You guys, I have a problem. And I didn’t realize I had a problem until today, when I picked up some Korintje Cinnamon and Berbere Spice at Whole Foods, and had to find some room for the new additions in my spice cabinet. Of course, there wasn’t any. Room, that is. So I ended up taking all of my spices out and counting them… revealing a grand total of Forty. Four. different spices and blends. And that’s not counting staples like salt, or duplicates like my two bottles of garlic granules or two bottles of cumin. Which would bring the total to fifty-seven bottles in my cabinet. Casual.
I don’t know. I feel like with all of the stuff that’s going on regarding work / my health, I’ve been feverishly enveloping myself in cookery. It’s one of the few things that I can do without constantly thinking about how I’m going to get through the next work week, or how in the heck I’m going to configure the UK companies into the US tax allocation code by year end. (Finance is sooo much fun!) Like I said in this post, I’m going to be making some big changes in my life soon. But I haven’t been able to make them happen yet, and it will be some time until they are feasible for me.
For me, cooking isn’t just a hobby or something I do to eat. It’s therapy. It’s catharsis. It nourishes my soul. And even though I can’t eat as much of the food I make as I’d like, the act of feeding others brings me unadulterated joy. But I’d better backtrack and explain that one.
The health issues I’ve been experiencing involve feeling nauseous nearly all the time. It never ends, and it’s exhausting. And it’s evolved into this rather nasty cycle of eating very minimally in fear that I will feel overly full and sick to my stomach, then being ravenously hungry at the end of the day. So making recipes and cooking my food is a really good way for me to eat positively. Everything I make here is mostly healthy – I stay away from refined sugars and processed ingredients, using natural and organic ingredients to the fullest extent possible. And when I develop and test a recipe, I taste it continuously to make sure it’s delicious. The same goes for the second round of cooking for the photography phase. In this way, I am able to eat in a way that is healthy and positive. But what I meant to convey in my earlier comment is that I’m not just making a huge cake and then eating the whole thing… or even a whole slice. I am just not able to right now.
But hopefully I’ll be back on track soon, and you guys won’t have to listen to my mopey posts!! But seriously. Personal accountability is something that’s always been extremely important to me, and I know that it’s only on me to change my life for the better. I can’t just stay in a bad situation and magically expect things to work out, especially when I’ve really given it a try to no avail.
And as always, if any of you have any life advice about finding your passion / getting a job / living a happy life, I would LOVE to hear it!! Learning about what others have done to better their lives is extraordinarily helpful for me in figuring out my situation. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t send out a special thank you to Sophie of The Green Life, who so graciously answered all my questions about her career path! You’re the best, girl!
Italian Chocolate Olive Oil Cake w/ Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
- 2 Cups Unbleached Flour
- 1 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder not cacao
- Pinch of Sea Salt
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Almond Milk
- 2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream
- 6 oz Dark Chocolate 2 bars
- 3/4 Cup Almond Milk at room temperature
- 1/2 Cup Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk together until evenly combined.
Add in wet ingredients - olive oil, vanilla extract, almond milk, and apple cider vinegar. Stir until batter is evenly mixed.
Spray two 6-inch cake tins with coconut oil, then fill with batter. (If you don't have that size, feel free to make muffins or a larger cake! Just keep your eye on the cooking time - smaller portions will cook faster.)
Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes. The best way to check doneness is to stick a toothpick in the cake - if it comes out dry, it's good to go.
Be sure to let cakes cool before frosting.
Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream
To melt the chocolate, you can either use a double-boiler if you have one, or a metal bowl over a pot of water (like I did). First, fill the pot with enough water so that when the bowl goes on top, the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water in the pot to boil, then put the bowl on top and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir continuously, until it's melted. Remove bowl from the pot. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, start to mix chocolate on low speed while slowly adding in room temperature almond milk. Then, add in the hazelnut butter and keep mixing until icing is smooth and creamy.
If at any point your icing becomes clumpy or the chocolate seizes, just put the whole thing back in the double boiler / pot of water and let chocolate re-melt.
When the frosting is done, stick in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to harden a little.
Putting It All Together
You can ice the cakes however you please; I chose to do a double-layer cake. When frosting, the buttercream should be malleable but not too loose. If frosting is too loose, stick in the fridge for a few minutes. If too thick, microwave in 5-second intervals to soften.
Song of the Day:
The Parting Glass – Wailin’ Jennys
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.