Making the Wedding Cake | Congrats EG & MX!

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A bit over a week ago, my brother and my sister in law held their wedding reception at Kirin *throws confetti*. Even though they were officially wed already and so this lil Chinese wedding banquet was relatively casual, it was still nice to see everyone all dressed up and looking sharp, celebrating the start of something beautiful.

It went unsaid that I would be making their wedding cake– I’d be offended if they bought it– but at the same time, inside I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to put out a respectable cake. I started looking at ideas on Pinterest ages ago, but it wasn’t until literally a week before the reception when I actually sat down and started looking at recipes, calculating the quantities, watching videos on how to dowel cakes and generally freaking the * out. Especially when you see less-than-perfect (read: lopsided and hard to look at) homemade wedding cakes out there. Ouch.

I wasn’t all too confident in my cake skills. Up until this point, I hadn’t ever made a tall, even layered frosted cake. There was hardly the occasion to. But I found Sweetapolita’s blog invaluable, as Rosie is truly the cake master.

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Hazelnut Berry Coffeecake

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Warning: long post mostly of me rambling about instagram and coffeecake and what turned into a mini critique of revolver, (not that I’m qualified of giving any out)– please scroll to the bottom if you’re just looking for the recipe & recipe notes! 

Let’s face it– eating will never be the same as it was before social media. On one hand I welcome it– it’s allowed us to connect with chefs and bakers, and take a “behind-the-scenes” look at the process of creating. Viewing photos on Instagram, for me, is the closest I can get to being there without actually going. We can menu browse before we even step foot in the restaurant– we may feign surprise or pretend to flip through the menu, but let’s face it– us serious diners have already read through every single line, and have already curated the perfect meal. Hardly anything is a surprise anymore, when we’re free to browse through reviews and photos on yelp or urbanspoon/zomato. On the other hand, it’s easy to fall into the trap of paying more attention to our devices than being fully in the present, using all our senses to appreciate our food.

I remember going to camp a long time ago, and being inspired by one of our camp counselors (total nature lover, once sat in a forest for 24 hours– overall awesome person), who ate breakfast outside everyday– no phones, just him, the food, and the environment.

Even though that image sort of stayed with me, I’d say I’m about the complete opposite of that and I eat breakfast while scrolling through my feed. (#sorrynotsorry?) It’s one of my main sources of inspiration for recipes, styling, etc. as well as new food places to try!   Continue reading →

Twenty.

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It’s my birthday today! -cue confetti-

So I’ll keep things short and sweet.

Keeping with tradition, I made my own birthday cake, except this time it was for both my friend and I (who share the same birthday!). We both follow @beta5chocolates on instagram, and were enamored by their epic cream puff cake:

coming soon… #creampuff cakes.

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So beautiful.  Continue reading →

Raspberry Almond Cake

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I work as a pharmacy assistant. It’s not the *most* dynamic sort of job, but I do get to interact with a wonderfully diverse group of people. Today I was ringing up a lady dressed in varying shades of pink– from her top, to her jacket, to her nails, to her jewelry– very spring-appropriate, I thought. (I silently applauded her, because pink is my favourite colour and has been since I was old enough to understand what a favourite colour meant). She kept her gaze fixed on me, even after she had inserted her card into the machine. Her fingers hovered over the keypad as she looked at me. Finally, she blurted: “but how can you be a pharmacy assistant when you’re like, grade three??”

I smile politely and told her I just finished my first year of pharmacy school. She nodded and said, as if to convince herself, “well yes, of course I wasn’t being serious, I know you can’t be working here if you were really in grade three…”

I somehow felt apologetic and tried to assure her lightly, “I know I look young”.

She just looked at me, her fingers still hovering over the pinpad.

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black sesame cake (a story)

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Repetitiveness and discipline are the secrets of cake decorating. The art comes from the meticulous technique, the way it does for a dancer.
Ron Ben-Israel

I laughed the entire time I was making this cake. Laughed at myself.

So I had this vision in my head that I wanted to execute– a small, mini, tall cake with clean layers, and naked frosting. Because for the longest time, I’ve just been in love with the many naked cakes of the world. There’s less frosting (usually overly sweet, and just a nuisance), you have more layers in between your cake layers and show those off, plus it lends itself better to floral decorations, or just minimal decorating.

And I wanted to do it with black sesame, black tahini, and banana, with as little sugar/fat as I can get away with. For a higher flavour and nutritional payoff.

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Stir, stir, stir. Oh, the batter seems a bit too wet. That’s okay, I’ll just bake it a little longer. (Note: I have an irrational fear of over mixing, and over baking). Take it out of the oven– first thing I notice, the 2 cakes are of uneven height. That’s okay, I’ll just trim the taller one once they’re cooled.

I busy myself for a few hours, and now it’s slightly past midnight. I prefer to bake at night, and shoot the next morning. This can only happen on non-busy weekends. I usually don’t get a chance to shoot with natural light on a weekday– I’m up before it’s bright, and back as the sky is dimming.

The cakes have cooled, and I whip out my KitchenAid mixer to beat together my mascarpone frosting. Dad: “you know, if we lived in an apartment, you wouldn’t be able to do this”.

Yes, Dad. I’m lucky we have cool neighbours. I mean, they tolerated twelve years of my piano practicing. Who can be cooler than that? Continue reading →