Spring, is that you?
Step into the new season with these recipes and links.
How are we doing so far this year? I’ve been on a partial maternity leave (basically newborn survival mode), but I’m starting to crawl out of the no-sleep daze that is those first couple of months. I feel like the bulbs blooming in our yard right now - starting to show signs of life and renewal while persevering through intermittent rain storms and sleepless nights.
We’re well underway with our 2022 Birthday Cake Club recipes, and I’ve been very inspired by glimpses of spring in the market lately. I’ll be keeping an eye on the revolving citrus while looking out for bursts of red and rouge. Those first rhubarb stalks and early berries get me giddy every year.
In the meantime, here is what’s being consumed in the Huff house as well as my favorite spring baking recipes:
What I’ve Been Eating:
While I write about mostly sweet offerings, I love to cook savory food too. Even in this busy season of life, we’ve made it a priority to eat plenty of colorful, warming meals at home.
Here are some of the snacks and soups I’ve been into this month:
Oats and Nuts - In an effort to not just eat bread for every breakfast and snack, I’ve been trying to eat more oats and nuts. I’ve been pretty obsessed with this nut and seed mix lately. Even in my yogurt bowls, I love the saltiness. I can’t ever get enough of these Giant Oatmeal Cookies either.
Egg Yolk Chocolate Chip Cookies - These were a good excuse to use up some leftover egg yolks from last month’s Birthday Cake Club, and now I can’t stop making them! I made a double batch, then another.
Popcorn - We eat early with the kids and are always caught lurking in the pantry around 8pm. We used to keep spare bags of popcorn in the storage section of the ottoman, but our new air popper has already proven to be one of the best purchases we’ve made in a long time.
English Breakfast Tea - I’m a first thing in the morning coffee drinker. I live for both the taste and ritual of it all. I go to bed thinking about that first cup. Now that I am no longer pregnant and allow myself a second dose of caffeine, afternoons revolve around a cup of creamy English Breakfast Tea. You know how much I love Earl Grey and my obsession for London Fogs translated into my most popular cake ever. But lately it’s been about the English Breakfast, sweetened with plenty of milk.
Dilly Bean Soup - I was a bit shocked when everyone in the house slurped up this recipe. I want to eat pretty much everything Alison cooks, and while I thought this would be a hard sell for the kids, I made it anyway. And I definitely will again! I added potatoes and sausage to bulk up the bean and cabbage stew.
What I’ve Been Reading:
I’m a bit book-obsessed. Mostly cookbooks, naturally, but I love to read. I restrain myself from reading too many novels, because they can become quite consuming and I’ve been known to stay up way too late or abandon other responsibilities to finish.
But last weekend, I had an idea. Let’s go to a bookstore! Sometimes I forget about the things pre-kid and pre-pandemic Tessa would do for fun. Browsing books is definitely one of my favorite pastimes, and it had been months (like 6+) since I had last stepped into a real bookstore.
I took the big kids and you would have thought we were at Disneyland by their level of excitement. Mind you, we go to the library weekly and they have plenty of books at home. But letting them pick out their own titles brought them so much joy!
Baking with Dorie - I received this one for Christmas, and I am still devouring the writing. Dorie has a simple yet poetic way of describing her food - a true gift that I hope will rub off onto me the more I read. As always, this is another stand-out collection of recipes that I know you guys would love.
A Good Day to Bake - This just arrived in the mail two days ago. If it’s anything like Benjamina’s first book, then I know it will be amazing. The pictures and recipe titles that I’ve flipped through are proving me correct already!
People We Meet on Vacation & Beach Read - In the weeks before my due date, I downloaded a couple easy reads to keep my restless mind busy. Both of these titles were quick and fun, two important qualities for when you are already anxious and need something light and playful. They were also necessary during those newborn days when trying to stay awake while nursing at 3am.
Greenwich Park - This is the title I just picked up at our bookstore visit. I don’t know much about the book, but it was kind of thrilling to gamble on a purchase like that. I read a lot of books on my phone, but I’m trying to be more mindful of how much the kids see my face glued to a screen since they can’t tell if I’m engrossed in a compelling book, working, or mindlessly scrolling. Plus, there is definitely something about holding a proper book and flipping real pages - ya know?
What I’ve Been Listening To:
Beyond the dueling baby monitors, we have a pretty musical household. I grew up with music always playing in the background and want to keep that tradition alive.
Emily King - Short and sweet, I’ve listened to the album Seven countless times over the past couple months. It’s equally great for rocking babies to sleep and listening to while baking in the kitchen (the perfect soundtrack to making 25 pancakes for my Vanilla Mascarpone Crepe Cake).
Dua Lipa - The kids are starting to have their own opinions about music and it is super endearing and interesting to learn what melodies they are drawn to. Most recently it was “Cold Heart” that caught Amara’s ear, thus making Dua Lipa dance parties a regular occurrence.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - A recent dinner selection was their One Hot Minute album. I cannot believe this blast from the past came out in 1995! How has so much time passed, and how did I nearly forget that this album even existed?
Recipes to Make in March:
March 14th is Pi(e) Day! I covered basically everything you need to know about pie baking in this Ultimate Pie Guide.
Citrus Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - If you spy Rhubarb this month, then definitely make this ruby red pie. Sweet, tart, with hints of citrus, it is sure to brighten any spring day.
Banana Cream Pie - Can’t seem to find the right produce this time of year? Banana Cream Pie is the perfect thing to bake between seasons. This one is piled high with sweetened cream and a shower of chocolate curls.
St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th. Try one of these rainbow-inspired desserts or my “Pot of Gold” Chocolate Stout Caramel Cake:
Chocolate Stout Cake with Irish Cream Buttercream - Find this chocolate stout cake in my book Icing on the Cake. The chocolate ombre icing is flavoured with Irish cream and totally worth celebrating with.
Rainbow Sprinkle Cake - Make your own Funfetti Cake with whipped buttercream frosting and rainbow swirls.
Strawberry Pop Tarts - These Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts have a super flaky crust and delightful pink glaze. The flavors rival those of our favorite boxed breakfast treats, but trust me when I say that you can’t find flakes like these in any grocery store aisle.
Funfetti Coffee Cake - With a ripple of rainbow and a crunchy sprinkle streusel, this is the sugar-filled breakfast cake of unicorns. Make this cake to add a bit of rainbow magic on St. Patrick’s Day or anytime of the year.
Chocolate Stout Cake with Caramel Buttercream - The golden caramel frosting is silky, creamy, and loaded with toffee flavor. Pair it with chocolate stout cake and a crown of caramel popcorn.
Totally over winter? I feel you. Let’s welcome spring with one of these bright and sunny cakes:
Orange Salted Honey Cake - Tender layers of orange cake filled with salted honey custard and iced in a beautiful honey buttercream. The frosting frills are optional, but totally fun to make!
One-Bowl Vanilla Cake - This One Bowl Vanilla Cake recipe is better than boxed mix but just as easy to throw together.
Vanilla Mascarpone Crepe Cake - Thin, delicate layers of crepes are filled with whipped mascarpone cream to create this 25-layer cake. While it does take some time standing in front of the stove, the melt-in-your-mouth bites and ruffly edges are totally worth it.
Lemon Chiffon Cake - Layers of light and springy lemon chiffon cake are sandwiched with mascarpone cream and lemon curd swirls. This cake comes together with just a few components (that can be prepared in advance!) and is the perfect balance of casual and sophisticated for any spring celebration.
Happy Baking! - Tessa Huff