Molasses Coffee Spice Cake

Molasses cake with sauce on the side

Kitra: Welcome to fall.

Jordan: Kitra claimed a copy of Everyday Dorie from our father and if ever there was a cookbook made for fall, it’s this one. Glancing through it, every recipe that jumped out at us just screamed FALL.

I had bookmarked a couple of fall baked goods to start with, including this cake which just fascinated me. It looked so simple and yet had a combination of very strong ingredients. Seemed like as good a place as any to hop in.

For a cake with (as Kitra says) very strong ingredients, it’s surprisingly subtle. There’s molasses, there’s coffee, and there are tons of spices, but none of them particularly stand out from the rest. This is not a molasses cake, or a coffee cake, or a spice cake. It’s all of the above.

It comes together as… Brown and warm. You can’t quite tell how or why, but that’s what you know about it. Which makes sense, given the number of warm brown ingredients.

We’ve been trying to find a good way to describe it, and I think the best we can do is “comforting.” It’s not flashy, it’s not extravagant. It’s a cake that is there for you when it’s raining outside and you just want to eat something kind-of-but-not-too sweet.

And because it’s both pretty thin and not too sweet, it’s easy to imagine eating a bunch of slices at once.

Though it doesn’t demand that you eat it all at once. We’ve made those kind of cakes before (hello, pecan browned butter cake) but this isn’t one of them. This is a cake that allows you to have a slice and walk away satisfied. Which, as anyone who has ever eaten way too much sugar at once and suffered the consequences later knows, is sometimes a good quality in a cake.

And if you leave it be for a day or two, you’ll be rewarded. The flavors settle into each other on the second day, and the glaze settles into everything, creating a slightly moister cake.

Is it our favorite cake we’ve ever made? Not necessarily, but sometimes you just need a cake that feels like a reliable lumpy sweater, and this is that cake.

Molasses cake with sauce on the side
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Turkish Coffee Icebox Cake

Turkish Coffee Cake

Kitra: A lot happened to bring us here.

Jordan: This is actually not the first time we’ve caked since our zucchini chocolate cake, but it is the first time it’s been worth writing about. Two weeks ago we attempted a blackberry cake for my boyfriend’s birthday, and it was… fine?

I never got to eat it, so can definitely say its googly eyes were the best part.

I did get to eat it, and I agree.

Kitra has been refinishing a table this weekend, so between her exhaustion and the un-noteworthy blackberry cake, we wanted something easy and foolproof.

And I wanted something pretty. Because I’m bored.

Which led us to chocotorta: an Argentinian chocolate/coffee/dulce de leche dessert that’s somewhere between tiramisu and an icebox cake.

There are few things in this world I love more than icebox cake and desserts you can eat with a spoon right out of the pan.

The problem is that back in February, Kitra moved from Columbia Heights to Eastern Market, which is pretty darn white.

*Hill East. But yes.

In Columbia Heights, we probably could have found dulce de leche at about seven different stores within three blocks of her apartment. Here, we tried every store we could without any luck. Kitra rejected my suggestion of using fleur de sel caramel sauce and making the whitest bastardization of this cake imaginable.

In an attempt to salvage the cake, since it took us all weekend to even decide on this one, Jordan suggested an adaptation. And I like cardamom, so.

So we ditched “foolproof” and did our own thing.

This turned out… really well?

Yeah, I would make this cake on purpose.

There are some things we’d change slightly (more on that in the notes), but we did high five after finishing the first of two slices.

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