Long days full of light, gardens full of color, being outdoors more than in, I love summer! Our Independence Kitchen classes produced unique and tasty foods from young cooks. Ingredients were provided, along with guidance, but the students had to work in teams to produce salads, entrees, and desserts. IMG_3428

At 21 Acres, our Cultivating Cooks 301 students produced beautiful pizzas that we were lucky enough to bake in the wood-fired oven on the farm. A not-too-hot evening, spent entirely outdoors with a great group of people. Top that with in-season, local & delicious ingredients and I felt the luckiest of all I know!

Our PNW August temperatures have soared into the 80s, 90s, even pushing 100F! Too hot for me, for the garden, and I think, bakers everywhere! I have the garden dotted with patio umbrellas and shade fabric, hoping the rhubarb will bounce back for another Spring, and the pole beans will continue to produce their beautiful foot-long french filets. The raspberries have finished but what a season they provided! We will soon have tomatoes and zucchini and carrots too.


I hope this summer finds you well. Now then, enough computer time-I need to get back outside! Cheers!

Many Hands

One of the downsides of teaching cooking or baking classes is that we all get super busy and forget to take pictures! Our two soup workshops were a big success, with a couple of students heading straight home to recreate the minestrone and/or breadsticks for their families. Yay! IMG_0577Working in groups takes much of the daunting away from the Unsure and gives the Very Sure another opportunity for patience and sharing. (It also means fewer dishes to wash!) Creating something like grilled cheese let those confident kids steam ahead, a welcome release. IMG_0579All in all, the food’s been tasty, the measuring’s been accurate, and the camaraderie pleasant. This week we begin our 4-week series on Most Things Cake. The seemingly insurmountable task for me has been deciding what cake and why. So much deliciousness to choose from! Cheers!


New. New is good. New is necessary. Trying new things, extending comfort zones, stretching usual limits, all move us, inch by inch, toward learning and growth. The Tiny Kitchen is new. It is here for me and you, a place to learn, grow, connect, about food, its issues, tastes, and techniques of preparation. What shall we cook today?

Eat Cake

[This article was originally published at In My Tiny Kitchen, Lisa’s musings from her home kitchen. We’re posting it again here.]

I have found a chocolate cake that I love. I have a simpler chocolate cake, an any day, make-on-a-whim chocolate cake that is really good, but this new one? It is very good. I found the recipe a few years ago on The Faux Martha, made the cake as written, in collaboration with my baker niece, Annie, for Spouse’s birthday. I collaborated with Ann because this cake uses an Italian Buttercream, a Salted Caramel Italian Buttercream. Planning a dinner party for 20 allowed me few extra neurons to devote to something I had never made before, something that sounded so-daunting. Annie, a caramel pro, produced a beautiful product with which we filled the cake before finishing with ganache. Despite the rave reviews and Annie’s reassurances to the contrary, that intimidating buttercream left the recipe to sit unceremoniously disheveled, piled in with all the Others on the shelf directly behind my office chair.

foodA few months ago, for reasons I can’t fully remember, the cake returned to my consciousness. Planning a baby shower for a dessert-loving co-worker, I knew I had to make this cake. This time I reduced the sugar a bit and used fresh-ground, whole grain einkorn flour. Einkorn, with its naturally lower gluten levels, produces an excellent pastry flour. Though any finished product might be a tad more dense, not sifting away the ground germ & bran keeps the protein levels high. Low gluten, high protein. Einkorn is crazy. I made a few iterations then my niece Betsey came over with her camera for Cake Day. Here’s what went down.

A basic butter cake using natural cocoa powder, but with half & half rather than just milk.

I wanted a 6-inch by 6-inch square finished cake, so used a 12-inch square for baking. One recipe yielded four 3/4-inch layers. I reduced baking time, watching the oven closely, to account for the increased surface area.

The buttercream will have its own post, but while the cake baked, I made the caramel, ensuring time for some cooling before adding it to the whipped butter. I did find that if the caramel had cooled a bit too much, the buttercream became Toffee Buttercream, also delicious.

The ganache frosting is enriched with egg yolk and a small amount of butter, cooled, then whipped for a matter of seconds to incorporate a bit of air. If it goes grainy, you can rewarm, recool, rewhip.

Finally, the layers were filled with buttercream, each pressing into the last. I chilled the cake, then finished with the ganache

I’ll leave you to use the recipe linked at The Faux Martha. If you want to try Einkorn flour, I used it ounce for ounce as the recipe is written. Enjoy!food-6-2

All photos by Betsey Wilson