Hummingbird High has introduced me to maybe the best thing to come out of quarantine – mini cakes. Made in a loaf pan rather than a cake pan, these are normal sheet cakes, but meant for 4 to 6 people instead of 16 to 20. So for those socially distant gatherings you might be able to start having, where the group has to stay small, you can still have cake! I also discovered, in making this recipe, that I’ve been living a lie. I always say to make any loaf pan recipes in a 9×5 inch loaf pan, but it …
In my third installment of Christmas cookies, I bring you a twist on a classic: candy cane Oreos. I’ve made a similar dessert as a gluten free whoopie pie, but I think these are much better. Crispy cookie, fluffy buttercream, and some chopped candy canes for good measure. These cookies were inspired by Erik, who called me a couple of weeks ago to tell me about the amazing cookies his neighbor had made – fudgy chocolate with chocolate frosting and candy canes on top. For my cookie boxes this year, I wanted at least one sandwich cookie, so I thought …
This week the humidity finally broke, meaning mornings and nights were once again bearable for baking. To take advantage, and because I had promised a friend I’d bring dessert to dinner on Friday (hi, Josh!), I decided to make something from my pre-blog life that I was actually astonished I hadn’t posted before: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. These cupcakes were a team dinner staple at the Baran household in high school (hi, Jen!), and I always had at least two. I made them once or twice in college, but college was pre-SMiLes by Meg, and I have no idea why …
This weekend I decided to bake something exciting. I had the time. I had a book club (which meant it would disappear quickly). I hadn’t made a cake in far too long. Also, Cate made it a couple weeks ago and I got jealous. So I pulled out Ottolenghi’s Sweet cookbook and found the most colorful, interesting looking cake I could: Lemon Berry Stripe Cake.
I am solidly back into procrastination cooking mode. As tends to happen when my work picks up, I convince myself to make increasingly elaborate recipes in an effort to justify not doing that work. This week, I did this both with my baking AND my regular cooking.
Anyone following my Instagram (@smilesbymeg) knows that Easter dessert involved more than just a Carrot Cake Roll, but also some coconut cupcakes. Since it’s my parents’ anniversary – Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! – and my mom always insists on celebrating with coconut cake, it seemed fitting to post this recipe now.
Full disclosure: this is the earliest I’ve started celebrating Christmas in recent memory. Most years, I have a strict no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving rule, but desperate times and whatnot.
Halloween is a weird holiday. As a kid, you’re all about the fact that you can dress up in costume and go door-to-door taking candy from strangers. Then, in middle school, you go through this stage where you are just way too old/cool for Halloween and you want nothing to do with it. Fast forward to college and you realize how great it is to have an excuse to dress up in costume again – so great that you decide Halloween should really be extended into a multi-day event.
I am not usually a spontaneous person. I live by my planner. I love to make lists. Baking is a very orderly habit. But this weekend, on a bit of a whim, I am on a trip to Maine with a group of friends from my law school class. We have this unbelievable house on a lake. I spent today canoeing, playing games, and generally enjoying my life. It’s really exactly what I needed.
Thursday marked the end of my two year commitment to Teach for America. These two years have been far more challenging, meaningful, and transformative than I possibly could have imagined at the front end. There were days that I just wanted to go home and forget by watching hours of Netflix. There were other days that I couldn’t contain my excitement to the point that I had to call three separate people to tell the story before I could finally calm down. But most of all, TFA was amazing because of the people I met.