Over the past year, I have been trying to eat less meat and more plant-based proteins. I was never a big meat eater, so the transition was pretty easy. To me, the change has been beneficial, especially for my gut. I have a lot less indigestion and heartburn. Trying to cooperate these ingredients in recipes has been fun too. Tofu is my favourite, I mostly use it in savoury dishes or soups, but I can also make it into a simple and nutritious sweet treat, like this smoothie bowl ! You can use any berries and toppings of your choice. For a thicker smoothie, freeze some of the berries first. Look at the beautiful and vibrant colours ! It’s definitely a treat for your eyes and your tummy !
Makes one serving
150 g mixed berries (I used fresh raspberries, frozen blueberries and blackberries)
Sorry! I was one day late for my Mother’s Day post ! Well, but I think we can treat our moms (and myself) any time of the year, and we should ! It doesn’t have to be just Mother’s Day, right ? This cake is very simple, and the blueberries give it a stunning, beautiful color that you don’t need to do much decorations ! I added some freeze-dried blueberries. If you cannot find them, just add a little more puree to enhance the blueberry flavour. (Just a little otherwise the frosting may become watery). The cream cheese frosting is quite soft, so you should keep it in the fridge until serving. I use vanilla cake as I find it very versatile. You can pretty much pair it with any flavour, berries, citrus, caramel, chocolate,etc. Once you have a good recipe, you are set and good to go. You can also use this recipe to make cupcakes, just decrease your baking time to about 18-20 minutes.
I hope all moms had a good Mother’s Day yesterday ! I got a nice surprise from my daughter. She made me some Blueberry Chocolate Bark ! How sweet !
Makes one 6 inch cake
For the vanilla cake
300 g cake and pastry flour
6 g baking powder
3 g baking soda
2 g salt
180 g granulated sugar
180 mL buttermilk
120 mL milk
10 mL pure vanilla extract
100 g unsalted butter (melted)
100 mL vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Line the bottom of two 6 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, lightly oil and flour the sides
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale
Mix in milk, buttermilk, vanilla, butter and oil (it’s ok if batter is lumpy, the butter may just be solidifying)
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated.
Pour batter into the cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes
Cool completely before assembling
To keep the cake moist and evenly baked, you can bake them in a hot water bath. You can also use cake strips, which you soak in water for a few minutes, squeeze out excess, wrap it around the cake pans and bake.
For the frosting
270 g unsalted butter (soften)
225 g soft cream cheese
120 g icing sugar
45 g blueberry puree (store bought or homemade)
20 g freeze-dried blueberry powder (optional)
To make the puree, blend fresh or frozen blueberries (you may need more than 45 g of whole blueberries)
To make the blueberry powder, grind freeze-dried blueberries with food processor until fine
Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth
Sift in icing sugar, beat until light and smooth
Add blueberry puree and powder, mix well
Refrigerate until use
Trip top of cakes to flatten
Layer cakes with frosting in between
Coat side and top of cake with more frosting
Decorate as desired
Keep in fridge until ready to serve
You can get the cake strips through the Amazon website by clicking the link below. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item.
My friends often ask me how I come up with recipe ideas. Most of the time is seasonal, like using berries in the summer and pumpkin in the fall. Sometimes it’s just sort of random and use whatever I have at home. The other day, I was cleaning up my pantry, I found a bag of shredded coconut, some coconut oil and a few leftovers that I’ve only used once or twice ! Then I remembered I had some coconut milk in the fridge too ! (Wow…didn’t realize I love coconut so much…..) So, I came up with these very “coconuty” muffins ! I added some lemon juice and zest to add fresshness and balance the flavour, and I just love that golden crust on top ! So, if you have some extras lying around, don’t waste them ! Create your own recipes ! You may come up with something really delicious ! You never know !
Makes about 8-10
200 g all-purpose flour
3 g baking powder
3 g baking soda
pinch of salt
100 g granulated sugar
120 mL unsweetened coconut milk
80 mL buttermilk
60 mL coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
5 mL pure vanilla extract
30 mL lemon juice
Zest of a small lemon
30 g unsweetened shredded coconut + more to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, side aside
In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar and egg
Mix in coconut milk, buttermilk, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice
Add wet ingredients into dry ingredient, mix until just blended
Stir in lemon zest and shredded coconut
Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with lightly greased muffin cups, about 3/4 full
Compared to many parts of Canada, our winter in Vancouver has been very mild…..until 2 days ago ! A snow pile just dumped onto us in a matter of hours ! Seriously, I was still jogging in the morning at 9 am, it was cold, but no snow. Three hours later, everywhere was covered in white ! I guess it’s our turn to experience this cold snowy winter ! And what does a baker do when it snows ? Bake of course ! So I made these brownies and also had time to decorate a whole bunch of Valentine’s cookies ! The snow has made me more productive !
I like my chocolate desserts very chocolaty, and I mean VERY……And this brownie is not only chocolaty, but also soft, fudgy and chewy ! Who can say no to that ? Especially if you are making it for your Valentine’s ! Make sure you don’t overbake, in fact, a good brownie is often slightly underbaked. It’s best to serve them warm, reheat in the oven for a few minutes if you need.
Happy Valentine’s Day !
Makes about 10 – 12 brownies For the batter
180 g unsalted butter
180 g semi-sweet chocolate
40 g unsweetened cocoa powder
240 g granulated sugar
5 ml vanilla extract
135 g all-purpose flour
2 g baking powder
2 g salt
10-12 caramel candies
For the caramel sauce
Melt together 30 caramel candies (about 240 g) and 1/2 cup of whipping cream in a non-stick pot over low heat until well blended, stirring frequently
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
Melt butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, let cool for about 5 minutes
Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale
Mix in chocolate mixture
Add flour mixture and mix until blended, the batter can be quite thick
Spoon half the batter into lightly-greased silicone molds, place a caramel candy in the middle, cover with remaining batter and bake for about 20 minutes
Cool slightly, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm
Chinese New Year is just around the corner ! And this year is the Year of the Pig ! The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 years. My daughter was born in the Year of the Pig…..which means this little piggy is going to be 12 ! What ?! Where did the time go ?
My fondest memory of Chinese New Year is definitely the food ! Rice cake, turnip cake, dumplings…..and many more ! I used to eat these sticky rice balls every year when I visited my aunt. The Chinese name of this dessert is 糖不甩 (pronounced as “tong but lut”), which literally means “sugar doesn’t come off”. What an interesting but appropriate name ! These balls are soft, chewy, with some sweet and crunchy toppings……just bites of yumminess ! Most of the ingredients are easily accessible in Asian supermarkets. The Chinese brown sugar for the syrup usually comes in a pack of 5-6 sticks. If you cannot find it, regular brown sugar would work too but use a little less, I tried and found it sweeter than the Chinese kind.
I think it’s really important to pass on traditions to our kids, and doing so with food is the perfect way ! There are so many stories we can tell behind food that we grew up with. And I am so glad my kids enjoy these traditional treats as much as I do ! Wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Pig !
Makes about 10-12 balls
For the dough
150 g glutinous rice flour
150 mL warm water
For the syrup
85 g (one stick) Chinese brown sugar (片糖)
2 slices fresh ginger
250 mL water
For the toppings
50 g unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Toast peanuts and sesame seeds in a 350ºF oven for about 5 minutes, let cool, then crush into small pieces
Mix in coconut and sugar, set aside
Prepare syrup by boiling together 250 mL of water, ginger and brown sugar, reduce heat and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, set aside
Mix glutinous flour with 150 mL of warm water, gently knead until dough is formed (dough should be soft but not sticky to hands, adjust amount of flour and water if needed)