October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I am joining Chef Colette Christian in her Bake Pink Project. I don’t know how many dear friends and acquaintances of mine have been affected by breast (and other) cancers, but far too many.  In fact, one in eight women will be diagnosed in their lifetime, with early detection being KEY to survival. In other words, get screened annually, and talk to all your friends to make sure they do the same.

I’ve never met Chef Colette in person. But I know for a fact she is one of the nicest human beings around. I will talk more about it in a few months, for reasons that will become clear by then. For now, let me just say she is a fantastic online instructor who is responsible for me finally conquering macarons a few years ago (check her 6 classes at Bluprint, all pretty amazing). Once I got addicted to baking macarons, my horizons were opened to other kinds of patisserie. In many ways, I think Colette is the person who helped me go from cake-o-phobe to passionate baker.  She is winning her own battle with breast cancer, and I am absolutely thrilled to join her BAKE PINK project. Today I share a recipe for a cake I recently enjoyed at Ottolenghi’s cafe in London.  It is pink, it is delicious, and quite simple to put together.

(slightly modified from Ottolenghi’s Sweet)

recipe also available online here

for the cake:
250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250 g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
4 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
120 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
140 g almond flour
15 oz fresh strawberries, hulled cut in half
1 T olive oil
2 T maple syrup
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

for the strawberry icing:
55 g fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
300 g icing sugar
1 T light corn syrup
1/8 tsp vanilla paste

to decorate:
whole strawberries
freeze-dried strawberries

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Start by making the roasted strawberries, preferably many hours in advance, or the day before.  Mix the strawberries with olive oil, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl, add to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the edges start to get dark and the liquid gets thick. Do not let the strawberries burn or get too dry.  Reserve. Dice before using in the recipe. If there is excessive liquid, drain it.

Prepare four mini-loaf pans by coating them with butter and flour or using a baking spray.

Make the cake batter. Place the butter, sugar, and vanilla paste in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium speed until light, then add the eggs, a little at a time. Continue to beat until fully combined. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then stir in the almond flour. Turn the speed of the mixer to medium-low, then add the dry ingredients in three batches and finally fold in the diced roasted strawberries.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of one of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 20 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the strawberry icing, place all the icing ingredients in a food processor and process together until smooth. Drizzle the tops of the upside-down cakes with the icing, allowing it to drip down the sides. Garnish and serve.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: While in London, I really wanted to stop by Ottolenghi’s place, but since my schedule was quite tight, I was worried it would not happen. So one afternoon I was all by myself and realized I barely had the time to catch the tube and get to the cafe before closing time. When I got there, I could not sit down for an early dinner because they were just getting ready to call it a day, so I was a bit frantic trying to decide what to get. From the corner of my eye I saw some cute mini-loaf cakes, and that’s what I bought. My plan was to travel back to the hotel and have it as my dinner. But it could not hurt to take a test-bite as I walked back to the metro station, right?  Right. Problem is, I could not stop eating it. Moist, sweet, but also tangy with the strawberry taste. It was so so good… The sweetest walk ever through Notting Hill.

Of course, it is often problematic to try to match the great things we stumble upon like that. But I have to say, the ones I baked at home were pretty close to that level of goodness. I opted to roast the strawberries because at this time of the year they are not at their peak, and also because roasting will always intensify the flavor, so why not? It is just a small additional step that I think pays off big time here.

Chef Colette, thank you for Baking Pink, and for all the help and advice you’ve given me this past few months.  You are a sweet and bright person…

And for all my readers and fellow bloggers, let’s do all we can to raise awareness about breast cancer, it is a serious killer that can be tamed by early detection.

ONE YEAR AGO: Bourbon-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Pea Pesto

TWO YEARS AGO: Chocolate Chip Cookies from Naturally Sweet

THREE YEARS AGO: Little Bites of Paradise

FOUR YEARS AGO: Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, October 2014

SIX YEARS AGO: Grilled Steelhead Trout

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Brown Butter Tomato Salad

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Spelt and Cornmeal Rolls

NINE YEARS AGO: Roasted Potato and Olive Focaccia

TEN YEARS AGO: Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire



This is a lovely cake, not too sweet, not too rich.  The strawberries more or less melt into the batter, the pecan topping makes the cake more complex, with a nice contrast of textures.



(recipe from

for the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

for the topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir to mix.

In a second bowl, add the egg, milk and butter; stir to mix; add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Place strawberries evenly over the top of batter.

To make the topping: Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until consistency of coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans.

Sprinkle mixture evenly over the strawberries.

Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.


to print the recipe, click here

This recipe comes from Meryl, a long time contributor of the cooking forum, who recently passed away.  Several members of the forum are celebrating her life by cooking her favorite recipes. I chose this cake to do so.

A balanced diet is equal parts of milk and dark chocolate.” 
(Meryl’s signature line)


(comments are shutdown for this post)


Tomato, tomahto = sorbet, sherbet?  Not quite.  Tomato and tomahto are the exact same creature, whereas the other pair refers to different concoctions.  Sorbet has no dairy in it, sherbet contains up to 3% milk fat (from milk or cream).  Pass the 3% level and you’ll get to ice cream territory. Feeling enlightened yet?  😉  I found this recipe in the latest issue of Bon Appetit, and the words “roasted strawberry” and “buttermilk” made me dream.  The stars must be in a lucky alignment, because very little time elapsed between reading the recipe and getting to work.  Fresh blueberries were a perfect match for this slightly tangy dessert.


(adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2013)

4 cups strawberries (about 1 pound), hulled, halved or quartered
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sour cream
Pinch of kosher salt

Heat oven to 425°. Combine strawberries and sugar in a 13 x 9 inches baking pan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod; toss to combine. Roast berries, stirring occasionally, until juices are bubbling,  about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Discard vanilla pod. Purée berries, buttermilk, sour cream, and salt in a blender until smooth. Place in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Process mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sherbet to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  My modifications of the recipe involved cutting down the sugar (the original called for 1 full cup) and reducing the buttermilk amount. The reduction in sugar had to do with our personal preference. The reduction in buttermilk had to do with the size of my blender.  One cup filled it almost to the very top, a little more and we would have a buttermilk tsunami in the kitchen.  I don’t think it made much difference, but check the link to the original recipe online in case you prefer to follow it.  If you use the recipe I posted, please taste the mixture before you place it in the ice cream machine. You might prefer it a little sweeter than we do.

Add a little marshmallow topping and you’ll have a perfect dessert for the 4th of July celebrations: red white and blue, with Summer written all over it.  😉


For those who live in the US, have a wonderful 4th of July!

ONE YEAR AGO: Amazing Ribs for the 4th of July!

TWO YEARS AGO: Baby Back Ribs on the 4th of July

THREE YEARS AGO: Blueberry Muffins

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Pie for your 4th of July


A note to subscribers: Google Reader will shutdown on July 1st, 2013. If you have a subscription to this blog through Google Reader, please sign up for email notifications, or switch to another reader. I recommend Feedly or Bloglovin. They will automatically retrieve all your Google reader subscriptions.

We like to have a small bowl of fruit before we go to bed, often while watching a re-run of Law and Order. Actually, I should say Phil loves to have a bowl of fruit, he always offers to make one for me, I decline.  Then we end up sharing.  😉 Sometimes we have apples & diced walnuts, sometimes sliced bananas, or blueberries & yogurt, but these days strawberries are the best choice. With ice-cream season starting, I showed my gratitude for countless evenings of hitting his bowl of fruit by making a batch of frozen strawberry yogurt.  Very little sugar added, non-fat yogurt, this is as light as a dessert can be.  If you have a sweet tooth, this may not be for you. Although you can always cover it with  some chocolate sauce…  it won’t hurt our feelings!


(from Kitchen Daily)

4 cup strawberry
⅓ cup sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
½ cup non-fat yogurt

Place berries in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add sugar and orange juice; process for a few seconds. Add yogurt and pulse several times until blended. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour or overnight.

Pour the strawberry mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  The frozen yogurt will be harder than ice-cream when kept in the freezer for several hours.  We put the container in the microwave for 20 seconds and that makes it easy to scoop out our evening portion.   Contrary to our normal routine, I’ve been enjoying my own bowl.  😉

A word about Kitchen Daily:  I discovered this site by one of those fortunate accidents while net-surfing. Just like Everyday Food from Martha Stewart, this site offers a daily recipe arriving in your mailbox. For the most part, everything quite compatible with our style of cooking.  If you want to check their website, and maybe join their daily feed, jump here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Baked Coconut and “The Brazilian Kitchen”

TWO YEARS AGO: Honey-Glazed Chicken Legs

THREE YEARS AGO: French-Style Rolls