I had a full-blown, real, non-working weekend. There was a good dose of working out, dinner at a newly-opened neighborhood restaurant (highly recommend it)! I helped my friend Hourie with her charity bakesale that was sold out in an hour (!!!). There was also loads of salsa and smoothies and working out.
Moving onto cakes, specifically this one. Easter is this weekend, which really is the kickoff to spring brunches. There’s Mother’s Day and spring weather, which makes for ideal brunching-weather.
If you love cakes but can’t find the energy/skillz to decorate them, then the whole ‘sheet cake category’ is for you. They are ridiculously easy. All you’ll need is a proper baking pan and a spatula and a handful of sprinkles.
This strawberry + rhubarb sheet cake is the complete opposite of this Neapolitan number. That cake requires a few cups of coffee and some concentration (or at least the decorating part does).
This cake is made up of the most delicious white/strawberry cake combo ever. I could eat it over and over. And the rhubarb frosting is delicious tart and smooth.
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…
Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day aka the day when Josh and I are going to start talking about wedding planning (interesting date we chose, eh? we didn’t do it on purpose I swear!).
Yeh, we’ve put that off for a while because when we first started, like, two days after we got engaged, I immediately downloaded Aisle Planner and started to put a bit of a plan together. And then…it got stressful. So many people. It adds up so quickly! And if we’re doing a destination wedding…good gracious it’s a lot. Anywayz, we told each other that maybe we need to chill out and just enjoy this time a bit and put it off for a few months. So we did. And now that date is here (ugh!). But we’ll figure it out, I suppose. I’m not that stressed out about it.
I’ll share more on that soon (like, when we know what we’re doing)!
For now I wanted to share this cake recipe I made for Epicurious. I wanted a spring-y cake that would remind people of how a strawberry malted milkshake would taste. The barley flavor in the malt powder is so delicious in the cake and frosting.
And to make it Easter-centric, there’s a nest on top that’s made up of shards of white chocolate—it truly couldn’t be easier. I filled it with Cadbury pastel-colored chocolate eggs. They are the best holiday candy our of all holiday candy in my very humble opinion!
I just spent the weekend in Palm Springs saying ‘peace out’ to my friend Whitney’s singleness. It was definitely a 30-something-year-old bachelorette party because by 11pm on Friday night all of us were in our pjs and in bed. Lol.
And then the next morning everyone got up at 7am to workout and do yoga. But I wasn’t mad AT ALL because it was super chill and relaxing and ridiculously enjoyable.
This recipe comes from my friend Joy’s (the Baker) new book, OVER EASY. It is a full encompassing brunch book. You really don’t need another. The recipes are creative and fun and so delicious-looking. And, of course, Joy’s familiar, friendly voice opens up each and every recipe.
The background of the book is Joy’s newly adopted city, New Orleans. I’ve been itching to go to New Orleans. I wanna go and eat all the beignets covered in mounds of powdered sugar and (hopefully) see Solange walking down the street looking angelic as she always seems to do.
This is honestly one of my favorite food days. I know it gets sort of exhausting with the whole “national peanut butter sandwich day” or “strawberry shortcake with basil pesto day,” etc., etc.. But Pi Day is 100% LEGIT.
I’ve always wanted to put pink peppercorns in a pie; I’m so glad I finally did it.
Since the rainy season hit LA and California really hard this year, we have been blessed with beautiful rhubarb. Crisp, beautiful, bright pink rhubarb. I’m so into it.
I have a batch leftover that I need to use up today or tomorrow so let me know if you have any delicious rhubarb ideas! I’ll make ‘em!
I really want to make sandwich scones. Because Cindy made a version a month ago or so and I can’t stop thinking about them. Like roasted rhubarb in a scone. SHIIIITE that’d be good.
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’m gonna be honest with you…I made these mini pies because I needed to make something that I knew would work.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had a cake and pan dulce recipe in rotation, recipe testing them whenever I have some time. And OMG they’ve been so stubborn and annoying. I made the cake four times. And the pan dulce…well, I’ve lost count at this point.
Luckily, the cake is at a great place but the pan dulce…eh, not so much. Especially after I went to Boyle Heights and had a REALLY good one. It made me realize I’m not that close. The top isn’t as crunchy, not as crisp as it should be. The foundation is nearly perfect tho so maybe after a weekend of rest and relaxation in Chi-town, I’ll be ready to figure out how the hell I’m supposed to make the top shatter-in-your-mouth-amazing.
But these pies…are perfect.
They caramel is chai-spiced. Oh yes. I think chai-spiced everything is delicious but caramel just makes complete sense. The cardamom and cinnamon and cloves all work their magic with apples.
I was sort of shy to use apples in a pie but we’re way too early to do rhubarb and strawberries and too late for persimmon or pear. Apples though still look good!
They’re my year around pie go-to.
I made them mini because I put these mini pie dishes in my Amazon basket and accidentally didn’t remove them when I bought something else. Oh well…so I used them!
This week wasn’t supposed to be vegan week it just so happened to turn out like that.
This tart is SO SO good. Admittedly, I usually give a side-eye at a dessert if it’s prefaced with “it’s vegan!” or “it’s gluten-free!” I definitely judge a book by its cover a bit. But this filling is something I could’ve eaten by the spoonful.
This nutty, coconut, chocolate-y tart comes from Jessica Murnane’s new book, One Part Plant! Her philosophy is awesome because it’s simple: eat one plant-based meal a day. Start there! I happen to love vegetables and healthy-ish stuff so I feel like I do this anyway but it’s nice to read a book that isn’t based on all of the stuff you need to give up. There aren’t any stringent rules or regulations.
It’s simply a book that at its core is trying to inspire you to make a healthy, delicious meal a day.
I started with dessert because this is who I am! And the photo of the nut tart in the book looked and sounded SO good.
I haven’t made a ton of vegan desserts in my lifetime. Things like coconut cream and dates and nut butters don’t often collide in my kitchen. But I have a feeling that after this experience, I’m going to have to think about making more of them.
And I think we all love a (nearly) no-bake dessert, amiright?!
What did you end up doing for Valentine’s Day?! Josh and I ended up having a chill night in, made double-decker tacos, drank some beer and watched TABOO. He’s more into that show than I am; I usually fall asleep like 20 minutes in but I do think the time it takes place sort of fascinating.
I’ve had a crazy slow start to the week because on Monday I woke up with a pinch in my throat. It’s so annoying because I haven’t been doing anything that would bring on me getting sick. But I’m feeling better so woohoo!
This recipe and photos are from last month when we took a 3 day trip to Big Bear Lake. We got caught in a huge snow storm, which I sort of didn’t take that seriously until the snow just didn’t stop falling from the sky. I think we got 3 or 4 feet in a few hours.
Luckily it meant that we were holed up with no where to go for a full 2 days which meant plenty of baking and going on walks. Amelia was in heaven because for some reason she thinks snow is the most fun thing in the world.
So fluffy!! So fun!!
The little AIRBNB we rented was perfect for a few days because it had an old 80s oven and it came with the right amount of plastic sleds that were perfect for going down this hill that we found down the street from where we were staying.
Apparently this weekend is supposed to be another snow-heavy weekend and wish I was back there!
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.