Tag Archives: cake

Easy, Breezy…

8 Jun

Two weeks ago, I took a quick trip back to California. Despite the ridiculous flight delay that had me grounded at JFK for 6 hours (on the runway! 6 hours!), I am so glad I went. A little dose of sunshine and a whole lot of love welcomed me and I spent my 5-day vacation catching up with family + friends.

Being away from my loves for 5 months really took its toll on me. Once home, I started questioning my decision to live in New York.

California is so easy. No subway, no evil characters. All my loved ones here. People who I have known for decades live here. How can I be away from them?

It didn’t help that once I got back to the city, I had to deal with a possible bug problem that left me in a hotel, depleting my impending vacation savings for Australia. Suffice to say, I was NOT a happy camper.

But these past few days I made sure to catch up with my friends here who matter most. Just talking with them and hearing their own troubles makes me feel like what I am going through is normal.

Let me be frank: New York is hard. Crazy hard. It’s dirty, rude, gritty, and challenging. But it can also be magical, rewarding, astounding, and exciting.

You could say I am in a love/hate relationship with NYC. Like a typical girl, I keep coming back for me ;)

Anyways, while home, I made this simply Strawberry Cake. Can I tell you a secret? I cheated and used Trader Joes Vanilla Bean Cake Mix. I often hesitate to buy cake mix because the flavors are muted and it tastes like cardboard. However, this mix was steller. Moist and natural, I would gladly use it again. For the frosting, I used this one that I love so much. Since you are using real strawberry preserves, you can actually taste the real bits of strawberry in the frosting.  I can’t wait to buy this mix again and pair it with other frostings and flavors. Anybody up for a funfetti cake?!

 

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Many loves for today

14 Feb

My current loves:
Cinnamon-spiced coffee with a touch of cream
the new Kings of Leon cd
My leopard-print ballet flats
Pink donuts with white sprinkles from the local donut shop
Nearby friends
Faraway friends
Pretzel M&M’s
My new gorgeous necklaces from this magical shop
Never Let Me Go
Romantic dresses from the Elie Saab Spring 2011 Couture show
This, always and forever

I don’t care if you are married, pregnant, single, divorced, dating, desperately single, or none of the above. I hope you take a minute on this overly pink/red holiday and know that you are loved.

Happy Valentines Day! Go eat some cake :)

Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting

31 Jan

When I think of moving in to my dream apartment, I imagine hosting intimate, cozy dinner parties. The kind of dinner parties where the wine is flowing, the food is delicious, and the laughs can be heard down the hallway. When I lived in my own little abode, I didn’t have enough room to host these kinds of dinner parties, which was unfortunate because my friends and I were eager and willing to have those kinds of parties.

Menu-planning is a skill I don’t really have and I tend to just throw things together. I know how different flavors and ingredients work together but I am not an expert here. A summer menu would obviously rotate around a hot grill, but dinner requires more thought. I would serve a colorful salad, some fresh dinner rolls, and a hearty, warm main dish. As for dessert, I can imagine all kinds of delicious cakes and cookies. However, nothing stuns a crowd like a glorious chocolate cake.

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Grand Raspberry Trifle

5 Jan

I’m all for resolutions but some of these diet-oriented ones make me depressed. Pre-packaged meals filled with god knows what? No thanks. No carbs? SERIOUSLY? Have you gone a day without carbs? let me tell you, you become a cranky mess. My daily food habits stay on the pretty healthy side with my plate full of whole grains and vegetables. But if anyone tried to tell me to live 12 months sans dessert I might go postal.

A life without dessert is simply a life not worth living.

That being said, dessert has its time and place. Moderation plays a big role and downing ice cream sundaes and cookies every day will probably not do your heart a whole heck of a lot. Instead, make a gorgeous dessert weekly, one that makes you smile and swoon at the same time. You’ll feel better physically AND mentally.

For this past Christmas, I decided to make a simple, fruit dessert. Enter Martha Stewart’s Grand Raspberry Trifle. Can you hear the angels singing? Because this dessert is truly heavenly. Pound cake soaked with lemon syrup, raspberry jelly, and soft whipped peaks of cream. AMEN.

You could buy the pound cake from the store but if you ask me, the store-bought pound cakes taste dry and dull. Since everyone AND their mom has a favorite pound cake recipe, I’ll leave you to it. I made my pound cake a the night before, wrapped it tight, and then sliced it as I was assembling the trifle. I ended up having some cake leftover but that wasn’t a problem since I had some family members who love scraps.

The only problem with this recipe is that it is not leftover-friendly. The cream gets clumpy and the cakes get soggy. But, if you have a trifle-loving family like mine, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Grand Raspberry Trifle
Attribution: MarthaStewart.com
Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Inactive Prep Time: At least one hour to chill

Ingredients:
½ cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Seedless Raspberry Jam
4 cups Raspberries
2 cups Heavy Cream
1 ½ pounds Favorite Pound Cake

Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool.

In a small bowl, combine jam with 3 cups of raspberries, stirring until mostly combined. It’s okay if the raspberries are mashed slightly.

In a large bowl, whip cream and 2 tablespoons sugar to stiff peaks, about 4-5 minutes. (Optional: I added ½ tsp of vanilla to sweeten the cream.)

Slice pound cake ¾ inch thick; brush both sides of slices with lemon syrup.

Fit ⅓ of slices snugly in the bottom of a 4-quart trifle dish or other glass bowl, trimming edges if necessary. Gently spread top of layer with ⅓ of raspberry mixture, and then ⅓ of whipped cream. Repeat to make two more layers; garnish with remaining cup raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 24 hours.

The First Day

3 Jan

When planning my trip home, I decided to stay in town to ring in the new year. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start of 2011 than with my friends and family.

2011 started in the best way possible:

  • Tiramisu Cake & coffee with my loveliest friend at a Sacramento hotspot
  • A thrilling movie that had the best costumes and acting I’ve seen in a while
  • The sweet taste of a Champagne Cocktail in a dark bar
  • Some light shopping from my favorite jewelry store
  • A quick cuddle from my furry boyfriend

I leave for NYC in 4 days and while I’m sad to leave, I am ready to get back to my NYC routine. The cafes, bars, museums, parks.

Cheesecake Bars + Chocolate

11 Oct

Cheesecake bars

Right now, New York City is the epitome of perfection. There is a slight chill to the air, but the sun still comes out and warms you briefly before darting behind a cloud for a second. While the trees are still lively and green, some leaves are beginning to turn. The nights are cold enough to spend wrapped in a blanket, socks on, hands holding a cup of hot tea.

Of course, it is also the perfect time to bake. Hence my frustration. I’m dreaming about pumpkin bread, cream scones slathered with apple butter, snickerdoodle cookies, apple crisps, decadent spice cakes topped with cream cheese frosting. Not to mention I found the most resourceful baking shop in New York City. Stacks of sprinkles, cookie cuttes, pans. You name it, they had it. I hate not having an oven. It’s killing me.

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A disaster + happy weekend!

27 Aug

Disaster!

Before I send you warm weekend wishes, I thought I’d show you a recent cake disaster. Not everything goes well in my kitchen and mistakes happen alot. While I know my way around the baking department, I am definitely still an amaetuer baker and need to practice more techniques. In the meantime, I still enjoy playing around and the kitchen is a great environment for that playful attitude.

Alas, I had a huge hopes for this carrot cake. I meant for it to be a tall, gorgeous cake with pile of cream cheese frosting.

disaster!
The cake had different plans.

I managed to salvage pieces of it but it was a mess. A delicious, but annoying mess.

The morale of this story is to not let these mistakes deter you. Keep going, try again, and when in doubt, grab a mop:)

The cursed cake

17 May

When you pour your heart and soul in to a project, you expect to get a result that is satisfying. When you spend three days zesting lemons, whisking lemon curd, measuring flour, spilling sugar everywhere, whipping egg whites in to swiss buttercream, and washing countless dishes, you better get a cake that justifies all your hard work.

Sadly, this cake did not meet my standards. Maybe I set it too high on its pedestal but lemon curd layer cake with silky smooth buttercream sounded like a dream too good to be true. I found the recipe in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, which up to this point, hasn’t let me down. It produced such wonderful recipes like the one-bowl chocolate cupcakes, fruit curd tartlets, white strawberry cupcakes, Icebox butter cookies, peanut butter sandwich cookies, Ok, maybe the book isn’t perfect considering my Peach Apricot pie was all jacked up and the juice was too runny. However, I was willing to overlook that small mishap, and chalk it up to my pie inexperience because I love my Martha Stewart. Call me ridiculous, but I think the lady is a trooper. A bit snobby, but what did you expect from a former east coast socialite?

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Return to Normalcy

16 Mar

After a five month run, I quit my second job. While I loved my coworkers and the job’s social aspects, I didn’t enjoy the way I was living my life. Running around from one job to another was making me frantic and my creative endeavors suffered tremendously. It’s amazing what happens to your energy when you are operating at a very basic level.

Doing the things you love like writing and photography take a back seat and you no longer feel the urge to enjoy the life you lead. I’m grateful to have met and become close to a couple of the stylists but I can’t wait to focus on more personal projects.

To usher in this joyous time (seriously, I’m ecstatic), I tried my hand at one of my favorites: lemon pound cake. I know that I make a lot of these pound cakes (Brown Sugar Pound Cake, Perfection Pound Cake, Pumpkin Pound Cake) but there is something magical about this cake. It’s like a childhood friend: reliable, sturdy, and unforgettable.

Who knew that a pound of butter, sugar, and a handful of eggs can produce something so delicious in an hour? Obviously, I forgot how baking works in my five month dry spell.

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Cupcakes + Champagne

24 Feb

What happens when you put seven girls, seven bottles of Champagne, fully-charged cameras, and one big platter of white cupcakes with raspberry buttercream?
Insanity. Pure, unadulterated insanity.

I still have a headache from our Valentine’s Day party. Let’s just say that the morning after was NOT pretty. But the party was a blast. I haven’t had that much fun since grade school. Seriously. Getting together with a bunch of gals to laugh, moan, and scream about men/work/life is the best stress reliever. And, when in doubt, bake these cupcakes. They know how to rock a party.

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