These past few weeks, I’ve been going to bed by midnight. Normally this would be a total victory, but, instead of catching ZZZ’s, I’ve actually been catching up on work. Instead of laying down in bed, I’ve been sitting against the headboard, my MacBook firmly planted in my lap. I’ve been sprawling paperwork, instead of my comforter, across my sheets; I’ve been pushing eyeglasses, instead of my eye mask, up the bridge of my nose. Sleep can wait. I’ve got work to do.
Last week, my program prepared an unprecedented number of grant applications. While the cause was worthy (securing funding for mental health research), the process itself was too grueling for words. The minute we hit “submit,” I turned my attention towards party-planning. We’d earned ourselves a work picnic. I made cake.
This recipe, courtesy of the incredible Dorie Greenspan, is easy, light, healthful: an excellent summer snacking cake. Its addictive tenderness is thanks to a fantastic combination of oil and yogurt, in place of butter. To finish, I simply used what I had on hand, whipping up a salty-sweet mix of lemon glaze and toasted almonds. The cake can be served any number of ways; I imagine it’d be especially wonderful served with seasonal fruit. Best of all, this lovely dish came together effortlessly — truly fitting for a celebration of our very effortful work.
I used Greek yogurt and vegetable oil, though I’d recommend sticking with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil next time.
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 cup of slivered almonds
- Salt to taste (and pepper, if you’re feeling daring!)
- In a medium-sized saucepan, warm up the coconut oil on medium heat. Add the slivered almonds and stir frequently, watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from heat once the almonds turn golden brown, or to whatever shade you desire (about 5 minutes).
- Poke holes throughout the cake with a toothpick to create small divots. This will help the glaze sink into the cake itself and marry the flavors together. Make sure the cake is cool before proceeding with the next step; the cake shouldn’t be too warm, or the glaze will not set properly.
- If the glaze has cooled, warm it up in the microwave until it reaches a pourable, syrupy consistency.
- I’ve found it easiest to add the glaze and almonds in five alternating layers. Pour 1/3rd of the glaze onto the cake and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 of the toasted almonds. Repeat once more with a second 1/3rd of the glaze and the remaining almonds. Top off with the remaining glaze.
- Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. This is basically a non-negotiable, as the salt really enhances the toasty nuts and balances the sweet glaze.