Growing up, we never had Easter baskets filled with money and candy. And my mom never coordinated Easter egg hunts. I think Latino humans don’t do that; mainly because Easter is super serious business. There’s no time for mascots and games. He has risen! You know?
Instead we’d have lots of cooking and family over and we’d always, always go to mass. It was the most crowded long mass of the entire year and usually I was dreaming about the free donuts that they’d hand out in the parking lot.
And when we’d get home, I’d happily change out of my often-times-dressy outfit and put on shorts and a t-shirt and start eating. It was always the best day ever and I’m sort of excited about maybe having a bit of an Easter brunch next weekend. We shall see if I can get it together…
Making this cake felt like climbing Mt. Everest. It was bit of a beast to develop but I’m so glad I did because I LOVE IT!
There is no one that loves Neapolitan anything more than me. I think it started with Breyers ice cream when I was a kid. My dad was an avid ice cream buyer/eater and we always had it in the freezer. Strawberry ice cream was also so heavy in the rotation but I loved chocolate so often times that I’d mix chocolate cream with a scoop of strawberry ice cream. Seriously the best idea evrrrr.
I recently started to think about Neapolitan and wondered: “Why don’t we make Neapolitan with other flavors?!?!”
This is a Mexican Neapolitan. The flavors are slightly different and use Mexican ingredients.
The pink layer (usually strawberry) is agua de jamaica (hibiscus). If you’ve ever gone to a Mexican restaurant, you most likely saw or had the agua de jamaica, which is made with hibiscus leaves.
Hibiscus leaves are tart! To make this layer more tart and make sure the flavor comes through, I added a bit of lime zest and juice to the mixture. We use the agua de jamaica in both the cake itself and the frosting.
I did add some food coloring to the cake because when it’s baked, it turns an ugly horrible purple so I counteracted that by using hot pink food coloring and red. (If you don’t have hot pink, you can use just red and it’ll look pretty!)
The chocolate layer is Mexican chocolate. There’s cloves, cinnamon, cayenne and allspice. It’s really flavorful and super rich and chocolate-y.
The last layer is Mexican vanilla. Of course, you don’t HAVE to use Mexican vanilla but I used a good amount of it to really make sure the flavor was very present.
I have finished The Crown (I am a professional binge-watcher) and I LOVED IT. I love history and fell right into the series because of Wallis Simpson. I watched a documentary on her a few years ago so I felt like I already knew a small piece of the puzzle. I will admit that it was rather slow in the beginning but if you stick with it, it’s fascinating.
Now I’ve moved onto ABSTRACT. It’s like chef’s table but for artists and I’m so very into it because I find the process of any and all artists so interesting. I even love finding out how my food blog friends work. Like, oh you use fake light?! COOL! You get your surfaces and props from where? Interesting. I love the behind-the-scenes; I find it so very interesting.
I’m gonna be honest: these lil’ cakes look so neat and tidy but decorating them blew up my kitchen. I had five piping bags and somehow forgot to put twisty-ties on the end and frosting was gushing out the other end. I had like a pile of towels all filled with chocolate frosting and my hair was a hot mess. VERY grateful I was home alone because Amelia passes no judgement!
But when I finally came up for air and dug myself out of the mess, I loved how these little cakes turned out.
The yellow cake is delicious and rich. And the frosting is my absolute new-favorite.
Every family has Christmas traditions. I love hearing about other families’ traditions because they vary so much.
The one tradition my mom always kept alive and well was Peruvian-style homemade hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. In Peru, homemade hot chocolate is cooked over the stove, with Peruvian chocolate chopped into tiny bits and then mixed into milk with cinnamon and cloves; it’s rich and delicious.
Traditionally it’s had right before everyone heads to midnight mass. When we were teeny-tiny, the hot chocolate would come right before bed since at that time we believed that Santa would come down our non-existent chimney and bring us gifts. My dad would tell us he’d sneak in through a window which sort of scared me but whatever.
It was the one time a year when we had dairy because my parents jumped on the non-dairy train so early. We were one of those houses with rice and almond milk only.
This is a mash-up of another dessert my mom LOVED to make; it’s not Peruvian, though they do make it all over South America. Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert that is SO good. It’s a lot like creme brûlée with the big difference being that it’s not baked—it’s simply cooked over the stove-top then chilled in the fridge.
For this post, I teamed up with McCormick spices to add all the goodness to this dessert. It uses McCormick ground cinnamon, whole cloves and vanilla extract.
Apparently, I have fancy Christmas tree taste because my favorite tree at the tree market was called a silver tip and it went for like 75% higher than all the other trees. It’s actually quite tall and sparse looking so when I went to ask for the price, I expected a discount but nope. Expensive tree taste—didn’t even know it was a thing!
I went home with it and had the guy kindly tie it to the top of my tiny car because it’s like when you get something in your brain and you just can’t forget about it. Like shoe-shopping. It’s like that.
I came home and Amelia immediately thought the water in the tree basin was for her so I’ve been constantly catching her drinking it. I yell at her but at the same time it’s so funny and cute that I just fill it up and let her do whatever she wants.
Another thing that has been on my brain for so very long are miso brownies! I saw them in the bakery case of a bakery I can’t actually remember but thought they sounded so good! Sweet and savory and chocolate-y…sign me up.
I wanted brownies that had a super crackly top and after I did some Googling and testing, I figured out that the thing that ensures a super crackly crust is beating the eggs and sugar together for a full 10 minutes (thanks, Martha!). Also, the sugar amount has to be up there for this to really work.
Apparently Kylie Jenner is having a pop-up shop this weekend in the valley and a large, morbid, embarrassing part of me sort of wants to go. I won’t go because shrieking teenagers might drive me to take a vallium, but I want to, you know?
Instead I’m putting on my coziest sweater and going to my friend Teri’s holiday party. I also might watch A LOT of Fixer Upper because I love watching it and seeing people buy houses for 100k. It feels like another world, seeing as I live in LA and all.
When I was little, I didn’t need fancy holiday cookies. All I needed were Keebler Fudge-Striped Cookies. I’d put on my fingers like rings and bite ‘em off.
My mom would go grocery shopping every Friday and it always made my brother and I SO excited because that meant the pantry was filled with cookies and Capri-Suns and Sun Chips (omg remember those?
She always had to regulate our eating because if it was up to us, we would eat all the best food all in one day.
Los Angeles! Just a heads up, tomorrow I’ll be in Echo Park at Shout & About signing books and handing out holiday cookies from 11am to 1pm. Stop by!
Now, for this tiramisu pie! I made this pie a few times to recipe test it, pretty normal stuff, but after I finally nailed it, I loved it SO much that I decided it was going to be my Thanksgiving pie.
It was really easy to make, which is why I made it, and right before I started to make it, I remembered that a friend of mine is gluten-free. Luckily I found out that you can totally make this pie with gluten-free ginger snaps and it’ll be just great.
I needed a tablespoon less butter but it worked! I was pumped to find that out.
The pie goes like this: chocolate cookie crust on the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Then it’s filled with an espresso cream custard that is SO good. At the end of making the espresso cream, I mixed in a few tablespoons of rum and it is BOMB. It tastes just like tiramisu. Then, the pie is filled and chilled. Right before serving, you pipe on some mascarpone cream and top it with a bunch of cocoa powder.
Tomorrow we’re headed to a Netflix-themed Halloween party with my friend, Cassie, who works at the company. This entire week has been spent working and recipe testing and shooting. And in addition to that, I’ve been worrying if my costume is going to hit the mark. Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday and I usually stay home like an old person and eat candy.
I really wanted to bring Amelia and dress her up like Eleven but we all know that she would never, ever tolerate a blond wig on her head. And seeing her in a bloody dress might genuinely creep me out! Check my Insta-stories for all of my costume details this weekend—it should be fun(ish).
In other more chocolate-y news, I have this fine dessert for you today. I teamed up with the most delicious, decadent, luscious chocolate maker: ScharffenBerger to create my chocolate ombre dreams in form of a cake.
I’m not going to lie, creating and developing this recipe hurt my brain. There was a lot of math! What I didn’t want was anyone (including myself) to have to make four separate batches of cake batter and frosting. I wanted to create one of each and then mix in the different amount of chocolate to make them different. After a few tries—success!
The frosting is maybe my favorite thing in the entire world because it is cinnamon-y and a little spicy and tastes SO much like Mexican chocolate.
And surprisingly, the ombre frosting isn’t too difficult. You sort of just slap on the different colors and use a bench scraper to combine them!
I kept the topping super simple with a handful of ScharffenBerger cacao nibs and a sprinkling of pearl sugar.
Today is National Chocolate Day, so here’s to hoping you’re eating chocolate (and hopefully making this cake!).
I think I’ve been using too many sprinkles lately. I’m sorta insecure about it because I used to not be THAT much of a sprinkle-whore but lately it’s all I reach for.
I think part of it is all the cool looking sprinkles I bought and brought back from Denmark. The colors are so pretty and interesting over there.
A very long time ago, when blogs first started I remember Joy the Baker posting a recipe for minty oreos. I never made them at the time (not sure why, what other non-important things was I doing?) but they have always lived deep in my brain on my to-make-soon list. Well, years later, here we are…except I made them birthday-driven, even though I didn’t know anyone who was having a birthday.
We made these, tested these, shot these AND then I remembered my friend Michael’s birthday was the very next day so I packed them up in the fridge and brought them to the birthday picnic where a 3 year old liked them a whole lot. WIN-WIN!
Summer as a kid meant tennis camp in Big Bear, shorts and tank-tops every single day, Wimbledon, and long, slow days spent mostly outside, playing hide and go seek until the street lights flickered on.
There were also lots of sleepovers where ten girls would pile in someone’s basement or room and we’d watch Sandlot and The Shining and Pet Cemetery, until a parent would force us to go to sleep already! And sometimes, in the middle of the night, we’d sneak into the kitchen and open up the freezer hoping for something awesome. My friends could always count on my freezer being full of lots of ice cream (dad’s favorite) and if we were really lucky, there’d be a few Choco Tacos; I always bought extra from the ice cream truck.
My internal 12-year-old self has always wanted to make Choco Tacos at home and it always seemed somewhat complicated. UNTIL NOW!!