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fall vegetable slaw with hot + sweet ginger dressing


I’m struggling with how to begin this post since my head has been a bit of a jumble this week. I’m trying to fathom certain things while feeling a surge of awe visiting me now and again from simple experiences–turning the volume up beyond reason in the car during twilight hour drives is a good example. Another one: this film in its entirety. One more: I loaded fresh batteries and film into a much-neglected old camera last weekend and whoa! The thing works.

All the while I’m forgetting things, trying to peel myself away from the news here and there, waking up SO early and maybe drinking a bit too much coffee most days. My mind is floating in and out of dreamy-spacey and obsessively interested. Daylight savings/the entire world has thrown me for a loop and I’m slow to admitting defeat.

I’ve been reading so much news in general and when you feel a distinct geographical separation from everything, your heart-mind seems to rise to the occasion as an appropriate response. There’s a tendency to forget about your dependence on others and what they reflect back in your life. Beauty and goodness become cloudier concepts when you read about the trials of others that aren’t so entirely other. They become questions with no answer, but a prevailing will to get back to a place of familiarity seems to rise.

A preoccupation with trying to eat as many healthy/immune boosting foods as possible has bubbled up. This concern is creating its own little foggy space up there, but proving to be a worthy detachment strategy. I’m going on a little trip soon and I’ll be damned if I come down with something that has me sniffling on the beach. An hour doesn’t pass without thoughts of what leaf, seed, herbal tincture-thingy, protein source I’m going to eat next, which is admittedly silly but on it goes. Green juices, this unbelievably restorative hot detox drink from Elenore, vegetables galore and herbal teas have been in constant rotation. I’m usually wholesome on the meal and snack choices tip, but this has become a rather sincere endeavor.

So eventually I got to tangling up some of my favourite vegetables in another effort to de-jangle myself on all fronts. I didn’t totally plan on sharing this, but we loved it so much that I just felt compelled to. This slaw is lovely to lay eyes on with all of its fall colours, wispy shreds and crunchy bits. Cruciferous vegetables have always been some of my favourites. The light spiciness of raw cabbage and brussels sprouts is so pleasing here, their crinkly leaves soaking up an incredibly zippy and fresh ginger dressing. The idea was to kind of bathe a bunch of crunchy leaves and seeds in something that suggested the flavour of spicy ginger tea. There’s shaved fennel and pears too, detectable shreds of parsley for a bitter peppery note and a big scatter of warm and toasty sunflower seeds.

An overflowing bowl of the spicy-sweet with rioting colours in the hands, big awe for the world at large in my heart. Hope you’re all keeping well and taking care of each other.


fall vegetable slaw with hot + sweet ginger dressing
serves: 8-10
notes: I might veer towards thicker shreds if you need to hold the slaw for a bit. I went super thin (as you can see) and the dressing saturated the salad way quick so we ate it up. I use a Japanese mandoline (pro tip: a Benriner is the only one worth your hard-earned money) for all the slicing/shredding, but some good knife work will carry you through if need be.

dressing:
1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
juice of 1 lemon
2-3 tbsp honey or agave nectar
pinch of cayenne (as much as you want)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

slaw:
1/2 head red cabbage, cored and shredded
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, shredded
2 kale stalks, stems removed and finely sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
10 sprigs of parsely, leaves sliced
1 small fennel bulb, halved, cored and shaved thin
1 semi-ripe bosc pear, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
salt and pepper

Make the dressing: combine all of the ingredients in a blender and flip to high for 30 seconds. Taste for seasoning and set aside. If you don’t have a blender, whisk the finely minced ginger, lemon juice, cayenne, salt and pepper together to combine. Slowly drizzle the grapeseed oil into the ginger mixture while whisking until thoroughly mixed.

Toss all of the slaw ingredients except for 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds with a a good amount of salt and pepper. Pour the ginger dressing over top and mix with your hands to combine. Scatter remaining sunflower seeds over the top and serve.

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cauliflower “couscous” salad + falling back in

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jaime @ sweet road08/11/2012 - 2:17 pm

The variety of ingredients here makes a beautifully colorful dish, especially for winter!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar08/11/2012 - 2:24 pm

Beautiful salad, as always! Great flavour combo!

Elenore Bendel Zahn08/11/2012 - 2:41 pm

Laura Laura Laura <3

You have such a gorgeous shining heart it´s blinding!
Be kind to yourself and see that all that fog might have something absolutely great to show you…
I am very happy to see that I piece of me is keeping you company, my darling!

Be well, shine, thrive and love. So much love.
E

janet @ the taste space08/11/2012 - 3:18 pm

This looks fabulous! I agree, I have been embracing more and more veggies this month and I love the colourful nature of this slaw. It reminds me a bit of my detox salad with broccoli and cauliflower and sunflower seeds with an autumn twist. :)

la domestique08/11/2012 - 3:47 pm

Yum- I love a nice crisp slaw, and this one is full of so many great ingredients! I too have been completely discombobulated lately, and nothing seems to remedy it. Last night I walked a block right past the bus station without noticing, so deep in thought, and had to turn around and double back to catch my bus. Bonkers!

Eileen08/11/2012 - 4:15 pm

Cabbage, kale, and pears–hooray! This has to be one of the most autumnal salads ever. :)

Jeanine08/11/2012 - 4:45 pm

Those pear slices — so pretty! So creative, I love all of these different colors and textures… so creative…

Kathryn08/11/2012 - 5:25 pm

I seriously, seriously love slaws and I totally adore the flavours in this. I hope it helped to de-jangle you :)

Lena09/11/2012 - 6:05 am

This is just beautiful! All those colors together. I can help but thinking that some toasted peanuts would be great on this. And now I cant get this slaw out of my head, until I make it myself.

Kathryne09/11/2012 - 10:26 am

Can’t stop shaking my head at the beauty of this post, Laura. Love every little thing about it.

Julia Marks09/11/2012 - 10:38 am

Wow. What a beautiful and exciting salad.

[...] fall vegetable slaw looks ah-mazing! I will kiss you if you make this for me. [...]

[...] the house, wrapped up tightly in a blanket. (Why a lemon so early in the morning? Well, thanks to Laura, I have very quickly become hooked on this drink.) Perhaps it was the cool air that slowed my [...]

sarah10/11/2012 - 12:02 am

Lovely! This looks so delicious, what a great bunch of flavors.
And, loved your thoughts here. There is just too much to process! Some days I don’t think we were made for all this information. ‘There’s a tendency to forget about your dependence on others and what they reflect back in your life. Beauty and goodness become cloudier concepts…’ I’ve been working this out, too. xo

Lindsay11/11/2012 - 2:12 pm

I love your writing and how you phrase your current state of mind so eloquently. Reading your blog is such a treat and I always look forward to a new posting with anticipation. This slaw looks delicious! Looking forward to trying that dressing :)

Ana Cooks12/11/2012 - 10:40 am

More than your wonderful recipes, i’m even more in love with your shots. Great photography!
Thanks for the inspiration!

[...] Fall Vegetable Slaw with Hot + Sweet Ginger Dressing – from The First Mess [...]

[…] De salades de chou sucré-salées, coupées très finement. […]

Judy King15/11/2013 - 4:46 pm

This sounds delicious! I have been playing around with raw brussel sprouts in a variety of ways because I have never learned to enjoy them cooked. I was just thinking that the sweet and sour dressing my mom made for a wilted salad sounded like my next experiment, but your ideas of adding some ginger and fennel sounds even better! Thanks!

[…] dressing is adapted from this recipe from The First Mess blog (it is gorgeous, check it […]

[…] this Fall Vegetable Slaw just made my mouth water with it’s use of fennel and […]

butternut orecchiette with arugula + fishing


I read a passage in a book about arugula recently. It wasn’t a food-focused/cooking book. It was a novel, actually. The narrator of the moment is enjoying a bowl of pasta after being welcomed into an old friends home with some abounding and uneasy circumstances. He enjoys a bit of the dish, goes into a second helping, and the process of flavour/societal recognition begins: “…it had olives and some sort of salad green in it. Yes, arugula: he was safely back in the bosom of the gentry.”

I had a tiny laugh. I also felt like a piece of shit. The implications of yuppie-dom glaring from the page. My mind went to the organic arugula on the top shelf of my own fridge.

I generally dismiss most artisanal/gourmet foods as frivolous kitchen fodder, things that take up space and generally come in tiny/way too festered packaging. Gourmet food shops are a source of annoyance for me, watching people examine and buy small-batch jams, grinders, artisanal waffle mixes and ceramic crocks of herbes de Provence–things no one needs, thought-to-be foodie merit badges, the like. I will clarify that my annoyance lies with the thought that these items are somehow necessary/worth the money; not the consumer as a human being. I like people, seriously, I do.

Despite the presence of some semi-unusual ingredients that I sometimes call for here (‘sup extra virgin coconut oil and smoked paprika!), I’ve always enjoyed more down-to-earth food on the whole: things that are good in nature, made better by a bit of salt and some ability in the kitchen. My grandmother has always liked arugula and bitter/peppery greens. This fondness has worked its way down to my tastes over time. So having grown up with it, it’s carried the connotation of home-y/grandmotherly food. Greens have been a humble and easy thing, there on the plate just when you need them with a sprinkle of chili flakes; not some upper class bullshit thing to feel shameful about.

There are different lives, different approaches to nourishment and the thoughts that surround. Our world is vast and complex with many extremes; this is certain with food also, a necessary across all walks.

Accessibility with food is more widely discussed from a socio-economical perspective–perhaps a lower income neighbourhood with poor fresh food accessibility will see higher rates of type 2 diabetes in teenagers for example. Knowledge and development of skills is a more sensibly approached facet of the accessibility issue to me. It is a pursuit that requires time, certainly, but the reward is so great. The “teach a person to fish…” route. That’s the amazing thing about the computer age: every bit of knowledge is there for the taking. From guides to starting tomato seedlings at home to practical advice on how to serve them once they come into full, gorgeous ripeness (a heavy sprinkle of salt, maybe a chopped herb, some kind of soft cheese and good, toasty bread–just sayin’), there is a resource available to anyone.

So I guess that’s why I’m here? In some teeny way, I’m trying to teach a few people how to fish. Which is to say that I’m trying to teach you how to make a delicious and easy pasta with some humble squash and the noble greens of today’s discussion. There’s toasty nuts, pecorino, garlic, thyme and my favourite pasta shape: orecchiette. It’s not always the most practical shape choice, but it translates to “little ear” and that is just too sweet to pass on for me. It all comes together pretty easily once the squash is roasted, which is exactly what I was aiming for. Shall we go fishing?

butternut orecchiette with arugula and pine nuts
serves: 4
notes: If you don’t have a blender/food processor for the sauce-pureeing step, just mash the squash and garlic up with a potato masher and the stock in the saute pan. Switch to a whisk to get it real smooth if you like.

sauce:
1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp grape seed oil
salt and pepper
handful of thyme sprigs (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil (or more grape seed or whatever you like)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
chili flakes (optional)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 cup vegetable stock

pasta:
2 cups dried orecchiette (or other small pasta)
1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
big handful (1/2 cup) grated pecorino, or parmeggiano or grana podano etc.
2 big handfuls of washed arugula
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scatter the handful of thyme sprigs across the paper. Rub the halves of squash with the grapeseed oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay face down on the thyme sprigs. Place squash in the oven and roast until very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Once you can handle the squash, scoop the cooked flesh from the skins into a bowl, discarding the thyme sprigs. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, thyme and chili flakes, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the roasted squash and stir it all up, mashing the squash down into the sautéing aromatics. Add the lemon juice and the vegetable stock, stir until roughly combined and remove from the heat. Puree the squash and garlic mixture in a blender or food processor, adding more liquid if necessary.

Return the squash sauce to the soup pot over medium heat. Season with a fat pinch of salt and lots of pepper at this point.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water before draining.

Once squash sauce is simmering, add cooked pasta, chickpeas, pecorino, arugula and pine nuts, reserving a bit of each for garnish if you like. Add some of the pasta water of you want to loosen the mixture up a bit. Serve hot.

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jaime @ sweet road02/11/2012 - 1:24 pm

I love how the shape of orecchiette holds thick sauces and chunky ingredients so well.

Eileen02/11/2012 - 2:09 pm

Butternut squash and arugula sound like a perfect combination for fall! This pasta looks so good–super warming and hearty, and yet full of vegetable goodness. :)

Adrienne02/11/2012 - 2:42 pm

I have to admit, I’m an orecchiette virgin, BUT I’ve been intrigued by it for some time. I’m a lover of everything else in this dish, so this confirms I must purchase soon :)

Veronica02/11/2012 - 5:52 pm

YUM…unfortunately i have everything BUT the arugula on me. any recommendations for other greens i can substitute it with?

Kris02/11/2012 - 7:28 pm

You’re speaking my language! I was just dreaming about making a pasta with a squash-based sauce. I’m so looking forward to making this. P.S Gorgeous photos btw.

Kasey02/11/2012 - 7:47 pm

Great post, lady! I sometimes find myself engrossed in shelves of pricey gourmet foods – it’s hard not to! But when it comes down to it, these things make up a very small arsenal of pantry items I actually use. Like you, I rely on a lot of what the good earth gives us, and a handful of go-to spices and oils (though, I find the array of spices, grains, oils, nuts, and sweeteners to be like my little collection of fashion jewelery…it can play things up and make flavors you wouldn’t otherwise expect). Either way, I think the most important thing when it comes to food is that it’s nutritious, minimally processed or not at all, and good for the environment.

sara02/11/2012 - 9:28 pm

we were on the same pasta page! This looks SO good. For hormonal reasons (TMI for a blog comment?) my appetite is kind of sky rocketing, and creamy pasta and pizza is what I am craving lately. Maybe it’s the chill that’s just creeping into so cal. I hope I don’t make a habit of it, but as a lady who typically eats giant salads, these warm dishes are so great! I can’t wait to try yours. Beautiful photos as well, my friend.

Ashlae02/11/2012 - 10:27 pm

Oh lady! This dish is so great. I’ve been craving pasta and other heavy foods a lot lately (uhh, totally unlike me), and I’ve got a butternut squash just begging to be used. (I type this as I’m devouring a giant ass salad – but an hour ago I was eating through a bag of sea salt sweet potato chips.)

Also, there are bearded men swimming on my bookshelf. And they keep asking me to join them. ;)

victoria03/11/2012 - 10:18 am

I agree with you about the importance of teaching people how to create good food that is good for you. I live in downtown KCMO, and many of the children and teenagers here suffer from obesity, diabetes, and being overdeveloped from hormones in their processed food. I’m glad there are community gardens and others who want to help low-income people learn to garden and create good food for themselves!

Kathryn03/11/2012 - 1:19 pm

This post really resonated with me Laura, it’s so easy to get caught up in trying to look trendy or cool and follow the latest food fad. At the end of the day though, I know that all I really want to eat is simple food. Simple ingredients, simply cooked. It’s all you really need. Love this pasta and I love how you do teach us all to fish.

Hannah04/11/2012 - 12:26 am

Laura – this is so good, the recipe and the thinking behind it. Winter squash is here – my favorite time of year – and this is a perfect way to use it. Can’t wait to try it.

What makes food “fancy” is a complicated question – where and how and when and why we purchase things is complicated too. I am a simple food lover, and we avoid all processed food, and I am always surprised when people perceive our farmer’s market habit as a food-snob one. I am glad that you are here, showing us all how accessible and satisfying simply preparing our food can be – not to be fancy, but to be real. Thank you.

Amy04/11/2012 - 12:35 pm

Oh wow, I just stubmled on your blog and I am loving it to pieces! Your recipes are exactly the type that I cook, but offer new inspiration and combinations such as this wonderful pasta dish that I will prepare tonight.

I love your analogy of teaching people to fish – it is so true! I also often find blogs a source of inspiration to keep cooking wonderful healthy meals when all around me people eat unhealthy and view cooking as a waste of time. So thank you!

Alexandria05/11/2012 - 10:17 pm

stumbled across this recipe on pinterest and tried it out this evening. so glad i did. it’s wonderful :) thank you! i’ll def be perusing your blog for more yummy recipes.

Table for one, please |06/11/2012 - 5:29 pm

[...] Thorisson. This week I’ve found a couple more and some wonderful recipes on them; The First Mess, with a fantastic roasted butternut and rocket orecciette, and Palate/Palette/Plate, with an [...]

Kelsey07/11/2012 - 4:39 pm

Keep teaching them to fish, my love. You’re doing such a great job. xo

Megan Gordon08/11/2012 - 3:43 am

Ahh! Beautiful post. And beautiful recipe. As a maker of artisan foods (I have a small granola co. called Marge), I actually hear you loud and clear! I get so tired of “handcrafted,” “artisan” and “small-batch” on everything that I’ve started to slowly rewrite our copy, so we’re not all becoming one big ol’ cliche. Thanks for the thoughtful post, as always. ~m

Kathryne09/11/2012 - 10:05 am

Good grief, Laura, these photos are phenomenal! This is precisely the kind of hot meal I’ve been craving lately. I didn’t grow up eating arugula, but I totally freaked out the first time I tasted locally grown arugula. So peppery and flavorful, I eat plain, undressed leaves like I’m eating potato chips. I am SO with you on accessibility and uppity ingredients. I refuse to use ingredients that are only available in fancy gourmet shops and get supremely annoyed by things like the word “foodie”, edible flowers as garnish on food blog plates (seems gimmicky) and overly priced, well-designed packages of preservative-laden pancake mix. C’mon!

Helen11/11/2012 - 1:41 am

Thank you so much for this fantastic post! I think that the groundswell of home cooking has unfortunately swayed towards the ridiculous – it’s now all about the most exotic, the most esoteric, the most ‘need to demonstrate that I am on the cutting edge of the food world’. It drives me bonkers! What happened to a decent tasty meal?? Keep restaurant food in restaurants – keep the idea of going out for a ‘special meal’ special. I love your recipes & love that your food is real… not to mention delicious! Many many thanks!

Links | hecavanagh.org14/11/2012 - 11:00 pm

[...] ∞ A couple of links on foodie and “conscious consumerism” grossness: abandoned city farm animals, a food journalist writes scathingly about foodie vanity, and then a slightly differing perspective on how good food shouldn’t be elitist in an information age. [...]

Brandon29/10/2013 - 5:57 am

Made this last night and my husband said it was the best thing I’ve ever made! He and our guests all LOVED it! Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe and the gorgeous photographs.

[…] Butternut Penne with Pistachio Pesto, Stuffed Portabellos with Herb Sauce, Butternut Orecchiette with Arugula, Stuffed Squash, Leek and Greens Tart with Cornmeal Crust, Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with […]

Elliott02/02/2014 - 4:14 pm

Thank you for speaking up a little about the yuppie-foodie thing and how gentrification affects all of the members of our community. With diabetes and other food related diseases on the rise just as much as the home cooking craze (and subsequent increase in price of all fresh foods), it is important to be aware of what’s going on around us and to figure out ways to make healthier food and healthier lifestyles more accessible. Currently, “being healthy” is only marketed as a lifestyle one can purchase – which attracts yuppies while pushing away those of us who are broke. Spreading the knowledge and wisdom of health as a way of life rather than an overpriced weedy green is a great way to reach out to our communities.

Will definitely be making this recipe by the way.

Chris22/03/2014 - 7:54 am

“Arugula” isn’t a yuppie food, if there really is such a thing. Some of what people dismiss superciliously as yuppie food here is what common folk ate in other lands. I grew up eating rucola – which is my Italian relatives called it – in Sudbury Ont. and all my distinctly non-yuppie Italian relatives grew it in their yards. We would mix it with various forms of radicchio. There’s a leaf form of radicchio that never appears in the farmers markets that has a buttery texture when harvested young and a slightly sweet, nutty flavour that balances the bitterness of the rucola. Most people only know the red fall-harvested radiccchio head lettuce.

[…] Butternut Pasta with Chard and Sausage Serves 4-6 Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen and The First Mess […]

Katherine17/10/2014 - 6:45 am

Made this last night, super tasty. I didn’t need all the stock, probably only 1/3 cup to get it to a nice thick ‘creamy’ consistency.

katherine17/10/2014 - 7:07 am

Meant to say I added a drizzle of balsamic to the rocket which worked really well and cut through the rich sauce.

elisabeth20/10/2014 - 12:02 pm

How much is one “small butternut” in grams, please? In austria i can only geht fairly large ones – they weight about 1,2 kilograms each.. Should i only use one half? I don’t want to produce soup ;)

Laura Wright21/10/2014 - 8:42 am

Hi ELizabeth. I think you’re aiming for a squash in the range of 550-700 grams :)
-L

a humble chocolate cake + biscoff glaze

This is a chocolate cake you throw together real quick. It goes with tea and friends coming over on semi-short notice. It also goes with breakfast. You probably have everything in your cupboard to make it. It is vegan, with whole grain flour and unrefined sugar, sure. It’s not the healthiest thing you can make, but it’s a cake. The cake that understands.

I bake it in a loaf pan for that extra casual je ne sais quoi. Then I cover it in a glaze made with biscoff and little chopped almonds, cacao nibs, and coconut; drizzling and sprinkling my way to party time, all kind of on a whim. It’s an unassuming and humble cake that you dress up a bit for company (or yourself). I love that. There’s a feeling of spontaneity lurking in its potential when you bring it out.

The biscoff finish is sweet, nutty, luxurious, and actually rife with guilt in a very special bad-but-feels-good kind of way. You’re essentially glazing a simple cake with a butter made out of cookies. Another reminder seems necessary: it’s a cake.

I had seen biscoff appear on a lot of blogs in the last year or so. Only when I saw it on one of my faves, the amazing Oh, Ladycakes, did I start to get kind of anxious about finding some (ingredient-driven anxiousness, yep that happens). Instead of performing a basic google search, I decided to inquire with Ashlae herself. And you know what that fancy lady did? She asked for my mailing address (in a non-creepy way, trust) and she sent me a jar. In the mail.

There was homemade vanilla extract in a sweet little burlap bag too, all carefully bubble wrapped. It was genuine and generous, much like Ashlae herself. It was an instance of honest kindness that made me excited for the world at large. I always feel good to be right here, but this reminded me of the islands of sanity that do exist in this bizarre, but still big and beautiful, world.

I can get caught up in the mire of the crazy a bit and in turn, can be the worst at responding to things in a general way. Comments on the blog, social media things, invitations to whatever, personal emails, calling people back etc etc. I’m a talk-it-out-in-the-real kind of gal for the most part, so it just takes me a bit longer to completely sort the right response most times. In this instance, cake was a natural approach. It’s my way of reflecting that kindness back at a few more people. Easy chocolate cake sweetness for all :)


humble chocolate loaf cake + biscoff glaze
barely adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen
serves: makes 1 regulation loaf-sized cake
notes: I used some cultured coconut milk for this cake. You could easily substitute that with buttermilk, kefir or 1 cup of whatever milk you like with a big squeeze of lemon added ahead of time to make it curdle. Also, some all purpose or whole wheat flour would sub in for light and whole spelt just fine. If you can’t find biscoff spread, peanut butter would be delicious in its place.

cake-dry:
1/2 cup light spelt flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp instant espresso powder or finely ground coffee
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

cake-wet:
1/4 cup muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup cultured milk of some kind (kefir, buttermilk, cultured coconut etc or the aforementioned lemon juice curdling method)
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or any oil you like-sunflower, grapeseed etc)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

biscoff glaze:
1/4 cup biscoff
1 cup powdered sugar (if you use the organic/not super refined kind, make sure you sift it a couple times)
2 tsp maple syrup
a splash of vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk of your choice (I went the cultured route again for some tang)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with some of the coconut oil. Line it with parchment paper and then grease the paper lightly as well. Set aside.

Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Push through any lumps of cocoa powder with your fingers.

In a separate, smaller bowl combine all of the wet ingredients. Whisk to combine, making sure there are no demerara sugar lumps in the mix. It should be smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones in the large bowl. Gently mix everything together with a spatula until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine the biscoff, powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir with a spoon until the sugar is kind of mixed up with the biscoff like a homogenous paste. It shouldn’t become runny at all. You just don’t want too much loose powdered sugar in the bowl. Add the milk of your choice, stir a bit to get things going. Switch to a whisk and stark whisking firmly until a smooth glaze is achieved. It should make ribbons that last in the bowl when you lift the whisk.

Assemble: Spread the glaze over the cooled cake and top with dried coconut, cacao nibs and chopped almonds if you like. Slice and serve :)

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Kathryn26/10/2012 - 4:51 am

This kind of throw it all together cake is my very favourite kind. A cake doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy to be delicious and to make me happy – especially when it looks as good as this one does.

Erin26/10/2012 - 8:43 am

This cake looks delicious! And it sounds like such a fantastic flavor combination.

Ashlae26/10/2012 - 8:58 am

Laura! Waking up to this post made me smile so big. I know I’ve said it before, but.. YOU RULE. Hard.

My dad comes to town tonight, and I can’t think of a better way to greet him than with this humble chocolate cake drenched in speculoos glaze. It looks so great, lady.

erin26/10/2012 - 10:47 am

Um- this sounds absolutely amazing! I’ve actually never seen biscoff around here but I’d totally smother a cake in peanut butter. And homemade vanilla? You can’t go wrong!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar26/10/2012 - 11:30 am

That glaze makes me swoon!

Stacy26/10/2012 - 12:28 pm

I love simple cakes more than I can say. I have a vegan chocolate one that I love as well, but I do believe I’ll be giving YOUR recipe a go next time I’m in need of something of this sort! Looks delicious, and lovely to boot!

Jacqui26/10/2012 - 5:56 pm

Um, where have I been. I had to google “biscoff” because I had no idea what it was. Sounds like something I would probably constantly have my finger in though : ) And this cake is gorgeous!

jaime @ sweet road27/10/2012 - 1:06 am

I have yet to find biscoff, but when I do come across it I will definitely bake something up with it. Until then I have no problem throwing together this chocolate cake recipe and whipping up another glaze… it looks too good!

Elenore Bendel Zahn28/10/2012 - 3:04 am

Personally I cannot think of a better way to response to that kind of love then THIS particular cake.

Oh, I really just want to hug you right now! (and do that crazy dance we talked about)… and be the one how comes over for that semi-short notice fika (fika means kind of like meating up for tea and talk and laughter and an occasional cake)

xoxo Elenore

Kelsey28/10/2012 - 12:48 pm

Can you come to Colorado and join forces with Ashlae and teach me how to be as cool as you two? M’kay. Great. Thanks. :)

Kathryne28/10/2012 - 11:34 pm

Oo girl, this is my kind of dessert. Kinda healthy but definitely indulgent, yep. That’s so sweet of Ashlae to send you some Biscoff (and so much more heart-warming than, say, one of those fleeting tweets). I don’t know how to keep up with all the comments and emails and social media stuff and also get stuff done, so it seems like I have to let one thing or another go by the wayside at all times! It can really make a person crazy, can’t it?

Courtney29/10/2012 - 5:12 pm

I, too have been very skeptical of Biscoff spread but this cake has sparked my interest. I have plans to pick some up and make/devour this cake post haste. Yum!

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Zia14/05/2013 - 8:04 am

I’d like to make this vegan…can I use almond milk in both the cake and the glaze?

Looks incredibly yummy!

Zia

Laura Wright14/05/2013 - 8:17 am

You can, Zia! Direct substitution :)

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