Love Letters (Checkered Cake)

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People say it gets easier with time and I try and trust them but I’m not sure it’s true. One of my best friends passed away this last semester. It was out of the blue. I didn’t react like people thought I would or should I guess. Everyone around me waited for me to crumble. At the funereal I had my amazing roommates there and my buddies who I never thought would grow up. It took the death of our best friend for them to step up. I had people holding me up at the burial where I finally broke down. Tay was the guy version of me. It was eerie how weirdly alike we were and our relationship was something I can only hope to have once again in life. I was so incredibly proud of the obstacles he had made it through. He had helped me through one of my hardest time periods and kept it real with me. He liked to say “Don’t be a peewee” if I didn’t feel up for coming out with the guys, which was just one of the many made up words Tay used.
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Today I cleaned out my childhood room for good today. I got rid of anything that is not necessary. I think having to get rid of so many sentimental items just brought back so many memories. I am moving out of state for a job and will be on my own from that point forward. I know I have technically been an adult since I was 18 but it really starts now and that is scary. Looking through everything has made me realize all the great people I have had in my life that has helped to push me in the right direction. In the last few months I have started writing “Love Letters” to people who have inspired me or helped me in any way. I think it’s important to let people know the positive impact they have had on my life since I did not get the opportunity to do it with Tay.
This cake was a battle. It took a lot of time to put together and after these pictures were taken it fell one big clump after another. It was a learning process for sure. It was delicious but I do not think I will be attempting it again for awhile.


>Penuche Cake


Penuche Cake, Brown Sugar Cake, Starlight cake; many different names for a very simple cake. Growing up this was the birthday cake all my cousins and I got on our birthdays from our Grandma. There are 12 of us so it makes sense that she would make a simple cake. This cake is like wine it gets better with aging. The not so sweet cake gets a sweet caramel taste after a few days of sitting. The Penuche frosting is simply a brown sugar frosting smeared quickly inside the cake and then poured on top of the cake quickly pushed around to perfection before the frosting hardens. The cake not being too sweet is perfect since the frosting is like eating a hunk of brown sugar fudge. This cake is great when you have little time, ingredients and money. Whenever I bite into a slice a swarm of memories take over my mind as the cake and frosting melt into a sweet harmony of flavor. Continue reading “>Penuche Cake”


>Sweetened condensed milk cake


I feel like I’m in the trenches. School has been insane, I haven’t gone to bed before 2:30am and haven’t woken up later then 7am. I’m running off of Starbucks and just pure motivation. I live in the library at school and my head feels like it’s about to explode. It didn’t help that I got two hideous colds in a row putting me on the nebulizer machine. With all of this going on I haven’t enjoyed the holidays or gotten to bake much at all. I found though tonight I had a little break, my finals are next week and I have all my study guides done and papers done so I figured I would bake something. I was organizing the pantry and I found that we had cans and cans of sweetened condensed milk, and that’s because every time I go to the store I buy some. I’m not sure why because I never use it. As I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs I found this recipe. I was so excited, I would get to use the milk and it was simple, and that’s what I need right now is simplicity. The cake is sweet and perfect with tea.
Sweetened condensed milk cake
adapted from Technicolor Kitchen
1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1 C all purpose flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
4 Tb. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350ºF; generously butter a (9in) ring cake pan or bundt pan.
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before unmolding.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.


>Turtle Cake

The month of October is filled with birthday’s in my family, so there are lots of gifts to get and lots of party’s to be attended, but also many cakes to be made. A few weeks ago was my fathers birthday and he loves chocolate and those turtle Candy’s so I knew this would be the perfect cake. I ended up making two for his birthday weekend because we had two separate parties and although it’s a large cake we really didn’t have much left over.

1 C heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
2 T. light corn syrup
1 pound soft caramel Candy’s(if you buy soft caramels go with Kraft I did experimenting and Kraft worked the best)
1/8 tsp. salt
3 (8 inch) chocolate cake rounds (the recipe i have only makes two rounds so you will have to make 1 1/2 of the recipe in the link.)
For the icing:In medium saucepan, cook 1/2 C heavy cream, chocolate, and corn syrup over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and refrigerate mixture overnight until set. Let sit at room temperature until softened and spreadable, about 1 hour.)
For the caramel:Finely chop 1 1/2 cups pecans. Heat caramels, remaining cream, and salt in saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until smooth. Reserve 3/4 C caramel mixture topping. Stir chopped pecans into the remaining caramel mixture.
To assemble: Place 1 cake layer on cake serving platter. Spread half of pecan-caramel mixture in even layer over top, leaving 1/2- inch border around edge. Place second layer on top and repeat with remaining caramel pecan mixture. Top with third cake layer. Spread chocolate icing over top and sides of cake and refrigerate until set about 30 minutes. Spread reserved caramel mixture over the top of cake, allowing caramel to drip over sides. Decorate with remaining pecans. Slice and serve!

cake · mousse and puddings

>Berry Parfaits

I’m Leaving this Thursday for New York! I won’t be back until the end of August. My mum is going to continue to update the blog each week. I most likely won’t be on the Internet all that much so don’t take it personally if I’m not reading or commenting on you blog, It’s just something that won’t be possible for the next few months. But there are plenty of tasty treats that will be posted on here weekly. Have a terrific Summer! These are terrific little cups of deliciousness to have out for 4Th of July. Just pound cake, fresh cream, and berries set up like a parfait.
Fresh cream:
1 1/2 C cream
1/2 C sugar
Whip together until stiff peaks form.
For cake use this poundcake recipe and instead of putting it in a bundt pan just put it in a 13 x 9 inch pan and when cooled cut into cubes. Then use whatever kind of Berry’s you would like. It makes about 2 dozen cups. Layer however you like.


>Buttermilk Pound cake w/ fresh berries and cream

This weekend I have spent lounging around on the beach in Santa Cruz, eating the best that Santa Cruz has to offer and reminiscing on the years I use to spend in that great town. Both my sisters attended UCSC, So I spent much of my vacations there mostly on the off season when the boardwalk was a ghost town, and the only people on the beach were the committed surfers that lived right around the bend. As you know this weekend is Memorial day weekend the unofficial start to summer and until this weekend it has been pouring here in Nor Cal. The trip to Santa Cruz was an unexpected one but turned out to be a great little trip. I didn’t expect this cake to be to great but it turned out great and full of flavor and moistness, the fresh cream and berries were the perfect touch.

Buttermilk Pound cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted room temperature butter, plus more for greasing the pan
3 1⁄2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan.
Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and drizzle in the sugar, creaming it well. Add the eggs one at a time, after the egg before it has been incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract, scraping down the sides. On low speed, add a third of the flour mixture until just combined. Then add a third of the buttermilk mixture until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk. Stir in the lemon juice.
Smooth the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick or thin knife comes out clean, about 75 minutes. The cake should be browned and the edges should be starting to pull away. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely.
Then for cream do about 1 C cream to 1/2 C of sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Use any kind of berries or other summer fruits you would like.


>Carrot Ginger Cake


For Christmas I got the Martha Stewart baking book because a teacher I had made up all the recipes for that book and in general I love everything Martha, I use to refer to her as my home girl in baking(I know I’m weird) anyways on Friday it was my mums birthday so I made this carrot cake for her and it turned out really great. It very rich though too so a little goes a long way.
Ginger Carrot Cake
Makes one 2 layer 8″ or 9″ cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup halved pecans, toasted
1 lb large carrots, peeled
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

Butter and flour two 8 or 9 inch pans and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Chop the pecans finely and grate the carrots, about 2 1/2 cups total. You can use a food processor when you’re in a hurry, but I find grating them by hand (using the smallest holes or a food processor) gives a lighter and definitely better texture.

Whisk the carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, taking care not to over-mix. Fold in the pecans.

Divide the batter into the two pans and bake about an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool 15 minutes in their pans on a rack, then gently turn out and cool to room temperature before leveling and frosting.

Ginger-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Frosts a 2 layer 8″ or 9″ cake

24 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
10 tbsp butter, room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp fresh, finely grated ginger
2 tbsp cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer until smooth, then add powdered sugar. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then add ginger and orange juice. Beat on medium speed until light, fluffy, and well combined.

Assembly: Unless your cakes are pretty flat or you’re going for a rustic look, use a serrated knife to level each cake. On each cake cut once in half to make two pieces.Spread 3/4 cup frosting between the layers and use the remaining frosting on all the sides and the top. Then frost the cake with a very slim amount of frosting to create a crumb coat and then put in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then put alot of frosting on top and with a off set spatula smooth it out by spinning cake but keeping spatula in place. Then I dyed some frosting lavender and piped it out.


>Frosted Pumpkin Cake Squares

My mum makes this cake every year right around this time. It’s right when the weather changes from hot octobers days to cool rainy ones. Today it’s been raining all day and it’s my day off it’s a day of baking for sure,this is a recipe to add to your fall desserts.
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch sqaure pan.
2.Prepare cake: In bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat sugar and eggs 2 minutes. Beat in Pumpkin and oil. At low speed, add flour, and cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; beat 1 minute.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
4. Prepare frosting: In bowl with mixer on low speed, beat confectioners’ sugar and remaining ingredients 2 minutes or until fluffy, frost cake.


>Caramel-Glazed Apple Cake

The other day my mum came to me requesting that I make her this cake. She had been flipping through the Costco Magazine and found it and since she can’t have chocolate she loves it when she finds a good dessert with out it. This cake is great, best served right out of the oven and perfect for the holidays coming. I made it again a few days later for my dads birthday because he requested it and usually likes chocolate so that says a lot for the cake.

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
5 baking apple cored,peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
2 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Caramel Glaze Ingredients:
4 Tbl butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 by 13 inch pan.
2. To prepare the cake beat both sugars and oil in a mixing bowl until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour,baking soda,Cinnamon,nutmeg, and salt; gradually add to egg mixture,mixing just until blended. Stir in apples,nuts, vanilla. Pour into pan.
3.Bake for 50 to 75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in pan while preparing the glaze.
4. To prepare the glaze put the butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir in both sugars and salt; cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add cream and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
5. Poke holes in the cake with skewer or toothpicks. Pour on the glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Makes 12 rather large servings.

cake · mousse and puddings


I have been wanting to make Tiramisu for so long, and I finally did it. This recipe comes from the Canyon Ranch cookbook which is a wonderful cookbook and the book gave me assurance that the recipe would turn out because its a famous health resort. I tweaked the recipe a bit to my liking so its not the exact recipe, but it turned out really good and creamy and with a punch from the coffee it truly was everything I dreamed it would be. I also made mine mini, using mini loaf pans but I said how to make it both ways.
2 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons white chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ tablespoon gelatin
1/3 cup mascarpone
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
½ cup brewed coffee
20 ladyfingers for one large loaf or 24 ladyfingers for four mini loaves
Dash of cocoa powder
1. In a double boiler, combine egg yolks, sugar, wine, white chocolate and vanilla. Mix well. Heat until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not let simmer. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine gelatin and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes to soften gelatin. Heat over low, stirring to dissolve. Cool and add to egg mixture.
3. In a small bowl, whip mascarpone cheese with and electric mixer and add to cooled egg mixture.
4. In a medium bowl, whip egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Increase speed and gradually add sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In another, small bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Do not over mix. Fold egg mixture into egg whites. Then gently fold in whipped cream.

5. Lay half the ladyfingers on bottom of a 8 ½” x 4 ½” x 2 ½” loaf pan or place 3 lady fingers on the bottom of four mini loaf pans. Brush with coffee. Spread half of the cream mixture over ladyfingers. Layer the rest of ladyfingers on top of cream mixture, and brush with coffee. Top with the remaining cream mixture. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.
6. Place in freezer for 2 hours to set. Then cut slices or take out mini loaves. Let sit for 10 minutes to soften and enjoy.