Tag Archives: baking

Vanilla Cake with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

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
  • 2 eggs
  • 180 mL buttermilk
  • 120 mL milk
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 100 g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 100 mL vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Line the bottom of two 6 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, lightly oil and flour the sides
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  4. Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale
  5. Mix in milk, buttermilk, vanilla, butter and oil (it’s ok if batter is lumpy, the butter may just be solidifying)
  6. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix until just cooperated.
  7. Pour batter into the cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes
  8. Cool completely  before assembling

Tips:

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)
  1. To make the puree, blend fresh or frozen blueberries (you may need more than 45 g of whole blueberries) 
  2. To make the blueberry powder, grind freeze-dried blueberries with food processor until fine
  3. Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth
  4. Sift in icing sugar, beat until light and smooth
  5. Add blueberry puree and powder, mix well
  6. Refrigerate until use

To assemble

  1.  Trip top of cakes to flatten
  2. Layer cakes with frosting in between
  3. Coat side and top of cake with more frosting
  4. Decorate as desired
  5. 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. 

 

Wilton Bake Even Cake Strips, 2 Pieces

Fruit Pizza (For Canada Day) 

​Summer is here and that means…..lots of berries ! I love to eat them fresh, but also like to use them to make pies, tarts, ice cream, etc…….Just thinking about it makes me soooo excited ! To start off my “berries season”, I made this simple fruit pizza ! It’s basically a giant cookie, top with cream cheese and fruits ! I picked strawberries and raspberries just in time to celebrate Canada Day, but you can also use blueberries, blackberries, even kiwi and banana. It is so easy to put together and I think it is a nice, refreshing dessert for your summer backyard BBQ. Have a Happy Canada Day !  

Makes about four 7″ pizzas

For the “pizza” dough

  • 170 g all-purpose flour 
  • 170 g cake and pastry 
  • 3 g baking soda 
  • 2 g salt
  • 120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 180 g granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • 30 mL lemon juice 
  • Zest of 1 small lemon 

For the toppings

  • 250 g soft cream cheese
  • 60 g icing sugar
  • Fruits of choice 
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda and salt, set aside 
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy 
  4. Add 1 egg, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest, mix until blended 
  5. Mix in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time until just cooperated (do not over mix)  
  6. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is formed (dough can be stored in fridge or freezer for later use)
  7. Roll out to about 0.5 cm in thickness 
  8. Cut into large circles using a plate or a cake ring (You can collect the dough scraps all together and re-roll, cover unused dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap)
  9. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper 
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool
  11. Beat together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth
  12. Just before serving, spread cream cheese on top of giant cookies, top with fresh fruits  

 

Homemade Pop Tarts

My daughter loves to read ever since she was very young, and she loves all kinds of books…novels, science, history, comics and even cook books ! So, a lot of times, our bedtime reading will include looking at recipes, sweet or savoury, and deciding what we should try. Pop tarts was one of them that’s on the top of our list. It’s easy, colourful, fun and of course, super yummy ! Personally, I like them without the sprinkles, but my daughter will definitely disagree. She had so much fun putting on the glaze and the sprinkles….yeah, might be just a little too much…..    

Makes about 6 tarts

For the crust

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 20 g granulated sugar
  • 2 g salt
  • 240 cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 ml milk
  • 5 ml pure vanilla extract

For the glaze 

  • 120 g icing sugar 
  • 30-45 ml milk

Other ingredients

  • Fruit jam of choice (I used raspberry)
  • 1 egg white for brushing
  • 30 g vanilla sugar or granulated sugar 
  • Sprinkles for decorating
  1. To make the glaze, mix together icing sugar and milk until smooth, set aside
  2. To make the crust, put flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl
  3. Rub in chilled butter with fingers until butter is pea-sized
  4. Mix in eggs, milk and vanilla
  5. Gently press dough together, do not knead
  6. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F
  8. Roll dough to about 0.5 cm in thickness. If dough was in the fridge overnight, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before rolling
  9. Cut into 8 cm x 12 cm rectangles (2 rectangles per tart)
  10. Place half of the rectangles on baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  11. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of fillings on top
  12. Brush sides with egg white and cover with the other half of rectangles
  13. Press sides gently to seal, then press down with a fork
  14. Make a few holes on top to vent
  15. Brush top with egg white and sprinkle with vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
  16. Bake for about 30 minutes
  17. Cool, then decorate with glaze and sprinkles

Coffee Cake Muffins 

The past month has been super busy! Kids were on spring break, we went for a mini vacation to Portland with my parents. I came back to start a new pharmacy job, meanwhile trying to prepare for 3 Spring markets….. I was basically working 14-16 hours a day! It was exhausting but I had so much fun doing the markets. I love to share my baking passion and people’s responses are very positive and encouraging. I also love meeting and talking to other artisan vendors. It makes me really appreciate the time and effort that they put into their art, whether it’s food related or not. So go visit your local artisan markets and I am sure you will discover some very amazing local vendors and their products.

This is a recipe I did a while ago. I usually try to have one or two “spare” recipes so I can keep posting when I am busy. It’s a very simple muffin recipe but the crumble makes them taste so good! It’s a perfect afternoon snack with a cup of coffee! And definitely need it on my 16 hour-day!

Makes about 12 

For the muffins

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 4 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 180 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 60 mL canola oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300 g sour cream
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract

For the crumble

  • 60 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60 g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. To make the crumble, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt
  3. Rub in cold butter with fingers until resemble wet sand, set aside
  4. To make the batter, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda
  5. Mix in sugar and salt
  6. Add eggs, vanilla, sour cream, melted butter and oil, stir until just blended
  7. Spoon half of the batter, then half of the crumble into lightly oiled and floured muffin tins
  8. Layer with the remaining halves
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes

Recipe adapted from Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins with Streusel Topping at www.justataste.com

Baked Nutella Churro Nests 

​We love churros ! Well, who doesn’t ? I have been hoping to make some for a long time. But personally, I cannot eat too much fried food. Not that they don’t taste good, my very sensitive stomach just can’t handle a lot of oil. I guess that’s both a good thing and a bad thing……

I remembered watching a video in which people make churro ice-cream bowls, what a great idea ! So I thought, since Easter is coming up, why don’t I bake some churro bowls and turn them into little nests ! I decorated mine with some feuilletine that I have, which is a crispy crumb mixture of crepes. You may be able to find them in some specialty kitchen store. I got mine from the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver. Or you can just use cookie crumbs, pretzel sticks, even some popcorns. With some chocolate eggs on top, they look exactly like little nests ! And I am sure the kids are going to love them ! Have a Happy Easter ! 

Makes about 8-10 nests 

For the nests (choux paste)

  • 200 mL water
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 g demerara or brown sugar
  • 120 g all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.5 mL pure vanilla extract

For the fillings

  • 7.5 g ground cinnamon
  • 45 g granulated sugar
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted
  • Nutella spread
  • Cookie crumbs, pretzel sticks or feuilletine
  • Easter chocolate eggs
  1. To make the cinnamon sugar, mix together ground cinnamon and granulated sugar, set aside 
  2. To prepare the choux paste, heat together water, butter, salt and demerara or brown sugar in a pot over medium heat until just starting to boil
  3. Turn heat down to low, add flour all at once
  4. Stirring constantly, cook until a thin film of paste formed at the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes
  5. Transfer paste to a heat-proofed mixing bowl and cool down
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375ºF and prepare piping bag with large star piping tip 
  7. Add vanilla, then eggs to paste, one at a time and mix well after each addition
  8. Transfer to piping bag and pipe into domes on back of oiled muffin tins
  9. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to brown, turn heat up to 450°F at broil setting and bake until top is golden (about 2 -3 minutes, watch closely, as they can burn very easily)
  10. Take puffs out, let cool
  11. Brush outside with melted butter then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
  12. Fill inside with about a tablespoon each of Nutella
  13. Decorate with crumbs and chocolate eggs, best to serve immediately 

Tools that I used

Wilton Decorating Tip 6B

 

DayMark IT112793 18″ PipingPal Plus Disposable Pastry Bag with Dispenser (Roll of 100)

You can get the piping tip and bags the Amazon website by clicking the above link. I will receive a small compensation if you purchase the item. 
 

Gingerbread Cookies

I have to apologize ! I haven’t been able to post for a month ! I have been busy…very busy. I participated in two Christmas Fairs selling my baked goodies….for the very first time ! 

It was a lot of work, more than I anticipated, but it was well worth it ! It was a very rewarding experience. I’ve received many positive comments, from the set up of my table to how yummy my cookies were. More important, I feel so blessed to have so much support from family and friends, especially my daughter ! I couldn’t do it without her ! 

Gingerbread cookie was one of the items I sold at the fairs. I had posted a recipe before, but over the years, I have made a few changes to make it better. So here is an updated version !

For the cookies

  • 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 180 g cake and pastry flour
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 6 g ground ginger
  • 3.5 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 120 g butter
  • 120 g brown sugar
  • 100 g molasses
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda, salt and spices, set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until light
  4. Add egg and molasses
  5. Add flour mixture in 2-3 parts, mixing after each addition until just blended
  6. Refrigerate dough for about 60 minutes for easy handling, you can also freeze it for later use
  7. Roll on a lightly floured surface to about 0.5 cm in thickness
  8. Cut with cookie cutters
  9. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for about 8 minutes.
  10. Cool completely before decorating

For the icing 

  • 45 g meringue powder
  • 500 g icing sugar, sifted 
  • 90 – 120 mL warm water
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 10 mL corn syrup
  • Gel food colouring
  1. Mix meringue powder with about 45 mL of water, let sit for a few minutes
  2. Stir in vanilla and corn syrup 
  3. Whisk into icing sugar using an electric mixer or a hand whisk
  4. Slowly add in more warm water until shiny and desired consistency (thicker for outlining and thinner for filling)
  5. Add food colouring

Gluten-Free Almond Thumbprint Cookies 

Halloween is over and Christmas is less than 2 months away ! Seriously ? Where did the time go ? And I am doing two Christmas Fairs in about 2 weeks ! This is my first time ever selling my cookies and baked goods ! I am super excited but nervous at the same time. How should I set up my table ? How much should I bake ? Am I going to have enough time ? Ahhhh……..My daughter told me the other day, “mom, don’t worry, just chill and do it and you will be fine ! ” OK, let’s take a deep breath and get organized, I can do this, I can do this ! Oh, and of course I can’t forget about my blog ! I wanted something that’s quick and easy…..How about thumbprint cookies ? Shortbread cookies filled with fruity jams, simple but absolutely delicious ! I made a gluten-free version this time by using ground almond. They are best to be consumed on the day you make it, so I would suggest making smaller batches. Although these cookies have less butter, they are still very rich and tasty ! Thanks to the high fat content of almonds. I totally need to eat a few of them to help me relax ! …..Wish me luck on my craft fairs ! And come visit me if you live around Richmond,B.C. ! 

Makes about 16 cookies

  • 90 g unsalted butter, soften 
  • 90 g icing sugar, plus more for dusting 
  • 240 g ground almond 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 5 mL pure vanilla extract 
  • Jam of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF
  2. Cream butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer or wooden spoon 
  3. Add vanilla, then ground almond and salt, mix until combined
  4. Roll into one inch balls, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart 
  5. Make an indentation with your thumb in the middle of each ball (It’s normal for the dough to be slightly cracked)
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes 
  7. The indentations will flatten, gently press the middle again with the end of a wooden spoon while they are still fairly hot and soft 
  8. Let cool, then spoon jam in the middle. (If the jam is too cold to spread, you can warm it up in a hot water bath)
  9. Dust with icing sugar