Pumpkin Head

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

“Most dazzling human achievements are, in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements,
each of which is, in a sense, ordinary.”
― Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

It’s the 2016 Virtual Pumpkin Party!! Woohoo!!
This party is hosted by the amazing Sara of Cake over Steak and Aimee of Twigg Studios.

There is a whole lot of pumpkin purée that’s about to inundate the internet, your instagram feed, and Pinterest.

There are some amazing, drool-worthy recipes, both savory and sweet, included in the link list below, and I absolutely encourage you to click through to whatever piques your interest!

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

When my siblings and I were babies, our parents gave us (ridiculous) nicknames, each with their own backstory.

My older brother Michael was pumpkin head, because he had a giant, bald, blocky head as a newborn. LOL.
Unfortunately, this nickname didn’t stick around enough for us to tease him with it much.

My nickname was punky beef, and I have no good answer for why.  It is a nickname of inexplicable origins and uncanny endurance—my dad still calls me punky beef to this day.
I’m sure my parents could explain it… but I’ll leave that for another day.

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

These hexagonal pumpkin cakes are cute, a little unexpected, and a little blocky, if you will.
They’re more elegant (and geometric) than typical cupcakes. They definitely lean closer to a petit four or a tea cake.

Dense, spicy, and with a good measure of dark molasses, they are delightfully and unmistakably pumpkin-hued. They’re finished with a sticky condensed milk glaze and a puff of whipped cream.  You can eat them in two bites and demolish multiple without even realizing it.

Pairing a light frosting like whipped cream with a dense pumpkin cake actually works incredibly well, in spite of the fact that you usually see pumpkin cake with thick cream cheese icing.

The milkiness of the glaze and whipped cream is a delicate, sweet match for the moist pumpkin cake below.
Those with whom I shared these cakes thought they were absolutely delicious, so I consider this recipe to be a real winner!

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Cake Over Steak • Quick Pumpkin and Kale Risotto + Arancini
Twigg Studios • Sausage Stuffing Baked in a Pumpkin
Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Spice Latte Popsicles
Cloudy Kitchen • Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla German Buttercream
Vegetarian Ventures • Smoky Pumpkin & Black Sesame Hummus
Eat Boutique • Pumpkin Scallion Dumplings
A Little Saffron • Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
Two Red Bowls • Pumpkin & Maple Caramel Baked French Toast
Wallflower Kitchen • Mini Pumpkin & Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
Wit & Vinegar • Pumpkin Butterscotch Banana Split
Style Sweet CA • Pumpkin Creme Brulee Cake
Nommable • Pumpkin Biscuits with Mushroom Thyme Gravy
With Food + Love • Cinnamon Raisin Pumpkin Seed Bread
Hortus • Creamy Roasted Squash Soup + Pumpkin Risotto
Sevengrams • Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Jojotastic • 1 Pumpkin, 2 Ways: Pumpkin Trail Mix & Dog Treats
Grain Changer • Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal
Girl Versus Dough • Pumpkin Cranberry Flax Crisps
Earthy Feast • Pumpkin Grits + Pumpkin Home Fries + a Fried Egg
Harvest and Honey • Truffled Pumpkin Papardelle Alfredo With Frizzled Sage
Tasty Seasons • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
Broma Bakery • Pumpkin Butter Pop Tarts
Tending the Table • Roasted Pumpkin and Barley Salad
The Sugar Hit • Super Soft Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Delicious Not Gorgeous • Waffles with Spiced Pumpkin Butter and Brown Sugar Walnut Crumble
Taste Love and Nourish • Pumpkin Bread Pudding
The Green Life • Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chunk & Hazelnut Skillet Cookie (Vegan)
Foolproof Living • Pumpkin Creme Fraiche Pasta with Sage
The Monday Box • Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes
Design Crush • Pumpkin Bourbon Hot Toddy
The Road to Honey • Pumpkin Pie & Chocolate Layer Cake
My Name is Yeh • Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt and Hazelnut Dukkah
Give Recipe • Orange Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
Heartbeet Kitchen • Magic Vegan Pumpkin Pie Fudge
Beard and Bonnet • Marbled Pumpkin Muffins
Eat Within Your Means • Vegan Pumpkin Blender Muffins
Snixy Kitchen • Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding with Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Ruby Josephine • Moroccan Sweet Pumpkin + Beef Tagine
Lab Noon • Pasta Bake with Roasted Pumpkin and Saffron Sauce, Pistachio and Goat Cheese
An Edible Mosaic • Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
Hey Modest Marce • Mascarpone Pumpkin Pie
Inspired By the Seasons • Pumpkin Applesauce Smoothie
CaliGirl Cooking • Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Rolls with Spiked Cream Cheese Glaze
Sally’s Baking Addiction • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Well and Full • Spicy Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus
Appeasing a Food Geek • Cheese Fondue Stuffed Roasted Pumpkin
SweetPhi • Pumpkin Chili Biscuit Bake
Warm Vanilla Sugar • Buttermilk Pumpkin Doughnuts
Mademoiselle Poirot • Cinnamon-Pumpkin Mousse on Honey Panna Cotta topped with Hazelnut Brittle
Heart of a Baker • Pumpkin Sticky Buns with Vanilla Bean Frosting
Flourishing Foodie • Massaman Curry with Pumpkin and Chickpeas
Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Jeon
Lindsay Jang • Best Ever DIY Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Fix Feast Flair • Hokkaido Pumpkin + Sage Mac and Gouda
Will Frolic for Food • Pumpkin Kale Patties with Coconut Cilantro Rice
A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin Pecan Baked Steel Cut Oats
Vermilion Red • Pumpkin Pie Souffle
B. Britnell • Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Displaced Housewife • Brown Butter Pumpkin Donuts
Sweet Gula • Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
La Pêche Fraîche • Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes
Kitchen Konfidence • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Rosemary Brown Butter Sauce
Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Kale & Caramel • Goat Cheese & Sage-Stuffed Pumpkin Challah
Okie Dokie Artichokie • Pumpkin Chorizo Chili with Sweet Potatoes + Pinto Beans
Salted Plains • Easy Pumpkin Bread
Liliahna • Chicken Legs with Pumpkin and Tortellini
TermiNatetor Kitchen • Whole Wheat, Pumpkin & Brown Sugar Brioche
Vermilion Roots • Sweet Rice Dumplings with Pumpkin
Celebrate Creativity • Pumpkin Mini Cheesecake Tarts
Serendipity Bakes • Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake
So Much Yum • Vegan Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
The Brick Kitchen • Pumpkin, Pecan & White Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches
Lisli • Pumpkin Pie Cake
Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Pumpkin Pie Dip
Fig+Bleu • Pumpkin Granola
The Speckled Palate • Pumpkin Caramel Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies
Cook Til Delicious • Fall Cliche Cake (Pumpkin Spice Cake / Maple Cream Cheese Frosting / Apple Cider Caramel Sauce)
Floating Kitchen • Chicken and Pumpkin Chili
The Wood and Spoon • Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Burnt Sugar Frosting
Fork Vs Spoon • Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Lemon & Vanilla • Pumpkin and Coconut Caramel Flan
Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Chocolate Icebox Cake
Chicano Eats • Pumpkin Butter Pan de Muerto
On the Plate • Pumpkin Pancakes, Salted Caramel & Pecans
Rough Measures • Cosy Pumpkin Spice Latte (Caffeine and Dairy Free)
Brewing Happiness • Pumpkin Ginger Breakfast Cookies
A Butterful Mind • Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vanilla Whipped Cream
The Little Loaf • Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Fork to Belly • Pumpkin Gnocchi
The Little Epicurean • Chocolate Hazelnut Pumpkin Pie
Bourbon and Honey • Spicy Roasted Pumpkin with Honey and Feta
What to Cook Today • Spicy Pumpkin Noodle Soup
Food by Mars • Pumpkin Pie (Grain-Free, Diary-Free)
The Bojon Gourmet • Pumpkin Butterscotch Pudding
Oh Honey Bakes • Pumpkin Cake with Gingersnap Toffee
Long Distance Baking • Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
The Jam Lab • Pumpkin Madeleines Dipped in White Chocolate
The Lemon Apron • Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf with an Olive Oil Glaze
Sun Diego Eats • Thai Pumpkin & Sticky Rice Cakes
A Cozy Kitchen • Pumpkin Chai Scones with Black Tea Glaze
A Cookie Named Desire • Pumpkin Shrubs
Eating Clean Recipes • Vegan Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Kingfield Kitchen • Vegan Fresh Pumpkin Soup
Drink and Cocktail Recipes • Pumpkin Dirty Chai
The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Sage Cannelloni (Dairy-Free)
My Lavender Blues • Pumpkin, Banana & Olive Oil Bundt Cake
Betty Liu • Pumpkin + Pear Butter Baked Melty Cheese
Happy Hearted Kitchen • Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin with Tahini Yogurt + Hazelnut Dukkah
InHappenstance • Pumpkin Scones with Maple Butter
Live Eat Learn • Pumpkin Gingerbread Hot Cocoa
Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes | La Pêche Fraîche

Pumpkin and Condensed Milk Cakes
makes 9 small cakes or 1 9×9 inch cake

for the cakes:
55 grams (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
56 grams (4 tablespoons, 60 mL) oil
267 grams (1 1/3 cups) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
244 grams (1 cup) pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
200 grams (1 2/3 cup) AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

for the glaze:
100 grams (5 tablespoons) condensed milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

to decorate:
240 grams (1 cup) heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 9x9inch baking pan.
Place oil, melted butter, sugar, molasses, pumpkin, spices, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Add in the eggs one by one and whisk vigorously to combine.
Add in the flour and baking powder and stir until combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
Allow to cool completely.
Cut and level cake into the shape you desire, or leave whole (you may want to level the top if leaving it whole, just so the glaze can soak in).
Whisk condensed milk and powdered sugar together to make the glaze; pour all over the cake(s).
Whip cream; whisk in powdered sugar.
Spread or pipe whipped cream on top of cake, then decorate with crumbs left over from leveling the cake.

Bonne Maman

Decorated Rose Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

And the Wild Things said,

Oh please don’t go—
we’ll eat you up—
we love you so!

—Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

Decorated Rose Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

March—in like a lion, out like a lamb.
We hope, at least. It’s been both warm and sunny and frigid, snowing, and icy. And it’s only the 8th!
The weather is sending some seriously mixed signals to Chicago.  But then again, what’s new about that?

I disappeared for the second half of February, but I’m back with spring-y feelings and and lots of bright whites and pastels. My holiday Pinterest board is flooded with delicately dyed eggs and bunnies. I’m really, really ready for spring.

I do wonder about these 3 weeks—the blog lying fallow and outdated dressed in its Valentine’s day best—because I’ve had pictures and recipes to post, but an absence of words to fill the blank space. Three weeks of quiet silence, of empty, unremarkable days and hands folded on top of my keyboard. Nothing to type.
Somehow my silences are always precipitated by a lack of words, rather than a dearth of new recipes.

Decorated Rose Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Anyways, as I mentioned in my long-forgotten last post, Hana’s birthday is at the end of February.
Her 21st birthday cake is one of my favorites ever—a little 6-inch number completely covered in happy sprinkles.

She’s totally the best friend/big/Theta mama in the world and she definitely deserves treats on her 22nd birthday!
Here’s the thing: she’s in France right now, and has been for this whole quarter. *pouts*
I did NOT want her to go but she’s been having an absolutely fabulous time in Paris and Europe and I can’t fault her for that, even with how much I miss her.
I guess I’ve forgiven her for leaving me!

My solution to not being able to give her a cake and gift in person was to bake and ship her some sturdy cookies, which still only had a small shot in making it there unharmed.

Good news! My plan worked! These cookies, carefully packed, made it all the way across the Atlantic without breaking into a thousand million crumbs. Thank goodness.

Decorated Rose Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

To make these, I whipped up a half batch of my perfected roll-out sugar cookie recipe: buttery, a little salty, and cut thick so as to not break any teeth.
You’ve seen it before, in many forms. It’s pretty failproof—doesn’t spread, keeps in the freezer for an eternity, etc.

To decorate them, I used egg white royal icing. Instead of just flooding them with thin icing, I kept a small portion very thick. I used a tiny French tip to pipe the most minuscule of roses, then I set them to dry while I decorated the cookie base.
I’m not totally happy with how my watercolor rose effect came out and I think my technique needs some perfecting before I share it here, but the whole set together had the look I was going for. In the future, I’m going to experiment more with wet-on-wet icing techniques.
A little “H” and a few roses and leaves on each one rounded them out nicely.

These would be perfect for a baby or bridal shower, Easter or anything springy, and the birthday of someone special, of course!

Decorated Rose Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy March, everyone. May spring come soon.
And a very happy belated birthday to Hana! May Spring Quarter come so I can hug you, friend.

Decorated Rose Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Perfect Roll-Out Sugar Cookies
makes 10 2 1/2 inch cookies

112 grams (1/2 cup) butter
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 medium egg (or half a large, whisked and weighed)
180 grams (1 1/2 cups) flour

Beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the salt and sugar and vanilla and beat on high for another 3 full minutes.
Add the egg and beat for another 2 minutes; scrape the bowl and beat until homogeneous again.
Mixture should be light and fairly fluffy.
Add in the flour and stir on low speed until fully combined.
Roll out to 1/4 inch-3/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Cut into desired shapes and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Decorate with royal icing.


Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“Birthdays was the worst days,
now we sip champagne when we thirsty…”

Juicy, Biggie Smalls

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy belated to the BEST BIG EVER!
Guys, it was Hana’s 21st birthday this past week (what! I know. I am a child) and we had too much a lot of fun!
When people ask me why I love my sorority so much, I immediately think of Hana.
Honestly, our friendship has been a really important part of my year.  I can’t imagine being in Theta without her.
She is the perfect big and impressively puts up with me being her spawn—I am so grateful.

Speaking of Theta, THANK YOU to all who donated or raised awareness for CASA.
Mr. University was yesterday and it was a raging success.
WE RAISED $46,000 for CASA, which means we absolutely smashed our original goal of $25,000.
I am so happy and so so thankful to all of our donors.
It was a ton of work but there’s no better feeling than working hard and having a success that will truly make a difference for a great cause like CASA.

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

 For Hana’s birthday, despite having just made 200 cupcakes (lol), I just had to make her a cake for the dinner we had with her close friends.

I chose a funfetti base, with lots and lots of sprinkles; it’s dense with a tight crumb and a light vanilla flavor.
The cake was frosted with silky chocolate-caramel buttercream, with a hit of salt and cocoa.
Finally, I had to finish the cake with tons of sprinkles, because a 21st birthday calls for fun and sprinkles=fun. Duh.

This was a perfect little 2-layer 6-inch cake, but would scale very well; I really like this vanilla cake recipe and it may just be my new go-to.  The only way to know for sure is more testing.
And more eating.  What a burden that will be!

Funfetti cake with chocolate caramel buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini Funfetti Cake with Choco-Caramel Frosting
makes 1 2-layer 6-inch cake
cake portion adapted from Sweetapolita

for the cake:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
2 eggs
45 mL (3 tablespoons) heavy cream
60 mL (5 tablespoons) water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175 grams (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) flour
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sprinkles of choice

for the frosting:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
pinch of kosher salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons caramel sauce (I used this recipe)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream

to finish:
lots and lots of sprinkles

Make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 2 6-inch pans.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 2 minutes.
Add in the sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
Add in the eggs and beat for 4 full minutes.
Stir the heavy cream, water, and vanilla extract together.
Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Add the wet and dry ingredients to the batter, starting and ending with dry.
Scrape the bowl and beat on high for 30 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Very carefully stir in the sprinkles, being sure not to swirl too much (the colors will bleed).
Portion out the batter into prepared pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place the butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
While mixing, stream in the chocolate and then the caramel sauce; beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the powdered sugar slowly while beating, then stream in the heavy cream and beat on high speed for 1 more minute.
Fill and frost the sides of the cake only.
Place a ton of sprinkles in a dish and roll the cake in the sprinkles, using the top and bottom to roll it around.
Then, frost the top (carefully) and pat sprinkles all over it.
Stick candles in it and enjoy!

It Ain’t Broke

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Your heart is a weapon the size of your fist.
Keep fighting.
Keep loving.

—Leah Wilson

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

How is winter treating you lately?

We’ve had a string of not-so-terrible days, so mild, in fact, that parkas are forgotten, gloves and hats stripped off and left behind, where the prospect of a fresh salad for dinner doesn’t seem nearly as cold and uninviting of an idea as before.

I mean, gosh, 40 degrees F—anyone up for iced coffee?

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Actually, I’m still off of caffeine, miraculously.
In fact, I’ve used more caffeine in my Organic Chemistry lab experiments than I have actually consumed over these last few months.
Last July, I went off of coffee—I was drinking too much of it, and still feeling tired every day.
The transition was unpleasant (migraines, vomiting, etc.), but luckily for me, it was summer.  Sleeping until 12 wasn’t so big of a deal after all—and how can one really be grumpy when it’s sunny and warm?
(Don’t ask my parents, because they’ll tell you I was plenty grumpy sometimes…)

This December, I went completely off of caffeine—no black or green tea, no diet coke.
I’m still feeling fairly fresh in the mornings.  I think my body has transitioned well; not having that extra boost definitely pushes me to get more sleep, which is never a bad thing.

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

So even though I sleep like a baby without the interference of the caffeine fairy who so conveniently likes to flit around right when you try to go to sleep, there is one thing that keeps me up at night:

N can’t eat anything that I make, since he’s lactose intolerant.

Life without butter and cheese is sad indeed (although that being said, he can eat truly prodigious amounts of food and not worry about the accumulation of a single ounce of fat, so don’t feel too bad for the kid…); but I daresay it might be worse if your girlfriend is, allegedly, some fanatic pastry blogger, and yet you never get to see even a single thing that comes out of her kitchen.

(Save for this cake that I made with him in mind, of course.)

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

So I made him cookies that he could enjoy without worry.
I went for the classics, because, honestly, there is no better cookie than a soft, still-warm chocolate chip.
(He can’t dunk them in milk, though! GAhhhh.)

These cookies are soft on the inside, but crisp on the bottoms; they’re rich and full of texture and flavor.
Made with plenty of brown sugar and rice-milk based chocolate chips, with Earth Balance and a hit of salt.
They’re everything you want chocolate chip cookies to be, just without the dairy.
The secret is to underbake them, and let them settle into little pillows of perfection.
I made them tiny, because it means you can eat 9 of them without a second thought, obviously.

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Note: these cookies can easily be made with real butter and dairy-full chocolate chips.
But since you can eat dairy, might I suggest this divine, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread?
Or these softbatch peppermint cookies with buttery chocolate frosting?
Or even these extra-intense brown butter chocolate chip cookies, fat and fluffy and the opposite of dairy free?
Or dairy-full vanilla and chocolate roll-outs in the shape of dairy cows? (Mooo.)

Back soon (with butter)!

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 36 small cookies

113 grams (4 ounces, 8 tablespoons) Earth Balance buttery sticks (or other dairy-free butter sticks)
75 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) white sugar
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons, packed) brown sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
180 grams (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use RiceDream brand)

Place Earth Balance in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 3 full minutes.
Add in the white sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and scrape the bowl; beat for 4 full minutes until fluffy and light.
Scrape the bowl, add in vanilla extract and egg and beat for 4 more minutes (set a timer) until very light colored and glossy.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and, on top of the flour, the baking soda.
Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until dough comes together; it should be thick and require a little elbow grease.
At this point, taste, and if it needs more salt, sprinkle another 1/4 teaspoon over the top of the dough and either use your mixer or spoon to fully beat the dough.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Portion out in 2 tablespoon scoops onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Space cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on the sheets and bake for 9 minutes; they will look puffy and still a little underbaked.
Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
Serve with a cold glass of (almond) milk!

Just Like You

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“There’s no one just like you,” she said.
“That’s why we need to celebrate.”

—Karen Kingsbury

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”

—Julia Child

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

A birthday without cake is just another dreary day.
A birthday without cake, loves, is not a birthday at all.

Birthdays are for cakes.
(Note: cakes are definitely not only for birthdays, however.)

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

I’m slowly curating the birthday cakes of my roommates (Daly’s birthday is 3 days before mine, so it always happens before we get to school, but a half birthday, perhaps?).
Alexa will love this—it tickles me pink how much she loves her birthday posts.  She also, for the record, loves pink.

Just for reference, here’s Alexa’s cake from last year, and the one from this year.

Dunno if I can possibly link back to that caramel popcorn cake one more time, but oh well.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

But this is a birthday cake (and post) for a girl who loves the color mint and Paris, soy lattes and Back to the Future, the Old Major sandwich at Z&H and puppies.
Who embodies the Duchess Kate Middleton and has the most brilliant hair and sleeps like Sleeping Beauty (yes, that deeply).

The one who inspired these whole wheat peppermint mocha brownies with her love of Starbucks.


Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Elizabeth made it through 2 decades of life.

Obviously, we needed to celebrate with a very big, very chocolaty cake.
Thing is, her birthday was the day after we got back from winter break!  So I hadn’t prepared anything (usually I’ll bake the layers a day ahead or something along those lines, since the days can get so excitingly monotonously busy around here) the day of.
Still, I poked around in my kitchen for ~2 seconds and knew exactly what I had to make her.

A cake tailored to a few of her favorite things.
A cake just like her.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

This cake is really easy, and miraculously fast.
I had it imagined, made, decorated, and photographed within 2 and a half hours.  Not too bad, especially when you consider that the photography took longer than any of the other processes.

The cake itself is a springy dark chocolate and coffee—mocha—cake.  It’s soft and feels light yet rich at the same time, with a good balance of sweet and bitter from the coffee and cocoa.
It’s a one bowl, one whisk, and one measuring cup kind of recipe, perfect when you need a cake, stat!

The frosting is a Nutella Italian meringue buttercream, so conceived because I had no confectioner’s sugar but lots and lots of bittersweet chocolate.
It’s impossibly light and buttery while still maintaining plenty of chocolate flavor, which I always find is missing in chocolate egg-based buttercreams.
First, a plain Italian meringue buttercream is whipped up, one big glossy cloud.  Then heaps of cooled chocolate get whisked in, and a fair dollop of Nutella, too.
The color change is mesmerizing: from the palest yellow to a red-brown cocoa.

The end result is seriously amazing.
It’s salty and sweet, chocolaty and a little bit nutty.
Italian meringue buttercreams are so silky—they pair perfectly with a cake that has a soft, tight crumb.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

 This is a cake that’s perfect for a birthday.
It’s fun (sprinkles!), has flavors that everyone will like, and makes the right size cake for sharing with friends.

It frosts like a dream and will look impressive no matter how you decide to finish it up—just don’t forget the candles.

But seriously—don’t the adorable candles on this cake practically beg for extra sprinkles?!

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy belated birthday, Elizabeth darling.

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream | La Pêche Fraîche

Mocha Cake with Nutella Italian Meringue Buttercream
makes 1 3-layer, 6-inch cake

for the mocha cake:
1 2/3 cups (190 grams) flour
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder
1 5/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5/8 cup (200 mL) buttermilk (or milk plus 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup (120 mL) coffee (or hot water plus 1 tablespoon espresso powder)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 mL) vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

for the Nutella Italian meringue buttercream:
3 egg whites
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (345 grams) unsalted butter, soft but cool
8 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup (~120 grams(?)) nutella

sprinkles, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour 3 6-inch baking pans.
Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Whisk buttermilk, oil, coffee, eggs, and vanilla extract together, then whisk wet ingredients into dry.
Portion batter out evenly into pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a tester comes out nearly clean and the cakes are springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.
Make the icing: place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Place sugar, salt, and water in a small pot over medium heat, fitted with a candy thermometer.
Begin to whisk egg whites while syrup heats up.
Once syrup reaches 245 degrees F, the egg whites should be at semi-stiff peaks.
Pour the hot syrup into the meringue while beating at high speed.
Whip until the meringue is glossy and cooled to body temp.
Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the butter at a time, beating until the frosting comes together into a glossy, fluffy, light mixture.
Slowly add in the cooled chocolate while whipping, then add in the Nutella.
Scrape the bowl and whip for another minute to ensure homogeneity.
Frost cooled cake as desired, and add sprinkles!


Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

File this one under: Anything But Vegetables.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

A certain blonde with whom I live is going to be very happy to see this post be published—

that’s right, friends, this is Alexa’s birthday cake.

Remember last year?  Of course you do, I link back to that post ALL the time.  Lauren Conrad pinned it, for God’s sake.

It’s been a bit more than a year, now, that Alexa and I have been friends.  Miraculously, we are both still alive and have, for the most part, all of our limbs (Grandma, I’m kidding).

Who knew that the gals I met on the first day of O-week would be my roomies, my #1 wingwomen, my comfort blankets and tissue fetchers and popcorn sharers and best friends?

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Spoiler: Alexa definitely didn’t.  She was fairly certain I hated her…
(She still hasn’t gotten the hint, guys. I think she’s following me.)

Anyways, it’s been quite an eventful year+ and I couldn’t be more grateful to have spent it with such good people.

I couldn’t have asked for a better house-mate, better roommate, and better friend.  Alexa is such a giver and can ALWAYS put a smile on my face or at least a blanket round my shoulders.
She knows what to say, who to hate, how to make popcorn the best, and how to be the most loyal, loving friend out there.
Ugh. So much love.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

To celebrate her birthday, I made an over-the-top cake, obviously.

Alexa loves diet coke, as a sorority girl should.
Alexa loves chocolate and vanilla bean, like normal people do.
Alexa thinks that salted caramel is the stuff of gods (she is right).

Alexa is looking over my shoulder and drooling wishing for another cake right now—
“Please? I ate this for all three meals.”

Alexa is going to kill me for putting that up on the internetz but it’s ok friends I will survive because I am holding birthday cake oreo cupcakes hostage right now.
(Look for those here in the coming weeks!!!)

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

I knew I had to make a chocolate coca cola cake, and I wanted to incorporate a fat vanilla bean and some gold and sparkly caramel in there somewhere as well.

The end result is a rich, moist chocolate cola cake with vanilla bean buttercream swirled with heaps of salted caramel glammed up with gold luster dust and chocolate sprinkles.

It’s sparkly and gooey and sweet and salty and I think it was just about a perfect way to celebrate my BFF’s birthday.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Some notes on the cake:
you can make the cake portion and the caramel ahead, but make the frosting right before you are going to decorate the cake; the finished cake can be stored in a cool place at room temperature overnight.
The luster dust is optional, but a very nice glam touch to the caramel on top of the cake.
This caramel recipe is good for pouring, so if you don’t want to smudge it on the sides, just pour it over the top and let it drip down!

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy belated birthday, darling girl.
You’re wonderful.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Alexa’s Birthday Cake
Coca cola + chocolate + caramel + vanilla bean
makes 1 3-layer 6-inch cake
cake portion adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

for the cake:
1 cup (240 mL) Coca cola
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter
1/4 cup (30 grams) dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (120 mL) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (240 grams) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

for the salted caramel:
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
30 grams (2 tablespoons) water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon gold luster dust, if desired

for the vanilla bean frosting:
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) butter, soft
1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (30 mL to 60mL) half-and-half

Make the cake: grease and flour 3 6-inch round pans and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place butter, oil, coca cola, cocoa powder, and salt in a large pot.
Heat over medium heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil.
Pour the hot mixture over the sugar and whisk to combine.
Whisk in the eggs vigorously.
Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Whisk flour and baking soda together, then stir into the batter.
Portion batter out into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean.

Make the caramel: heat the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt together, whisking at the beginning until they dissolve.
Stop stirring and allow to caramelize into an amber color, then remove from heat and quickly whisk in butter and cream, being careful of the splattering.
Whisk until completely smooth, adding luster dust if desired, then allow to cool before using.

Make the frosting: place butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 6 full minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the vanilla bean and powdered sugar; stir on low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated, then beat on high while slowly drizzling in 2 tablespoons of half and half.
If the frosting is too thick, add more half and half until the proper consistency is reached.
Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, then use immediately to frost the cake as desired.

So Question


Much wonder.
Such searches.

“my olive oil bottle had some slimy things”

“is little debbie oatmeal cream pies good for chakras”
Probably not?

“lets make marscarpone ourselves for once”
Yes, let’s.  God.


“dumb jokes”
“dysfunctional family funny”
“dumb shit jokes”
I think you’re in the right place, my friend.

“homogeneous motor for milk and mango juice”
“gothic baking dishes”
“fairy hand cream mango butter switzerland”
“brass triangle fruit ripener”
“picture of willy wonka marshmallow pillow”
“ready to bake cheese marscapone croissants wholesale”
“kids throwing cookie dough on ceiling”
“plate with some fruits two toothbrush one small pot drawing in pencil”
“lime green fat baby boots with white fluffy stitching on the toe”
What?  No.  How did you manage to end up here?


“comfy belly pumpkin roll”
“christina tosi maple”
“nigella frangelico tiramisu grams”
“michael laiskonis silpat”
“dorie greenspan is too soft and crumbly cheesecake”
Nope nope nope not me.  Wrong person.

“why is my mississippi mud pie still runny in the middle”
“2c heavy cream 4 tsp matcha 3/4 c sugar 6 egg yolk 1 c milk where is it books”
“how to bake cake in a 5 burner gas cooktop candy”
“660grams of chocolate buttons = cups?”
“should a pumpkin roll cake be wet still when you take it out of the oven”
“why do my meringue cookies always end up with a syrup like crust on the bottom???”
“can u use buttercream piping for a dummy cake or will it rot? cake central”
“creme brulee didn’t set congeal can i freeze it”
“3cups cocoa powder 4sticks butter layer cake”
“why gateau cake didn’t rise”
“do they have pumpkin butter in sweden”
“why does creaming butter and sugar in more than one direction, get curds”
“260 grams flour and sugar and butter cake making how many eggs i use”
“i like to make it my own pomelo powder tall me how”
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
I wish I could tell you the answers to all these existential questions, but…


“best ice cream scoopers activated by body heat”
“brown butter cookie nutella fill kitchen dink w/ 2″ of cold water”
“waterproof nut pie crust”
“she made a graham with childish decorated toppings”
“pressure ulcers cooker de leche condensed milk”
“glitter sprinkle french macaron vanipla”
“whot. can. you yes. hef. coleur perpar”
“no egg no milk no butter cookiesh ki,o.lpo.ol”
“cheese lava guna kracker magic”
“like golden ray butter”
“drama psheat”
“pepar fool ke banana”

“la peche fraiche”
“lapechce fraiche”
“la pache frasche”
“la pilche frache”
“peche freche”
“la peche peach”
“rachel sally pastry blogs”
“rachel sally blog”
“ithaca rachel sally”
Lol hai.  Welcome.


You guys search such silly things and manage to end up here, at my doorstep.
I can only begin to understand my readership through searches like “cheese lava guna kracker magic.”
Conclusion: you guys are weird.  And poor typists.  And are therefore in good company.

These cookies are delicious, fat, bakery-sized peanut butter sandwiches, filled with fluffy marshmallow and rolled in honey roasted peanuts, in honor of whoever searched
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
Sadly, this is the best I can do for you.  I hope you enjoy them, mystery googler.
(I have a feeling they’re more delicious than this suspect nutter butter-corn syrup pie…)

The cookie base has edges that are crispy and crunchy, like a nutter butter, but a thick, soft center.  Perfect for sandwiching, and not too brittle or crumbly, like most PB cookies.
A cookie with bite.
Even better, they can be frozen for later!  Only use what you need, and stick the rest in the freezer for emergencies.
The marshmallowy filling is a billowy Italian meringue, whipped to sticky perfection.
Annnnnd this cookie sandwich is then rolled in
salted honey roasted peanuts.

These are like fluffernutters, only made with cookies.
Fluffernutter cookies.  Do I need to say more?

Perhaps just this: make these, you weirdos.  Ok.  That is all.


Fluffernutter Cookies
makes 6 very large cookie sandwiches, or 12 cookies
cookie portion adapted from Miette

for the cookies:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
70 grams (1/3 cup packed) brown sugar
1 egg
160 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
180 grams (1 2/3 cups) flour

for the Italian meringue:
1 egg white
50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
15 grams (1 tablespoon) water

to assemble:
about 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
pinch or two kosher salt

Make the cookies: beat butter on high speed until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add in the salt and sugars and beat for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl halfway through.
Add the egg and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the peanut butter; beat for 1 more minute.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and baking soda all at once.
Mix on low speed until homogeneous.
Scoop out generous (1/3 cup) portions, then roll into smooth balls.
Press a cross-hatch pattern onto the cookies with a fork (or gently press them with a meat tenderizer) to flatten them slightly.
Place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 15 minutes, and up to a month, wrapped very tightly in plastic and aluminum foil.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
Allow to cool completely, then assemble the sandwiches.
Make the Italian meringue: place egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk.
Place the salt, sugar, and water in a small sauce pot.
Begin to whip your egg white while heating the syrup on medium heat.
When your syrup reaches 200 degrees F, the egg white should be all foam; at 240, it should be at soft peaks.
Carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg white; beat the meringue until cooled to body temperature, about 5 minutes.
Spread onto one cookie and sandwich with another.
Mix the honey roasted peanuts with the extra salt, then roll the edges of each cookie in the mixture.
Enjoy with milk!

Great Scott!

It’s the 3rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!


The GFBCS is a multiple nation wide food blogger swap which is sponsored by OXO, Dixie Crystals, and Grandma’s Molasses; all the profits go to the charity Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which supports pediatric cancer research.

Pretty much a good time all around, right?

Not only did I receive three delicious types of cookies and have the opportunity to share my cookies with three other bloggers, but it was for a good cause.


Also, OXO sent me three super fancy, brand-spanking new spatulas.  I’ve never been more excited to see a spatula before.  Ugh I’m in love.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the swap, and I’ve worked with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for a service project as well.
It’s always a pleasure.


With that, here are the details:

I received…

muddy buddy cookies (genius idea!) from Marley of Chicago Foodies
date pinwheel cookies (a family recipe!) from Jessica of Kettler Cuisine
and marbled shortbread (so cute!) from Lauren of a Dash of Soul.

I gave…

des petits sablés aux noix: pressed walnut sablés, buttery and rich, half dipped in 70% Scharrfen Berger chocolate

to Jenne of Mooshu Jenne,
Brooke of Crackers on the Couch (who sent out crackers— how perfect is that?)
and Joanna of A Kosher Kitchen.

Happy holidays to all!  I hope you enjoyed your cookies.

Until next year, Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!


Walnut Sablés

660 grams (5 cups) flour
120 grams (1 cup) walnut halves
450 grams (4 sticks, 1 lb) butter
400 grams (2 cups) sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 splashes vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
melted bittersweet chocolate, if desired, for dipping

In a food processor, pulse the flour and walnut halves until a uniform flour forms; careful not to over process, as the walnuts will start to form butter.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the sugar and salt.
Beat for 2 more minutes, until all the grit is gone and the mixture is very pale.
Add in the vanilla and eggs and beat for 2 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and dump in all of the walnut flour mixture.
Mix on low until a dough forms.
Chill for at least 45 minutes.
Roll out on a very well-floured surface, and press with a cookie stamp (alternately, just cut out shapes) and cut out.
Chill for at least 30 more minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush chilled cookies with the egg wash and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool completely before dipping in chocolate.
Place the cookies on a cooling rack to let the chocolate drip through.



This cake is certainly cheerier than the last to be posted here, though it was made prior to that one.


This cake was for my best friend (haaay I have friends y’all), Alexa.
She is an incredibly picky eater, but she loves popcorn.

Annnnnd it was her birthday (October 24th), so I made cake+popcorn.

(Note: the last 3 posts have been cake on this here blog.  Gettin’ real wild.)

Although this post is late (I had Halloweenie matters to attend to, after all), we still had a wonderful time celebrating her birfday.

Happy, happy (belated) birthday, Alexa love, I hope you enjoyed your cake!!


The cake itself emulates salted, buttery caramel corn.

The base is a simple yellow butter cake, with a soft, tight crumb and pronounced yellow color from egg yolks.

Their companion egg whites are whipped into a flurry with lots of butter and salted caramel to make a salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream.  Um, salivating.  It is deeeelicious.

Extra salted caramel is gratuitously drizzled over the edge, dripping lazily to pool at the bottom.

The cake is topped with a veritable mountain of salted butter caramel corn, which is crunchy and light and sweet and salty and amaaaazing.

(The recipe I’ve included makes, like, 2 times more popcorn than you really need, because, well.  Trust me.)

A boring tech-y update: you can now subscribe by email at the very bottom of the page, where the search bar and tag cloud also reside.
Don’t worry- you won’t get any spam– it’s just an easier way for people to visit the blog for fresh posts, rather than checking back and finding stale crumbs they’ve already read.

Also, many of you have been pinning photos (I love you for it!  Seriously!!), and I wanted to let you know that there are two ways to do it: you can click on the pin button on the photos themselves, or click on the pin button at the bottom of each post.

Pin away!



Buttered Caramel Popcorn Cake

for the yellow butter cake:
makes 2 6-inch layers
to make a 2 layer 9-inch cake, double this recipe
adapted from Joy of Baking
150 grams (1 1/2 cups) flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
85 grams (6 tablespoons) butter
132 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 scant 1/4 cup) sugar
3 egg yolks
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour 2 6×2-inch pans.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Beat the butter and sugar together for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolks; beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the milk and vanilla and stir gently to combine.
Dump in the dry ingredients all at once and stir gently until the batter comes together.
Pour and scrape the batter into your pans.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool, then frost.

For the salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream:
makes about 3 cups
adapted from FoodSwoon
3 egg whites
60 grams (1/4 cup) water
225 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
splash corn syrup (approximately 1 teaspoon)
small pinch salt
350 grams (3 sticks) butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 of a batch of salted caramel, cooled, the rest reserved for drizzling, recipe below

Place water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium, deep-sided pot.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment; start to beat them on a medium-low speed.
Begin to heat the syrup; when it reaches 240 degrees F, the egg whites should be at soft peaks.
Slowly stream the syrup into the egg whites with the mixer going.
Beat the meringue until cooled to body temperature, then beat in the butter 2 tablespoons at a time.
Continue to whip until buttercream is silky, then beat in half of the caramel.

for the salted caramel:
adapted from FoodSwoon
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
30 grams (2 tablespoons) water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt together, whisking at the beginning until they dissolve.
Stop stirring and allow to caramelize into an amber color, then remove from heat and quickly whisk in butter and cream, being careful of the splattering.
Whisk until completely smooth, then allow to cool before using.

For the salted caramel corn:
adapted from the Kitchn
popped popcorn from about 1 1/2 bags of popcorn
130 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) butter
160 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
big pinch kosher salt, plus a little for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
Place popcorn in a a big bowl, being sure to not include any unpopped kernels.
In a deep sided pot, heat the butter, brown sugar, and salt until they begin to caramelize.
Whisk well to combine, then add in the baking soda and quickly pour over the popcorn.
Toss and mix well to coat, then scrape out onto the baking sheets.
Lightly sprinkle with a touch of salt, then bake for about 30 minutes, or until the caramel is completely dry and crunchy. (Be careful not to burn the caramel; your oven shouldn’t be too hot.)

to assemble:
Stack your cake on a cake stand and frost it with the buttercream; run a warm offset spatula or butter knife over the exterior to smooth it.
Drizzle the remaining caramel on the edges of the cake, then top the cake with a mountain of caramel corn!