut cake.   i wasn't wanting an overly sweet cake either, so the addition of cream cheese in the frosting set a perfect balance to keep it from creeping over to an overly sugary dark side - i guess it's more of a grown-up cake :) 

wishing you all the loveliest of weeks! xo

hazelnut layer cake w/ fig compote + (vegan) cream cheese frosting (gluten + dairy free)

| makes a 2 layer, 6 inch round cake |


hazelnut cake

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut meal (ground from toasted and shelled hazelnuts)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all natural cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (soft, not melted)
  • 2 free range eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

fig compote

  • 1 cup ripe black mission figs (roughly 12 ounces), cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon grade b maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of cardamom (optional)

(vegan) cream cheese frosting

  • 12 ounces vegan cream cheese (i like Tofutti or Follow Your Heart)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons organic palm shortening
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons organic powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • leftover figs, cut or whole
  • elderberries, champagne grapes or whatever you have on hand


hazelnut cake

  • preheat oven to 350° and line the bottoms of each cake pan with parchment paper.  then grease and flour pans, set aside
  • in a large bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients, set aside.  in another large bowl, combine the sugar and coconut oil with an electric mixer, beat on medium until light and fluffy.  add the eggs one at a time until incorporated; then add the vanilla and milk; mix again for about 30 seconds.  turn down the mixer to medium-low; a little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet
  • divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans (this technique of using a scale has always helped me get 2 totally even layers!) and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean
  • transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes; then remove layers and rest on rack until completely cool.  wrap each layer in a separate piece of plastic wrap and place in refrigerator; allow to rest for at least 1 hour or up to a day

fig compote

  • place cut figs in a medium saucepan; add the syrup, lemon juice and cardamom (if using).  place over a medium flame and stir frequently until figs soften and juices release.  allow the figs to fall apart, stirring every so often, use the back of spoon to break them up a bit.  once the compote has thickened a bit - about 15-20 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.  store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use

cream cheese frosting

  • in a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and shortening until fluffy.  add the vanilla and powdered sugar a little a time and mix until combined (if not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator)


  • remove cake layers from fridge and place on a cake stand or large plate.  using an offset spatula, put about 2-3 tablespoons worth of frosting on one cake layer, spread evenly.  spread roughly 2-3 tablespoons of fig compote over the frosting, leaving about 1/2 inch of space from the edge.  place the other cake layer on top and frost the rest of the cake.  garnish with extra figs - cut or whole - elderberries, or whatever other fruits you may have on hand 


zucchini-basil chickpea waffles w/ tomato + shaved fennel salad

i'm having a hard time coming to terms with the end of summer; just that lazy, easy-breeziness of it all seems to move in a direction of rigidity and schedules as fall approaches.  but on the up side, the humidity has faded and the weather has been significantly cooler the past few days, allowing for the consumption of hot beverages and baking with the air conditioner off!  it's also reawakened an eagerness to get outside, and breath in some fresh air.  i've never been a runner/jogger - more of a yoga/pilates enthusiast -  and i suppose i blame my elementary school gym teacher who made us do laps around the track; and long story short, i wound up in the nurses office sick, lightheaded, and on the verge of passing out.  that memory alone was traumatic enough for me stay away from running as a sport.  but i've had this vision in my head of a long distance run, where my body feels strong and capable; that's it's able to endure any bad mental inhibitions, and just go for it!  i've been a few days in using a training app on my phone (thank you Sarah for putting me on to this!), that provides some much needed structure and guidance for getting started.  besides my legs being absolutely sore/jelly, i'm feeling super strong and steady taking on this personal endeavor!  

since burning up more calories each day than i'm used to, i now feel a lot more hungry!  this is where these waffles come in!  since seeing this recipe, all i've had on my brain was savory waffles; and since i also love utilizing garbanzo bean flour in just about everything, i thought that it would make be an awesome base for the waffles i had in mind.  i really love using chickpea flour mainly for its unique flavor, but also because it's an awesome source of protein, carbs, vitamins, and fiber - something i don't generally think of when i eat waffles, so i wanted that to change!  here, i added zucchini to the batter, because i still have a bunch leftover from last weekend, along with some fresh basil, leftover fennel fronds, and a healthy amount of garlic.  i topped them with a simple tomato and shaved fennel salad just to lighten it up and add some crunch.  these waffles can certainly be adapted to your liking and can be served with just about anything : ) 

zucchini-basil chickpea waffles w/ tomato + shaved fennel salad (gluten + dairy free)

| makes 8 waffles |


  • 2 cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 zucchini, grated using the course holes on a box grater
  • 1 cup + 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds 
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced

tomato + shaved fennel salad

  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced 
  • 1 small fennel bulb, shaved on a mandolin or sliced thin
  • dozen whole small basil leaves 
  • a couple sprigs fennel fronds, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper


tomato + fennel salad

  • place tomato, fennel, basil, and fronds in a medium bowl and season with salt + pepper.  in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and oil until fully incorporated.  a little at a time, add lemon and oil mix over the salad, taste and adjust seasonings.  set aside

chickpea waffles

  • in a large bowl, combine garbanzo bean flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.  in another large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, zucchini, almond milk, olive oil, garlic, basil, and chopped fronds
  • at this point, heat your waffle maker on medium-high (my waffle maker has a heat setting from 1-5 - 1 being the lowest - so i turn mine to about a 4 1/2)
  • prepare a baking sheet with parchment and preheat oven to warm or 200°.  mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and combine until fully mixed.  once your waffle iron reaches desired heat, spoon about 3 tablespoons worth of batter onto your iron and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.  transfer waffle to baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.  repeat with remaining batter
  • remove waffles from oven and top with tomato + fennel salad, garnish with extra fennel fronds or leftover basil


roasted fingerling potato salad w/ romesco + herby black quinoa

some things that i'm into:

  1. my mom's saturday csa box from blue hill at stone barns
  2. FermUp
  3. this new-to-me store 
  4. each and every one of these images 
  5. Pure Green Magazine's #PGMinseason project is still underway, check out my homegirls claire and laura's inspiring and beautiful posts! 

speaking of said csa box, my mom is not so into peppers.  she has given me a total of probably 3 pounds of them in the past 2 weeks.  shy of just giving them away to pepper-hungry neighborhood folk, i've made a lot of romesco sauce, and i've got this harissa, and this muhammara on a serious to-make list.  i'm also wondering if bell peppers can be frozen for a later date...?  i'm assuming so, but i would love if anyone had any helpful tips here :)  

so, because of the monumental amounts of peppers in my possession, and because my husband went shopping at the farmers' market and bought double the amount of potatoes, we have this potato + romesco salad (of sorts) today!  most times throughout the year i'm a sweet potato girl, but these couple of yummy spud-filled months have my heart (and tummy), and therefore potato salad.  as i've mentioned in the past, this summer tater salad is delicious and has been on serious rotation; and as hard as it was not making it this time around, i knew romesco was necessary!  i used basically what i had on hand, which included hazelnuts in place of blanched almonds, and an herby quinoa toss for texture and a bit of protein.  definitely a respectable meal on its own, but also an awesome picnic-y side!

happy september, lovely people! xo

roasted fingerling potato salad w/ romesco + herby black quinoa (v + gf)

| serves 4 |

you can definitely substitute larger potatoes, just cut them into quarters or eighths and roast from there.  you can also sub the hazelnuts for blanched almonds, or maybe pine nuts? and the black quinoa can totally be replaced with whatever grain you have on hand.


  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • large grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup black quinoa, rinsed
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for garnishing)
  • 1/4 cup romesco sauce

romesco sauce

  • 2 small-medium bell peppers, roasted, skins removed and seeded
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, skins removed (plus more chopped hazelnuts for garnishing)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (or freshly ground pepper to taste)


romesco sauce

  • in a food processor, combine roasted red peppers, garlic, hazelnuts, olive oil, vinegar, a couple pinches of salt, and a pinch of cayenne.  blend ingredients stopping every few seconds to scrape down sides and checking for seasoning until creamy.  place in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use

roasted potatoes

  • preheat oven to 375° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • in a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt + pepper; spread evenly onto baking sheet.  place in the center of your oven for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes for even roasting. remove from oven and set aside

herby quinoa

  • while potatoes are roasting, make the quinoa.  combine quinoa with 1/2 cup water and a big pinch of salt;  cook for about 15-17 minutes. once water has absorbed, remove from heat and set aside.  in a serving bowl, mix the quinoa and the chopped parsley.  add the potatoes and the romesco sauce; check for seasoning and garnish with more chopped parsley and chopped hazelnuts

serve + enjoy!

(vegan) frozen salted s'more sandwiches

although the summer season isn't over until nearly the end of september, the unofficial end of summer is marked this coming weekend.  children go back to school, pools and beaches close up for the season and the sounds of ice cream truck jingles dissipate.   so i thought i would go with the rhythm of things here and make a super-end-of-summer-blowout-ice-cream-sandwich!  a kind of sandwich that you would look forward to, and that helps to lessen "the end of summer sting".  

a few months ago i stumbled upon something called dandies, the most awesome vegan marshmallows (and bonus, they're free of corn syrup).  there were so many thoughts filling my mind on what to use them for, and duh, naturally there was the idea of s'mores.  but summertime, especially the end of august, made me lean towards a frozen s'more - something sweet, cold, and refreshing.  and you know how when you bite into a s'more, inevitably all the gooey marshmallow goodness smushes out the back, and then you have to awkwardly stuff it back in?  yeah, me too.  which is why i made my own graham crackers here, with the integrity of a cookie, friends.  i will not lead you down the path of lost s'more fillings, especially when they're this good!  

so, farewell, summer.  you were kind and beautiful.  until next year! 

frozen salted s'more sandwiches (v + gf)

| makes 12 sandwiches |

there will be leftover of cookies and ice cream.  the cookies can be frozen for a couple of months, and the ice cream will freeze in an air-tight container for about 2 weeks.  or, you could mush up the remaining cookies and ice cream, drizzle it with melted chocolate and call it a frozen s'more bowl!


graham cracker cookies (v + gf)

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup grade b maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

toasted marshmallow ice cream (v)

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup grade b maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 10-12 vegan marshmallows, toasted
  • coconut oil 

chocolate shell (v)

  • 12 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate (Enjoy Life brand is my go-to)
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • maldon (or another large flaky salt), to garnish


graham cracker cookies

  • place all of the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.  add almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla and blend until a dough starts to form.  remove top and pinch dough between your fingers - it should be moist and a little sticky - if you find that your dough is still a bit crumbly, add more almond milk a 1/2 teaspoon at a time until dough comes together
  • turn out onto a clean work space and knead it a couple times to smooth out.  divide dough and form into a disk; wrap each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  • remove dough from refrigerator; let it rest for 5 minutes.  line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350°.  on a floured surface, roll dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness.  stamp out cookies with a 2 inch round cookie cutter and place on prepared baking sheet.  re-roll dough until it has all been used.  (optional: using a fork, make decorative indentations).  bake in the center of your oven for 10-12 minutes, until edges are lightly browned
  • remove from oven and let cool completely 

toasted marshmallow ice cream

  • in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla.  once combined, ladle about 2 tablespoons worth into a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot powder; once dissolved, whisk back into the saucepan.  keep stirring until ice cream mixture is warm and steaming.  remove from heat and chill mixture over an ice bath; once cool, place in your ice cream maker and churn for about 10 minutes
  • preheat your broiler; line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it with coconut oil. place marshmallows on the baking sheet and toast them for a couple seconds on each side until toasted.  (*the trick is to get the marshmallows toasted before the ice cream has thickened too much or else they won't combine properly.  also, you want the marshmallows hot and gooey; if they cool too much they won't ribbon throughout the ice cream.)  throw marshmallows into the ice cream maker one at a time
  • let the ice cream churn for the remainder of the time, then transfer to a small jellyroll pan lined with parchment paper and spread evenly with a spatula.  place another piece of parchment flat on top of ice cream and freeze for at least 2 hours

to assemble

  • remove ice cream from freezer and allow it to thaw for 3-5 minutes (depending on how warm your kitchen is).  while it's thawing, prepare a tray or baking sheet with parchment and line it with 12 cookies face-down
  • using your 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut 12 circles out of the ice cream and place on top of face-down cookies.  place another cookie on top of each sandwich and place in the freezer for a few minutes
  • to prepare the chocolate shell, place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water and stir until melted.  remove from heat and stir in coconut oil.  prepare a work surface and remove ice cream sandwiches from freezer.  using 2 forks, gently drop the sandwiches, one at a time into the melted chocolate.  use the forks to lift out and let extra chocolate run off the sandwiches.  place back on parchment lined tray or baking sheet, sprinkle with maldon, and freeze once more
  • store s'more sandwiches in an air-tight container with layers of parchment between


a pickled corn succotash salad + pure green magazine's hashtag project #pgminseason !

the week is almost over (yay for wednesdays!) and i have a super duper salad here for you today.  normally a succotash is prepared by cooking most of the ingredients on the stovetop, and in most cases favas or other beans are involved.  today, i have prepared a pickled corn succotash that's super appropriate for a hot august day (although, temps around here have been oddly cool) and is comprised of most of what is available to me at my market - long beans, heirloom tomatoes, fragrant herbs, chili peppers, sweet juicy nectarines and veggie blossoms.  high-fives for in season fare!  

as many of you know lauraclaire, and i have teamed up with the Pure Green Magazine blog to talk about our in season food ethics, share some recipes where we incorporate summer's produce, and be community leaders for their Instagram Hashtag Project: #PGMinseason.  so, today i'm over there talking about where i shop for produce in and around brooklyn, how i store produce to keep them at their most fresh, and why i think we and our communities are better off when we are able to buy in season, local produce!   and i'm also sharing the recipe for this tangy, herbaceous, slightly sweet, and crunchy, pickled corn succotash salad here

have a good one, friends! xo