Apple cake with honey frosting and an oat walnut crumble

Happy Autumn! For the Apple theme for “Eat Around the World“, I made a cake! The occasion was me and my sister’s birthday. Of course it is very like me to make my own cake even if my friends and family have insisted they’ll get me a cake for my birthday.

I got this recipe from Fearless Fresh. My first thought was there’s fruit and oats — is it breakfast? I made a few modifications to this recipe:

Continue reading Apple cake with honey frosting and an oat walnut crumble

Apples around the World

Oh dear…this theme might be a little challenging for this *points to self* home cook. The ingredient for September is apples!

There are so many kinds of apples. In fact 7,500 cultivars of apples. I recalled in my last job, I was naming these types of apples to a coworker (jazz, mountain rose, opal, macoun, winesap, jonathan, jonagold, etc.), he thought it was making it up. When it’s apple season, I try to buy and try as many cultivars as I can (as my grocery budget allows). Apples come in all types of colors (inside and outside), tastes, and texture.

Continue reading Apples around the World

Matcha cake with white chocolate cream (Eat around the World challenge)

I think I wanted to do an Eat Around the World blog challenge because I wanted an excuse to make foods I normally do not make. Take this matcha cake for example — or any cake in general. So far a lot of the foods I shared around the theme of celebration have been foods made by others like this wedding cake or this croissant. As someone who calls herself a home cook, I wanted to show something I made.

This past Sunday was Father’s Day and I wanted to take the opportunity to make a cake to celebrate my husband’s first Father’s Day. I normally don’t bake cake because it looks intimidating, it looks like it is a lot of work in terms of time or resources. But also I feel like if I have to make cake, it needs to be for a lot of people. I don’t think I would make a cake for just me and my husband.

This matcha cake is coated in what was suppose to be white chocolate whipped cream that turned into white chocolate buttercream. I whipped the heavy cream mixture for too long. I should have caught it when it started looking like stiff peaks. Anyways it’s all good. Maybe my mistake is an excuse to try again :-).

The recipe for the matcha sponge is from Delish.com. The whipped cream frosting is from Carve Your Cravings. It’s not as intimidating as I thought. The ingredients for the matcha sponge are ingredients I already had at home — yup, including the matcha powder. Instead of using a round tin, I used a bread loaf tin to bake the sponge. I made the sponge on Saturday night to let it cool into the following day. From there, I sliced the sponge in half and made the frosting. I chose white chocolate whipped cream because I did not have any cream cheese on hand.

Here is the final product:

Matcha cake with white chocolate frosting green tea
Matcha cake with white chocolate frosting green tea
Matcha cake with white chocolate frosting green tea

I saved the cake scraps because I did not want to waste food. Plus I learned there are recipes that use cake scraps; you can make cake pops, cake truffles, mix it into ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, cake in a jar, and a milkshake.

Things I would do differently the next time I make this cake:

  • put fresh strawberries or pistachios in the filling or on top
  • make them into cupcakes or donuts!
  • stopped whipping the cream when it gets to stiff peaks
  • cover the cake with whipped cream frosting with touch of maple syrup

“Eat around the World is a monthly writing/photography challenge where I invite people to share a dish around a theme, ingredient, or technique. June’s theme is “Wedding Cake…and other Celebratory Treats.” All themes are open to interpretation. Cooking skills are not required to participate.

Wedding cake…and other celebratory treats around the world (#1)

“Eat Around the World” is a monthly photo/writing challenge combining the love for food and travel. Share a dish based on the featured monthly prompt. The prompt could be around a particular dish, an ingredient, or a tool. 

Welcome to “Eat Around the World” — a new blog challenge…or is it a blog party? A blog potluck? A blog potluck is fun to say so I am going to stick with that.

This is the first post to kick off what I hope is going to become a long-running series where I invite the blogosphere to share their food around a certain theme each month. I wanted to combine my love of making food, eating food, dining out, and traveling. You don’t have to be a home cook to participate. In fact the inaugural theme is wedding cake and I don’t know many people who have actually made their own wedding cake.

I chose to make it monthly because that’s my bandwidth. But I am hoping I can challenge myself to attempt to make some of these foods throughout the month. Please bear with me since it is my first time doing anything like this.

To participate, please submit complete this brief form for review — this is to ensure that the people participating are well…real people. And it be populated on this sheet. Also, please pingback to this page. At the end of the month I will do a recap post.

The deadline to submit your responses is June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

If you have any tips on hosting a blogshare (blog potluck), please let me know! I greatly appreciate the feedback!


On to the theme of wedding cakes (and other celebratory treats). I chose wedding cake because June is peak season for weddings. Ironically, I do not like a lot of wedding cakes, especially the ones covered in fondant. Also, my wedding was not in June, it was in October.

The wedding cake is the center piece of any wedding reception. Cutting the wedding cake is its own event on the wedding reception program while the main course and hors d’oeuvres are just something to keep the guests from not being too hungry. I’ve seen some stunning wedding cakes — they almost look like sculptures. But when I look closer and see the cake is covered in fondant, I am immediately turned off. I find fondant barely edible. You’ll probably find me tearing the fondant out as soon as I get a slice.

When it came to my wedding, I did not want to spend a lot of money on a cake that was unpalatable because it was covered in fondant. I get that fondant makes the cake looks prettier, cleaner, and more polished. I understand fondant is all about the photos, not about how it tastes. But sorry, I actually like to eat food in general.

We decided to do a small two-tiered cake and have a dessert bar of cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and dulce de leche cookies. The cake was made by a friend. She did a vanilla cake with strawberries and cream filling. The cover is vanilla buttercream. Another friend of ours made the cake topper. The cupcakes and cookies were from Porto’s bakery. The vase, cake stand, and pastry covers were from me. The event venue had wooden crates. Though it’s not pictured, the boxes for people to pack their desserts were from Michaels.

I was surprised how incredibly inflated the prices were between a wedding cake versus a regular party cake when looking around for bakeries. The cake could serve the same amount of people, but the wedding cake price would be at least double (or triple) the price of a regular cake. Since I did not have it in my heart to lie that I wanted a cake for a really large party, I thought to look for other creative measures by asking a friend to make a small wedding cake and do a dessert bar of our favorite treats.

Here it is, our wedding cake and dessert bar on a budget.

Our vanilla wedding cake with strawberries and cream filling with vanilla buttercream

I recalled when planning for the wedding, I wanted to have a cookies-only bar. I spent my time researching recipes but did not have any time recipe testing. I spent a lot of time DIY-ing other details for the wedding such as the invitations, centerpieces, table cards, etc. I was DIY burnt out from the wedding. A few years later I did have an opportunity to do a cookies bar for a friend’s wedding. I was so enthused to contribute the moment she told me about her engagement.

Share us your wedding cake — whether you were the bride, groom, or guest! Or was there no wedding cake and you served donuts? Or share with us other celebratory treats from around the world — whether it’s celebrating a birthday, promotion, a new home, graduation, paid off your credit card debt, etc. because honestly there are many other milestones worth celebrating. You can pingback to this post or submit your post on this this form. The deadline to submit your responses will be June 30th at 11:59 PM EST.

Pick a pastry

Sugar brings happiness. Eating it once or twice a week in a dessert, that’s what life is about. There is nothing wrong with it.

Adriano Zumbo

One of my favorite things about travelling is eating pastries and desserts — it’s always on my travel itinerary. This is from a pastry shop in Rome. Feel free to pick one — or pick them all!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #142 – You Pick It!

#weekendcoffeeshare: Have some cookies!

Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!  What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans?  Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

Wow, it just occurred to me this is the last weekend of 2020. What am I doing this weekend? Well two of my friends and I are doing the first ever cookie swap. We agreed to meet at my house to swap our cookie boxes and have lunch. It is different from years past where we had much larger gatherings and everyone brought their own food. We would eat, chat, do a White Elephant gift exchange, and play games for hours until it got really late.

The rules of the cookie swap are simple: bake up to three different types of cookies and each box must have a dozen. We also agreed on a theme and we decided to do travel theme. Actually it started with one of my friends who said she was planning to make some Mexican cookies and it sparked an idea to do a travel theme. It is fitting since we all like to travel and we have not been able to travel anywhere this year.

My cookie box theme is New York City and I based the cookies off of my time there. The first cookie on the top row is the Black and White cookie. This cookie can be found in NYC delis. The dough is cake-based and so soft. For this recipe, I used store bought frosting instead of making the frosting — I did not have time to practice it. I did not have buttermilk, so I instead mixed 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

Top: Black and White Cookie. Bottom (from left to right): Cuban Sugar Cookie with Passion Fruit Jam, Compost Cookie (inspired from Momofuku Milk Bar)

The next cookie I made (with the assistance of my nephew) is a Cuban Sugar Cookie called “Torticas de Moron.” It is a sugar cookie with a lime twist. I made this cookie because when I was at NYC, my friend and I would eat breakfast at a local Cuban café almost every morning. I could not find any guava jam in any grocery store. To substitute I used passion fruit jam. I enjoy making this cookie and would like to try it with dulce de leche and eventually guava jam if I could find it.

The third cookie is the Compost Cookie based off of the cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar. I remembered the first time I had the Compost Cookie, it was so unusual to have potato chips, pretzels, coffee grounds, chocolate chips, and butterscotch all in one cookie. What I did differently was skip the graham cracker crust recipe and instead crushed the graham crackers. I guess I was tired trying a new recipe just to only used 1/2 cup of graham cracker crust for the cookies. What would I do with the rest of the graham cracker crust? Of course make pie, but I think I’ll take a short break from baking desserts.

I have plenty of cookies leftover after baking for most of the day. I have plenty to give. Here, have one or some. Do you have a cookie recipe? Comment below!

For other plans for the rest of the weekend, I am working on my 21 for 2021 list. I am also working on writing a reverse 20 for 2020 list, reflecting on all the things I did this year.

Pin(terest) Wins!

Pinterest is awesome, but it can also drive me nuts!

On my Pinterest page you’ll find I have a Pinterest board for everything from outfits, hiking, travel, books, productivity, drinks, cooking, home decorating — there are so many possibilities. Pinterest has been a wonderful way to get inspired and exchange ideas across the internet once you get past the ugly fact that that dream wedding or bathroom you saw on Pinterest is a staged photoshoot. Also realize that the model wearing that outfit you were eye-ing is not a real person (unless you are 5’10 and 120 lbs). I tell myself these pins are only aspirations, not expectations.

Then there’s the other ugly part: Pinterest can also be a big mess. Some people may not anticipate projects require a bit of work and you willing to invest in some time. If you do not have those intentions when approaching a project, that’s when Pinterest fails come in. I’ve had my fair share of projects from Pinterest that got awful. I attempted yarn balls — the results were pretty good but it was a messy, messy project using A LOT of glue resulting in glue everywhere in my apartment. So I moved on. It was not the project for me.

However once in a while, I do find myself with pin wins:

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A rose apple pie I make in the fall (the original). Yes, this is a dish I make regularly. I’ve done both fresh and baked apples and they come out wonderful. I am looking into other twists — maybe add berries or more crumbles just to twist things up.

pinecone cheese ball almonds

A pinecone cheese ball (original). I made this last year for my work’s tree trimming party. The theme was pinecones and my coworker wanted to see someone make a dish like the original pin she saw. I took up on this challenge. I included the pine sprigs like in the original and I added my own touch for color by adding persimmon chips. I also baked the the persimmon chips too.

via Photo Challenge: Satisfaction

Weekly Photo Challenge Link Party!

A list of other entries to this theme; if you do not want to be on this list let me know and I will remove the link!

Wasabi Flavored Ice Cream from Owl’s

Top flavor, Wasabi — It does taste like wasabi and it’s spicy. It did taste good when I had the sample, but the more I ate it, the less I liked it.

Bottom flavor, Honey Rosemary – This one was my favorite of the two. It was floral and pleasant.

Owl’s Ice Cream
19763 Rinaldi St
Porter Ranch, CA 91326

Kiddos Creamery

Top flavor, Matcha – The best green tea flavor I’ve had in a while!

Bottom flavor, Mozarella – I thought there was going to be mozarella cheese in this ice cream. I was wrong. Some of these flavors are based off of Tokidoki characters like Mozarella and Latte. The mozarella  flavor reminded me of stracciatella with chunkier chocolate pieces.

Kiddos Creamery
818 N Pacific Ave
Ste J
Glendale, CA 91203

Pineapple “whip”

What do you do with leftover bananas? You freeze them and make some fake “ice cream” made out of bananas. It’s better known as “nice cream”.

The base is always banana to make it creamy and sweet plus a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk to make it smooth and blended. From there,  you can add fruit or matcha tea or chocolate chips for different flavor.

I’ve been doing nice cream for a while. It’s been an obsession as of lately. Now I must always have bananas in the kitchen for those impromptu moments when I want ice cream. Since its getting warmer,  that means all the time!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 cups of frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup (plus a few teaspoons) of coconut milk

Place them all in the blender to blend until smooth.

Enjoy immediately. Feel free to pile it up and not feel guilty like you would with regular ice cream.