Almond Pear Tart and Other Thanksgiving Pies

Top-down image of an almond tart with whole sliced pears baked into it

Jordan: Well, here we are. Another Pie Month has come and gone before we knew it.

Kitra: *quiet sobs heard throughout the town square*

Look, we know that giving you a bunch of pie recipes after Thanksgiving seems counterintuitive, but hopefully last week reminded you how much you love pie.

Plus it’s never too early to start thinking about next year’s pies! (pies! Pies! Pies! PIES!)

We may put pies front and center in November, but there’s never a wrong time for pies. These pies are just as delicious on December 1 as they are on November 30.

Christmas pie! Guy Fawkes Day Pie! Arbor Day pie! Tuesday pie! Birthday pie! Bored pie! Feelings pie! Tired pie! Wired pie! Galaxy brain pie! Wednesday pie (like Tuesday pie, the sequel)! Pie is good for every day ever and I will fight you.

“Pie is good for every day ever and I will fight you”: The true meaning of Pie Month.

Also, a likely first line of my obituary for when someone takes me up on that challenge.

It’s fine, just throw a pie at them and run.

Street fight pie! There! Is! A! Pie! For! Every! Occasion!

Before Kitra uses up our weekly allotment of exclamation marks, let’s talk about these pies in particular.

Okay sure. So, generally we make many pies for not many people and this year was no different. Except technically I made these all myself and 3/10 would not recommend the dishes. 12/10 would recommend the pies.

We did a virtual Thanksgiving, so Kitra made three pies, our mom and I made a bunch of non-pie food, and then we swapped portions of each and ate it all while on a Google Meet call. While I was quite pleased with my mashed potatoes, the pies were (as usual) the highlight.

Also, the primary leftover. I’ve eaten pie 2-3 times a day for 3 days now.

Same here, no ragrets.

Breakfast: Cranberry orange pie. It’s got fruit and dairy, isn’t too sweet, and doesn’t make me want to take a nap after. Lunch: Apple butterscotch pie. Fruit! Pudding! What else do I need to say, it’s like the lunchbox of dreams. Dessert: Almond pear tart. Sweet, classy, makes me sleepy.

I have eaten all three at all times of day with no complaint, but the cranberry orange one does indeed make quite a nice breakfast.

The great thing about making lots of pies that are all very good? You can enjoy them in different ways and to different degrees. There’s no pie here I wouldn’t eat again but I think my ranking goes cranberry, apple, pear.

Let’s say you, for some reason, only want to make one pie. Maybe three crusts, two cooked fruit fillings, a cheesecake filling, poached pears, frangipane, a pudding, and whipped cream sounds like a project for someone incredibly brave or incredibly foolish.

(I was both of those people. Brave about the horrors I was going to put my hands through washing that many dishes, foolish because I forgot to put on shoes or otherwise make standing on tile for 12 hours hurt less.)

If that’s the case, which pie should you pick? Well, the cranberry orange is bright and spunky, but balanced. It has a crumb crust (my favorite kind of crust) made of Biscoff. It contains multitudes.

If you’re the type of person who likes the idea of pie but gets hung up on the overwhelming sweetness, this is for you! (Jordan has suggested that I assign these astrological profiles, which is something I know very little about and am doing only based on gut feeling. So, Aries, I guess.)

The apple butterscotch is sweet, but not cloying. Imagine a very thin apple pie, with a layer of perfect butterscotch pudding and just-barely-sweetened whipped cream. This is your smooth, dreamy pie.

If you are the type of person who loves fruit and custard pies equally, and also is a little extra, make this one! (Gemini, clearly. Even I know that.)

Finally, the almond pear tart. A soft cookie-like crust, tender almond filling, and lovely poached pears. It’s subdued, but delicious. It feels very French and elegant.

If you’re the type of person who really likes steps, is well-organized, and loves amazing smelling kitchens—or just really likes almonds or the French—come collect your pie! This pie is a Virgo and I feel pretty good about that one. (I am a Apple Butterscotch moon and Pear Tart rising.)

We’ve written up the almond pear tart below. The other two are both from The Book on Pie, Kitra’s new favorite cookbook (and the source of the cheesecake pie we shared earlier this month). You can find the apple butterscotch pie recipe on Cloudy Kitchen and the cranberry orange pie was reprinted by Wisconsin Public Radio. We used a Biscoff/speculoos cookie crumb crust for the cranberry orange pie instead of a standard pie crust.

Though pie month is technically over, it’s always pie month in my heart and in my kitchen.

Three large slices of pie arranged on a plate like a literal pie chart.
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Chocolate-Swirled Cheesecake Pie

Three slices of chocolate-swirled cheesecake with chocolate crusts and raspberry topping

Jordan: Earlier this month, a coworker whose birthday is right after mine asked what my birthday cake plans were because if our family’s everyday cake game was strong, surely our birthday cake game was over the top. She was appalled when I responded that we don’t really… do… birthday cake?

Kitra: Yeah, it’s definitely not how most of us celebrate. Our dad gets pie, I usually opt for Eton mess, and Jordan… Jordan is all cheesecake.

I can’t recall when the birthday cheesecakes started, but once it got going, it’s been pretty regular. Of the years when we’ve actually gathered as a family and bothered to do a cake for my birthday, they’ve just about all been cheesecake.

But this isn’t *cake* month. That’s everything else. This is PIE MONTH.

Pie month! Pie month! Pie month!

And I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the cookbook event of the decade, THE BOOK ON PIE. Which, it turns out, had a Cheesecake! Pie! Erin McDowell has a brain that I want to live inside of and eat everything that it creates.

Kitra has been sending me excited snapchats from the book and truly, if you can imagine it then Erin McDowell probably has made a pie out of it. The whole thing is nothing but brilliant mashups and genius tricks.

It’s so long and detailed that I bruised my leg with the corner reading it, and what a worthwhile bruise it is.

(This is really only unusual for Kitra in that she knows where this bruise came from. She usually has at least a dozen mystery bruises on her legs.)

In my first pass of the book alone, I marked 16 recipes for Thanksgiving consideration, immediate consumption, things I absolutely must make when they’re in season, and in one case, Jordan’s Birthday.

This is a very good cheesecake filling inside a chocolate cookie pie crust. It’s thinner—and thus less overwhelming—than a normal cheesecake, and while I love a crumb crust, the solid crust means you can pick it up and eat it like a slice of pizza if you so desire.

I do. But also I ate most of the slices I came home with standing in front of my open refrigerator straight out of the container because it was delicious and I was too tired to eat anything else.

The topping is a nice raspberry coulis, which is tart and bright enough to balance out the heavier cake. That said, it would also be delicious without if you want something a little more subdued; I actually scraped the coulis layer off of most of my leftovers to focus on a more chocolatey cheesecake experience.

YOU WHAT?????

Look, I still ate the coulis. I just ate it first. I’m not a monster.

Truly I am baffled, because you are not the chocolate member of the family. But either way, the topping is delicious and I would eat it with a spoon so I get it I guess.

My birthday cheesecake, my rules.

A slice of chocolate-swirled cheesecake with chocolate crust, raspberry topping, and four pink birthday candles
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Pumpkin Black Sesame Pie

A top-down shot of a layered pumpkin and black sesame pie with two slices cut out; the top is covered in circles of pie crust and the word "yay" spelled in crust

Kitra: WELCOME BACK TO PIE MONTH

Jordan: *chanting* Pie Month! Pie Month! Pie Month!

*banging on clipboard* PIE PIE PIE PIE PIE

November is the month where we prepare for Thanksgiving by temporarily deposing Queen Cake in favor of Pie, the One True Ruler of Our Hearts.

Long may she reign! Hip hip! Hooray! Hip hip! Hooray!

You may remember Pie Month from last year, when we made this beautiful chai creme brulee pie.

Which I made again this year for my birthday and am currently restrained from making again right this second only by a dog on my foot and my lack of energy to wash literally a single dish this week.

But also, Kitra has pie in the house already because you know what time it is?

It’s PIE time we ate some pie. (Get it? Like high time? I say this to my self every time I cut a slice of pie and chuckle alone in my apartment, which is a great example of why I live alone.)

I apologize for setting Kitra up for that pun. It was unintentional.

Also there is often pie in my house. I love a hand pie in the freezer, or a quiche for dinners, or tarts, or a galette, or just eating crispy bits of dough in my kitchen standing over the stove and burning my fingers slightly.

You can understand why I saw Pieometry at my local bookstore and decided it would make a great birthday present for Kitra.

She didn’t even know it was a book I was aware of and intended to buy but had forgotten to add to my cookbook wishlist.

I’m often dubious of beautiful food. So often, an intricate topping on a dessert is there to hide the fact that the dessert itself is… fine? But in this case, I flipped through the recipes and wanted to eat every single one.

So I sat down and flagged with my cookbook sticky-tabs all the ones that sounded like potential fall pies.

And that led us here. Last year we made a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake, which looks kind of similar to this pie—multiple layers, pretty colors, creamy pumpkin deliciousness—but that’s about where the resemblance stops.

While that one is unreservedly indulgent, almost impossible to eat a whole slice of, and frankly takes a bit of work, this one is balanced in sweetness and comes together pretty easily (2 bowls, no real work other than making crust).

Pumpkin pies can be a little on the sweet side, but the black sesame gives the bottom layer a nice bitterness.

The seeds in the crust make it feel like a charming bagel crust, definitely not something that’s going to make you take a nap immediately, right?

To me the crust is kind of cracker-like, but same idea either way. But don’t worry, the pumpkin layer is sweet enough to balance it all out. (There is a full can of sweetened condensed milk in this recipe, after all.)

It’s creamy and smooth, soft and silky, and all the other platitudes you can imagine about pumpkin pie. But just less boring and better than most of them are.

You could serve it with whipped cream, but—unlike those other boring pumpkin pies—it really doesn’t need it, so you can instead decorate with cute pie crust shapes and letters celebrating mmm, nothing in particular I’m sure.

We certainly were not influenced in topping choices by the whooping and hollering that lasted all day on Saturday in DC, an air of collective joy unseen in years.

They must have known that it was Pie Month, I guess.

A layered pumpkin and black sesame pie with one slice cut out; the top is covered in circles of pie crust and the word "yay" spelled in crust
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Candy Cake

A top-down picture of a pile of chopped chocolate-nougat candies on top of a puddle of dulce de leche, on top of chocolate frosting, on a wooden cake stand on a different wooden table.

Kitra: I have never been a Halloween person. I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve generally found it to be at best an inconvenience.

Jordan: I’m sure you’re holding in a number of opinions about it.

I AM.

  1. Costumes are not worth it. Ever.
  2. “Spoopy” is the worst made up nonsense word and I hate it.

Counterpoint: Bluebs.

Fair. I’ll continue.

  1. Who even are all of you on twitter now
  2. It’s dark at 6:30, I’m tired of rounding corners only to come face to face with a shadowy figure that turns out to be a decoration.
  3. It’s a drinking holiday, which are always bad and should be ended.
  4. Usually, it’s a weeknight and everyone is tired and mean the next day, and I don’t get the right amount of sleep that night.
  5. Pressure to have fun: the real problem with all holidays.
  6. No one ever knows what anyone is dressed as, and it is a straight bummer for all involved.
  7. Somehow this is a fireworks holiday too???? IDK
  8. People should not knock on doors ever, I have a terrier and she hates it.
  9. No one has ever invited me to a Halloween party and I personally am bummed out by that.

I mean, points 1 through 10 suggest that they would have very good reasons to think you’d be uninterested.

  1. Re: No. 11: I also don’t get to say “I can’t go because it’s also MY BIRTHDAY WHICH YOU FORGOT AGAIN, but you sure could make that costume 3 months out thanks” which is really pent up in my spirit for many, many people I’ve known.

Oh no, this was not supposed to be a sad blog post, I’m sorry I led us here.

  1. I don’t like scary things.
  2. Most of the candy is bad, no one likes Jolly Ranchers.

I feel like you added an extra one specifically so that you didn’t have 13 points there.

Surprisingly, I have no problem with 13. It’s always been my favorite number.

Sure.

However, my current neighborhood has changed my animosity these past few years. While I’m still not into “Halloween” per se, I am into 500 teeny tiny children cramming into the front gate of my yard for a mini Snickers (no knocking, I just sit on the steps). It’s adorable. And it gives me an excuse to have some friends over for snacks and to help make the 100 CVS runs as all the candy disappears. This year, however, there will be no trick-or-treaters coming around, and I have no excuse to buy 50lbs of candy.

Look, we don’t have a way to make Halloween fun this year.

Again: It is never fun, see above.

We cannot wave our magic princess/witch/princess-witch wands and make it safe to send children wandering the neighborhood. But we can help you with the candy thing.

Previously, we’ve focused on the vibes of a Halloween cake. This year, it’s about the candy. Yay! Candy!

Shockingly, despite the inclusion of literal candy in this, it’s not the most horrifyingly sweet cake we’ve made. It’s not even the most horrifyingly sweet Halloween cake we’ve made—that honor goes to the cake that was covered in yogurt-pretzel ghosts.

Frosting: Tangy. Cake: Soft and lovely. Dulche de Leche: Yes. Candy: Chopped and shoved in there thank you very much.

You might be tempted to swap in a standard chocolate fudge frosting, but don’t give into that temptation. The sour cream frosting is the perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the rest of it.

Since this year, you’ll be free from many of the horrors of this holiday, it’s a great time to redirect the extra energy you would usually spend sewing a costume or shoving your drunk friend into a car after they get into it with someone dressed as a giant hotdog. May I suggest cake as an outlet?

And hey, it’s a small cake, but it’s still big enough to share. If the spirit moves you (no pun intended), you might invite a few friends over to have some socially distanced dessert, costumes completely optional.

A small three-tier caramel cake with dulce de leche and candy chunks in between the layers and chocolate frosting on the outside, all resting on a wooden cake stand. A slice of the cake is on a plate next to it.
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Buttermilk Honey Cake

A round honey cake with cream cheese frosting and dried blue flowers on top

Kitra: Wow, what a shitty week we had.

Jordan: Continue.

I mean, it’s just bad. Everything is bad, whole towns near where we grew up are destroyed, and I’ve worked approximately 70,000,000 hours this week. Also the dog is being really annoying this week, which is new. I guess I’ll link to some places you can donate at the end? Just, what a trash week y’all.

The world is literally on fire for once, not just metaphorically on fire, so. Let’s make a cake I guess.

What else can we do, really. The individual burden of climate change is nothing compared to the impact of corporations so fuck it and fire up that oven. Happy September. Cake time!

I’m going to change the topic before Kitra breaks something: It’s also Rosh Hashanah this week! It gave us an excuse to make a recipe we’ve been eyeballing for a while: the “milk and honey” cake from Simple Cake, which also gave us this lovely orange olive oil cake.

Which coincidentally we made during another really shitty week. We were bound to make cakes from the same book during above average shitty weeks because there have just! been! so! many! who can even keep track. Time is a never ending pit. Cake!

Right. So. Rosh Hashanah. For a traditional honey cake, I highly recommend Deb Perelman’s recipe; I’ll probably be making one to take to my partner’s grandmother later this week. The milk and honey cake is far more mild. The honey flavor isn’t strong, even with a more intense honey. Instead, it’s like a more interesting and nuanced alternative to a plain vanilla cake.

And I picked the frosting because there is not a single thing in Now & Again that I do not want to eat. (Which, by the way, was a book I read on January 1st, 2020 while my power was out for the entire day. I should have heeded that warning and prepared for this year.)

The frosting is the real star here, because let’s be honest, cream cheese frosting is usually the star. A spoonful of sour cream keeps it from being too sweet and the honey makes it more interesting than a standard frosting.

There is nothing I love more than making swoops in cream cheese frosting. I’d go to a paint-your-own-pottery type of store where I could pay to just make swoops on a table covered in cream cheese frosting for an hour. CCBT, Cream Cheese Behavioral Therapy. (#MillionDollarIdea?)

The swooping is quite therapeutic, it’s true.


To keep you busy while the cake is cooling, here are those links Kitra mentioned. Some are specific to the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon, where we grew up, but others are statewide or send aid across the Pacific Northwest.

A square of honey cake with cream cheese frosting on a yellow plate
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Mocha Cheesecake, Two Ways

A cake with thin layers of chocolate cookie, chocolate cheesecake, and espresso cheesecake

Jordan: Remember how I had a bunch of chocolate wafer cookies left over from our last cake, just waiting to be made into a cheesecake crust? Well, today is the day.

Kitra: Plus I’ve wanted cheesecake for a few weeks, and went ahead and bought 3 bricks of cream cheese figuring I’d make one whether or not Jordan wanted to. Win-win.

Cheesecake is never a bad idea, in my opinion, but my partner dislikes it so I always appreciate having an excuse to make one. And since he also dislikes coffee, I figured I might as well go all-in and suggested Smitten Kitchen’s mocha cheesecake.

Which I’ve been eyeing since she posted it because I love the layers and thought it seemed fun. I figured it’d be the kind of thing I’d make for our mom’s birthday at some point (though Jordan was always the birthday cheesecake member of the family). Instead I just packed up half of it for her so I could still make the big layered one I wanted. Also a win-win.

I, however, had enough cookie-rolling last time to last me a while, so I made a lazy variation of this cake. Which means you get two recipes today! One for a beautiful showstopper of a layered cheesecake, and one for a lovely marbled cheesecake bar that you can make for yourself and not feel overwhelmed.

We really switched roles here. For once I wasn’t just complaining that I cannot possibly eat this much. Jordan made the right choice for the times, for sure. But if you’ve got someone to share this with, the layers are pretty fun and only a little nerve wracking.

I stayed on Google Hangouts with Kitra while she assembled her cake and she barely needed my moral support at all.

Nothing broke! Nothing cracked! The only issues were when I accidentally dropped my knife onto a corner and made a dent, and when I removed some of a layer accidentally with my offset spatula while stacking. Both results of just carelessness, and both totally invisible after stacking.

So choose your own adventure here! Both use the same batter and so will be equally delicious no matter what you do.

A square of marbled chocolate/coffee cheesecake with a bite missing, next to a cup of coffee
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Chocolate Icebox Cake

A layer cake made of large chocolate cookies and whipped cream

Kitra: After several fruit cakes, it’s MY TIME. Icebox cakes are my favorite cakes. It’s half whipped cream, and if you don’t want to bake anything you don’t have to, but they’re still beautiful! I LOVE THEM.

Jordan: I’ve never been as wildly excited about icebox cakes as Kitra is, but I do enjoy them and appreciate their brilliance. I also love an old-timey dessert, and icebox cakes came out of the era where “cooking” was shifting more to be “assembling pre-made things.” (Tangent: I read JELL-O Girls this summer and it was GREAT and was in part about this shift in American culture. Highly recommend.)

Icebox cakes are the ideal summer dessert in my mind. Minimal effort (unless, like me, you decided that you’d rather make your own cookies than go to the store), cool, fun at parties (unlike me).

We’ll give you a recipe, but an icebox cake is really more of a method: Take a cookie of your choice, layer it with whipped cream, and let it sit in the fridge for a while so that everything softens together.

The possibilities are endless! There are so many options, from graham crackers to saltines to oreos! From plain whipped cream to fruit or chocolate cream, or a cream cheese situation! Make them small! Make them giant! You. Do. You.

The classic icebox cake is made with chocolate wafer cookies. Kitra disagrees with me on this, but I think they’re kind of annoying to find. There’s one brand (Nabisco) and they’re not all that popular—the picture on the box is of an icebox cake because that’s basically all they’re used for—so you have to have access to a large, well-stocked grocery store (which my nearby stores are not). But if you can find them, you can definitely use them instead of baking your own.

I love the classic here because it’s like a giant, light, fluffy fridge oreo and that’s really all we can hope for in this world.

We’ll leave a lot of notes about strategies for making the cookies below. If you decide to go that route, definitely read through to save some headache when you make them. Though I will say that Kitra’s cookies were much easier than mine to roll out and bake, which may be because I used gluten-free flour.

And just like the flavor and cookie options, there are also a million ways to assemble these suckers. That means do what you want to. I had very little cream in my layers because I ran out of it and didn’t want to go to the store. Jordan had a lot. I made mine in the shape of a layer cake, she did hers in jars. They’re also commonly made in loaf pans. There’s no wrong answers!

And as you make more of these, you’ll learn what you like best. That does require you to make them more than once, but trust us, that won’t be a problem.

A jar filled with chocolate cakes/cookies and whipped cream, with a spoonful sitting on the side
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Berry Ricotta Cake

A cake with cherries pressed in the top baked in a flowery Pyrex dish

Jordan: Somehow Kitra has suggested a fruit-based cake for the second time in a row and y’all, I am here for it.

Kitra: In fairness, when I was looking at the photos for this post I also said “you’ll have to judge yours because I find the gooey strawberry bits very unappealing.”

Kitra finds cakes with fruit in them to be squishy and weird after about the first 8 hours (only slightly exaggerating).

Nah, that’s accurate. I also don’t like the way they discolor over time, and that in DC summers it only takes like a day to grow mold.

However, if you—like me—are fine with a slightly ugly cake that has to be stored in the fridge, summer is peak cake time. The fruit cooks down until it’s kind of jammy and delightful. You don’t need frosting, just some whipped cream or nothing at all. Summer fruit cakes are the ideal breakfast cake, which we’ve established many times is the ideal genre of cake.

And, while I prefer to use my fruit in a pie (highest calling for fruit), or ice cream (also good), I’m happy to keep trying them. This time I was drawn in by ricotta, which I love and also already had in my fridge.

It’s a good cake! The ricotta keeps it moist and tender, and the edges get a beautiful crispiness that contrasts well with the fluffy center.

It was also pretty easy. (Unless you use cherries and don’t have a cherry pitter which took… some time. I have stainable countertops.)

We offer some flavor combinations in the recipe notes, since the base takes on extra flavorings really well. Mine came out as a nice bright lemon cake.

And mine turned out like a good, classic coffee cake.

The one word of warning we have is that this is a very thick cake, as you can see below. This means it will serve well for breakfast or a hearty afternoon snack, but if you want a slice for a light dessert, we’ve suggested that you could get away with half the batter in a smallish pan.

I’d describe the current cake as hefty. It’s also delicious, so hefty is good.

A cake with strawberries baked into the top with a slice cut out and sitting next to it.
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Berry Cornmeal Cake

Jordan: It’s bluebs season!

Kitra: I cannot believe you’re still calling them that, and also that I wasn’t expecting you to do it.

In fairness, I haven’t been actively calling them bluebs. Just when I know it’s going to annoy someone.

I don’t find it annoying, just… unsettling? I don’t know. It’s fine, but I also think blueberry is a way more fun word to say. It’s like when people have nicknames that are longer than their actual name. It just seems like a waste?

We can agree to disagree on bluebs versus blueberries. However (segue alert!), I know we agree that cooked blueberries are strongly underrated.

Definitely. People go on and on about the joys of cooked strawberries (which never really break down, and are usually better fresh I will fight you all on this), and raspberries (good, but also how often do you get a really quality raspberry or any raspberry because $$$, let’s be real here) but blueberries are cheap, usually very good, and cook down PERFECTLY. Plus, no chopping!

They really need very little to make them great. Our dad used to make blueberry omelets, which were literally omelets filled with a cooked-down mixture of blueberries and lemon juice and a bit of sugar, and they were perfect. Blueberry compote? Great. Blueberry pie? Great, if you let them do their thing without adding a ton of cornstarch. Blueberry cake? Well, here we are.

I thought “this is way too many berries for this cake” but that has never been the case in the history of butter and flour (see also: all pies ever), so I don’t know why I was suspicious.

The cake itself is a lightly sweetened, cornbread-like base. It’s not anything wildly exciting on its own, but then you dump a bunch of sweetened berries on top and it all comes together. A sugary topping forms a nice crispy crust on top of it all.

I’ll be honest that I love the topping (especially because it asked me to use candied ginger, one of my all time favorite foods), but that I’m not 100% on putting it on top of cornbread. It’s definitely a breakfast cake, which is great. But also, I might do this on a regular coffee cake base another time. I’m also more of a sweet cakes fan than Jordan, who likes her breakfast cakes like I like granola. (With yogurt or milk in a bowl? Why. But, you do you.)

Yeah, I liked that this one was not very sweet. If anything, the topping was almost too sweet for me—but once it had a chance to sit and everything kind of melded together, it turned out great. And yes, I had a slice this morning topped with milk, as if it were cereal, which Kitra found horrifying.

I do agree this cake hits a peak on the second day, when the whole thing seems less arbitrary. Both days it was good, don’t get me wrong! I’m going to eat it all and think back on it fondly, but my brain just couldn’t quite wrap around how the layers worked together. A bit like when you put food on top of rice. The rice is just a base that you don’t really think about. This felt to me on the first day like a topping on cornbread. The second day it felt more like one dish.

Kitra has given a lot of caveats here, but I would recommend it. If you have a bunch of blueberries (or other berries, for that matter) and a desire for cake, you could do much worse than this.

I would also recommend it, just don’t think of it as a “cake” per se. More as a fun breakfast snack!

Which is really what all cakes dream of being, in their heart of hearts.

^^^ yep.

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Chocolate Loaf Cake

Jordan: Our criteria for picking a cake this week: 1) Includes buttermilk, because I still have a bottle in my fridge.

Kitra: 2) Uses two or fewer eggs, because I haven’t been to the store in over a month and that’s all I have now.

3) Not particularly complicated or dish-heavy, because we’re both lazy.

4) Something in a loaf pan, that seems like I could freeze slices of because I live alone and absolutely cannot eat another entire cake this week.

Enter: Smitten Kitchen’s everyday chocolate cake.

I’ve made this before, but like eight years ago and I couldn’t tell you anything about it except that it’s chocolate and a loaf cake. And both of those sounded like pluses.

I shouldn’t be the one to sell anyone on this, because I’m not a huge fan of chocolate cake. But I gave a slice to my partner and his first response was, “This is really moist! And much more chocolatey than I would have expected from something you made.”

And as someone who does like chocolate cake, I’ll tell you that this is a delightful afternoon/anytime cake. If you want chocolate cake, but are tired of washing forks and need something you can just cut a slice of and eat while you go about your day, this is it. It’s perfect for this era of our lives, where the idea of “dessert” no longer exists and all food is just for whenever you want it.

I was going to disagree with Kitra but then I remembered that I ate chips and salsa at 10:15pm last week, so.

I made fresh pasta for lunch yesterday, and dinner was a bowl of frozen broccoli that I ate with my fingers. Time, meals, and utensils are dead to me at this point. Cookie dough is lunch.

Point is: This is a good anytime cake. I had mine with a dollop of creme fraiche, and it would be just as good with greek yogurt for a vaguely kinda healthy breakfast.

Chocolate cake with yogurt on it: The breakfast of influencers and body builders everywhere, probably I guess.

While nothing with a 2:1 flour-to-cocoa ratio will ever be my favorite cake, this is a pretty good one. I will continue to eat it! If for some reason I needed to make a rich chocolate cake in the future, this would be a contender. It also has a nice thin, crispy crust on top, which both of us loved.

In summary: good cake, eat it whenever, eat it with your hands, contemplate whether time matters.

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