birthday baking

The Marzipan Petit Fours

Let’s start with the birthdays. J and I kicked off our birthday month (it’s the big 3-0 for us this year!) with this smashing Marzipan Petit Four cake from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook I set aside a whole afternoon to bake and construct it, and I was really pleased with how it turned out.

My oven has been pretty touchy lately, and it was a genuine beast when it came to maintaining heat levels for the cake layers–likely because testing for readiness involved lots of opening and closing of the oven doors. I ended up sticking one of the three layers back into the oven after it had been sitting out for 10 or 15 minutes, just because I couldn’t make up my mind about whether it was setting properly or not.

But the end result was delicious. I enjoyed the extra flavor of the marzipan in the cake layers (I used a pastry cutter to work it into the batter since I don’t have a food processor!) And the chocolate ganache frosting was so much fun to drape and smudge over the little cakes. (Oh, and it lasted for days afterward, even after I gave away slices to our party-goers, which made for many sweet treats with afternoon coffee.)

A dreamy interior courtyard in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where we spent part of our very successful NYC birthday celebration)

My other recent baking experiment was this double-coconut muffin recipe, which I mixed up on impulse Thursday afternoon between finishing my writing for the day and heading out for dinner. I had two jars full of flaked coconut that were slowly going stale, and I had just bought a new jar of coconut oil to replace the one that I discovered molding in a corner of the pantry; plus, there was a container of yogurt in the fridge and ours almost always goes bad. The recipe was a god-send.

I don’t know why I don’t make muffins more often: they are quick to mix up and bake and can be riffed on endlessly. I liked the extra coconut-y flavor of these ones and the slightly sour tang of the yogurt. And I was glad that I didn’t have the recommended sweetened cococut: the recipe was just fine without them.

Sweet little crocuses spotted on my long run this weekend

And now: on to spring! With just over a month until my dissertation is due, it’s going to be a hectic April. Wish me serenity, a clear mind, and lots of good words.


Love from your Connecticut baker,



2 thoughts on “birthday baking

  1. Sounds like a fabulous birthday month! I am whipping up an overnight muffin recipe this evening because bread never happened this weekend and I have to have something for breakfast tomorrow morning. BV


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