How to make a Chocolate Icebox Number Cake

It’s no secret that I like to play around in the kitchen, and today’s birthday cake is a perfect example of such amusement.

My leap year baby hits double digits this year, and since there is no 29th this month, we celebrated with friends and family last weekend. In the past he’s had a chess cake, an ice cream cake, and various other confections, but this year he specifically wanted an icebox cake.

The icebox cake is also know as a chocolate wafer cake or a Zebra cake, and consists simply of Nabisco chocolate wafters and sweetened whipped cream. In Canada, people use Mr. Christie chocolate wafers, and the ‘recipe’ is everywhere. My kids discovered this dessert one Christmas, when we made Joy the Baker’s icebox Yule log, and have loved it ever since.

When Mateo requested an icebox cake for his birthday, I decided to raise the bar and have some fun in the process.

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Overnight Spiced Stollen Swirl Buns

This morning, as I sat down with a notebook and a pen to make a menu plan for the week, I was filled with such a tangible sense of gratitude; how fortunate I was to be able to outline our eats straight through to Boxing Day.

Noah and I donated some time to a local food bank last week, and I saw first-hand what many people in my community will have to eat over the holidays. Not much, I’m afraid. It is a huge privilege to be able to plan party nibbles, brunch baking, and pot-luck dishes. That is not something I take for granted.

We’re having a bit of a quiet, minimalist Christmas this year. No huge parties or multi-course meals are in the plans, and most of our gift shopping was from the World Vision gift catalogue (really the coolest thing). Here and there, we’ve taken small steps to make a positive impact on our global community – something that’s so desperately needed these days. This is the season for giving, after all.

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for overnight spice swirl buns with you for a while now. I’m not sure how it fits into my feelings of gratitude and gifting today, but perhaps it will inspire you to bake up a tray of buns and share them with someone this holiday season.

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Rhubarb & Orange Frangipane Galette

I hope you still have some rhubarb on hand, because we’re baking with it today.

I wasn’t originally going to share this galette with you as it is more of a hodge-podge of recipes than an original creation of my own, but it was so delicious, I knew I had to at least point you in the direction of my inspiration and hope that you are similarly compelled to bake.

As is the custom, it started with an over abundance of rhubarb in my garden and a not much time to fuss over a dessert. Rhubarb cornmeal muffins are delicious, as is my upside down cake, but I was contributing the sweet finish to a family dinner and wanted to contribute something light and pretty. Something that said “Spring!”.

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Overnight Maple Hot Cross Buns

I wasn’t intending to develop a new recipe over the weekend, but I was playing around with these maplelicious hot cross buns and they turned out so well, I knew I had to share my notes and findings in a recipe.

On Friday evening I was in need of a little baking therapy (it’s a real thing, you know). Recent news and events from the week had left me floundering a bit; I needed to find my ground – and I aways find it in the kitchen.

I ground cardamom, cracked eggs, measured maple sugar and by the time I had the dough mixed up and in the fridge, I was already feeling better.

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Pesto & Ricotta-filled Asparagus and Radish Tarts

Spring is very much in the air. I can feel it, even if the garden still sleeps under a foot of snow.

The ice on the river near our place is breaking up and the tops of the trees in the yard have started to bud. Soon the sap will be flowing in the maples and we can tap their trunks for a new sugaring off season.

I’m anticipating the spring thaw as eagerly as my children awaiting their first batch of maple taffy on snow. It can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, Clara built another snowman on the first day of spring.

I warmed one of these tarts for my lunch while watching her play – they are like a promise of good things to come: our own baby radishes, local asparagus and the warm winds of spring.
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