I had this romantic notion in my mind that I would move to San Francisco with just three boxes (one for cookbooks, one for kitchenware, and one for clothes), but that is clearly becoming an idle fantasy. Because every time I move, I'm appalled by the amount of junk that I seem to have collected over the years. Clearing out my closet, for instance, took an entire freaking day! I always thought I was good about throwing out stuff I didn't need, but apparently not — I had clothes that stretched back all the way to my freshman year of high school (specifically, a white French Connection skirt with embroidered flowers that I also wore to my college graduation brunch and could never in a million years fit into today), as well as collections from entire phases and fashion cycles in college. Remember when everybody wore flimsy, brightly colored cardigans and oxford shoes? Or American Apparel clothing non-ironically? Nope, just me? Okay.
Going through the clothes and figuring out which ones to sell, donate, and keep was a challenge on its own. I gave myself some rough rules — one box only, and I would live life like Caroline, the minimalist fashion blogger from Un-Fancy who advocates maintaining only a 35-piece wardrobe capsule (though to be fair, she lives in Austin, TX and advises folks to only have 2 jackets on hand; which, SIDE-EYE, girlfriend has clearly never lived in the Pacific Northwest). That meant letting go of 90% of my wardrobe, including selling the size 26 (!!!), barely worn Levis that I hoped to fit into again one day and the many beautiful Anthropologie dresses that at this point even Buffalo Exchange sniffed their nose at, because, let's face it, as pretty as they are, the 1950s housewife look just ain't big like it was in 2009. Or again, maybe that was just me.
Eitherway, all that deliberating, debating, and digging around my closets took a lot of energy; thankfully, I managed to sneak away for an hour to snack on one of these strawberry, coconut, and chocolate superfood partfaits:
Urgh, I can hear you thinking. Chocolate full of fruits and vegetables? That must taste like ass. Au contraire, mi amigo — Aloha Superfood Chocolate bars actually taste like every specialty dark chocolate bar I've ever had, but with a slightly coconutty afterkick. In fact, I liked its coconut flavor so much that I decided to use it as a garnish for these parfaits, which are layered with strawberries, coconut whipped cream, and coconut almond snack cake:
This is a little bit embarrassing, but Erlend and I had such a short notice/timeframe for moving that we actually would skip meals and eat some of the desserts I had lying around instead to save time. We're the worst, I know, I know, especially since I made a big stink about how I was eating well in my last somewhat panicky blog post. But I'm actually 100% convinced that the superfood chocolate is what kept me going as I went through boxes and boxes of my clothes. So at least there's that?
But, hey, it's the homestretch, guys. I'm almost there. Wish me luck.
Some baker's notes:
- Parfaits are an awesome dessert because of their versatility — if you don't like coconut, feel free to swap out the cake and whipped cream with a flavor of your own choice! I like this particular cake recipe, however, since it makes just one small cake. It's hard to find cake recipes that scale down easily.
- This recipe uses coconut cream, which is distinctive from coconut milk. The Kitchn has a great article on the difference between the two. Coconut cream is usually available in the Mexican or Asian section of any grocery store. If you can't find coconut cream, you can also use the coconut cream that usually comes with coconut milk. If a can of coconut milk has been sitting for a while and isn't shaken properly before opening, the cream usually sits on top of the coconut water, which you can scoop out and whip up to use in this recipe.
(makes one 6-inch tall cake)
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, room temperature
(makes 6 generous servings or 8 reasonable ones)
- 1 recipe coconut and almond snack cake
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 Aloha Superfood Chocolate Bar (or, 1 ounce 70%-cacao dark chocolate)
For the Coconut and Almond Snack Cake:
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare a 6 x 3-inch round cake pan by spraying generously with cooking spray and lining the bottom with a parchment paper circle. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray as well. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup cake flour, 1/2 cup almond meal, 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light, fluffy and doubled in volume, at least 5 minutes.
- Once the mixture is light and fluffy, reduce the mixer speed to its lowest setting. Add 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract continue beating until fully incorporated.
- With the mixer speed still on its lowest setting, add the dry ingredients (from the 1st step) in 3 parts, alternating with 1/2 cup coconut milk in 2 parts, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Continue mixing until all the ingredients are just combined.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake should bounce back when gently poked. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before using a serrated knife to slice the cake into 2-inch cubes for the parfaits.
- First, make the coconut whipped cream. In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine 2 cups cold heavy cream, 1/4 cup coconut cream, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Whisk on medium-high speed until the mixture starts to thicken; add in 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar and whip until the peaks just hold their shape — be careful not to overmix or you'll end up with butter!
- Divide the coconut almond snack cake cubes, coconut whipped cream, and 1 cup fresh strawberry halves evenly between 6 ramekins. Use a cheese grater or microplane zester to shave 1 ounce Aloha Superfood Chocolate over the ramekins. Serve immediately.