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When I moved away from New York City, I took quite a few weeks categorizing and revisiting all the things I’d miss; Central Park on a sunny weekday, Soho’s cobblestone streets and wrought iron architecture, all the beautiful strangers, and date cake from Moto in Brooklyn.

All those other topics have been discussed at great length, so let me just take a moment to extoll the extensive virtues of date cake. Firstly, let me make it clear that I don’t even like dates, and yet, Moto’s date cake is quite possibly one of my favorite desserts.

Anytime an opportunity arose to hit up this speakeasy-esque, French-American joint nestled under the JMZ tracks in Brooklyn, I was all over it. And let’s face it, it didn’t take much…

“It’s your birthday?! Moto.”

“Your parents are here visiting?! Moto.”

“It’s Tuesday?! Moto.”

The atmosphere is just about as perfect as you can get – totally secret-feeling, but welcoming. Cozy with a small, but stellar menu of savories (Oh, hello herb-encrusted pork ribs). And my god, the date cake. Warm, dense, yet succulent cake slathered in buttery toffee sauce, served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream… Gah! I would stuff myself silly with the aformentioned pork ribs or perhaps the Chicken Dijonnaise served with a big bowl of delicious mashed taters, loosen the belt and then order a big ol’ slab o’ date cake. I think a few times, I even ordered an extra one to go! 🙂

And then I moved away and thought I’d never achieve this culinary bliss again. But I have! After the jump, a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is so close to Moto’s date cake, it’s possibly criminal!

Started out by chopping up 1 lb of pitted dates…

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I’ve heard them all… mostly from the little voice in my head. “Lauriebot…”, I’ve sternly said to myself, “You’ve neglected your bloggie duties for over two weeks and it simply will not do. Get off your keister and get back to work.”

So I’m doing just that. But, in my own defense, I did just start a new job a few weeks ago and it takes a while to get back into the rhythm of life when I’ve had the luxury (for the past year and a half) and doing things on my own time whenever I feel like. So now it’s back to reality, back to the work-5-days-off-2-days cycle, and back to the importance of time management.

I’ll kick it off with a bang… my ambitious birthday cake, the recipe for which I stumbled across on Poires au Chocolat – a beautiful blog written by a very, VERY talented young lady. Seriously, my cake pales in comparison to the gorgeous confection she created, but I had my heart set and knew that I needed this cake in my life for my birthday.

So settle in for the long haul, this post is FULL of piccies because there are about 8,371 steps to this cake! For clarity’s sake, I’ve written out the ingredients and quantities (converted from UK measurements to US) at the end… otherwise, things would just get way too confusing!

Without further ado… my Dark Chocolate & Whiskey birthday cake…

First I made the cake – started out with 8.5 oz of delicious 70% dark chocolate plus 1 oz each of 60% dark and unsweetened chocolate. Chopped it all up and melted it over a double boiler before setting it aside to cool.

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It’s 9 am, and I’m all kinds of jazzed/pumped/amped after a riveting US showing at this morning’s World Cup match against Slovenia. Don’t know if you caught it, but we was robbed. Had that last goal counted, we would have totally had a Mighty Ducks caliber win. Sigh…

Despite my disappointment at our loss, I did enjoy my 7am Irish coffee and as a result, I’m energized enough to finally get to blogging this amazing chocolate Bundt cake I made the other night! Adapted the recipe from Warren Brown’s (of Cakelove fame – holla, DC!) excellently titled new book, United Cakes of America.

I finally decided to  use my lovely vintage Bundt pan to make an actual Bundt cake (as opposed to the jello mold I used it for a few months ago!) and it was so fun! This was my first Bundt and I def consider it a success – spongy pound cake flecked with cocoa powder & the most decadent bittersweet chocolate glaze that raised this cake from plain ol’ delicious to X-rated food porn.

My Bundt pan is a weird size (6 cups), so it was perfect for the small gathering of folks we had over to watch Party Down and old Aeon Flux shorts… [Note to Netflix… as long as you’re delving into the Liquid Television archives, please, please, PLEASE get “The Head” on Instantly!]

Anyway… on to the cake!

Started out with 1 oz unsweetened and 1.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli and Trader Joe’s, respectively)…

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A few weeks ago, I purchased a verifiable buttload of culinary lavender. My eyes shone and my heart swelled with the hope of delicious gourmet treats. Unfortunately, my burgeoning skill in the kitchen was not entirely ready to take on lavender – I just couldn’t seem to get the balance right!

First I tried honey lavender salted caramels. In a word: disaster. I was overzealous during the lavender infusion process and the lavender milk ended up tasting like soap. And then, my stupid candy thermometer broke mid-caramel so I ended up with something more closely resembling a cross between brittle and glass.

But I pushed ever forward and decided to give lavender infusions another shot, this time with chocolate brigadeiros. I’d had such success with coconut milk brigadeiros in the past, I thought, “what’s the worst that can happen?” Well, I learned from my past mistake and created a much subtler infusion, but the end result was still gross.

At that point, I was beginning to think that maybe I just don’t like lavender all that much. Until last night! Finally, I made something delicious with lavender! Granted, the lavender is more of an accent than the main event, but that’s something! Behold, my gateau au citron with lavender cream!

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!

I live in San Francisco. I used to live in NYC, Washington DC, and London.

I like to take the pictures.

I like color, excess, food, light, clothes, and going places.

I also like talking to people.

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