Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-8

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut

July 26, 2015


Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-8

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut

July 26, 2015 | 20 Comments

Something I really like about Asian bakeries is that their desserts are usually lightly sweetened and come less off as I can make this one at home, unlike their brightly colored and excessively sugar filled counterparts that fill the shelves normal bakeries. Among the racks full of plump rolls, flaky egg tarts, and other things, there are usually boxes full of thickly sliced, fluffy, Swiss rolls. It’s the slightest bit ironic.

The Asian style Swiss rolls tend to roll up cake a bit thicker and spread their filling a little thinner. I guess it’s a matter of preference. Either way, I think Swiss rolls would have to be one of my favorite cakes, passing layer cakes, cupcakes, and most other types of cakes. The thing is that they have a refreshing, fluffy and lightly sweetened whipped cream filling (and maybe fruit!) instead of >3 cups of frosting slathered on.

Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Collage2 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-5 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-9

Don’t get me wrong layer cakes are amazing and beautiful, but in my world, Swiss roll cakes pass layer cakes by a tenfold. Plus, I suck at frosting cakes and making it perfect and flawless Swiss rolls tend to be a lot less tedious than layer cakes. The only difficult part is that they like to crack and make the ‘roll’ not so roll-like.

Also, I have never understood why people say to roll the cake up, unroll it, and then fill it. It’ll crack when you roll it up and even if it doesn’t, it will inevitably crack when you unroll it and then roll it back up. Nooooooo I do not have it in me to deal with such stress.

My suspicion has been that the recipes I used didn’t create moist cakes. These cakes are usually made from sponge cake like batter (because eggs = elasticity), but they can’t do it all alone. The moistness from the water would quickly evaporate because these are cooked with such a high surface area. As a result, oil should be used to make this cake super moist and bendable. It’s always scared me to develop a sponge like cake recipe though because beaten egg whites just seem so so fragile. I shouldn’t have been so worried.

This recipe is roughly adapted from here. Her method of making the cake was certainly surprising, intrepidly whisking the egg yolks into the beaten egg whites and then whisking in some more flour and finally folding in the oil. But her recipe + method works so so well that I couldn’t help to be amazed. I’ve converted it into cups, tbsp, and tsp (because cake isn’t an exact science…) and changed a few things and now it’s even better 😀

I mean, this recipe requires no rolling of the cake before spreading on the fillings, and it will not crack!!! If you folded it back and forth like it was a piece of paper it would probably still not break! Even though I made my cake thinner (because I didn’t have quite the size of baking pan she had), it’s still absolutely fantastic.

Okay anyhow, so I just waxed poetic about Swiss roll cakes for most of this post, but where’s the part when I actually get on subject??? Well, I’ve actually been quite on subject for most of this since vertical cakes are made kinda like swiss roll cakes except you orient them like a layer cake, with the circular part on the bottom and you frost it.

Ugggg frosting. Yeah you have to frost it. And since my apparent dislike for frosting is apparent, and my ability for frosting cakes is limited, I spread on a very very very very very thin layer of frosting, only enough to get the coconut to stick. Oh yeah and I rolled it in coconut to cover up my frosting mistakes which is actually one of the most genius ideas ever and I really should do it more often.

Oh I also suck at cutting cakes so… There’s another reason…

Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-7Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-2 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Collage

So this cake? Its minimalist decorations do not give away the ultimate surprise on the inside. A freaking beautiful cake that’s striped instead of stacked, it is soft with bright hints of lemon and a creamy, fluffy inside with lightly sweetened whipped cream and thinly sliced strawberries. The frosting adds a superb sweetness with little bits of salt to contrast the rest of the cake and the coconut brings everything together delightfully. 😀


-You can make this into a full sized cake by doubling the recipe and rolling all 4 slices together.
-Coconut whipped cream also works well in place of the whipped cream. Recipe here.

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut
For the cake
5 eggs separated
1/3 cup sugar
Zest from one lemon
1/3 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup oil
For the filling
3/4 cups cream
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries
For the frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
shredded coconut, as needed

Preheat the oven to 390 F and line + grease a large baking pan (mine was around 13-16").

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Add in the lemon zest along with one egg yolk. Whisk until combined. Add in the rest of the egg yolks, one by one, whisking to combine after each addition.

Sift and whisk the flour and salt in three batches. Fold in the oil.

Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fluffy and golden.

Let it cool. Meanwhile, breat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Adjust the consistency by adding in a tablespoon or two of milk.

Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form.

Take the cooled cake and trim off the edges. Cut it in half long ways (or as my elementary teacher would say, "hot dog style" :D). Place the sliced strawberries on both of the strips of cake and spread on the whipped cream.

Starting from the short side, roll one of the strips into a log and then place it on the short side of the other strip. Roll it up to form a cake.

Place it on a surface so that one of the circular sides is on the bottom. Frost the cake thinly and press on the coconut.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Apple Nectarine Popsicles

July 19, 2015 | 6 Comments

I am one of those people that believe peaches and nectarines should be kept strictly separate. I’ve always considered the nectarine to be an abomination to its fuzzy, juicy cousin even though the only difference is a mutation of the fuzzy gene. 😀

So why are these made with nectarines? Simple. We only had nectarines in the house and I can’t drive yet. Plus, it’s sooooo hot outside so I’m staying inside like a hermit.




Pro tip: apples + nectarines do not make a pleasant color -as you can probably tell from these pictures. Oh and also hot days are not ideal for photographing things that melllltttttt.


Anyways, these popsicles taste like apple and nectarines (duh) but are also laced with cinnamon which makes it taste like autumn in july (although, I did see some christmas decorations at Hobby Lobby the other day so maybe I’m not actually that out of season :D). Oh these are also so very refreshing and since they’re mostly composed of fruit, I can eat all of them right?


// You can use peaches or nectarines.
// It’s not necessary to strain the pureed fruit, but I did it for the sake of photography reasons. It does result in a smoother popsicle though 😀
// If your apple wasn’t hugggeee, I suggest you use two. Mine was nearly the size of a personal watermelon (an exaggeration, but you get the idea). I think it received too much fertilizer.

Apple Nectarine Popsicles
4 nectarines, cored
1 big apple, cored
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup

Put the nectarines, apple, and lemon juice into a food processor or blender and blend until no big chunks are left. Strain through a cheesecloth if desired.

Mix in the condensed milk, cinnamon, and maple syrup and taste. If it's too sour, add in a tablespoon or two more of either condensed milk or maple syrup.

Pour into 4 popsicle molds.

Freeze until solid.


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Cinnamon Roll Bostock {vegan, gluten free}

July 12, 2015 | 16 Comments

Okay I’m losing track of the days -too normal during the summer because no school!!!

This recipe is basically a twist from the ole almond croissant. So why bostock? I have absolutely no idea… But apparently, it’s a thing. And for a food item to be named bostock and for people to still try it, it has to be pretty good right?

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So let me tell ya, this is goood. It’s got a freaking cinnamon roll for goodness sakes! I used a swedish cinnamon bun so when you slice it open, it’s so swirlyyyyy. Then you squeeze on some orange juice because you’re too lazy to make a syrup, stack on a smooth almondy cream, and sprinkle on almonds and sugar. Oh gawhd…

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All this results in a cinnamony bun with almond and orange flavorings. Heck yeah it’s better than doing it with a buttery croissant!

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-Make sure you use ingredients that follow your dietary restrictions (aka don’t yell at me because I said it was gluten free even though not all cinnamon rolls are gluten free -you can use a gluten free cinnamon roll!)

Cinnamon Roll Bostock {vegan, gluten free}
2 cinnamon rolls, sliced in half
juice from half an orange
1 tbsp milk (cow's, almond, rice, etc.)
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
pinch of salt
sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Spread the orange juice on top of the cinnamon rolls.

Mix the milk, almond butter, sugar, coconut oil, and the pinch of salt together until smooth.

Spread it on top of the cinnamon rolls and sprinkle on the sliced almonds and sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the almonds are golden.


horchata bubble tea-21

Horchata Bubble Tea with Ginger Infused Bubbles!!!!

July 5, 2015 | 16 Comments

Bubble tea horchata? Horchata with bubbles??? I really have no idea what to name this drink. I mean it’s horchata with bubbles from bubble tea but there’s no tea in this! And horchata bubble drink just makes it sound like some artificial mysterious liquid. 😐

Either way in my opinion makes this humble drink sound so exotic! Horchata is a mexican drink that’s perfect for summer because you can stuff it with ice cubes and it’ll still be so so delicious. It’s made with rice (and sometimes almonds) to create a frothy, cold, creamy drink which is so easy it’s unbelievable. I mean, come on I’m 15 and I made it in about 15 minutes (not counting the resting period but counting the clean up time {cause I’m a crazy teenager who takes forever to clean up so you can assume that 90% of the time was taken up by washing dishes})

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Anywho, I don’t know what’s so deliciously intriguing about the chewy tapioca bubbles, but they’re seriously the bomb dot com. If you haven’t tried it because chewing on stuff while drinking on a drink doesn’t sound pleasant, get over it and try something new!!!! Since they’re relatively tasteless, I made a syrup with brown sugar and GINNNGGERRR because cinnamon + ginger just seem to go together (fyi there’s cinnamon in horchata). 😀 😀 😀

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So yeah, go make this NOW!!! It’s summer so if you’re like me, you’re sitting at home just waiting for the perfect excuse to go make something in the kitchen. If you’re not, this drink is creamy, refreshing and CINNAMONY + GINGERY it’s so very refreshing on a hot summer day (but if it’s cold where you live right now, i’m soooo sorry). :(

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P.S. How to make ice cubes without an ice cube tray

If you don’t have an ice cube tray nor do you have a refrigerator that makes ice, you can make ice by filling a mini muffin tin with water and sticking it in the refrigerator!

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-Bubbles are available at pretty much any Asian supermarket, sold under the name ‘boba.’ I really don’t know the difference between bubble and boba :/
-Alternatively, you can use the directions on the package for the boba since there are so many different kinds with different cooking times (i’m talking about the 5 min ones and the reg ones).
-Instead of using boiling water for the rice and letting it rest for 2 hours, you can use room temp water and let the rice soak overnight.
-You can add tea to this since it’s basically sweetened rice milk with cinnamon.

Horchata Bubble Tea with Ginger Infused Bubbles!!!!
For the bubbles
1/2 cup uncooked boba
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
3 coins of ginger
For the horchata
1/3 cup rice
boiling water
2 cups water
1/4-1/2 cup condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Boil an inch or two of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour the uncooked boba into the boiling water. Stir and let boil for 10-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Add water as needed. The boba is ready when they're black and when eaten, either have a tiny, tiny hard uncooked dot in the middle, or are completely cooked through (aka not hard anywhere when chewed). Let sit in the hot water for 20 minutes. Drain the cooked boba and put it in a bowl.

Boil the brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, and ginger together until the sugar is fully dissolved. Pour over the boba and add enough water to just reach the top of the bubbles.

For the horchata, pour the rice into a small bowl and add in some boiling water -enough to cover the rice by 2 inches at least. Let the mixture rest for 2 hours.

Line a bowl with some cheese cloth.

Drain the rice and place it in a food processor or blender. Add in the water, 1/4 cup condensed milk, and cinnamon. Pulse until the mixture is grainy -for about 2-3 minutes. Pour over the cheese cloth, gather up the edges of the cloth and squeeze out the liquid. Chill in the refrigerator.

To assemble, put some bubbles in a glass, add some ice and pour over the chilled horchata! I also like to top with some cinnamon, but that's completely optional.



How to make meringues + Eton Mess with Balsamic Strawberries and Blueberries {gluten free}

June 28, 2015 | 22 Comments

Okay, so I decided to make something festive for like the second time, and it turned out to be a 4th of July eton mess. Get the irony? Or is it patriotically unacceptable to have a British dessert on a day in which we declared independence from Britain?

I mean, you don’t have to mention it’s a British dessert. It can just be the most delicious, decadent and fluffy dessert ever. How can it not be? This ridiculously easy and refreshing dessert is composed of meringues, whipped cream, and FRUIT!!!! Specifically, balsamic strawberries and blueberries. If you’re sticking your nose in the air right now, thinking vinegar + strawberries??? that has to be the most disgusting combo ever!, you stand corrected. Trust.



Anywho, meringues are the best things ever. Like really. My perfect one is always going to be crispy all over, but sometimes, it might be slightly chewy in the middle (for that liittttttlllee change in texture, ya know?). Oh and it has to be white. A bit tinted to hit that they were cooked, maybe. But never NEVER in the whole wide world will they be YELLOW or BROWN. No no NO!!!!

Oh and they have to be smooth too. As in the meringue when piped out, should be perfectly smooth and creamy. It should not look curdled. 😐

Meringue Process



Okay, so back to the eton mess. Since they’re made of three components that don’t exactly have to be mixed together for this fail-proof recipe to work, I took this opportunity and LAYERED everything. Yaaaassssss. No regrets.




What could be better on a hot summer day? Even if you don’t make this for the 4th of July, it’s absolutely wonderful anytime! The whipped cream is lightly sweetened and dotted with sweet, crunchy meringues, juicy strawberries, and plump blueberries. The strawberries macerated in the balsamic vinegar really develops more flavor and it doesn’t taste like you put in vinegar at all! I dunno what happens, but the flavor kinda mellows and it’s absolutely the best thang ever. So go! Try it!




-The meringues get soggy after being left out in a humid environment. As a result, they’re best eaten shortly after/day of and keep them in a dry location (I always keep mine in the oven). If they do become sticky and weepy, stick them back in the oven, turn on the heat for the lowest it’ll go and keep it in there for 5 – 15 minutes.
-Any fruit works just fine. I did blueberries + strawberries because it’s what is in season (plus 4th of July!).
-I didn’t put the blueberries in the balsamic vinegar -they were added when layering. You can, however, add in the blueberries with the strawberries to macerate.
-You don’t have to stick the fruit in balsamic vinegar if you don’t want to.
-This is best assembled up to an hour before, or else the meringues get soggy and it kinda beats the purpose of meringues.

4th of July Eton Mess with Balsamic Strawberries and Blueberries

4th of July Eton Mess with Balsamic Strawberries and Blueberries

1 ¾ cups strawberries
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup blueberries
3 egg whites
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
Whipped Cream
1 cup whipped cream
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar

For the balsamic strawberries (and blueberries), mix all the ingredients together and let it sit for at least 4 hours at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 200 F.

Whip the egg whites. When they become foamy, slowly pour in the granulated sugar while continuously whipping them. Keep whipping until stiff peaks form. Fold in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated. The egg whites should still be pretty stiff.

Pipe rounds onto a parchment sheet.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes without taking them out of the oven.

For the whipped cream, whip all the ingredients for the whipped cream together until soft peaks form.

To assemble, roughly crush some of the meringues into a serving glass and drop in some whole ones also. Add a layer of whipped cream, then the fruit. Repeat until the glass is full. Top with some crushed meringues.


Black Forest Doughnuts-3

Black Forest {gateau} Doughnuts + How to Pit Cherries!

June 21, 2015 | 42 Comments

Hey friends!!!

Is summer supposed to be a blur? ‘Cause nearly half of it is already and I can hardly believe it. I still have this whole list of stuff to do but then again, I only expected to get 10% of it done anyhow… :/

Okay, so I’ve been working on this doughnut recipe for the past few days. Ya’ll know how crazy against frying I am. I mean, I will probs do anything to the dough before frying it. I’m a baker (aka I use the oven), and the stove scares me like nothing else. Don’t even talk about the crazy hot oil that completely goes NUTS if so much as a droplet of water gets in.

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But guys! I slayed that fear and fried these doughnuts. I could’ve easily just baked some cake doughnuts (after all, these are supposed to be based off of a black forest cake), but I wanted them to be doughnuts, not just a single layer of cake with a hole in the middle.

And then I spent half a day deciding whether to make a regular dough or a chocolate dough for these doughnuts. I decided on chocolate (as you can probs see by the pics), which was absolutely amazing. It’s substantial yet extremely fluffy and slightly bitter (from the cocoa powder) yet sweet enough (espesh with the glaze). Since this is inspired by black forest cakes, I made a whipped cream filling and folded in a cherries cooked in red wine instead of kirsch because I didn’t feel like asking my parents to buy alcohol. :/

Black Forest Doughnuts

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Black Forest Doughnut

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OH the cherry mixture could have easily been replaced by maraschino cherries, but I happen to absolutely despise their bright red color and sickeningly artificial flavoring. They DO NOT taste like real cherries… ug… Rant over.

These doughnuts turned out to be fluffy and chocolaty, with the perfect ratio of slightly bitter to sweet. The whipped cream melts in your mouth with the amazing flavor of cherries (I think you can probs still taste the red wine, but idk… never tasted red wine, because I’m 15 :/) The glaze + chocolate shavings give it a little crunch to add to all that fluffiness.

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Black Forest Doughnut-5

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-Don’t be scared by the lonnnngggggg recipe. It’s really easy and comes together reasonably quickly (as compared to a 3 layer cake).
-If you just want an yeasted chocolate doughnut, without the glaze and all that tasty stuff, I would suggest adding another 2 tbsp of sugar to the dough, just to make it sweeter.
-Everything but the whipped cream can be assembled ahead of time. In fact, the cherries actually taste better after being marinated for a day or two.

Black Forest {cake/gateau} Doughnuts + How to Pit Cherries!
Chocolate Doughnut Dough
1/2 c milk
1 tbsp yeast
½ c bread flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ c flour
1/3 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter. softened
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp baking soda
Doughnut Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
pinch of salt
Red Wine Cherries
1 cup cherries
3 tbsp red wine
Juice from 6 key limes (1-2 reg lime)
¼ cup sugar
Whipped Cream
1 cup cream
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate Ganache
1/2 c chocolate
1/4 cup hot cream
To Top
chocolate shavings
whole cherries {from the cherry red wine mixture, if desired}
For the Components

For the dough, combine the milk, yeast and 1/2 cup of bread flour in a large bowl. Let rest for 30 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients for the dough. Mix and knead until you get a smooth dough. Let rise for 1 hour. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to be a thickness of 1/2 - 1/4 inch and cut out ~3 inch circles. I used a mason jar lid. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Heat some oil in a saucepan over medium heat. There should be at least 1.5 inch of oil in the pan. When a chopstick stuck in the oil causes bubbles to go up, the oil is hot enough. Turn the heat down to medium low and drop in the risen rounds of dough. Fry for 2-3 minutes on the first side and then 1-2 minutes on the second. Place on a plate with paper towels and let cool.

For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar with the salt and add in the milk one tablespoon at a time until the glaze is thick and liquidy.

For the cherries in red wine, pit the cherries for the red wine cherries. Here's how you pit cherries.

With a pastry tip:

With a knife:

Combine the pitted cherries, wine, lime juice, and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid in the pan thickens slightly. Let cool.

For the whipped cream, whip the cream ingredients until the mixture forms soft peaks.

For the chocolate ganache, combine the chocolate and cream. Wait for 1 minute and mix until smooth. Let cool until to a spreadable consistency.

To Assemble

Dip the doughnuts into the glaze mixture. Let dry.

Meanwhile, combine the whipped cream and the cherry mixture. Stuff it into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.

Fill the doughnuts with the mixture in the pastry bag.

Spread on a layer of chocolate ganache. Sprinkle on chocolate shavings. Top with a dollop of the whipped cream mixture and a cherry.


mango raspberry ice cream-15

No Churn Mango Raspberry Frozen Yogurt with Honeycomb

June 14, 2015 | 30 Comments

Back when I still went outside and homework + the internet hadn’t stolen half of my life, the summer was for running around with friends in the playground with hair stuck to our faces. This one friend’s grandma (who was AWESOME btws), would always take me with them to a large zoo area with playgrounds and we would spend the day sliding down burning hot slides. Oh and we went to the zoo. But mostly the playground.

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mango raspberry ice cream

And this playground, let me tell ya. It was like a kid’s heaven. I mean, there were slides, those turny thingys, climbable ropey walls, ohhhh and did I mention slides? Of course, in the heat of the summer (we’re talking 95-100 F guys), everything was burning hot. I don’t know how we survived but somehow, we NEVER noticed the sun.

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Neither did most of the other kids apparently, since the playground was FULL of us, climbing and running like ants in an anthill. Of course, an ice cream truck always came around, singing a catchy tune and luring us to get ice cream. Those summer days were full of running and sticky faces.

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There was this type of ice cream called “superman” (i think it still exists), that was basically vanilla with lots of bright colors that would turn our mouths blue. Of course, every time at least one of us couldn’t resist the temptation of getting something so bright that we absolutely had to get it one more time.

Although this ice cream is quite a bit healthier (i mean, it contains no cream!), but it’s just as bright (naturally!) and refreshing. A huge plus is that it also has flavors that make it absolutely amazing. I mean, mango? raspberry? and HONEYCOMB CANDY???? Um, I will take ALL of that thx so much!

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Oh and if you skip the candy or just buy a few bars of candy, you don’t even have to turn on the stove in this heat! It’s freaking simple, throw everything into a bowl, mix and freeze. Oh did I mention it’s no churn? And contains yogurt? 😀

mango froyo


-You can use already made honeycomb candy. I think this recipe makes about 1 cup of candy. You don’t have to use all of it if you don’t want to. However, I don’t suggest making it in a batch smaller than the size stated since the sugar will burn more easily. The candy is great for snacking so I wouldn’t worry about making too much!
-I mixed in whole strawberries, but you can also mash those and swirl it in.
-If you use full fat greek yogurt, it’ll be more creamy. Ditto for the condensed milk.
-Honeycomb recipe adapted from here.
-No churn froyo idea from here.

No Churn Mango Raspberry Frozen Yogurt with Honeycomb
For the honeycomb candy
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp water
3/4 tsp baking soda
For the ice cream
3 large mangoes
Juice from 3 key limes (1 reg lime)
3/4 cup condensed milk
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup raspberries

To make the honeycomb candy, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and combine the maple syrup, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the baking soda when the mixture reaches 300 F or until a little bit of the liquid dropped into cold water forms a hard ball.

Mix in the baking soda and then quickly pour it onto the prepared pan. Quickly sprinkle with salt :D and let it cool. Break into small pieces.

Cut the meat out of the 3 mangoes and blend/smash them into a pulp (I used a food processor).

Add in the lime juice, condensed milk and the raspberries. Fold in the broken honeycomb candy.

Mix well and pour into a container to freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.


Blueberry muffins

The Best Blueberry Muffins

June 7, 2015 | 40 Comments

The urge of coding always comes once I get out of school. I think it’s the freedom. The freedom of code writing, the freedom of commanding, the freedom of how the resulting website looks. I don’t have to follow anyone else’s styling; I can choose how I wish to do my own. I can make it my own.

By the time I have time to do this, ideas are floating in my head to no end, just waiting to be written into code. And the code —just waiting to become a template.

And for that reason, I have never used a premade template since I experienced the beautifulness of selfhosting (of course, there are times one can do it without selfhosting…).

How to make blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins with recipe

I am extremely giddy and happy with this template, it’s the best looking one (in my opinion) that I’ve made so far! Surprisingly, it is also the one I did in the least amount of time. I guess you start climbing the rope after doing it two other times! Although, I am still trying to improve and fix some errors here and there so please bear with me!

I love blueberries with a passion and these muffins do them justice. So many I’ve tried are bland and dry, making me wish for a handful of dewy berries instead. I mean, a muffin verses fruit? I’ll take the fruuuiiitt 9 times out of 10. You’ve better got some pretty enticing muffins for me to chose it over the fruit.


Blueberry muffins recipe

But these? They’re exquisite! The pretty blue and purple berries pop and spill with every mouthful, some syrupy sweet and others pluckery and sour. And then the muffin itself is soft, moist, and so flavorful due to the soft hints of sage! There’s not enough to be overwhelming –but the little bit that’s in there makes this an extraordinary muffin. Oh and the sugar that coats the blueberries floats to the top of the batter, creating a little crust on top that’s absolutely tempting.



Ohhh one more thing before I let you get to the recipe. If you didn’t catch it on the new header, I also finally broke down and got some social media accounts. So now you can follow me on:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


-Sage may seem kinda odd, but I promise, it makes these muffins special!
-The strange order of adding ingredients keeps the gluten from developing too much (which would result in a tough muffin). As a result, these are soft and tender!

The Best Blueberry Muffins
¼ cup butter
5 sage leaves, roughly cut and bruised
1/2 cup milk
half of a lemon
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup oil
2 eggs
¾ cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup white sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Melt the butter with the sage in a saucepan until nutty and brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

Juice the lemon and pour its juice into the milk. Set aside.

Strain the butter mixture and push out as much of the butter as possible without getting bits of sage in the mixture. To the butter, add in the oil.

Mix the brown sugar into the oil and butter mixture, then add the premixed dry ingredients. It will be floury and kinda like pie crust dough without the water. Crack in the two eggs and mix until nearly combined. Add in the milk and mix.

In a separate bow,, combine the blueberries, white sugar, and vanilla. Add it to the batter.

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake for another 10 minutes.



Mini Matcha Meringue Layer Cake with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream {gluten free}

May 10, 2015 | 21 Comments

You know that season that’s supposed to be warm and breezy outside (aka my fav season evar –spring)? Yep, it doesn’t exist where I live. Somehow, we skipped it and it became summer again. Summer and tennis season hasn’t ended (aka everyone dies in the heat –>figuratively even though we say it so many times, you’d expect us all to have passed out already) and we’re doing conditioning in the HOTTEST OF ALL WEATHERS.



Don’t get me wrong. I love this time of year, when everyone’s talking about what they’re going to do over summer vacation (learning more computer programming/redesigning & reprogramming a website anyone? only me? okay…) and counting down to the days left until school’s over (but finals come before…).


Even though it’s so miserable outside, plants are loving it! My strawberries are going nuts; each plant must have round 5-10 strawberries and I have a sizable patch of them. I was too impatient to wait for all of them to ripen so I bought some from the store and used them to make this super light meringue layer cake!


How can you not want to eat this cake? Firstly, it’s MINI = CUTE!!!! And then its layers are made out of MERINGUE –> NO FAT… oh and MATCHA!!! It tastes like a cup of tea except so much better. Oh and then there’s the STRAWBERRIES in COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM. Yes, you read me right —> coconut whipped cream with strawberries. Does it get better? I think not (not I don’t think, but I don’t think… gahh you know what I mean).


-Coconut cream isn’t an exotic ingredient. Usually, you can buy regular canned coconut milk and stick it into the refrigerator for 24 hours. Open and spoon out the solid stuff.
-If you don’t like matcha/don’t have it, you can leave that and the boiling water out and assemble everything else. However, I would suggest making a chocolate ganache (mix 1:1 hot milk/cream:chocolate by weight) and adding that before the coconut whipped cream in assembly to make the cake a bit more interesting.
-Meringue cake inspired from Top with Cinnamon.

Mini Matcha Meringue Layer Cake with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream {gluten free}
For the layers
1 tsp matcha
2 tsp boiling water
3 egg whites
1/2 cup superfine sugar (or powdered sugar)
For the coconut whipped cream
1/2 cup coconut cream (chilled so it's solid)
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
To assemble/decorate
strawberries -diced + others sliced in half
toasted coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 225 F.

In a small bowl, mix the matcha and the boiling water together until no lumps remain. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Slowly add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Spoon in the matcha mixture and whisk until evenly distributed.

Pipe 3.5 inch rounds on a parchment sheet and bake for about an hour, or until dried and crunchy.

For the coconut whipped cream, mix the cream and powdered sugar together. Beat until soft peaks form. Mix in the vanilla.

To assemble, put a meringue disk on the bottom, spoon on about 2-3 tbsp coconut whipped cream and top with diced strawberries and coconut flakes. Repeat putting on the meringue, coconut whipped cream and toppings until all the disks are used up. On the top disk, dollop on some whipped cream and add the coconut flakes, then scatter on the strawberries that are cut in half.

Serve immediately eton mess style or freeze it to cut the cake more cleanly.

We’ll end with a few pics I took on a walk.




Nut-free Sesame and Matcha Macarons

May 3, 2015 | 22 Comments

It’s no secret that I love combining asian flavors into more traditional desserts. I mean what else do you expect from an average Asian teenager living in America? Chocolate chip cookies? Nah…

However, I’m surprised that these macarons worked out as well as they did. I’ve experienced a million failures with a bunch of different recipes but I think I’ve finally found one that works!



It’s from here, via Linda’s beautiful blog, Call me Cupcake, and it’s the most simple recipe that I’ve used! The recipe is basically 1 part egg whites, 2 parts powdered sugar, and 1 part almonds. Can it get simpler? I think not.


I wonder though, what is the definition of a macaron? Can I say I made macarons even though I accidentally only used powdered sugar and egg whites? Technically, I made a bunch of really sweet meringues but they still had feet so…

So, yes, I made macarons with two ingredients… it’s the result of being absentminded; I’m blaming it on the lack of sleep. 6 hours every night does not suffice even though my brain’s gotten used to it and now I can’t sleep more than 6 hours.



Anywho, back to the macarons. They taste exactly like Chinese tang yuan (which basically translates to soup rounds), but don’t be scared away because of the name. It’s a chewy rice ball that flows out sesame sesame lava…
Oh and the matcha buttercream??? Hahahaaaaa… Try keeping your finger out (or don’t, you know… it’s your choice).
Hey dear sir, tea with your macarons? NAH there’s tea in my macaron… (But to be totally honest, I totally drank tea with this)

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